By: Mike Cimprich, NE Representative, Iowa Arborist Association
I have been a cyclist at some level or another my entire life. Whether I was riding to school, down the street to a friends’ or across town to the local swimming pool that had a high-dive board. More recently in my adult life, I ride weekly with a local group of friends and our stops are more likely to frequent a local bar and grill rather than crush a 100-mile achievement. Don’t get me wrong, we ride double-digit miles and surpass a level of performance that would qualify as exercise, but the ultimate goal of the outing is usually to break from the weekly grind and not so much to level up our personal athleticism. When I became the Tree Fund Liaison for our Iowa Chapter in 2022 I was quickly invited to serve on the Tour des Trees ride committee and coincidentally the ride was going to be in IOWA for the first time in its 30+ year history. This would be an exciting opportunity for me to network and get to know the group better and for the chapter to bring a higher level of support to the Tree FUND.
The Tour des Trees has been a primary fundraising source for the Tree FUND and has grown in status over the years. There were nearly 90 riders this year in Iowa compared to somewhere around fifteen in the early beginnings and I am proud to say that I was one of them. The tour typically lasts six days and has been known to total as many as 1000 miles depending on location. The total in Iowa was just shy of 500 miles this year. This may include some serious climb in elevation as well. Some riders on the current tour have ridden every year while others, like myself are joining for the first time. As a rider you are responsible for raising funds to support the organization and the minimum depends on the number of days you plan to ride. However, there are many perks to riding, matching uniforms, logo gear and networking with like minded professionals from across the country and the world. Each day in addition to riding there are scheduled meet ups and educational opportunities that can include tree plantings and presentations from a variety of industry professionals, along with fun little tours and side adventures. Most importantly I must mention the meals and lodging. Riders have hotel rooms arranged in advance by the ride support team and three-square meals each day provide all the energy needed to ride every mile. I cannot say enough about the food that is provided. The catering focuses on local businesses along the route and there was no point that vitals were not offered. Undoubtably one of the most awesome experiences I have ever participated in!
In 2023 the Tour des Trees will be riding from Reno, Nevada out around Lake Tahoe into California and I am working out my plans to make the ride again. Registration opens in January and all the details will be updating monthly on the Tree FUND website. I highly recommend if you have any interest to do some research and consider participating. You will not regret the decision between the fresh air, scenery and the friendly riders you will meet.
For more information on local Iowa events become a member of the Iowa Arborist Association chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and go to www.iowaarboristassociation.org
To register for the 2023 Tree FUND Tour des Trees go to www.treefund.org/tourdestrees
I hope to see you in the draft lines next year!