Epic Tour

The Epic Tour de Cure returns to Goodyear with an emphasis on safety and fun. (Submitted)

The Epic Tour de Cure Bike Ride returns to Goodyear on Saturday, March 18, for the second year in a row, presenting local bikers a chance to see all of the best sights in the West Valley.

The ride runs through the White Tank and Estrella mountains, offers sights of Goodyear Ballpark and gives riders the chance to take a lap around the famous Phoenix Raceway all for the cause of raising money for the American Diabetes Association and finding a cure for the widespread disease.

“I just think it’s going to be a really fun and impactful day,” said Nichole Brown, associate director of development for American Diabetes Association. “I just want to say that you do not have to be a cyclist to come out to this event. We’re really trying to put a big community feel around it as well. So, I’m just excited to see everyone all decked out in their gear and to get everyone back safely.”

Returning back to Goodyear after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tour de Cure Bike Race will be fully stocked for what hopes to be a very successful event. 

The brainchild of Cleveland Guardians co-owner Paul Dolan, the event offers up plenty of ways for people to explore all of the sights and scenes that the West Valley has to offer.

The Tour de Cure event has something for everyone. The lengths of the rides vary based on experience level between 56 miles, 23 miles or 5.6 miles. The event doesn’t stop at a simple bike ride, however.

It includes a kid zone at Goodyear Ballpark; a health and wellness village presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield; and even an End of the World rest stop at the end of the 56-mile ride, deep in the Estrella Mountains.

The event is also fully supported by the city, promoting safety and efficiency along the way for all the bikers. 

“If somebody has a flat tire or, heaven forbid, they fall off their bike or something like that, we have both fire and medical volunteers, 15 gear vehicles really to just make this event as safe and as enjoyable for the people doing the event,” Brown said. 

With all of the bells and whistles for this event, the cause is what rings true, especially for Brown. She was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, making the race for a cure that much more sentimental. 

“Every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes, so our mission is really at the core of our event and everything that we do,” Brown said. “I lived almost 36 years of a completely normal life before I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, more than likely brought on by contracting one of the COVID-19 variants. 

“So we are seeing an uptick in adults getting Type 1 diabetes, as we’re coming out of COVID. Obviously, we’re seeing an uptick in everyone with Type 2 diabetes again, coming out of COVID, because we were all a little too comfortable on our couches. For me, personally, being newly diagnosed, to have so many people across the state and across the country rally behind this event, it means the world.”

The event is also seeing a big effort from local law enforcement after the incident with the West Valley cycling community, which recently left two people dead and 17 injured after being run into by a pickup truck on the Cotton Lane Bridge in Goodyear.

One of the victims who passed away in the accident, 61-year-old Karen Malisa, was registered to ride in this event. With her recent passing, the race is putting on a memorial service, including a moment of silence, and possibly the West Valley Cycle community leading out the race. 

Brown urges people to understand that “bikers have the same rules that we do in cars,” in an effort to avoid more tragedies.

“We need to be giving them three feet of space between your car and the cyclist,” Brown said. “It may be a little bit of an inconvenience at times when you’re driving and a cyclist is in your way, but please just try and keep in mind that that is somebody’s mother, somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody that is just out for a bike ride expecting to be able to go back home. And that’s really at the end of the day what we want for everyone.”

With safety at the paramount, the race is hoping to raise $850,000 for the cure and prevention of diabetes, in conjunction with showing off the beauty of the West Valley.

For more information and registration, visit diabetes.org/Arizona56.