SEQUIM — First, ride the lavender … then, the Ridge.
The annual Tour de Lavender each year sends hundreds of bicyclists across the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and to as many as eight lavender farms.
In its fourth incarnation in as many years, this year’s event — set for Saturday — raises funds for the Peninsula Trails Coalition, a group spearheading expansion of the Olympic Peninsula-wide Olympic Discovery Trail.
As in previous years, the event is a metric century ride (100-kilometer/ 62-mile) or 35-mile bike tour.
And, as in previous years, the tour precedes by one day the popular annual Ride the Hurricane, a community bike ride up and down Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park just south of Port Angeles.
Greg Stone, one of the promotors of the Tour de Lavender and last year’s tour director, said organizers are expecting as many as 300 riders and 60 volunteers this year.
“It’s only our fourth year, and we’ve witnessed a lot of people returning each year as word-of-mouth grows,” he said.
Janet Abbott, co-owner of Washington Lavender Farm, said last year, the ride had 260 cyclists, with 236 of those riders traveling more than 50 miles to participate.
Of those, 43 also registered for Ride the Hurricane, and more than half of the participants stayed in local hotels, B&Bs, campsites or RV sites. Riders came from Canada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
The Tour de Lavender starts near downtown Sequim at the Sequim unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula at 400 W. Fir St., then quickly moves into the rural roads of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and portions of the Olympic Discovery Trail, toward views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north and Olympic Mountains to the south, before looping back to Sequim proper.
For recreational riders, the lavender farm tour ride among the Sequim lavender farms can be customized to meet the ability and endurance levels of all ages, event organizers say. This ride covers up to 35 miles, with several shorter options provided. Start time for the Fun Ride is between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lavender farms on the tour this year include:
• B&B Family Farm
• Lavender Connection Farm
• Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm
• Lost Mountain Lavender Farm
• Martha Lane Lavender Farm
• Olympic Lavender Heritage Farm
• Purple Haze Lavender Farm
• Washington Lavender Farm
Cost for the metric century ride is $65.
Registration for the farm tour is $55 per person for adults, $10 for youths younger than 12.
Registration fees include swag gifts (first-come, first-served based on registration date) and a lavender gift.
The deadline for online advance registration was at 9 p.m. Thursday. Late registrations still will be accepted at the start of the ride in Sequim.
The 2015 event raised about $3,900 for the Peninsula Trails Coalition.
Stone said this year, the ride will continue to feature local food with food and water donations from Pane d’Amore, Graysmarsh Farms, Nourish, Bell Street Bakery, Domino’s, CB’s Nuts, Safeway, QFC, Olympic Springs and Walmart.