Yesterday was the third day of Tour de Fresh - a cycling event organized by the California Giant Foundation to raise funds to benefit the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative. Tuesday saw the riders make their way from Solvang to Redondo Beach - in sight of the finish line in Anaheim.
Marieke Hemmes, North America editor for FreshPlaza and a participant in this year's event, said the course largely followed the coast on Day 3, which allowed the riders to take in the beautiful scenery with a little easier ride than the two previous days of hills.
"Today was a beautiful ride, mostly coastal," she said. "In the morning we had a van transfer from the hotel in Solvang to the start in Carpinteria. The group then rode from Carpinteria to Redondo Beach. Although today’s ride was 92 miles (and around 102 for those who chose to ride an additional climb), it was mostly flat, which made for an easier day."
Dennis Thome of Sakata Seeds on his first Tour de Fresh
First time ride for Sakata Seed's Dennis Thome
There are a total of 42 riders in this year's Tour de Fresh, along with dozens of volunteers that assist the cyclists with their day-to-day needs. Many of the riders have ridden the event before, and some have participated in professional events.
Dennis Thome of Sakata Seeds is a first-time rider of Tour de Fresh. Each year, Sakata Seeds - a sponsor of Tour de Fresh - sends one of its staff to do the ride, and this year it was Thome's turn. FreshPlaza sat down with Thome to ask what his feelings were about the event. "I am happy I was given the opportunity this year as the route was iconic, along the coast from Monterey to Redondo Beach," he said.
Finish line at Redondo Beach. After a long day on the bike, all cyclists arrived at the hotel and bikes have been loaded in the truck
"The last three days were so special. The people I’ve met are from all aspects of the produce industry. Growers, shippers, import/export brokers, cooling operations, and I work on the seed side of the business - we’re all connected."
Thome added, "The scenery was so beautiful today. We rode along the coast for the most part and once we got to Malibu, we got on a bike path. The path took us by the Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach and we finished the day at Redondo Beach. It was so great to see the diversity of people on the bike path and experience those towns a little bit."
Tour de Fresh riders taking a selfie at Malibu beach
Organization of the ride impressive
One of the outstanding facets of the event that Thome found impressive, was just how well organized it is. Yesterday, FreshPlaza discussed how the volunteers and organizers have done a fantastic job in making the ride possible, which was echoed by Thome.
"As an amateur cyclist I was impressed to be able to rub shoulders with former professional racers (who were ride guides in Tour de Fresh) and professional mechanics," he shared. "It’s so great to be part of a group of people that share the same passion."
Today is the final day of Tour de Fresh. The riders will make their way from the beaches of Los Angeles inland to Anaheim which is where the 2019 PMA Fresh Summit will be taking place over the next few days. If you would like to support the Tour de Fresh riders and the Salad Bars to Schools initiative, please click here to donate to the California Giant Foundation or any of the riders.