A growing sport across the nation is cycling, and North Dakota has no shortage of scenic routes for avid cyclists to enjoy. The Rendezvous Region, with the Pembina Gorge and miles of low traffic roads, is fast becoming a destination in its own right. One local cyclist saw the potential and created the Tour de Rendezvous, being held again this year on June 29.
Nathan Smith is a member of the Rendezvous Region Tourism Council and, as such, focuses on growing tourism through outdoor activities the region has to offer. He started riding on the paved county roads around Walhalla a few years ago, and the experience has been unbelievable.
“Beautiful nature, green fields, and very little traffic! I felt like cycling is one of the many outdoor activities that can bring visitors to the Rendezvous Region,” Smith said. “We can become a destination for cyclists, and that is the reason for starting the Tour de Rendezvous Region. I want to expose riders to our region.”
By Melissa Anderson
The Tour de Rendezvous Region is now in its second year and is for both the casual and serious rider. Two routes have been created to allow the rider to choose the best option for themselves and their level of riding. The 20 mile is good for the casual rider while the 60 mile route provides enough challenge for a serious rider. Smith notes that cycling is an activity for all ages, as riders range from 12 to 60 years old.
“We are excited to host the event at Lake Homme Dam this year with the start and finish lines located in the park. This will give visitors an experience at one of the many summer recreational destinations in the Rendezvous Region,” Smith shared.
This year, the Tour de Rendezvous will showcase northern Walsh county. The 20 mile route will bring riders from Lake Homme Dam to Park River and back again while the 60 mile route will feature two more thriving cities of the region, Edinburg and Grafton.
“We will have watering stops along the route to refresh the riders,” Smith said.
While most cyclists that will participate will be from within a two hour drive, the goal is to expand the Tour de Rendezvous into a state and possibly international cycling event. Last year, Smith shared that there were some Canadian participants, and organizers are expecting that to grow this year.
“We had riders as far away as Minot and Minneapolis,” Smith said of the first Tour de Rendezvous.
There is a fee to participate in the ride with adults paying $20 while those 15 and under are $10, this will include Tour de Rendezvous Region t-shirt. Proceeds from the event will be reinvested into the region that the riders enjoyed as the funds will be used to promote tourism in the Rendezvous Region. To give incentive to those who take cycling seriously, there is a prize for the top finishers. There will be prizes awarded to the top finishers for each distance, both male and female, along with a Rendezvous Region gift package.
Local riders, of which Langdon will have eight cyclists, will have additional incentive to pedal faster as there will be a competition between the cities in the Rendezvous Region. Smith explained that the winning city will receive $500 for their city’s Chamber of Commerce. For a rider to be eligible, they need to have lived or worked in that city. Lowest total time will determine the winner.
For the most part, the cycling will be a friendly affair as after the ride is completed, organizers will serve food to the riders. While refueling their bodies, the riders can enjoy what Homme Dam Recreation area has to offer including swimming, kayaking, and fishing. For more information or to register please email Nathan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.