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Tour de Menlo bike ride set for Aug. 17

Ride benefits Rotary scholarships, Almanac Holiday Fund

Riders wheel along during last year's Tour de Menlo event. (Photo courtesy of Tour de Menlo)

Peninsula cyclists are gearing up for the 15th annual Tour de Menlo Scholarship Ride, which offers three Peninsula routes for cyclists of all abilities, along with typically good weather, great food, and plenty of SAG support for those who need it. This year's ride is set for Saturday, Aug. 17.

Riders have their choice of 65-, 46- and 35-mile routes, all well-marked and beginning at Menlo-Atherton High School on Saturday. After taking different routes from the start, all riders eventually will head south on Stevens Creek Road to the final rest stop at Madrone Park, where they can rest and enjoy refreshments before heading back to Menlo-Atherton High School for a relaxing lunch in the courtyard.

The ride is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation and The Almanac. All proceeds are used to support Rotary scholarships, numerous other Rotary Foundation projects, and The Almanac's Holiday Fund drive, which contributes more than $150,000 a year to 10 local nonprofits.

The 65-mile route is by far the most popular, taking riders up to Belmont and the first rest stop on Polhemus Road. Then, after climbing up to the bike bridge, riders head south to CaƱada Road in Woodside and then to the second rest stop at the Portola Road firehouse near Alpine Road.

Riders on the 46-mile route also stop at the firehouse; both routes then circle around to Page Mill Road, with the longer route climbing up to Altamont Road and the others over to Arastradero Road and Los Altos. All riders meet south of Los Altos as they roll out Stevens Creek Road to the final rest stop at Madrone Park, before heading back to Menlo-Atherton via Foothill Expressway.

After riders on the 35-mile route turn south on the Alameda de las Pulgas and Santa Cruz Avenue, they ultimately use Foothill Boulevard and then Stevens Creek Road to reach the Madrone Park rest stop, where the route makes a 180-degree turn to return to the Menlo-Atherton campus for lunch. The 35-mile route is virtually flat, but gives riders a good workout. There is also a water stop on Foothill Boulevard at the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce office.

The Tour de Menlo was started in 2004 and brought riders to the present courses for the first time in 2008.

Last year, the Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation awarded over $125,000 in need-based scholarships to high school seniors at Menlo-Atherton, Eastside Preparatory, East Palo Alto High and Sacred Heart Prep. Most of the awards are made to students planning to attend four-year colleges and universities, but other grants go to students who begin at local community colleges.

Full SAG support

The Tour de Menlo offers four rest/water stops and lunch catered by Lutticken's after the ride. The course will be well-marked with route arrows, and Rotary Club members will give directions at critical intersections. A telephone-dispatched SAG vehicle will patrol the entire route to make sure all riders safely complete the course.

Start at Menlo-Atherton High School

The ride starts and finishes at Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton, where there is plenty of free parking. Register and begin the 100 kilometer ride after 8 a.m. Riders doing the 35- and 46-mile rides are asked to leave after 9 a.m. so as not to arrive back at M-A before lunch is prepared.

Cross the finish line and chow down

Registration includes lunch, served from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the high school.

Non-rider lunch tickets may be purchased for $10 each.

To register, go to the Tour de Menlo website. Riders can also register the morning of the event.

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