Annual Mesa bike race to benefit Valley-based charities - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Annual Mesa bike race to benefit Valley-based charities

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Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 7:21 pm | Updated: 2:31 pm, Tue Apr 1, 2014.

A large-scale bike race scheduled in Mesa next weekend will double as a fundraising tool for a number of charitable organizations across the Valley.

Scheduled for April 5, the annual El Tour de Mesa event features four bicycle races consisting of a six-mile ride, an 11-mile ride, a 28-mile ride and a 70-mile ride. The latter most is the highlight of the event and takes riders through several East Valley cities with a backdrop consisting of the Salt River Recreation Area and the Tonto National Forest, according to the event’s website.

All rides conclude with a party complete with an award ceremony, food and a beer garden. The race is part of the second half of the two-day CycloMesa celebration, organized by the city and begins the day before.

One of the major components of the race is that it benefits a number of charitable organizations. This year’s event will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Uphill into the Wind, The Winded Foundation, Perimeter Bicycling, the Esophageal Cancer Action Network and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Although this is the first year the hospital has participated in the event, Special Events Coordinator for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Clayton Zenner said it is familiar with El Tour de Mesa, and the cycling event is a natural fit for the hospital’s Miracles in Motion program. The program trains athletes to participate in fitness-heavy races and raises money through two other Valley-based events: P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Nathan’s Triathlon.

Zenner said the marathon was the first event Miracles in Motion signed on to participate in, and that event usually raises between $75,000 and $100,000 each year. Being the first year with El Tour de Mesa, Zenner said the goal is to accumulate up to about $15,000, which the approximately 30 riders do through independent fundraising events ahead of time.

Based on his familiarity with the ride, Zenner said the participants are pretty excited for the 70-mile ride due to the course — especially the scenery — and the efforts put in by the people who put it together. Those are a couple of reasons why he said this year may not be the only time Miracles in Motion signs up for the race.

“We love being a part of it and we’ll continue to be a part of it for a long time,” he said.

Registration for the event concludes on April 1. Visit www.perimeterbicycling.com/el-tour-de-mesa for more information about the race. Downtown Mesa is also in need of volunteers for CycloMesa to work the information table, assist with kids’ activities, hand out water, and perform other tasks. Contact Erica at (480) 890-2613 or Erica@downtownmesa.com for more information.

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