Eastern Connecticut State University's Sports Complex will be the departure spot on Saturday, Aug. 18, for the 21st Annual Steeple Chase Bike Tour. Hundreds of bicycle riders will depart on tours of eastern Connecticut towns, as many as 14 towns, on marked rides of 10, 20, 35, 50, 62.5 (metric century), and 100 (English century) mile bike rides. The Sports Complex is located on Mansfield City Road just over the Windham town line.
Steeple Chase sponsors and beneficiaries of fundraising are WAIM (Windham Area Interfaith Ministry) and Perception Programs, two organizations centered in Willimantic and dedicated to improving the lives of people in need.
Although the bicycle tour is not a competitive event, competition is fierce in the fundraising area, with Thread City Cyclists throwing down the gauntlet to all competing parties. Participants not only must pay an entry fee, but are expected to do some fundraising. Prizes are awarded for top fundraisers.
The tour employs the steeplechase theme, first developed in England as a race from parish to parish in which competitors would choose their own course by leaping over hedges and running cross-country from church to church, an event which has evolved into the modern track and field event known as the steeplechase. Riders in this Steeple Chase roam from down to town on prescribed routes, with rest stops provided by churches in the WAIM area.
Information on this event can be found at www.perceptionprograms.org/steeple or on Facebook at Steeple Chase. Entry fees include a tee shirt, snacks and refreshments on the ride, and a nice meal at the conclusion. For more information, you also may contact Peter Leeds, local realtor and rider, at email@example.com.