40 years ago, the Club was set up to promote cycling. Our records confirm that even in its first year of operation, our Club staged a “Cyclefest”. But there was a limited choice of routes: 100 miles, or, well, nothing. We are more generous in our offers of routes. Again this year participants can choose between 100 miles, 62 miles (a metric century), 35 miles or 20 miles. The first three of these will be over, new revised routes.
A few years ago we faced a legal challenge to our right to use the name “Cyclefest” and in defending that right we uncovered some of the history of the event. The club was able to demonstrate its longevity but since that time we have been obliged to use the full name “Gulf Coast Cyclefest”. So celebrate our amazing 40th anniversary since the Club was founded, and the foresight of the Club’s founders to set up the first event. Let’s make this the biggest and best Gulf Coast Cyclefest yet. By last year we were nearing 600 participants, but fell just short of this target. Let’s make the full 600 this November.
As always, we stage the event on the first Sunday in November, the day the clocks change, so we get an extra hour in bed. Or do we? Volunteers will be up extra early to ensure all is ready for registration to open shortly after 6.00 am. Food for the Rest Stops will be prepared, signs put in place, and Main Street, Lakewood Ranch set up to receive participants and vendors.
The day starts with Breakfast. You should eat well before exercise! Lynn, Ruth and their team will serve us well. They have been arranging super breakfasts for more years than I can remember. Maybe not all 40 years, but they get better each year.
The riders are off and away. Gary has planned a choice of 4 scenic routes carefully measured to be exactly the lengths we state: 100 miles, 62 miles, 35 miles and 20 miles. At 7.30, the first riders are off on the 100 mile route. Then we start each of the other rides at 30 minute intervals. Trent and his team mark the routes on the road surface, and remove the debris. Tom provides signs at the key turns. We provide maps and “cue sheets”, so riders should not get lost.
For lunch, food and service is provided by Polo Grill to their usual high standard. Florian ensures there is a good choice of drinks. Special desserts are provided by members of the club to finish the meal. Bud is booking a band to add atmosphere and entertainment while you eat.
We set up rest stops, at about 20 mile intervals (at midway on the 20 mile route). The rest stops have temporary restrooms. All these have been set up by Bud and his team. Tom and Nora ensure that there is plenty of good nutrition and drinks to keep the riders going.
In case you have a mechanical problem, or just run right out of energy, Ian is just a phone call away and will send the nearest “SAG” driver to your rescue.
The whole event is based in Main Street, Lakewood Ranch, which is closed to traffic. Our sponsors set up stalls along the road with items of clothing and accessories for sale. You can get a massage or advice on your bike and much more beside. And we provide lots of restrooms.
All this is offered for the lowest possible entry fee, unchanged from last year! Past participants have judged Gulf Coast Cyclefest to be the best event they have ridden.
To register, download the 2014 Gulf Coast Cyclefest registration form (http://www.smbc.us/forms/cyclefest2014registrationForm.pdf)
or to Active .com (http://www.active.com/lakewood-ranch-fl/cycling/gulf-coast-cyclefest-2014).
NOTE: A separate waiver is now required for any minor participating in this event. Please click on the following link (minor waiver) to download the waiver, sign and date it and either return with your application to SMBC or bring with you to the event.
If you can volunteer, Bob will sort out a suitable task and explain what needs to be done. We brief Volunteers on the Wednesday evening October 29 and issue a volunteer T shirt. Volunteers get a free lunch! Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or just come and celebrate. You can buy a lunch ticket at the registration desk, and join in the fun.
But don’t miss this event of the year: Sunday, November 2nd at Main Street, Lakewood Ranch.