SEQUIM — Five years ago, Catherine Creason and Stephen Fisher married during the annual Tour de Lavender. This year, they returned for their sixth tour, towing 2-year-old Juniper and the pugs JoJo and Jackie with them.
The couple was among 901 registrants for the tour — the most ever, said Brian Anderson, corresponding secretary of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, which took over organizing the event last year.
Created in 2013, the Tour de Lavender offers two different rides: a 35-mile loop Fun Ride, and the Metric Century, more than 64 miles long. Cyclists could start at 8 a.m. or after and had to finish by 4 p.m.
Anderson said participants were nearly equally split between the two rides.
“[Registration] was over 100 more than last year,” he said.
Cyclists were offered drinks, fruit and other snacks at the eight stops: seven lavender farms and the Sequim Bay State Park.
“The peanut butter and jelly was a big hit,” said Anderson, adding that the trails association had to send people to the grocery store to buy five more jars of peanut butter.
Domino’s donated 100 of the 195 pizzas shared at the Boys and Girls finish line.
Anderson said there was also a beer garden, with “hundreds of people hanging out.”
Funds raised from the Tour de Lavender go to the Peninsula Trails Commission (PTC), a nonprofit organization. PTC’s mission is to “construct, maintain, and advocate for the Olympic Discovery Trail as a nationally significant, non-motorized, multi-use recreational and transportation trail across the North Olympic Peninsula.”
“It was an awesome event — everyone seemed to be incredibly happy,” he said.
Friends Elisse Tolley and Stephanie Bailey were two of those people. The friends came from Seattle “to enjoy the area,” Tolley said, by riding the Metric Century.
She said “one of the best things about a designated ride is” drivers being very aware of cyclists.
“It’s been beautiful, the roads are good,” Bailey said. “The stops haven’t been crowded.
“The people are so good on this ride, the residents and the volunteers,” she added.
Bailey said everyone seemed calm and relaxed.
“It makes sense since it’s the lavender ride — it’s the herb of relaxation,” she said.
By mid-afternoon, Creason and Fisher made it to Jardin De Soleil, their second stop, having experienced a few setbacks on the road, including a flat tire.
The family was in good spirits, however, and Juniper appeared to enjoy the peanut butter sandwiches offered by some of the 100 volunteers who made the event possible.
For more about the Peninsula Trails Coalition, visit olympicdiscoverytrail.org. For more about the tour, visit tourdelavender.com.
Emily Matthiessen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected].