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Cyclist's Tour de Turkey Is Plumping Up

November 24, 1994|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff

The past several years haven't always been kind to 10K runs and group bike rides. Not only did the downturn in the economy cut into attendance, but a glut of events saturated the market.

Added to that, the organizers of the annual Tour de Turkey--a road bike event with four courses ranging from 12 to 100 miles--also had to contend with forces of nature. For two years straight, Santa Ana winds struck on the day of the event. If you've ever ridden in the wind, you know what a drag that can be, literally and figuratively.

"I'd rather ride hills all day than ride into a head wind anytime," said Randy DeMarco of Newport Beach-based Dimo Cycling, organizers of the Tour de Turkey, which returns to Anaheim for its 11th run Sunday. The event drew about 800 riders last year, down from a peak of more than 2,000 a few years ago.

"I think (the wind) had a lot to do with participation dropping," DeMarco said. "I got a lot of comments, like, 'You should rename this Tour de Tornado.' "

The Tour de Turkey it remains, however, and after the doldrums of the past few years, signs are pointing up for participation this time around.

"This one is going to be 200, maybe 300 larger than it was last year, which is encouraging," DeMarco said.

It offers one of the more enjoyable ways to work off some of those holiday-dinner calories (although there is plenty of food at rest stops along the way--and a burrito lunch at the end of the ride).

The event starts at Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim and offers a range of distances to accommodate riders of all ability levels. The addition of the 12-mile course last year, DeMarco said, led to a greater number of families riding together.

At the other end of the scale, the 100-mile ride is one of the best introductory century courses around--a flat course that is also scenic, heading through Corona and then on to Lake Elsinore and Murrieta.

"It's right on the valley floor all the way through," DeMarco said. "It's really a beautiful ride."

It's at its most beautiful right after the winds, when the views soar right up to the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains. During the winds, alas, it can be another matter.

What: Tour de Turkey, bike ride of 12, 25, 50 or 100 miles.

When: Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7 a.m. Registration opens at 6 a.m.

Where: Yorba Regional Park, Anaheim.

Whereabouts: From the Riverside (91) Freeway, exit at Imperial Highway and head north. Turn right on La Palma Avenue; the park entrance will be on the right, about three miles along.

Wherewithal: $30 ($34.50 with lunch); includes T-shirt and water bottle.

Where to call: (714) 645-3848.

* RECREATION LISTINGS, Page 27

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