Over 100 bicyclists of all ages took advantage of a beautiful day to participate in the 2010 Tour of the Bitterroot on Saturday southeast of Hamilton. The event is focused on getting people out biking and recreating in the landscapes of the Bitterroot Valley and all proceeds benefit the Bitterroot Land Trust, which is a non-profit organization that works with private landowners to preserve clean water, wildlife habitat and working lands.

Event organizer Robin Pruitt said this year was a smash success.

"We doubled our registration from last year," she said. "Everybody had such a great time last year that we had almost all repeat riders and they all told their friends about it. It was a very successful event."

Even without sponsorship funding, Pruitt said the event raised over $10,000 to help preserve the environment in the valley.

This year featured a family ride, a non-competitive mountain bike tour through the Skalkaho Drainage and Forest Service roads for all ability levels.

"The family ride was amazing," Pruitt said. "We just completed a conservation easement up Sleeping Child, and the kids were able to ride out there and see how beautiful it is," Pruitt said. "So that really ties in with the work we are doing. They even had brownies at Sleeping Child Farms for the kids. They were all super psyched about it."

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The tour is fully supported with sponsorship and grants from Red Barn Bicycles and there were several refreshment stops along the way manned by dozens of volunteers, as well as an after-party at the bike shop with music and food.

"It was awesome," Pruitt said. "It's just a great community event."

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