Jim Dodson: Jim Dodson the Florida Bike Guy. So, how would you like to support a local event and support local trails at the same time? I wanna look no further than the Tour de Parks event which is coming up in March. We have our guest here this morning, he's Bud Gaunce, who's the ride director for Tour de Parks, also the president of Sarasota Manatee Bike Club. Morning Bud.
Bud Gaunce: Good morning Jim.
- [Both] How are you?
Jim Dodson: I'm good. So, Tour de Parks, coming up March 24th. What do you expect?
Bud Gaunce: We expect great weather, great food and great riders. We are currently at 294 riders registered which is right on target with last year.
Jim Dodson: Right. I know that you are looking for 750. I think that's your kind of cap, is that right?
Bud Gaunce: That's right.
Jim Dodson: And this is, where's this held every year? Kind of a unique venue.
Bud Gaunce: This is very unique. It's at the Venice Old Train Depot right down town Venice. It's a great tie-in with trails because this is a rails to trail route that we are using. So, it's a great tie-in, it's a great facility.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, it's really unique. It's good working down there. It's kind of a cool building and a cool venue. Now tell us. I know that you have the standard ride opportunities. But give us some idea about the starting procedure and the ride that'll be available. You've got a unique opportunity for families too.
Bud Gaunce: Absolutely. Number one, this is not a race, this is a family ride. We have three different distances. We have a 21 mile ride, which is ideal for families because it is on the Legacy Trail only. No side trips or anything. It's totally on the Legacy Trail. Then we have a 35 mile route which visits a few more parks in Sarasota County, and then we have a 62 mile route which again follows part of the same routes as the first two but then sees a couple more venues as well. Plus it gets out on one on the Keys. So, you get a little of the gulf flavor on those routes.
Jim Dodson: So, the Legacy Trail, how long is it? Where does it start?
Bud Gaunce: The first ride, and these are not mass-startings. These are suggested times. But our first group goes out at 7:30. Breakfast will be served beginning at 6:30. You can also rest through the day of and that will be open at 6:30 as well.
Jim Dodson: Alright. So I know last year I actually got down there [Distortion] Wanted to be in, that I felt very comfortable taking off, 'cause you don't have a mass start. You know where the
Bud Gaunce: Exactly. You can start any time, no matter what distance you're going. You can start at excuse me, at any time.
Jim Dodson: Well last year you had a little construction going on at the Laurel, what is it called? Laurel Drive?
Bud Gaunce: Laurel Road.
Jim Dodson: Laurel Road overpass, they were installing a bike overpass for Laurel Road, correct?
Bud Gaunce: Correct, and it is now complete. It is similar to the one that crosses over 41 right in Venice, so it's a great asset, a great safety feature of the ride this year.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, so now you've gotta fly over the road, and you don't have to stop and deal with the construction diversion that we had a little bit last year.
Bud Gaunce: Yes.
Jim Dodson: And really those fly-overs make such an interesting and kind of a cool riding experience.
Bud Gaunce: They really do. They are quite an asset. And an interesting asset at that.
Jim Dodson: So talk about for a minute about somebody who is interested in having a great venue for a ride, and they want to participate on a Sunday. Talk about the value to the community of everyone's registration in this event. What happens with the money?
Bud Gaunce: The ride is co-sponsored by Friends of the Legacy Trail and Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club. A lot of volunteers give of their time and their talents to keep the overheads down as low as possible. Even though we do offer breakfast by First Watch, and lunch by Morrison's Catering. Mattison's Catering. We try and keep the costs down as much as possible with volunteers at all the rest stops. But the net proceeds are split evenly between the two organizations. FLT uses theirs for a variety, their net proceeds for a variety of things. SMBC in the past has always either donated their portion of the proceeds back to FLT, or we are currently saving our portion of the proceeds for what we hope to be a major amenity to the trail. To the extended trail.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, so two groups really that benefit from this particular ride. The Sarasota Manatee Bike Club, and that money is designated to help the trail construction or amenities that you're gonna add when you do your project. And also Friends of the Legacy Trail, which is also working to support and build up the amenities on the trail as well. Is that right?
