Sunday's Tour De Nez: A Summertime Survival Story - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Sunday's Tour De Nez: A Summertime Survival Story

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21 years after a handful of biking fans organized it at Reno's long-gone Deux Gros Nez coffee shop, today the Tour De Nez is a nationally known celebration of everything cycling, mixed with a bit of mayhem. As participant Pat Cashell described it to us, "It's a lot of fun...a whole lot of fun. And a lot of excitement." Alongside Pat, 10-year Tour De Nez racer Mark Trujillo told us, "It's been going on for 20-something years, and people look forward to it."

Yes, downtown will transform again for what's called "America's coolest race" this coming Sunday July 28th. The start and finish line will once again be on Arlington right alongside Wingfield Park, but it took a long, rocky road to get to this point. The race was on…then it was off. Now it's on again. Today, Reno's most unique bike race lives on, keeping its title of Nevada's longest-running bike race.

In the race organization's office, executive director Bubba Melcher said, "Basically everything's the same. We just have some new blood in the board of directors and new blood in the executive directorship."

In this story of how Reno's most unique bike race lives on, the end looked near when founder Tim Healion moved on…the race and its demands just took too much time and whatever else he could offer. Bubba Melcher picked up the handlebars. When the race couldn't find enough sponsors, the City of Reno gave $10,000 to keep it going. As Bubba told us, "The city doesn't want a 21-year event to all of a sudden be cancelled, especially 6 weeks before the event."

And that's how close it came. Instead, the party returns. Call it a bike race with a heavy dose of creativity: hand-cycling, antiques, kids and pros…ridiculously fun, artistic and cool. Tim Healion's invention: bicycles plus party, in all its fabulous glory. As Mark Trujillo said, "In the words of Tim Healion, this is a party, man." Pat Cashell added, "But it's for everybody. It's not a party you can't bring your family to. I mean the kids,'s for everybody."

Come Sunday, look for Pat, Mark…and Bubba, who's not just running the show, but riding a bike that's become a part of him. What's he and about 250 others thinking about now? Racing across that finish line, all of them keeping alive a Reno tradition that almost ended too soon. As Mark put it to us, "I'm psyched for everything, I'm psyched to keep this thing going too. That's the big thing."

-written by John Potter

And just 4 days before the big event, race organizers could still use a little help. There's an easy way to sign up to volunteer online. Just click below for that and everything you need to know about Sunday's Tour De Nez:

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