If you’re not riding in the Tour de France this summer (don’t snicker—last year, Bozeman’s Tejay van Garderen did), there’s still time to sign up for the fourth annual Tour de Bozeman, taking place Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8, where riders ages 18-70 compete for a $5,000 cash purse.
“Our little committee came up with the name. The Tour de France is one of the most awesome sporting events in the world,” says participant and event organizer Amy Frykman. “We wanted to showcase the best Bozeman has to offer. It’s not the best riding in the world, but it’s good, considering the roads.”
The two-day, three-stage event includes a 20k timed trial along the western flank of the Bridger Mountains (up Springhill Road and back), and new this year—replacing last year’s street sprints—is a criterion in town. The final event is the Battle Ridge road race, a 40- or 70-mile course in Bridger Canyon that features stunning mountain views and an elevation gain of over 4,000 feet for the elite men’s and women’s fields.
Men’s categories include 1-2, 3, 4, and 5, as well as Masters A and B for those 35 and up. Women’s classifications are divided into 1-2-3 and 4. “There are still a lot more men than women involved in bike racing across the country,” Frykman notes. “I think we had 17 or 18 women last year in the 1-2-3 category. Only one woman competed in all the stages.”
Frykman is eager to participate again this year. “Racing forces you to push yourself,” she says. “On the bike at the starting line, you discover amazing things about yourself. It’s so easy to be lulled into a scheduled, busy life. It’s fun to bring yourself back to that intensity.”
Conducted under the auspices of USA Cycling, the Tour de Bozeman has dozens of local sponsors and many enthusiastic supporters. Saturday’s events are “pretty festive and crowd-friendly,” says Frykman, who promises, “lots of cornering, attacking, and chasing” among Bozeman Masters Velo, G.A.S. / Intrinsik Cycling, and Rockford team members. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend an awards ceremony with food, drinks, and prizes Sunday afternoon at the base of Bridger Bowl.
Team Muleterro sponsors the kids’ race (open to those under 12), as well as a bike-decorating station, prizes for the best-decorated bike, and treats. The kids’ race starts at the corner of Grand and Main Street on Saturday afternoon.
The advance entry fee for the Tour de Bozeman is $75 for all three events or $30 for individual events. Race-day registration is $90. Volunteers are needed to assist, lead, and follow car drivers; keep people off the course; attend the registration table; hand out drinks and snacks at the feed station; or help with the kids’ race. For more info, visit tourdebozeman.com.