The organizers of Douglas County’s first women’s-only cycling event have a few big goals in mind, but competitive ambitions aren’t part of the mix.
Priority one is making sure the participants of Tour de Ladies have a great time as they wind along roads and trails that introduce them to the county’s most bicycle-friendly topography. The second goal is raising money and awareness for a local nonprofit that assists battered women and their children.
Becki Rupp, chairwoman of the Tour de Ladies publicity team, says she expects between $2,000 and $5,000 will be raised for the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach Center through entry fees and donations. An organizing committee estimates between 300 and 400 women will sign up for the event, which begins at Chaparral High School in Parker.
Rupp is quick to clarify that Tour de Ladies is not a race and is ideal for novice riders who simply want to experience a relaxing ride with a few friends.
“There will be tons of signs, people ringing cowbells and cheering them on,” she said. “It’s the whole experience of going out and having fun and feeling that sense of accomplishment and doing it with your peers.”
The original founders of Tour de Ladies — ironically two men who noticed a glaring lack of women at local cycling races — put a small inaugural ride together in 2011. The 2013 version is a “rebirth” of that event, said Rupp, who has taken part in the Elephant Rock ride in Castle Rock and the Bike MS event in Denver.
Some more experienced riders will take part in the Tour de Ladies, which is hosted by the Colorado Riders Club. The tour route will be fully supported with water, food and aid stations. It features options of a 30-mile route and a 62.5-mile “metric century” route to appeal to cyclists of advanced levels. Support comes in the form of “SAG in Drag,” or “support and gear” from men dressed in skirts and frilly tops.
The Tour de Ladies is helping a critically important organization, Rupp said. Domestic violence is among the top crimes in Douglas County and demand is always growing.
“This stuff happens here, too,” she said. “It’s good to support an organization that may be helping a neighbor without you even knowing it.”
Lynn Adams, marketing and outreach coordinator for the Women’s Crisis Center, said the organization is very appreciative to be selected as the beneficiary for the event.
“We appreciate the community partnership and it is just a great representation of how the community can come together to make a difference,” Adams said.
There are no limits on the number of people on a team. The minimum age for participation is 15. For more information or to register, go to www.tourdeladies.com or visit the event’s Facebook page.
The two Tour de Ladies routes
The routes start at Chaparral High School, heads down Stonegate Parkway, goes south on Jordan Road, to Mainstreet, then Motsenbocker, which turns into Crowfoot Valley Road. The 30-mile route route goes east from Pradera to the Pinery, then leads north on the Cherry Creek Regional Trail. The 62.5-mile route continues south on Crowfoot Valley Road to Founders Parkway, then to Castlewood Canyon State Park and eventually to Lake Gulch Road near Larkspur.