The rain kept a few riders away, but organizers of the 2021 Tour de Lavender said it was a solid turnout Saturday morning and afternoon following the “lost” 2020 ride.
About 350 of the registered 500 riders hit the trail and local roads to visit lavender farms and support stops for the eighth-annual event that serves as a fundraiser for the Peninsula Trails Coalition and other local charities.
“People who come out to do this ride universally love it,” said Tom Coonelly, an event organizer. “They were happy as clams.”
Participants had options of a 30-plus-mile Fun Ride and the 100-kilometer (about 63-mile) Metric Ride that visited seven lavender farms: Fleurish Lavender at Lost Mountain, Purple Haze Organic Lavender Farm, Jardin de Soleil Lavender Farm, B&B Family Lavender Farm, George Washington Inn, Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm and Martha Lane Lavender.
“We had a lot of no-shows; it was raining in Seattle, raining here in the morning.” Coonelly noted. In addition, about 35 Canadian riders were unable to attend with the border closure.
Still, he said, those who came out to ride — including riders from New York and New Jersey, Coonelly noted — had a good time and and got plenty of support from the 80 volunteers at the farms and support stops.
Local grocery stores came through with lots of donations of food for all involved, Coonelly noted, particularly Walmart and Grocery Outlet, while Domino’s donated 30 pizzas.
The 2019 Tour de Lavender raised about $10,000 for local charities but last year’s event was not held because of coronavirus concerns.
Coonelly said that this year, Tour volunteers needed to be vaccinated — two were unable to help out this year because medical conditions kept them from getting vaccinated, he said — and helpers wore masks and gloves as they passed out food and drinks.
The 2021 event was capped at 500 riders and sold out months in advance. That included seven pairs of tandem riders from the Seattle area, including Robert and Linda Kanter. The couple said that each year tandem riders across the state host a Northwest Tandem Rally on one side of the Cascade Mountains or the other — a 2017 event saw 250 riders — but many Seattle riders were using the Sequim event as their rally for 2021.
Despite fewer riders, the 2021 event will come close to the $10,000 mark, Coonelly said, all going to local groups like the PTC, Sequim Wheelers and Boys & Girls clubs.
“We’re able to make an impact; that’s what we like,” he said.
And next year could see 800-1,000 riders, Coonelly said, “especially if things lighten up a little bit, COVID wise.”
Learn more about the Tour de Lavender at tourdelavender.com.