‘It was a good run’: Tahoe’s Curtis Fong pedals to semi-retirement


TAHO CITY, Calif. — After 40 years of planning and running biking events in California and Nevada, Curtis Fong is pedaling towards retirement.

Recently, Mr. Fong sold the production rights to his decades-long annual “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” and “Tour de Tahoe” to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“Although things were going well, the complexity of the impact of COVID-19, drought and wildfires has completely reset the outdoor recreational events business,” said Fong.

Held each June, the ride has attracted more than 3,000 cyclists over the past few years. Riders can choose between his 112-mile pedaling option on a route around Lake Tahoe, or his 160-mile option, which includes a route through Truckee.

Four years after Bike the West was founded, Fung said the organization’s activities have been hampered in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, numerous events in the Tahoe area, and $10,000 in parking fees. said it was delayed. America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has been held once since 2019.

Curtis Fong has been organizing cycling events in the Tahoe area for the past 40 years.

In a statement, Bike the West said: “For the past three years, it has been physically, mentally and financially difficult to host an event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires out of our control. ‘ said. “Rather than closing the door and closing the Lake Tahoe ride…Bike the West is pleased to announce that ownership and event production of America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has been officially transferred to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am excited about.”

“America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” is one of the nonprofit’s major fundraising efforts, said Stephanie Carlson, vice president of Athletic Initiatives, when Fong first considered retiring several years ago. When brought up, the group decided to actively participate.

“It felt like a no-brainer given our relationship with him and the sheer number of volunteers who really depend on this event to support the organization,” Carlson said. . “We’ve taken it on to keep America’s most beautiful bike travel legacy alive.”

America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has been held in the Tahoe community for 30 years, and since partnering with Fong 27 years ago, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has raised $110 million through the event.

“If you look at all the relationships you have with race directors and ride directors, Curtis has been one of the most special because it was a true partnership,” said Carlsson. “Our commitment to this region and community will be the same as Curtis’ because we want to make sure we continue the history of this ride…it’s the money raised and the blood cancer. Improving research and supporting families.” We support people affected by blood cancers, and we make sure we support them. (America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride) is one of the biggest events he holds each year. ”

This year’s event will attract 500 members from the organization’s Team-in-Training program, which aims to raise funds for research and progress in the fight against cancer. Carlsson said the number of bike registrations has also surpassed 1,000 ahead of the event scheduled for June 4.

Mr. Fong will remain with the company in an advisory role for the next two years to help the race continue. He also plans to keep the Bike The West brand, which he founded 40 years ago and has hosted events in Nevada and California.

An avid cyclist, Mr. Fong founded Bike the West in 1984 after helping start one of the region’s leading cycling organizations, the Alta Alpina Cycling Club. That year he revived the Death Ride, his 120+ mile trek across the California Alps. Since then, Bike the West has hosted events across the region under its ‘for cyclists by cyclists’ brand.

“I had no experience. I learned by doing,” Fong said. “I learned from my friends and created the course.”

Fong continued to host iconic events such as the Comstock Silver Century, Challenge Bike Race Series with Greg LeMond, Death Camp, Nevada City Classic Century, Altitude 9000 Ride with Mammoth Cycling Classic, X Ride and Tour Las Vegas. rice field. Ride of the Century, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, Great Tour Bike Ride across Nevada and the Tour de Tahoe.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also acquired the Tour de Tahoe, but it will not be held in 2023. The Tour de Tahoe, which has not been held since 2019, takes cyclists on a route that loops around Lake Tahoe in a clockwise direction around the highway. Carlson said the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which focuses on “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,” plans to continue the Tour de Tahoe in 2024.

In addition to organizing events throughout the Tahoe region, Fong has sponsored the South Shore Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce & Resorts Association, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and Reno.・I am also a member of the Tahoe Territory. He is on the Nevada Tourism Commission and serves the local community as a member of the Tahoe He Sierra He Kiwanis Club.

Mr. Fong is also the Ski Journalist for the Western Region of the North American Association of Snowsports Journalists and serves as Vice President of Programs. He is also a member of the International Ski Heritage Association and the US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. He has worked for decades on Lake Tahoe radio and television, including “The Guy From Tahoe” Mountain on KTHO Radio AM 590/96.1 FM and his resort reports and his website http://www.bikeandsitahoe.com. , has been involved in the column..

He hosted the morning television series “Mountain Resort Report” and produced “What’s Up Tahoe” for Outside Lake Tahoe TV. Fong also contributed a ski column for the Tahoe Daily Tribune titled “As the Bull Wheel Turns.” He is also a member of the Nevada Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Other passions include flying his fishing and racing Porsche sports cars as part of his role as Vice President of the Sierra Nevada region of the Porsche Club of America.

Mr. Fong will serve in an advisory role for the next two years to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ensure a smooth transition when it undertakes the production of the annual “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” and “Tour de Tahoe”. said.

Fong said they will continue to run the “One Awesome Tour Bike Ride Across Nevada,” an event that takes riders from Stateline across Nevada to Ely. 32nd The annual ride is scheduled for September 24th and will be produced by Bike the West.

For more information or to register for the event, please visit http://www.bikethewest.com..

Curtis Fong has hosted cycling events in the Tahoe area for the past 40 years.
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