Tour De Nez cycling race returning to its roots |

Tour De Nez cycling race returning to its roots

Greyson Howard / Sun File PhotoA pack of riders climbs one of the hills in the Northstar stage of the 2009 Tour De Nez bike race. This yearand#8217;s Tour De Nez has retracted a bit, featuring only a downtown criterium in Reno on Sunday.

Planning a Costco or Trader Joeand#8217;s run in Reno this weekend? Consider doing it Sunday morning so you can spend the afternoon watching the 19th annual Tour De Nez bike race. Tour De Nez events kick off at Wingfield Park with bike races, food/drink vendors and loads of family-oriented activities.

Iand#8217;ve been racing my bike pseudo-seriously for 10 years and this will be my sixth consecutive and#8220;attempt.and#8221;

I was introduced to the event by a good friend who knew nothing of bike racing but definitely knew the better parties in town. This was one she said we couldnand#8217;t miss. She was right and#8212; it was a great party. And that is one thing that hasnand#8217;t changed over the years. I decided on the spot I wanted to do this race (might have had one too many mint juleps).

I first raced a road bike when I was 13 and#8212; paid for with lawn-mowing money and#8212; but quit until I witnessed the Tour De Nez first hand.

Much like the course itself, the event has twisted and turned in many directions over the years. The original concept was based on a cool parking lot party that just happened to include a Masters bike race (dudes over 35 years of age).

Things started to get a bit and#8220;serious,and#8221; and the purse for the bike race started to grow. It attracted fast guys from all over. Then Tim Healion, the race promoter and conjurer of most of its activities, decided he wanted to build a bike festival and include pro stage races for men and women. So he did.

At this point Iand#8217;m full-on serious about bike racing, save the hairy legs, and Iand#8217;m thinking I can actually be competitive at the Tour De Nez.

And so the race evolved, and swelled, and became cultish in bike circles. But the economics of bike racing are interesting, to say the least, and this year the race has retracted a bit, back to its roots and#8212; the downtown Reno criterium.

Now as a racer Iand#8217;m sharper, my two kids inspiring/necessitating focused efforts on my bike, leading up to this Sunday.

So Sunday opens another chapter in the storied history of the Tour De Nez. Perhaps, like me, someone in the crowd will realize they belong in the race and#8212; need to be in the race. And as I near completion of my cycling evolution, perhaps they will begin theirs.

To check out a full schedule of Tour De Nez events, go to

and#8212; Team rider Jason Walker is the author of this week’s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column, Spoke nand#8217; Word. For more information, results and upcoming events from the team, visit

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