Bud Gaunce: Absolutely. And they have been a major factor in the success of the trail. They give freely of their time and their money both.
Jim Dodson: Well you know, they were, and so is your club, major contributors in terms of the work that went into getting the referendum passed to approve the money for the extension of the Legacy Trail. Which apparently got passed down in Sarasota County in November.
Bud Gaunce: Passed by a 70% majority, which says a whole lot about what the community is looking for. And that's safe cycling. FLT did a tremendous job on getting the vote out.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, you know it's interesting to me, when the Pinellas Trail was built here in Pinellas County, the initial reaction from a lot of people who had property is "We don't want a trail behind our house that's gonna bring all the negative influences to our neighborhood." Flash forward ten years, and now they're building sub divisions with access to the trail, and promoting the fact that they have access to the Pinellas Trail. And the same thing is happening with the Legacy and other trails throughout the state.
Bud Gaunce: Absolutely. We've got probably three maybe four developments going up now on the existing trail that all are featuring access to the trail. So yes, it's great.
Jim Dodson: So, let me think about this a minute. So is there anything, talk a minute, a little bit more about this family event. I know that you really are trying to attract people who are not necessarily all serious riders. I mean the family event is probably not going to include people going out on the 35 or 62 necessarily. But really a family could come out there with the intention of doing a 20, which is basically a 10 out and back. Correct?
Bud Gaunce: That's correct.
Jim Dodson: You can turn around any time. I mean you can make this into a five or a 10, just depending on how far you wanna go up the trail before you turn around. 'Cause it's all on the trail.
Bud Gaunce: That's correct. And like you say, you can turn that bike around any time you want to. It's ideal for families. There is a major rest stop about halfway up the trail, about five miles up, where you'll have all sorts of refreshments and drinks. There will also be roving SAG... people. And a SAG person is what's called supplies and gear So if you have a flat tire, then you'll have a phone number on your wristband that you can call and say, "Hey I need help!" And you'll have help shortly thereafter.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, I had a conversation yesterday with Dave Lancaster who runs SAG, and about doing program on exactly what they do and the services they offer both to the ride event and to the riders themselves. SAG is a very important aspect. You have a breakdown or a flat, or you just can't get back for some reason, it's a good number to have with you when you go out that day.
Bud Gaunce: Well, we have something a little unique this year. Normally people say "Well how can you help me on the trail if I'm between junctions?" This year we're gonna have three trail bikes out that will have supplies. So they'll be able to come right to you with all sorts of supplies to take care of you. So we'll have actually roving SAG... people on the trail itself.
Jim Dodson: So how are you gonna identify them? Are they gonna have lights or markings on their bikes?
Bud Gaunce: Yeah. They absolutely will. Now we identify the SAG people for them, and for the other two routes 35 and 62, we'll have markings on those cars as well. And the participants again can use the phone number that's on their wristband, which is also their lunch pass for the great meal by Mattison's. So they can call that same number and they'll be someone there to help 'em out.
Jim Dodson: So Jerry Musial just signed in saying good morning. How are you doing Jerry? Thanks for tuning in this morning. So one of the things you and I talked about the other day, and it may be kind of a small thing in the eyes of some people, but you know when you're doing these events, particularly the longer ones, it's nice to have bathrooms.
Bud Gaunce: Yes. Go ahead.
Jim Dodson: Good. 'Cause I know that you've taken steps to make sure that that's kind of a part of what you do. Not just a portalette on the side of the trail, but the opportunity to actually have access to a restroom.
Bud Gaunce: Right. On the 62 mile route, it goes up to Benderson Park. Course we get to use the new facilities there. Great restrooms and the, rest stop kit will be there as well, so you can get refreshments as well as use the restrooms. The Rothenbach Park stop will have ample portalettes there, as well as rest stop supplies there also. The Urfer Park will be using the restroom facilities of the park itself there. So again, all your needs are well taken care of.
