La Quinta resident Lou Lister has carved out seven hours when he can't be interrupted on Jan. 23.
A 15-year cyclist and Vietnam veteran who relocated from the east coast, Lister will pedal 100 miles to mark his fourth participation in the 18th annual Tour de Palm Springs. The event brings out the average rider, the avid cycler, moms and dads and teams of families and friends.
Lister's passion for cycling probably pushes him closer to avid, logging approximately 175 miles per week to train for the ride that he estimates will take about 6.5 to 7 hours to complete.
photo courtesy of lou lister
This is the bike that Lister plans to use for his cross-country trip to Maryland in May.
“Besides the exercise factor, riding along the countryside is great,'' says Lister, who is preparing for a real cross-country trip on his bike to Maryland in May to benefit veterans organizations and the Wounded Warriors Project (see his Go-Fund me page: www.gofundme.com/6dfswqws)
“You've got to prepare for a century (100-mile ride)," he adds. “You just can't go out that day and do it. It's not hard, but you have to get the miles in. Here, you're not running into mountainous hills, you just have to have the endurance.”
Participants can choose from a mile route designed for the beginner, a 10-mile trek with some slight hills and a 25-mile moderate route with a few rolling hills. The longer 50 and 100-mile routes, which will be the first to depart, have multiple rolling hills and gradual climbs, but nothing too steep. Support and gear/grub (SAG) are available.
Wrist bands are mandatory to enter a SAG stop. The 100-mile route has five SAGs, the 50-mile route has three SAGs, the 25-mile route has one. There is no SAG for the 10-mile route. All have water and fluid replacement drinks, but full SAGS offer sandwich items, energy bars, fruit and the like.
A vendor expo starting at North Palm Canyon between Tahquitz and Alejo is being held in conjunction to the event from noon to 8 p.m. Jan. 22 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 23. Special rate accommodations are still available at the Palm Springs Hilton downtown and the Best Western Date Treet Hotel in Indio.
Lister joined the Desert Bicycle Club to meet new people, and the Tour de Palm Springs offers an even bigger group to engage.
“Really this is so well organized with all the SAGS and it sets up well with the downtown booths, the food, all the hotels get a lot of business,” says Lister. “You meet people from all over. It's very popular for all types (of riders). The word is out.”
The first Tour de Palm Springs was held in 1999 with 1,000 participants, but there was no individual winner. Founder Tim Esser always stresses that this popular event is not a race, it's a charity bike ride that has benefited multiple groups throughout the Greater Palm Springs area and raised more than $3 million since its inception.
The real winner, says Esser, is the Coachella Valley groups it serves. More than $179,000 was raised last year.
General Route Information:
• This year’s 25-mile tour goes through Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert. There will be a SAG at the Palm Desert Lowe’s (Gerald Ford at Monterey).
• The 50-mile route travels from Palm Springs to Thousand Palms, Indio, Bermuda Dunes, Palm Desert and Cathedral City.
• The 100-mile route travels from Palm Springs' windmills area to the foothills of the San Bernardino mountain range, continuing down Dillon Road to the agriculture area of the Coachella Valley, then loops toward PGA West, around the La Quinta Cove past the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, through Palm Desert and back to Palm Springs.
On-site registration on Jan. 22 from noon to 8 p.m.
• 1, 2, 3-mile walk: $10
• 10-mile ride: $25 (18 and younger, $10)
• 25-mile ride: $45 (18 and younger $10)
• 50-mile ride: $65
• 100-mile ride: $70
• 10-mile tandem: $40
• 25-mile tandem: $75
• 50-mile tandem: $85
• 100-mile tandem: $95
More information: www.tourdepalmsprings.com
• The first charity bike ride event was in 1998, called Spokes for Different Folks with 400 riders and raised $20,000.
• In 1999, Esser and his late mother, Fran, set up a not-for-profit organization called CVSPIN (Coachella Valley Serving People In Need). That was the first offical Tour de Palm Springs with more than 1,000 participants.
Patti Myers covers all sports from preps to pros and has been along the sidelines for more than 30 years, the first 20 in the middle of sports-crazed Boston. Reach her at [email protected]