Only 100 spots remain for the in-person 8th annual Tour d’Apple on Labor Day, which takes place Monday, September 7, 2020, at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock. It is not too late to register for this annual charity cycling event which offers four scenic routes around the beautiful apple orchards and mountains of Henderson County, NC.
Like so many events this year, the upcoming Tour d’Apple will have changes in place to allow for social distancing and comfortable experience for participants, volunteers, and staff. Over the past few months, the Hendersonville Four Seasons Rotary Club and iDaph Events have put together COVID avoidance safety plans for the event to move forward in a new format to ensure social-distancing measures recommended by the CDC.
“We will aim to have a ‘contactless’ event to provide a safe event for all,” says Barry Macdonald, Tour Co-Director and a member of Four Seasons Rotary. “We are so fortunate to have Daphne Kirkwood and the iDaph Events specialists managing our event. Daphne has recently run several athletic events where volunteers and athletes all praised her event for being socially distanced,” explained Macdonald.
Some changes taking place at this year’s event include “rolling starts,” which means no crowding at the start line and plenty of space between cyclists. Participants can start anytime between the hours of 7 and 10 am from Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, NC. The event is capped this year at 350 cyclists to allow for more spacing. Every participant gets a customized buff for the ride, which they can use as a face covering at rest stops, and before and after the event. Participants must wear a mask or buff at the College, at the four rest stops, and honor the six-foot social distancing when receiving rest-stop snacks and water. The Tour’s Chick-fil-A post-ride meal will be served in a “pick up and leave” manner with no sit-down option.
Chris Johnson, president of Four Seasons Rotary Club, explained why the event is still on schedule.
“Our community needs the Tour d’Apple to help with recovery from the chaos caused by the virus, which has caused the cancellation of so many athletic and other events in western North Carolina,” said Johnson. “We are working very closely with Daphne to fulfill appropriate guidelines, and we’re certain that with her experience and success in recent events, we can run the Tour d’Apple so that both cyclists and volunteers will feel comfortable and enjoy the great tradition of this unique event without worry.”
“We want all cyclists and volunteers to feel comfortable, so we’re putting in place many of the guidelines recommended by the USA Cycling Association,” says Daphne Kirkwood, Owner and Race Director for iDaph Events.
Riding for a good cause
Proceeds fund scholarships and student emergency funds at Blue Ridge Community College, provide new playground equipment in Rotary Park on West Allen Street, and give several hundred books for public school libraries.
“I am amazed how generous out Tour cyclists are, said Dick Miley, Assistant Ride Director. “Last year they donated more than $500 over and above their registration fees. Our Club directed those gifts to the Interfaith Assistance Ministry for back-to-school shoes for kids in need. Already this year cyclists have exceeded that amount. I expect that we will use those generous gifts to the team again with IAM – but this year for new winter coats for children. Thank you Tour d’Apple cyclists!
Donate canned food at packet pick-up
The Four Seasons Rotary Club is also collecting canned goods at packet pick-up on Sunday afternoon September 6 at the College. These donations will also be given to the Interfaith Assistance Ministries or Hendersonville Rescue Mission.
Optional Virtual Option: You can still contribute to a great cause!
For those who cannot attend this year’s Tour d’Apple or simply do not feel comfortable attending an in-person sport event, there is a virtual event experience being offered so riders can participate in this cycling event from anywhere. Ride from your home, the park, or anywhere else you choose and submit your results online.
Volunteers are needed to serve as greeters and parking attendants, to help with set up and registration, and to serve as course marshals, rest stop helpers and SAG vehicle assistants. All volunteers have to wear a mask at the event and adhere to all of our safety guidelines.Each shift is 2 – 3 hours. Your participation will help us continue to support the service projects of the Hendersonville Four Seasons Rotary Charitable Foundation.
If you can volunteer or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register at and check for updates on the Tour d’Apple website http://tourdapple.com/ for changes or additional information as Labor Day approaches. We have also published a Blog Post on what we are doing to adhere to the NC guidelines.