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Cycle of support
A rider climbs a road in the Sapphire Mountains during last year's Skalkaho Mountain Tour. This year's Tour of the Bitterroot is on Saturday, July 17.

More than 100 people will get up early Sunday, throw their leg over their bicycle seat and take a long tour of some of the prettiest places the Bitterroot has to offer.

All along the way, they will know they are doing their part to help keep this place special for generations to come.

The bikers will be participating in this year’s Tour of the Bitterroot, which happens to be the Bitter Root Land Trust’s largest fundraiser of the year.

The most fit will start early at the Red Barn Bicycle shop and head out for a heart-pounding 48-mile ride on the Skalkaho Mountain Tour that offers stunning views of the Sapphire and Bitterroot mountain ranges.

Others, looking for something less strenuous, will take part in the Sleeping Child Ride that offers a chance to pedal by open agricultural lands, the beautiful Bitterroot River and a nice view of Como Peaks.

Once everyone returns back to town, they will be met by a barbecue lunch of pulled pork sandwiches and tasty side dishes from Homestead Organics. There will also be Bitterroot Brewing beer on tap to quench that thirst.

Youngsters will be able to show off their skills during the Kidz Dirt Road Derby that includes a quarter mile and mile long race starting at 1:30 p.m.

The bluegrass band, Pinegrass, will provide the music.

For folks just wanting to come for the music and food, the cost is a $10 donation to the land trust or $5 for those under 12.

Registration for the bike tour is $50. A registration form can be downloaded at http://www.tourofthebitterroot.org/register.html. Registered riders can pick up their tour packets at the Bitter Root Land Trust office at 170 S. Second St., in Hamilton on Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to noon. People can also register at the office during those hours.

The Bitter Root Land Trust’s Emy Royce said the event raised about $20,000 last year.

“It looks like we will be raising about the same,” Royce said.

Once again, Royce said the top fundraiser appears to be longtime board member John Ormiston.

“He’s brought in over $8,000 in pledges so far this year,” she said. “He’s 77 years old and he rides the big 50-mile ride. He just digs in and does it. It’s awesome.”

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

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Associate Editor

Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.