The volunteers that make Tour de Fresh possible

The second day of Tour de Fresh - organized by the California Giant Foundation - saw riders make their way from Morro Rock to Solvang, a distance of around 100 miles. To travel by bicycle from Monterey to Anaheim over the four days takes a lot of work behind the scenes. 

Left to right: Morgan Maitoza, Sergio Sanchez, Helena Beckett and Cindy Jewell - all from California Giant 

FreshPlaza's own Marieke Hemmes - herself a participant - had the opportunity to interview Cindy Jewell of California Giant and talk about the many volunteers that make the event possible. Some of the volunteers that are part of the event include:

Van drivers - who get the riders from the hotel to the start and drive them to the restaurant.
Two motorcyclists - they are with groups of riders for additional safety.
Technical director - who develops the routes and plans the feed zones.
Ride guides - they support the different groups that are riding. They know the route and make sure everyone stays together.
Mechanics - who are on route in a car and on a motorcycle to support riders in case of technical issues. They also check and clean the bikes every night.
Food nutritionist - Julia, the ride nutritionist, prepares food for the riders who come in after a long day in the saddle. The food she prepares is from sponsors that send it to her house. She makes the menu for the riders around the sponsored items and works on the menus long before the ride starts. She prepares items for the lunch stop, but there is also food after the finish.

One U-Haul truck contains all the bikes and the other one transports luggage and food. This is at the start. Bikes are being unloaded and motorcycles are waiting for the ride to start.

"All volunteers love the cause and love to support it," said Cindy Jewell. "They realize the riders do the heavy lifting by putting in so many miles on the bike every day and the volunteers love to be part of this special group. It’s all about experiencing it together. There is such a big group-feel. Some volunteers take time off work to be able to be here."

Organized ride
Clearly, the volunteers play a vital role in making Tour de Fresh happen, and make the event more enjoyable for the riders. Hemmes shared just how well organized each day of the ride has been. She explained that shortly after the start of the ride, the group of riders broke down into three smaller groups according to speed, with the faster riders in group A, followed by a B and C group.

Overview of the bikes

"Each group had their own ride guide who made sure the group stayed together, rode at the front of the bunch to set the pace if needed or went back to get riders who were dropped," Hemmes said. "It helped a lot in getting through a long day.

She added that the support staff worked so hard to take care of the riders. During the ride, the motorcyclists keep them safe while the riders make their way down busy Highway 1. Then there are the other volunteers who work behind the scenes. "In trucks, the luggage is moved from one hotel to the next. Nutritionists make sure the riders are well fed at the different rest stops and the van drivers bring the riders to the start, take them to a restaurant at night and offer support throughout the day. Mechanics are out at the course all day to help out in case of mechanical issues."

Vans that transport the riders from the hotel to the start of the ride.

"Each person has a story"
In conclusion, Jewell mentioned just how special the ride is for each participant. She believes the spirit displayed by riders and volunteers alike makes the Tour de Fresh so special. "The riders are not professionals," Jewell said. "They are all employees of produce companies. Every single person in Tour de Fresh has a story as to why they ride or volunteer for the event. It’s very gratifying and that’s why this event makes for such a great story."

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.

For more information:
Morgan Maitoza 
California Giant Foundation
Ph: +1 (831) 728-1773

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