Runners and cyclists from across the nation and elsewhere will converge on Cape Coral next weekend to participate in the 22nd annual Tour De Cape.
Hosted by Cape Harbour, the event kicks off Friday from 5-8 p.m. with a pre-registration party. Participants can pick up packets, maps and T-shirts at the party, and there will be music, food and fun located near The Joint.
"Participants can meet other riders and hang out," Todd King, the special events coordinator for the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said.
On Saturday, the 5K Run will take place at 8 a.m. at Cape Harbour. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. for those who did not pre-register.
"Immediately following the 5K Run, we do the Kids/Family Fun Mini Tour - a three-mile ride where moms, dads and children can participate," he said.
Going on three years, the tour includes a T-shirt and lunch for youth.
On Sunday, there are four bike tours - the 15-mile, 30-mile, 60-mile and 100-mile. The longest two take off at 8 a.m.; the shortest at 8:30 a.m.
For those who did not pre-register, registration is at 6:30 a.m.
"We are very excited about this year," King said.
As of Friday, close to 800 people had pre-registered for various events. Typically, the turnout is approximately 600 to 700 participants total.
"Our numbers are looking very good," he said.
King noted that the participants come from all over.
"We have some riders from New Zealand. We have some riders from Germany," he said. "A lot from Florida - from all over the states."
Asked about the bike tours, King explained that they are well marked and well organized. There is a support vehicle to help fix flat tires and such, and four rest stops along the routes are fully stocked with drinks and snacks.
The tours are long and flat, with tough winds in the northern Cape.
"It is a tough tour because we have a significant amount of flat terrain and often the tour brings on some tough winds on the return to Cape Harbour," he said, adding that all of the events begin and end at the southwest harbor.
"It pushes people to the limit and makes them feel extremely satisfied when they complete it," King said. "It's not easy."
The more popular tours are typically the 30-mile and 60-mile.
Saturday's 5K Run tends to draw about 250 participants each year.
"Some people take on the dual combo," he said, referring to the option of taking part in the 5K Run on Saturday, then one of the tours on Sunday.
"Some of them are New Year's resolutions. Some of them are bucket lists," King said. "Some of them want to challenge themselves in a new way."
About 150 people take part in the Kids/Family Fun Mini Tour.
"It's well supported by the Cape Coral Police Department," he said. "It's got plenty of support along the three-mile course."
Organizers go over helmet safety with participants before the tour.
"They make sure families are going out in a safe well-organized manner," King said.
The pre-registration costs are $15 for the 5K Run, $30 for the bike tours and $35 for the run and ride combination. Pre-registration ends Friday.
The costs to register the day of the event are $20 for the 5K Run and $35 for the bike tours. The run and ride combination costs $40 per person.
Registration is only day of for the mini tour, and it costs $5.
Lunch is included in the bike tours on Sunday.
There are three ways to register - mail in a registration form with payment, go online to: www.active.com or register at Friday's party.
"It is one of Southwest Florida's premier cycling and running events," King said, noting that it is listed on the active site for runners and cyclists.
"It's on the top five must dos, as far as tours go," he said.
For more information, visit the event site online: www.tourdecape.net.