Matt Ream, a Masters Category 2 rider from Reno, said the bike culture in Reno will benefit from the Tour de Nez weekend because there is a little something for everyone.
“The thing that Tim (Healion, race director for Tour de Nez) has created is a bicycling party. It’s almost not even about the racing as much as it is about getting people together,” Ream said.
Ream has competed in the Masters 35 and older for Category 1, 2 and 3 riders at the Tour de Nez several times and said that the course is one of the more challenging that he and his team members ride during the year. The 0.8-mile course through the streets of downtown Reno is full of hills and turns, including the turn from Flint Street to Arlington Avenue where riders make a left turn before immediately turning right.
“Almost every year there is a crash in that corner. I crashed there last year in the last 100 meters of the race and pros have crashed around there too,” Ream said. “A lot of guys going into those two corners are fighting for position. This is one of the more interesting technical courses we have.”
Tour de Nez will feature races such as the Legendary Clunker Classic using heavy gearless bikes, the Tour de N’Ally Cat featuring a messenger-style scavenger hunt, the Gold Sprint Cocktail Rules World Championship using stationary bikes while holding a beverage and the Gold Sprint Kids Race using stationary bikes.
Coby Rowe, managing director for Glacier Glove, will be a vendor at Tour de Nez this year marketing cycling gloves for all-weather riders. Rowe said their gear was unexpectedly brought into the cycling world, and because of the company’s passion for cycling, they have become connected with local bike enthusiasts.
“Originally we began making fishing gloves when we started to see cyclists who wanted to train in cold or wet weather we using our fishing gloves to ride bikes. After that we decided to tackle that market,” he said. “Im a huge cycling fan. I love to ride bikes, for fitness and for the social aspect and to be down at the tour to watch the race and interact with the fans is a pleasure.”
Rowe and Ream gained a partnership through Glacier Glove sponsoring Ream’s Great Basin Imaging team. While Ream competes in many regional competition races, Rowe occasionally races and enjoys his bike in every setting.
“I started doing competitive cycling in April of 2004 and I have always had an interest in cycling,” Ream said. “I swam through college and when I got out I searched for a venue to release the competitive nature and found my way back to cycling.”
Though their styles differ, they find that any connection to the biking community is a proven positive outcome.
“Im more of the recreational guy. I enjoy the bike, it doesn’t beat up the body,” Rowe said. “For me, it is as good for the soul as it is the body. It has been about 15 years on the bike just having fun with it.”
Ream said finding sponsors like Glacier Glove is one way they maintain a local following and connection. He said the cycling community involvement is more important than bringing in huge advertising revenue.
“Most of our guys have families and full-time jobs so we look to partner with companies and organizations who are bike advocates first and are trying to grow the presence of cycling. Not just racing but simply riding a bike,” Ream said. “It’s more about building the awareness, because we are not a pro team and we’re not going to get on TV, so we are looking for good people and good companies who love the sport and want to help it progress.”
The Tour de Nez festivities kick off at 9 p.m. on Saturday at Wingfield Park, beginning with the Handcycles competitive race. Rowe said the event is a weekend where riders of all ages and interests can enjoy the company of one another.
“It goes back to what makes Reno so big for cycling,” he said. “A lot of great people are involved in cycling and just want to make it better for the community, not just at the competitive level, at all levels.”