Jim Dodson: Well you know, one of the other things, that's one thing that people judge events by sometimes, the other one is the food. And I know from having been, this is actually one of the events that Kati and I typically will be at, we'll be down there this year. We'll be set up and giving away all the stuff that we have have access for cyclists, our safety, and educational materials. We give away free things there. It's an event we enjoy doing. You have a lot of other vendors, the vendors are kind of lined up there, you can talk about that a minute, at the train depot, and they're all in the shade.
Bud Gaunce: We try and take care of our vendors because they support us, but we'll have not only Jim Dodson and Kati there, but we'll have jersey companies there. We'll have bike shop representatives there. We'll have, of course SMBC will have a booth, as will Friends of the Legacy Trail. We'll have health related booths from chiropractors, nutritionists, a variety of vendors. And they are right there on the train depot platform, to answer questions and to help you out.
Jim Dodson: Yeah it's a kind of cool place people like to go. Just as you and I were saying the other day, It's the first event of the spring really, for the riding season. It sort of kicks off the riding season around here.
Bud Gaunce: Yeah, absolutely. And the look forward to it.
Jim Dodson: Yeah, it can still get warm. In March it can get warm, and it's nice to be there and have some shade under the depot. It's almost kind of a welcome adventure.
Bud Gaunce: Not only are the vendors under the shade, but all your lunch tables are as well, as is the serving line for lunch. Mattison's, like I said, will be there. It's a great pasta lunch after the ride. Always gets rave reviews. And one of the things, that you know Jim, cyclists are looking for at the end of the ride is great food.
Jim Dodson: You come with some authority Bud, because the Cyclefest always has excellent food, and you guys have put that on for many years. It's one of the hallmarks of that event, it's the amount and the variety, and the quality of the food, and I know this event is no different.
Bud Gaunce: Absolutely. We kid ourselves that we have eating disorders when we ride, so that we can take care of that. But we love to eat so we love to ride. And it works both ways.
Jim Dodson: Yeah well it gives you justification for getting back and taking care of all the needs we have.
Bud Gaunce: Yes absolutely.
Jim Dodson: I don't know if there's anything else you want to add to what we've talked about in terms of encouraging folks to come out for this great event. What about the registration costs, and the registration status. I know registration is currently open.
Bud Gaunce: Registration is open. We're at the 40 dollar mark right now, and that goes up, let me see, February the 28th, it actually goes up to 45 on February the 28th. And that price is good, actually until the day of the event. So you can register now for 40, if you put it off until February the 28th, it'll cost you five dollars more.
Jim Dodson: And, well the registration includes, what are the things you get with your registration?
Bud Gaunce: You get to see Jim Dodson and Kati, number one,
Bud Gaunce: It includes a light continental breakfast by First Watch, and I think everyone knows about First Watch. You'll have yogurt, fruit, juice, coffee, bagels, cream cheese. It includes rest stop food, which will be everything from a peanut butter sandwich to something salty, as well as beverages, Gatorade, water, at the rest stops. And it includes the lunch by Mattison's and that is a full pasta buffet, including dessert. So quite a bit for your 40 dollars.
Jim Dodson: Yeah. Well I'm looking forward to it. We're looking forward to being down there. I appreciate you taking the time to talk it up this morning, I hope our viewers find it interesting. And I want everyone to get out and support this great event. For it's a great reason to be out on a Sunday riding.
Bud Gaunce: All they need to do, is go to Friends of the Legacy Trail and then click on upcoming events, and they'll find registration. Or they can go to active.com and register.
Jim Dodson: So, we have a resource this morning as well, you know one of the most popular things that we put out, is a little book called "The Florida Bike Guy's Cycling Essentials" And in it you'll find a discussion about not only insurance that you need, eye opening for a lot of people, but lighting, clothing, and all the things that I talk about when I have the opportunity to help educate cyclists on safety. Kati's putting a bit.ly link on the screen there, if you just go to that bit.ly link for our cycling essentials booklet, we'll be happy to get it out to you. Bud it's been great. I appreciate you joining us. I'll see you down there on the 24th of March.
Bud Gaunce: Sounds great Jim! Looking forward to it.
Jim Dodson: Okay, take care. Enjoy your weekend.
Bud Gaunce: Thank you!
Jim Dodson: Bye