MILLERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In its 10th year, the annual Tour de Millersburg event has more than found its groove.
For a town so small to host one of the state’s premier stage races for competitive cyclists, organizers have embraced creativity. In a rural region of northern Dauphin County where there is little to offer in the form of hotel lodging, many local residents agree each year to host several competitors inside their homes.
“I have about 19 riders and two children of riders that are staying in my home,” says Diane Hammaker. “They’re all on air mattresses and beds, and we just have a good time.”
Hammaker says she is blessed to have a large enough home to accommodate the athletes, and goes above and beyond to provide a quality experience during their stay in Millersburg. In past years, the race has drawn competitors from across the United States, as well as international teams from countries such as New Zealand.
“The cyclists don’t expect anything from the host families, other than a place to stay,” she adds. “But we do a spaghetti dinner with salads and fruits, and all kinds of desserts.”
Along with other residents who welcome cyclists into their homes for the weekend, organizers say at least one local church offers competitors a place to stay, boarding entire teams in its Sunday school classrooms.
This year’s Tour, which includes time trials and criterium stages on Saturday, and a grueling road race on Sunday, is expected to bring the largest field of cyclists yet. According to organizers, 241 racers had pre-registered, setting a new record. More racers were expected to be added to the field Saturday morning. For the first time, the event will double as the 2016 Pennsylvania State Women’s Road Race Championship .
Organizers of the Tour de Millersburg say in its first nine years, the event has provided a reliable annual economic boost to local businesses. Additionally, $52,000 from registrations and other fees have been shared with Millersburg area non-profit groups and college scholarship funds.
The Tour de Millersburg happens August 6-7. A complete schedule of events and volunteer opportunities is listed here.