Frequently Asked Questions
The Tour de Natchez Trace is organized today to support the Aegis Sciences Foundation, which raises money and directs funds to charity partners that can make a difference for military veterans and their families.
The Tour De Natchez Trace is an epic ride along the distance of the Natchez Trace, with the signature of a first class event, sponsored by the Aegis Sciences Corporation and Aegis Sciences Foundation. Both organizations have a mission to champion an active and a healthy lifestyle. To give back to the community by promoting youth education and supporting our veterans, the team organized a charity cycling event with the help of dozens of committed cycling enthusiasts.
What are the dates for the Tour de Natchez Trace in 2017?
The date range currently set for the Tour de Natchez Trace 2017 is to begin on Tuesday morning, May 23 and conclude on Saturday, May 27. The countdown clock on our home page lets you know how long it is before the next #Epic444 begins. There are a limited number of slots for this concierge ride. Keep up with your training, follow our blog and sign up for e-mail updates to stay informed and ready for this once in a lifetime event. Registration is expected to open later this month.
What does it cost to get involved in the Tour de Natchez Trace?
This is a ride for charity. In order to register, riders must pay a $25.00 registration fee, which will be applied to your fundraising goal (anyone can certainly give more and that amount will be applied to minimum goal). Riders can then solicit sponsors and financial backers to help meet the minimum fundraising requirement of $2,500 to participate in a fully-supported 4-day bike Tour. Only in the event that total fundraising goals are not met by June 10, 2016 riders not meeting this minimum by that date, will be charged their pro rata share of total rider participation costs (transportation, lodging, meals, ride support, rider swag and permits) which will be capped once the reimbursable costs plus their registration fees and any personal and sponsor contributions hit the $2,500 minimum. (If you are $200 short of the minimum fundraising goal, that is your maximum additional cost, but only if the total goal is not reached.) With everyone working together in support of our sponsored charities, we fully expect to exceed our total fundraising goal.
What is the fundraising goal?
The goal is $2,500.00 per 444 rider, and $1,000 for a Century rider. Past riders have found success by asking for support by the mile. It should go without saying that these charities deserve our best fundraising efforts. We will also have corporate sponsors for the event. The combined contributions of the riders, their sponsors and the corporate event sponsors will all go towards our $120,000 total fundraising goal.
Which charities benefit from the event?
Funds raised for this event through the Aegis Sciences Foundation will not only cover the costs of the event but also be donated to Reboot Recovery, Operation Stand Down and other Aegis' partnered nonprofit veteran organizations.
Do all event proceeds benefit the partner charities?
We do our best to keep costs at a minimum, but, as with any major event, there is a cost associated. Once all costs and fees are paid for the event's production, the remaining proceeds will go to our partnering charities.
Is the race capped? Why?
Yes. The race is limited to 44 participants to ensure the safety and best race experience for all.
Is there a registration deadline?
Yes. The deadline to participate in the four-day (full Tour) ride is May 20, 2017 and for Saturday’s Memorial Mile Ride the deadline is May 21, 2017. We anticipate both the Tour and the Memorial Mile Century Ride will sell out before these deadlines, as registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
What is the Memorial Mile Century Ride?
This is a one-day century ride on the final state of the Tour, Saturday May 27, with a maximum of 20 riders. Memorial Mile riders join the Tour on Friday night, May 26 at the Holiday Inn Express in Florence Alabama, then finish together on the final day. All riders are asked to raise $1,000 for charity. Riders receive free transportation to Alabama on Friday, with hotel and meals covered. Riders also get to attend the After-Party at the tented event at Mile Post 440 on the Trace. To sign up for this ride or get more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I’ve committed to the minimum charity fund raising target, so what can I expect to be covered during the trip?
Tour participants get all lodging, all meals, and transportation during the event, van support, supportive leaders, link to the ride video and photo record of the adventure. We provide a professional grade experience, including bike mechanic and soigneur services, nutritious meals and on-bike food and drink (at established “feed zones”) as well as double-occupancy hotel rooms on the route for all riders. Not included are alcoholic beverages, the logistics and cost of a rider’s personal expenses, travel and bike shipment to the starting point and from the finishing point.
What can I expect of lodging accommodations?
In the spirit of riding for charity, we keep costs down by reserving rooms with two beds for double occupancy; you will have your own bed. Every rider is paired with another Tour participant (your new BFF) and you will stay with the same roommate the entirety of the Tour. Riders may submit a roommate request and we will do our best to accommodate. Past riders have really enjoyed this arrangement, as they get to know each other on the Tour. We do ask that if you use a CPAP machine during the night, please let us know so that we may pair you with another CPAP user.
What if I don't want to share a room?
The majority of our Tour riders choose to have a roommate. If you want to pay extra for single occupancy, we can adjust your reservations
Is the Tour open for men and women riders?
Of course. Every previous Tour has included both men and women.
What time does the Tour get started in the morning?
Typically between 7:30-8:30 a.m. We like to get an early start to avoid traffic, heat, and winds. Times will vary according to circumstances.
I am coming alone on this Tour. Will I be the only one traveling alone?
Most of our participants come by themselves and ride with the Tour group. Whether you organize friends to join you in this charity ride or start it solo, you’re sure to create memories as comrades with other Tour participants.
