Stretch those Achilles tendons, pump up those tires and mark your calendar for Saturday. That’s when the Tour de Summerlin is set to benefit the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada.
This year will mark the event’s 12th anniversary. Candlelighters has been its charity of choice for four years.
Its core leaders have spent two months preparing riders.
“Our goal is to recruit as many team members as we can, and we train them and take them from couch potato status to 80-mile riders,” said Kelly Webb, development coordinator for Candlelighters. “We do that through intensive training and cycling clinics and bicycle repair clinics.”
To accommodate all rider levels, there are three routes — a 100-mile, a 75-mile and a 40-mile. The longest one was added this year.
All riders will start and finish at Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. A special parking area will be set aside so they are close to the start/finish point. The longer course includes Red Rock Canyon and the bikes path of Summerlin.
The event is set to start at 7 a.m. For more information, visit tourdesummerlin.com.
Centennial Hills-area residents Raymond Roberts and his significant other, Jackie Adams, have a powerful motivation for joining the effort. Their 20-year-old daughter, Mayra Altamirano, died in June. From the time she was diagnosed at 16 with acute myelogenous leukemia, the family received moral support and financial assistance from Candlelighters, such as gasoline for taking her to treatments.
This is the third year they’ve participated in the fundraiser.
“This year, it’ll be dedicated to her,” Roberts said. “We’re hoping it’s going to be a little bit easier this year, knowing that we have an angel on our shoulder.”
“They supported us emotionally,” Adams said. “Every time we needed someone to talk to, they were there. If we needed money for a co-payment for her treatment, they were always there.”
Chartered in 1978, Candlelighters is a nonprofit agency that provides support and services for families with children up to age 21 who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have survived cancer. They are eligible for services if they are living in or being treated in Nevada.
According to its website, candlelightersnv.org, co-payments alone can cost a family up to $250 per week, depending on the child’s course of treatment.
The couple admitted to not being in shape when they first signed up for the event. That’s not the case now. Last year, they completed about 92 miles. They try to pedal side-by-side. When they hit the uphill portion, they said, they gain strength by thinking of the children battling cancer and how they never give up.
“We think about the kids, how much they go through when they’re in treatment,” Adams said. “That’s our motivation, the kids.”
Each rider is expected to raise at least $1,000. Last year, the fundraiser collected $81,000. The goal for this year is $100,000.
“We have a ‘friends asking friends’ campaign, which has been really successful,” Webb said. “Most riders don’t have any problem (getting to $1,000), but we also give them lots of ideas how to fund raise. We have an online platform, so they can email their friends and family. Some people host Super Bowl parties at their home where they say, ‘Everyone gets free drinks, free food, and there’s a $20 charge.’ We have plenty of ideas. So, if anyone is having difficulty with it, then we help them out.”
The first time Tour de Summerlin was held, it saw about two dozen riders. Year No. 2 had 42. Last year had 54. For 2013, the program is expecting 60-70 riders.
Raising funds is only part of the challenge. The other one is physical. The training program began at the end of January. For a couch potato, it starts out slowly and adds miles each week.
“There are a few where, towards the end of the (training), I’ll go through and see where everybody is at,” said Chris Parker, head coach. “A lot of times, because of their schedules and things like that, they’re not able to get all the training in. A rider who, say, the most they ever did was 30 miles, I’ll go to them and talk to them and say, ‘What’s you goal for the event?’ If they say 30 miles, I’ll encourage them to try to do 40 or 50, just to (achieve) a goal. If riders don’t complete the full 80, we’re OK with that.”
Parker said it’s addictive, and, for the most part, people feel the fever to get out there and pedal.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.