Scenic northern Hill Country roads can provide the beauty and challenge cyclists seek.
Locally, that has paid off for more than a decade.
The 2013 CareFlite Paluxy Pedal backroads bicycle ride will get rolling for the 11th time in Glen Rose Saturday, Oct. 5. Adam Eyres, committee chairperson, explained how it got started and became the primary fundraiser for the LDL Educational Resources Foundation.
“In 2003, I wondered if this event would be successful,” he said. “Would people in the community support a ride and would people from out of town come to our ride? It was fun to go around town and begin to gain support from potential sponsors. The initial intent was to have the event donate to a different charity every year.
“I was employed by Fossil Rim (Wildlife Center), so we made it the (first) beneficiary. We decided to go with Fossil Rim again in year two and then back to our original plan in 2005. We chose the LDL Foundation because of all the good things they do in this community.”
According to Eyres, it “only seemed fair” to go with LDL for a second year after doing so with Fossil Rim.
“LDL is involved with the school system, and it has a large volunteer base,” he said. “That’s what we really need for this ride, so it really worked out nicely. It also allowed us to donate our funds to different entities without having to go out and find them ourselves.
“LDL was already doing that. We decided it was a great relationship and the ride should become an LDL fundraiser every year.”
LDL Cofounder Leta Yocham also stresses the importance of the event’s volunteers.
“Caring volunteers who come and help us are a very important part of the whole effort,” Yocham said. “We couldn’t do this without a large number of volunteers. We encourage everyone in town to welcome the participants because they’re putting their beneficial dollars back into our community.”
Yocham said the event usually raises $15,000-20,000 for LDL.
“We try to make sure all of the entry money from out of town goes straight to charity,” she said. “We work to get enough local dollars and support to cover expenses for Paluxy Pedal. When we came into the picture, we tried to be a supporting force for Paluxy Pedal. Since we disperse money throughout the community in different ways, the event organizers felt like our partnership would help everyone.”
Yocham is pleased to have CareFlite on board as the primary event sponsor this year.
“When we’ve lost some of our sponsors, others have stepped up and we appreciate that,” she said. “CareFlite will be bringing a helicopter early in the morning as we get started, and I know we all hope a large number of people show up.”
Before cyclists head out Saturday, they are invited to enjoy a pre-ride spaghetti dinner from 5-7:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at the Somervell County Citizens’ Center. Admission is $7.50 per person.
“The spaghetti dinner is a chance to bring people into our community the night before the ride and make them comfortable,” Yocham said.
The ride will start Oct. 5 from Glen Rose High School. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. and all riders must start by 10 a.m. while finishing by 3 p.m. Rest stops will be available every 10 miles. Potential race distances are 29, 53 and 65 miles.
“We focus on how challenging our ride is,” Eyres said. “We don’t necessarily offer something for a couple and their five-year-old, because we don’t have the real short distances. Our shortest ride is 29 miles, which is probably three times longer than the shortest route at most events.
“We’ll probably never have 2,000 riders because we don’t have that option, but our riders love what we do offer. It’s hilly and challenging.”
Yocham noted the wide range of riders who take part in the event, as far as how much they want to be challenged.
“We do have some very dedicated riders who come and they usually ride the longest mileage,” she said.
Registration is available online at active.com until Oct. 1, via mail-in registration by this Saturday, Sept. 28 or in person at The Bike Rack in Granbury by Oct. 4. It can even be done in person on ride day from 7-8:30 a.m. Upon registering, riders receive a t-shirt, water bottle and a race packet.
“I personally like to see how many riders come from different places and how far they travel to be with us, along with hearing how much they enjoy being here,” Yocham said. “On our website, people are frequently very complimentary about the ride on our course or how well our volunteers work together.”
The mass arrival of cyclists could boost the local economy.
“We think the event does have a positive impact on local businesses and that’s a great part about it,” Yocham said.
For more information on the event, check out PaluxyPedal.com.