Do we ride in groups? And what if I cannot keep up?
This is a National Park with regulations that do not allow cyclists to ride the Natchez Trace as if you were in a peloton. Each day, small groups, riding in single file are organized according to physical conditioning and the level of support resources that you would like. As a professionally organized event, we plan for your successful ride of a century each day, but we also expect someone to "bonk" or need a break. That’s when one of our several support vans and Tour managers can shorten the miles or flatten the hills on demand. We will be watching out for everyone until the last person comes home for the day.
Can I ride the whole course solo?
Yes, we’ll let you try and tackle the course solo, but we really do not recommend it and this opportunity comes with a few stipulations. Since we operate with a lean crew, you must adhere to the transfer opening and closing times. We cannot wait all day for one rider to finish so we can get the whole group to the hotel. If, at any point, you fall more than one hour behind the group, you will be picked up at the next feed zone and transferred by vehicle.
If you want to start early to make it to the finish line in time, we would let you do that. Do we expect you to finish? Not really. But if you do that is pretty awesome and we think it would merit a jumping high five.
How do I know if I am physically ready for 444 miles on the Natchez Trace and how will my riding ability be taxed?
Chances are if you’re reading this FAQ section, you’re already involved in a certain level of training that probably has you more ready than you think! Perhaps you’ve completed at least one century ride, or you’ve had that as a goal. If so, this ride is for you. This is a road ride with flat to moderate terrain. When you hit the hills, you will definitely know it -- they are typically long and challenging… without being brutal. Most participants are dedicated cyclists, not Tourists; but remember, our support vehicle is always available to pick you up if you get tired. That’s what we’re there for.
How do I train for this Tour?
We believe a century rider is ready for more than one century ride, but a six-week training schedule may help you strive for a level of fitness that will add to the enjoyment of the trip. During your training, try simulating course conditions: ride in hilly terrain, draft behind other riders, and work with several other riders in a pace line formation at speeds ranging from 15 to 25 miles per hour, and ride in the rain. If you don’t have the time to adequately train, the support van is always available to shorten the miles.
Can I bring my own bike?
With this extended distance Tour, cyclists must ride their own bikes. Upon signing up for the Tour, you will receive information for packing, shipping and flying with your bike.
Can I use “Aero Bars”?
No. This isn’t a triathlon. For the safety of others that you will be riding with, we do not allow aero bars.
Is there a minimum age to register?
Yes. 4-day riders must be 18 years of age or older.
Is there a health insurance requirement to participate in the ride?
We highly recommend that all participants maintain personal health insurance coverage. We are not resposible for covering health care payments or coverage.
What kind of weather can I expect?
We’re definitely not meteorologists, but we do know that it really pays to be prepared for just about anything. As the course travels through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee in May, expect temperatures that could reach 86 degrees. It will likely be humid. Rain is always a possibility. Low temperatures will typically be near 62 degrees each morning. Did we mention it’s humid? The course is relatively consistent in its topography, so there are likely to not be huge changes in climate over the course of the ride. You need to bring your own rain and weather gear.
Will you cancel the event for bad weather?
No. If rider safety is threatened by rain or lightning, we will require all riders to pause in a safe place while we wait out the bad weather.
Do I need to pay for Tuesday’s Kick-Off breakfast or Saturday’s After Party?
No. Food for you and a guest (whom we assume is providing your transportation to kick off and from finish) will be provided at no charge. We appreciate the support of your family and friends.
Will I be the oldest (or youngest) on the Tour?
Probably not! We’ve had men and women on the ride that ranged in age from 22 to 72. We believe that if you're mentally fit, you can handle anything.
What if I have to cancel?
No refunds are available for your registration fee. Sorry, there are no exceptions. You are more than welcome to substitute a rider in your place. They will need to provide a registration form and required insurance information.
What’s the reasoning behind your cancellation policy?
In reality we don’t like to enforce this policy, but we must. Preparing and executing a successful event takes all year to plan and orchestrate. It requires a lot of financing on our end as well. Most of our expenses are paid for before the event even occurs. When a rider signs up we plan on them participating in the ride and print materials and coordinate our permitting based on such. If a rider fails to show up to the race, it costs us the same amount as if they did. We have this policy to make sure the event can always be a first class experience. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you in Nashville!
How do I sign up?
Register to be a Tour rider online. Or call (615) 577-4586 to register over the phone. We’ll need a Visa or MC number that will be charged for the registration fee of $25 (remember, this will go toward your fundraising minimum and your $2,500.00 goal). You can direct fundraising supporters to our website to contribute more in your name, which will help you to increase your contribution to the charities we ride for. We will mail you a Tour confirmation packet with details about the event and suggestions for booking your own travel arrangements to Nashville.
What are the dates for the Tour de Natchez Trace in 2017?
The date range currently set for the Tour de Natchez Trace 2017 is to begin on Tuesday morning, May 23rd and conclude on May 27th. The countdown clock on our home page lets you know how long it is before the next #Epic444 begins. There are a limited number of slots for this concierge ride. Keep up with your training, follow our blog and sign up for e-mail updates to stay informed and ready for this once in a lifetime event.