Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma has a goal to help build Grays Harbor County into the healthiest community in the Nation. With this goal in mind, along with the obvious hurdles and lasting effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, Summit Pacific has worked to create a fun, safe and healthy summer event called Ride the Harbor: Tour de Wellness.
Taking place Saturday, June 12, 2021, Ride the Harbor is a play on the Tour de France bicycle ride that takes place each summer in Europe. While the Tour de France is a highly competitive ride, Summit Pacific’s event was envisioned as more of a laid-back, scenic charity ride through beautiful Grays Harbor that’s accessible to everyone. The one-day cycling event, sponsored by Amerigroup and Timberland Bank, is a fantastic opportunity for community members to get active in a safe and supportive way while riding through forests, farmlands, over rivers and hills and finishing steps from the Pacific Ocean.
The Ride the Harbor course has been masterfully planned to include three legs to create an environment that all skill levels have the opportunity to enjoy. After a successful pilot event run in 2020, including 20 individual riders from the Summit Pacific staff and board along with key community members, the vision for the event was set in stone and planning officially commenced for the 2021 event. A promotional video was created from that pilot run to help build momentum for this year’s larger event open to the community.
All three finish line routes begin at the same location of Beerbower Park in McCleary, with the first finish line ending in Elma for a total of 7.5 miles. The second finish line will end in Montesano and total in 17 miles, while the third and longest finish line is in Westport totaling in 53 miles. Sag wagons will drive along participants acting as a support system while also providing practical help such as pumping up tires or offering a ride. Water stops will also be conveniently positioned every 14-18 miles.
“The hardest part of the process to building a healthier lifestyle is just starting,” states Emily Dillingham, Summit Pacific Medical Center Foundation director. “We advise people who may be intimidated by the course to start with the shorter ride to Elma and simply set a goal to ride a distance that makes the most sense for you. The event is not timed, making for less pressure and more fun. After the ride, you’ll be one pedal further in your healthy lifestyle than you were before.” For those new to riding, or simply looking to train to feel confident on ride day, Summit Pacific has created a convenient Bike Training Schedule to help prepare for the big day.
Depending on the chosen route, various activities will be available at the finish line after check-out. Those who finish their ride in Montesano can explore the Saturday Morning Market vendors in Fleet Park. For both the Westport finishers and all other riders, the final finish line at the Viewing Tower Park in Westport will feature a variety of food options in an outdoor setting from local businesses, beverage selections and electrolyte drinks and, of course, plenty of water. Riders and their families are all welcome to celebrate their achievements in a fun celebratory atmosphere that strives to keep everyone safe and socially distanced.
Being a one-day event, Tour de Wellness is perfect to either ride with a team or as a personal challenge. Anyone 16 years of age or older is welcome to sign up, with the total event capacity limit being 150. The cost to sign up is $35 to the Elma Finish, $40 to the Montesano Finish and $50 to the Westport Finish. All funds raised from fundraising efforts and registration will go towards supporting the Summit Pacific Medical Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
Each person that registers before May 30, 2021, will receive an event short-sleeve t-shirt and race medallion. If registered after this date, the t-shirt and medallion cannot be guaranteed. Registration will close the week before the event on June 6, 2021.
“We know that changing habits and building a healthy lifestyle can be difficult,” says Emily. “We hope that this event encourages our community to simply start by setting a goal for yourself, then building off that. All you need is a helmet and bike to join us and begin your journey to a healthier life.”
If you would like to learn more, assist with fundraising efforts or join the Ride the Harbor: Tour de Wellness cause, please contact Summit Pacific Medical Center at 360.346.2250 or email Foundation@sp-mc.org. If you are interested in helping cheer on the riders, email Natalie Jensen at natalie.jensen.@sp-ms.org.