The 12th annual Skinny Tire Century Tour takes place on Saturday, Sept. 20. Beginning and ending at the Archway Inn, the tour brings cyclists together to enjoy Moab’s spectacular road-biking terrain and to raise money for cancer research and treatment.
The tour’s course options cater to cyclists of all ages and levels of expertise. The 60-mile option with approximately 3,000 feet of elevation change travels the Moab Canyon Trail to Dead Horse Point State Park, providing ample challenge and awe-inspiring views of wide-open Western landscapes, including the Colorado River, which carves its way through the canyon country more than 2,000 feet below the riders.
Riders who look to extend their ride to the centennial mile mark can link up with the novice 40-mile “Rolling Down the River Route.” The mostly flat, back spur route has a scant 400 feet of elevation change and travels along sandstone cliffs that hide ancient Puebloan petroglyphs. The Rolling Down the River Route is ideal for families, cruiser bikes and kids.
Along both routes, aide stations will provide water, snacks, and Utah’s EFS energy drinks to help maintain riders’ hydration and energy levels. Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles will also be traveling the courses, providing spare tubes and bike-repair expertise for any riders in need of assistance.
“This is a tour, not a race,” event coordinator Beth Logan said. “It is really for recreational cyclists. The support stations and SAG vehicles make sure everyone is taken care of. You may have a personal best, but we are all here to ride and have fun for a great cause.”
Since its inception, all Skinny Tire events have been designed to not only provide well-organized cycling events throughout the year, but also to raise funds in support of cancer survivorship, research and treatment resources for local programs. To date, Skinny Tire events have contributed nearly $6 million to the cause. Among the local programs that have benefited from cycling events are the Moab Cancer Treatment Center and Salt Lake City’s Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Logan added that out-of-state programs also benefit from the rides, and that many cyclists travel great distances to partake in the weekend rides and support their causes.
“There is a group from Ohio that are raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Logan said. “They are all either cancer survivors or have a loved one who has battled cancer, and they come to the Century Tour to raise money.”
Skinny Tire Events originated with director and founder Mark Griffith, who started the rides after losing his brother to cancer.
“After losing my brother, it was all about finding a release for just a lot of energy inside looking for a way out,” Griffith said. “There is nothing like being touched with a loss of somebody really close to get you involved. In order to heal, I needed to do something physical, and I thought that if I felt this way, then others must feel this way too. Cycling was big thing for me at the time, and I was riding in some events in Colorado. I thought, ‘What if we do a road ride here in Moab?’ People don’t realize how great the roads are to ride over here and we’ll raise funds for cancer.”
The first event in 2003 had a dozen participants who helped raise over $1,500. Now, the events draw upwards of 1,000 participants. Skinny Tire Events create an experience that uplifts, rewards, and rejuvenates on many levels — physically with the cycling challenges, emotionally and mentally with shared stories from others about their cancer experiences, and spiritually with the unique way that only nature can accomplish.
“For me, it was very healing, and it was wonderful to see how many people were inspired to come and ride,” Griffith said. “We realized that there weren’t a lot of grassroots programs out there for survivorship and research, so we came up with the idea to focus on the little programs that need money to help them along; maybe help them to become a more mainstream program. Maybe it will be the small idea that goes big.”
There will be on-site registration at the Archway Inn on Friday, Sept. 19 from 2 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 20 from 6 to 9 a.m. Registration costs $95 and includes the entry fee, a souvenir, lunch, and a party after the event from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Archway Inn courtyard complete with Mexican buffet and live music.
For more information or to register, head to www.skinnytireevents.com or call 435-260-8889.
Skinny Tire Events Century Tour benefits cancer research
For me, it was very healing, and it was wonderful to see how many people were inspired to come and ride. We realized that there weren’t a lot of grassroots programs out there for survivorship and research, so we came up with the idea to focus on the little programs that need money to help them along; maybe help them to become a more mainstream program. Maybe it will be the small idea that goes big.
What: 12th Annual Skinny Tire Century Tour
When: Saturday, Sept. 20; registration Friday, Sept. 19 from 2 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 20 from 6 to 9 a.m.
Where: Aarchway Inn, 1551 N. Highway 191
Cost: $95, includes entry fee, souvenir, lunch and post-event party