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Tour de Whidbey bike race returning in September

What could be better than a peddle-powered tour of Whidbey Island? Enjoying a tour while helping a good cause at the same time.

Tour de Whidbey is a go this year after being canceled in 2012.

It takes place Saturday, Sept. 21 starting at the Greenbank Farm and covering the picturesque parts of Whidbey Island.

Organizers are busily raising money from sponsors.

They are raising money this year to help pay for a breast/MRI scan system that will be attached to the hospital’s new MRI machine, said Laura Blankenship, executive director of the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation, the organization that organizes the event every year.

The new equipment, which will cost approximately $225,000, will provide a non-invasive imaging technique that is a service people currently go off-island to receive.

Tour de Whidbey is a autumn event during which riders can choose routes that are 10, 30, 40 50 and 100 miles in length.

Routes feature Whidbey Island communities from Langley to Oak Harbor.

While the 100-mile route is one of the more challenging in the state, the 10-mile ride, which starts at Coupeville Middle and High School, is virtually flat and is appropriate for beginning riders and families with children.

The other routes start from the Greenbank Farm.

The middle distance routes are catered to more intermediate riders.

Foundation officials canceled the tour in 2012 after hospital leaders eliminated a position from the nonprofit’s staff due to budget.

Blankenship said the timing of the decision didn’t allow for enough time to find a replacement and then organize the event last year.

“We couldn’t responsibly commit to doing a tour if we couldn’t do it well,” Blankenship said.

This year, the foundation hired an organizer on a contract basis to conduct.

During the off year, Blankenship said she kept in touch with sponsors and, once the 2013 event became a reality, she started fundraising again.

Blankenship said she has raised approximately $38,000 from sponsors toward the goal.

The 2011 Tour de Whidbey attracted around 500 riders and signups so far have exceeded signups at this point two years ago.

She the gorgeous end-of-the-year ride proves to be an attraction to bike riders.

Registration is currently open and costs $25 for children and $60 for adults. Military discounts are available.

Riders can sign up online at www.active.com.

They can also download an application at www.tourdewhidbey.com and mail it in, or drop it off in the hospital lobby, Blankenship said.

 

 

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