“Tour The Raccoon” to overnight in Jefferson Saturday

untitledThe Des Moines Cycle Club is hosting its sixth annual “Tour The Raccoon” bicycle ride on Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15, using the full length of the Raccoon River Valley Trail and going through all the trail communities.

It includes an overnight stay in Jefferson on Saturday evening during the community’s annual Bell Tower Festival.

Club officials expect about 100 riders, with 20 percent of them registered from out of state. Some have booked rooms in Jefferson, but most will be camping at the Trailhead Campground just south of the Jefferson Depot.

The official starting point of the ride is at the Vince Meyer Learning Center in Waukee, with registration closing there and the luggage truck departing at 10 am on Saturday. The riders will use the north loop of the Raccoon River Valley trail for that day’s ride to Jefferson. On the return ride to the Des Moines area on Sunday, the riders will use the south loop of the RRVT.

Each day’s ride will be about 60 miles, depending on where the cyclists start; many ride from their homes in the Des Moines area instead of starting in Waukee.

The ride is open to the public, coordinated by the DMCC and is sponsored by Bike World of West Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, DeeZee truck accessories of Des Moines and B Graphix Design of Malvern. Registration is $60 for DMCC members, $75 for others, and includes a Saturday night cook-out in the campground, luggage hauling and other rider support.

Riders will have a “scavenger hunt” along the trail and in the towns en route to Jefferson on Saturday. And on Sunday morning, McFarland Clinic in Jefferson will provide the ride’s participants with a free continental breakfast, including coffee, fruit, juice and Jefferson’s famous Bunkers Dunkers glazed donuts.

Later Sunday morning in Panora, many of the riders will be stopping at the community breakfast the local Boy Scout troop is hosting at the Community Center.

More information is available at http://www.dmcycleclub.com/tour-the-raccoon/.

“I always tell people that Tour The Raccoon is the best way to experience the Raccoon River Valley Trail, because it’s the only event so far that uses the full length of the trail, including both loops,” said Chuck Offenburger, of Cooper, an RRVT advocate who helps host the riders in Jefferson. “You get to experience all the towns. And if you put in 120 miles or so on this mid-June weekend, then you’re pretty well set for the rest of the bike rides during the summer.”

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