Hundreds roll out for Tour de Whidbey
October 28, 2009 · Updated 9:05 AM
Whidbey General Hospital Foundation officials said a new record was set for the number of bicyclists riding in the annual fundraiser Tour de Whidbey.
The amount of money raised also set a new high mark.
The legions of spinning wheels sighted on Whidbey roadways had people wondering about the size of this year’s road trip.
“Everywhere I go, people are asking, ‘How many riders, how many riders?” said Laura Blankenship, the foundation’s executive director.
The final rider count was 505 — the first time the number of total riders cruised past the 500 mark. Race organizers said 30 percent of the riders hailed from Whidbey Island, with 64 percent of the off-islanders coming from in-state. Ten riders came from outside Washington, and 18 riders made the trip south from Canada.
Race organizers said the island’s hilly 100-mile route attracted 183 riders, while 75 riders from age 6 to 76 took this year’s 10-mile family tour, now in its second year.
The goal for the event was the purchase of a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine for the obstetrics unit at Whidbey General Hospital.
The event raised nearly $50,000 this year, due in large part to support from platinum sponsor Whidbey Island Bank, gold sponsors Whidbey Telecom and the WGH Medical Staff, and the silver sponsorships of three local businesses (Arndt & Walker, P&L General Contractors and Coldwell Bank Tara Properties Community Fund), as well as eight hospital vendors.
“The sponsors, approximately 150 volunteers and the 36 businesses who donated products and services made this event possible,” Blankenship said. “The success of the tour is theirs, and we are in their debt. Riders come back year after year; they tell their friends and coworkers about our event because it is such a well-supported ride with such friendly people.”