GLEN ELLYN – The Tour of Lake Ellyn has a new title sponsor that has committed to sponsoring the bicycle race at least through 2019.
Glen Ellyn-based Ray Whalen Builders will sponsor the Tour of Lake Ellyn for at least the next two years. The all-day event, which has its roots in the 1970s, will take place July 28, and the 1.4-mile course will take cyclists around Lake Ellyn.
Jerry Haggerty Chevrolet in Glen Ellyn, which was the title sponsor of last year's event, will remain the pace car sponsor. Proceeds from the nonprofit event will benefit the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry, an ecumenical endeavor of Glen Ellyn churches, which cooperate in providing food and volunteers to serve people in need who reside in Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Lombard, Carol Stream, Lisle and Glendale Heights.
"It's a great event for the community which helps elevates bicycle awareness using our great Lake Ellyn Park, but also raises funds for and exposure for the food pantry," said Ben Raby, a former professional cyclist and a member of the local organizing committee.
Besides Raby, the committee also includes former Glen Ellyn village trustee Jim Burket and fellow residents Anne Elliot, Chip Miller, Barry White and Tom Zurawski.
For the third year, the race will be part of the Intelligentsia Cup, a bike race series that also features races in Elmhurst, Chicago and other communities during the month of July. The race has a long tradition in Glen Ellyn.
"It's a different course than a lot of the other ones in the race circuit," Raby said. "You do have some additional turns for that distance, and some elevation."
Two-time cycling Olympian John Vande Velde, who grew up in Glen Ellyn, designed the course. The first edition of the race was in 1970.
The event previously had been on the same day as the Jazz Up Glen Ellyn festival, which will be July 14 this year. Raby said the fact that the two events won't be on the same day will help in managing the Tour of Lake Ellyn.
"There's definitely a limited amount of resources to manage multiple events in one day," he said. "So I think it alleviates some pressure on the Glen Ellyn Park District and village staff."
In addition to the races, there will be the two-lap Duncan Law Group Family Fun Ride at 3:10 p.m., where anyone with a bicycle and helmet is invited to ride the same course as the racers, in between the pro-women and pro-men events.
"I think we had close to or just over 300 participants last year, which was an impressive number for our first year," Raby said. "Because it was a success last year, we anticipate further growth this year."
How to help
Volunteers are needed to put on the Tour of Lake Ellyn. To volunteer, go to touroflakeellyn.com/volunteers.
Information about the race is available at touroflakeellyn.com.