Tour de Marco goes underground this weekend
The announcement that a group of riders is getting together Sunday, April 19, at 7:30 a.m., at the foot of the Stan Gober Memorial Bridge to stage the underground Tour de Marco 5 was great news to a group of riders at Progressive Auto Center on the island.
"We got pretty upset when we first heard the Tour de Marco was canceled," said Jorge Vizcaya, a 15-year employee at the auto center. "We really enjoyed it last year and we were getting ready for this year. But now that the tour is on, we're so happy to know that. We're ready for it. We're going for it."
Vizcaya and five of his co-workers credit the Tour de Marco for igniting their interest in bicycling. They literally hit the ground running after gaining confidence in last year's tour.
"We had never been in anything like this. And the Tour de Marco was perfect," Vizcaya said. "We found out that we could do 30 miles. Now we're doing 62 miles—and we want to do more."
Vizcaya sees the Tour de Marco as something that is good for the island.
"We live here," he said. "This is what we were looking for and waiting for. We're really happy that we're going to get to ride Sunday."
Vizcaya and his cycling group Correcaminos, Spanish for roadrunners, pedaled 62 miles last weekend in Everglades City to get ready for the underground version of Tour de Marco.
"It was the Tour de Marco last year that really got us into biking. That's what really got us started."
Now the Correcaminos team has a beautiful trailer for their bicycles.
"We started with a rack on the back of our cars," Vizcaya said, "but you always have the chance for rain. We're not rich guys that can buy any bike we like. But we want to keep our bikes neat and clean. So we got the idea to buy the trailer. My boss, Mike Kelly, and a couple of others sponsored us to buy the trailer. That's why you see Progressive Auto Center across the back of the trailer."
It makes sense that Vizcaya as his teammates would be fussy about keeping their bicycles clean. They work hard to keep a large percentage of the island's cars clean.
"We like everything clean," he said with a smile.
"I hope a lot of of people come to the Tour de Marco Sunday, Vizcaya said. "And every year it will get bigger and bigger."