Tour de Homecomers: Bike for health and charity

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A year ago, some 150 cyclists of all ages converged on Jackson City Park in August for heart-pumping exercise, picturesque scenery and a good cause.

The second annual Tour de Homecomers, scheduled for Aug. 13, will offer an even longer ride through several Southeast Missouri towns and, event organizers hope, even more money to donate to "Way to go Kids," a nutrition and fitness program in local schools.

Vickie Litzelfelner, a co-organizer of the bike ride, said a 74-mile route has been added to the 15-, 30- and 60-mile routes offered last year.

The new route takes riders through Tilsit, Oak Ridge, Daisy, Biehle, Altenburg and back to Jackson through Pocahontas.

"It's a really scenic ride," she said.

There will be rest stops offering food and drinks throughout all the routes and a free pasta dinner for participants afterward at New McKendree United Methodist Church.

Litzelfelner said the idea for the annual ride came about after she and co-organizer Mary Harriet Talbut discussed the need for such an event and the possibility of turning it into a fund raiser.

The entry fee for those registering after Aug. 1 is $30 per person. Tent camping is available at the Jackson City Park, the starting point for the ride. Each route offers a variety of terrain, including flat stretches, rolling and steep hills.

Litzelfelner said she hopes to double the participants from 150 last year to 300 this year.

The money raised goes to "Way to go Kids," a program that works with Cape Girardeau and Jackson first- through fourth-grade students to prevent poor eating habits, inactivity and obesity.

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