On Saturday, August 18,2012, the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) and Perception Programs will host the 21st Annual Steeple Chase Bike Tour. With beautiful 20, 35, 50, 62.5 and 100 mile routes that wind through 14 towns in scenic northeastern Connecticut, the tour has a ride for every cyclist in the family! In addition, a NEW family/kid-friendly 10 mile ride for those who prefer a shorter route has been added this year. The tour is held rain or shine.
Steeple Chase derives its name from the “steeple-to-steeple” routes between rest stops at beautiful, historic churches in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner. Each stop offers all kinds of food prepared by WAIM’s member faith communities. It’s been said that if you’re not careful, you could gain weight on the Tour, even if you’re riding 100 miles, because the snacks are so tempting. Other free offerings to participants include food and beverages at registration and after the tour, and a commemorative Steeple Chase t-shirt and water bottle. Incentive prizes are awarded to top fundraisers. Participants can increase their chances of winning by signing up with a group from their company, cycling club or faith community to participate in our Corporate/Club/Church challenge. Since 2008, there has been a friendly rivalry between Steeple Chase’s top two contributors: Colchester Dental Group and Thread City Cyclists. Colchester Dental took first place in the challenge for three years in a row, until last year, when Thread City Cyclists came in ahead by raising $6,074 to Colchester’s $5,792. “It felt great to be the fundraising leader last year, and we invite other cycling clubs to join us in this challenge. It would be great to see someone step in and surpass both of our clubs’ efforts, and raise $10,000 for these two great organizations,” says Ron Manizza, a member of both the Steeple Chase Planning Committee and Thread City Cyclists.
Steeple Chase is a fund-raiser for two area non-profit social service agencies, Windham Area Interfaith Ministry and Perception Programs. WAIM provides emergency financial assistance, and donated clothing, and furniture to community members who are struggling financially. Perception Programs offers treatment, case management, education and housing to people with substance use and mental health co-occurring disorders, adults involved in the criminal justice system, and people living with AIDS. The entire event is organized by staff and volunteers from the two agencies, so approximately 90% of funds raised go directly to Perception Programs and WAIM. “Steeple Chase is our biggest fundraiser,” says Victoria Nimirowski, Executive Director of WAIM. “It’s such a fun and unique way to raise much-needed funds that help keep our doors open to over 8,000 people annually. It would be difficult to impossible to provide the same level of service without the support we receive from the event.”
Steeple Chase will begin and end at Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Complex, 69 Mansfield City Rd. in Mansfield, CT. Pre-registration is $25 for individual riders and $75 for families or groups. Riders are also asked to raise additional sponsorship — $50 for individuals and $100 for families or groups. Day of registration fees are higher ($30 and $85).
Riders are encouraged to pre-register by visiting www.perceptionprograms.org, active.com, bikereg.com or by calling Ruth Gordon at 860-450-7122. Steeple Chase sponsors and donors should contact Ruth directly.
Come out and support Perception Programs and WAIM and enjoy a ride in Connecticut’s beautiful quiet corner.