Tour de LA is still a go for 41st running

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By Mike Cote

With just a couple of days left before it’s scheduled to go off, things are still on schedule for the return of the Tour de Los Alamos.
The Tour de Los Alamos will be Sunday. The cycling race, which bills itself as the oldest in the southwestern United States, will follow its traditional loop from N.M. 501 through the Back Gate, down N.M. 4 through White Rock and back up toward Los Alamos National Laboratory. The race will start Sunday morning with a low-speed “parade” from downtown Los Alamos to the Research Park.
As of Thursday night, 78 cyclists had registered online. Event organizer Dave Zerkle said that’s about what he would expect for most years, as the vast majority of racers enter Saturday night or on the day of the race.
Zerkle, who with his wife Carolyn have organized the race since 2006, said even with the concerns about the Thompson Ridge Fire and smoke conditions, a big drop-off in participation for the 2013 race isn’t anticipated.
“It has been a little slower because people were feeling out the fire, but (registration has) improved in the last couple of days,” Zerkle said.
Should the Thompson Ridge Fire threaten the course or if smoke conditions are bad, Zerkle said the Tour would be called off, but he’s not anticipating a need for such drastic measures.
In 2012, Dana Shinn was the big winner in the licensed women’s 1/2/3 category, holding off Shantelle Pierce by only five seconds. Shinn’s time was 2 hours, 56 minutes, 31 seconds.
In the top men’s category, Mark Aasmunstad won a close contest, finishing in 3:30: 11 and holding off Kempter Jackson by 23 seconds and Alister Ratcliff by 24 seconds.
Riders can choose to go 1-3 laps around the course. The top men’s racers do three laps for a total of 81 miles, which adds up to about 6,000 feet in elevation change.
It was up in the air which top riders were going to be competing as those tend to be the last participants to sign-up.
Zerkle said activity among race organizers steps up the last few days before the race. The biggest challenge, he said, was getting the volunteers coordinated, noting that there were still plenty of open slots for anyone interested in volunteering. 


Tour de Los Alamos


Registration is open online at bikereg.com/Net/19418 until 11 a.m. Saturday. Registration can also be done in person at Los Alamos National Bank Saturday from 7-8 p.m. Race day registration is from 6:30-7:30 a.m. near Ruby K’s.


Also, volunteers are still needed for Sunday’s race. Those interested in volunteering can contact Dave Zerkle at dczerkle@msn.com.