Team Sixcycle Charity: Tour of the Litchfield Hills

Team Sixcycle Charity: Tour of the Litchfield Hills

In addition to training and racing throughout the year, each year Team Sixcycle-RK&O commits to supporting an official charity. For 2013 we are pleased to announce that Team Sixcycle-RK&O will be returning to the Tour of the Litchfield Hills for the second consecutive year.

The Tour of Litchfield Hills is a charity ride beginning in Torrington, CT and winding through scenic Litchfield County.  The beneficiary of the Tour is the Center for Cancer Care Fund which provides support to cancer patients and their families in the northwest corner of Connecticut.

In our first year at the Tour, Charlie Bird, a ten year cancer survivor and native of Sharon, CT, was honored before the race and was asked to read the traditional starting prayer. As a team, we completed the 75 mile route. Most importantly, Team Sicycle-RK&O was awarded the Mayor’s Cup as the top fundraising team at the Tour. In total, we raised over $7,000 for this terrific cause.

In an attempt to exceed last year’s funds raised, this year we would like to extend an invitation to the cycling community to become a team member for the weekend, fund raise under our name, and join us at the Tour.  All team members will be invited to the front of the ride to start with the team and will have full access to our tent before and after the event.  You can sign up on BikeReg and denote your team as Team Sixcycle-RK&O – https://www.bikereg.com/Net/18783

For additional information, or if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s at: ToLH@sixcycle.com

Interview with Matt Pagano, Director of the Tour of Litchfield Hills

As we kick off our fundraising efforts for the 2013 Tour of Litchfield Hills we are also honored to have conducted an interview with Matt Pagano, Director of the Tour of Litchfield Hills to provide a more formal and personal introduction to this very special event.

Can you give us a brief history of the Tour of Litchfield Hills and what significant changes have you made in recent years?

The Tour of the Litchfield Hills grew out of an old charity bicycle ride that was held annually the first Sunday in August in Torrington, Connecticut called the “Tour de Torrington”. A friend and I had been participants in that ride and when the organizers could no longer continue it it disappeared for 2003, we decided to reconstitute the ride, rename it, and seek a different beneficiary of the funds raised by participants. We chose the name and chose as a beneficiary the Center for Cancer Care Fund and thankfully have enjoyed perennial success staging this charity ride even since.

What is the Center for Cancer Care Fund, Inc?

The Center for Cancer Care Fund is a patient assistance fund for individuals either residing in Northwest Connecticut or getting treatment for their cancer in Northwest Connecticut. It does not fund medication but otherwise facilitates patients getting the treatment that they need. For example, if someone lives alone and is rendered unable to work because of the treatment that they are receiving a grant can be made from this fund that helps them meet regular living expenses such as mortgage assistance, home fuel oil bills, or transportation costs.

How have you seen the community rally around a locally run event benefiting a local charity?

We believe that this event is as well supported as it is because of the fact that people can see that the monies they raise go right back to helping others in their local community. In fact quite often that is some of the feedback that we get, specifically people appreciate the fact that the money stays local and they admit that it spurs them on towards greater fundraising efforts than they might otherwise.

Why did you get involved with the event? What inspired you?

In 2004, my co-chair and I reconstituted this event simply because we were cyclists and triathletes. After I participated the first time and experienced a mass start of what might have been two or 300 people, I was hooked.  Subsequently, and ironically however, in 2006 my then two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and so as you might imagine this event took on much greater significance for me.  Thankfully, Katie was definitively treated at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, reached remission after her first round of chemotherapy, and came off treatment in July of 2006. She is presently an active busy wonderful little nine-year-old who we are very proud of. (Team Sixcycle-RK&O note: Katie presented us with the Mayor’s Cup during last year’s ceremonies).

What is the most challenging aspect of hosting ToLH?

It seems the most challenging aspect of hosting the Tour changes from year to year. Some years lining up sponsorships from local businesses and corporations proves to be challenging. Other years managing the logistics such as the things that are beyond our control, for example DOT roadwork or the weather, make things more difficult.

What are your long term goals for the event?

My long-term goals for the event are to simply watch it continued to grow gradually. Ultimately I would like to secure a big corporate “Angel” presenting sponsor. I think attracting such a sponsor, one with regional or national name recognition, would drive participation and would increase ridership towards the 2000 participant number which has been a long-held ambition of mine.

How much money has the event raised overall? Last year?

In more recent years, depending on the year, and because weather affects participation, we average between $80,000 and $100,000 raised.  I believe in final analysis last year we raised approximately $85,000. In total over the 10 years we have raised just over $750,000.

What are your fundraising goals for this year’s event?

With this being the 10th anniversary, my hope is that we exceed $100,000 raised and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for perfect weather on the first Sunday in August.

About Team Sixcycle-RK&O

Team Sixcycle-RK&O is a team of New York City based racers that compete throughout the east coast across a variety of terrain and race formats.