The Tour of Paso, an annual bike race that benefits local families going through cancer, typically takes place in late March, when the sun is out and wildflowers are blooming. Not this year, though. Instead, the race was one of the first local events to be postponed by COVID-19.
- Photo Courtesy Of Cancer Support Community Central Coast
- AROUND THE BEND Delayed due to COVID-19, the 12th annual Tour of Paso will take place on Nov. 1.
Like so many event organizers at the time, Tour of Paso leaders thought that the virus would blow over relatively quickly.
"In March, everyone just thought it'd be a couple weeks," said Candice Sanders, development director for the Cancer Support Community of the California Central Coast, a local chapter of a national nonprofit.
As the weeks turned into months, organizers weren't sure if they'd ever pull the race off. But after many stops and starts, the 12th annual Tour of Paso is happening and will take place on Saturday, Nov. 1.
"We just kind of talked about continuing to do it and giving something for people to look forward to," Sanders explained. "It was a hot topic of discussion up to just about a month ago. We really kind of sat down with our committee—they are the ones who are the cyclists—and they were like, 'No we can do this. We just need to have extra precautions in place.'"
This year, cyclists participating in the scenic 26- or 50-mile rides will have staggered start times and get courtesy to-go lunch bags from Niner Wine Estates to avoid coming into contact with others. All group pictures, post-race parties, and other social events will be canceled this year to comply with public health orders.
The race's start location will also be different—a "huge" parking lot in Templeton, near Twin Cities Community Hospital, giving participants plenty of room to spread out. Other than the new start line, the rest of the Tour of Paso's popular route will remain the same as always. And while blooming wildflowers will not be part of this year's ride, the fall season will have its own beauty to offer.
"They get the opposite end of things—the full vines during harvest, the seasonal color changes," Sanders said.
Race signups are available now at tourofpaso.org. Riders of all skill levels are welcome to participate. This year, Mike Milby, of Paso Bike Tours, is offering free bike rentals to the first 25 riders who request one.
All of the proceeds from the event benefit the Cancer Support Community, an organization that "focuses on social and emotional support for cancer patients and their families."
"It's anything from support groups, grief groups, yoga, nutrition programs—it's really providing support for all members of the family, not just patients," Sanders explained. "One hundred percent of our proceeds stay within the county, and all of our services are free."
Sanders said that the organization is thrilled to be able to still hold the race, despite all of the challenges. She expressed gratitude to all of the riders who signed up for the spring and have remained patient throughout the disruptions.
"When this was canceled in March, we reached out to all of our teams and our riders—no one asked for their money back. They said, 'Whether we ride or not, this is how it goes,'" Sanders said. "We're really happy to be able to put their ride on for them."
• The Tour of Paso isn't the only local race to be excited about. The Atascadero Printery Foundation will host a virtual Race for the Printery event from Oct. 18 to 25. Registration is open now at racefortheprintery.com. Participants can complete the race anywhere they'd like, with options including a fun run/walk, 5K/10K run/walk, marathon/half-marathon, and three different bicycle races. The Atascadero Printery Foundation's mission is to reclaim, rehabilitate, and repurpose the 105-year-old Printery building.
• If you buy a ticket to the Field of Light at Sensorio in Paso Robles on Oct. 25, you'll also be supporting two local nonprofit organizations. For each ticket sold at the popular exhibit featuring work by artist Bruce Munro, $20 will go to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the San Luis Obispo Law Enforcement Assistance Association. The event is the second Sensorio Gives Back Sunday. Last year, it raised nearly $15,000 for local charities, according to a press release. To get your tickets or learn more, go to sensoriopaso.com or call (805) 226-4287. Δ
Assistant Editor Peter Johnson wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to email@example.com.