HIGHLANDER CYCLE TOUR
Inaugurated in 2000, the Highlander Cycle Tour is an annual charity bicycle tour of New York’s famous Finger Lakes Wine Country. It is held in mid September, centered in the Bristol Highlands, above the western shore of picturesque Canandaigua Lake. It consists of four different road courses and one off-road course, varying in length from 30 miles to 130 miles (double metric century), and degrees of difficulty from a family friendly ride to a quad punishing course with climbs of nearly 11,000 feet of vertical gain on grades up to 23%, all within the same awe-inspiring backdrop of the Finger Lakes wine country.
The rides showcase the beauty, charm, and the roller coaster cycling challenge of the Finger Lakes. The road courses are mostly on low-traffic well-marked country roads, many surrounded by vineyards, that climb the hills, follow meandering creek valleys, go around lake shores, and through small villages. The climbs are rewarded by spectacular vistas of the Finger Lakes and exhilarating descents. Frequent rest stops provide free drinks and food, and the road courses are patroled by SAG wagons.
All tours start and finish at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort, where post-tour the riders can unwind with food, drink and music in a picturest valley with mountainous backdrops.
For the competitive riders, in addition to the above five rides held on Saturday, the Tour offers prologue individual and team time trials on the preceding Friday, both of which feature the legendary Gannett Hill. The extreme challenge enthusiasts can also compete for prizes by riding the Highlander century on Saturday and competing in the Finger Lakes Triathlon on Sunday (the High Tri Challenge)!
To provide variety, the road courses are altered year to year, to visit new areas while keeping the core routes in the Bristol Hills - Canandaigua Lake area. Current course details are found on the rides page.
Dave Bischoff - Ride Director
Maureen Bischoff - Registration, HCT Ops
Mark Benotti - Marketing, Sponsorships
Laura Benotti - Marketing, Advertising
Roger & Cindy Brahm - Rest Stops
Andy Kane - Mountaineer
Nancy Letts - Graphics
Andy Melnyk - Web, IT
Dave Michelsen - Sponsorships
Ken Nawrocki - SAG
Shawn Ritchie - Auction, HCT Ops
Milan Stolka - Road Courses
Staff photo, back L-R: Dave M, Milan, Dave B., front: Mark, Maureen, Laura, Andy
Running such a large event requires considerable manpower to man the registration and pick up booths, stuff the goody bags, man the rest stops, drive the SAG wagons, run the time trials, etc.. In addition to the volunteer staff, this is performed by volunteers who give up their weekend to help put on the event. Relying on volunteer help and sponsor support, the event is able to keep expenses low and donate the excess proceeds to charity without requirements to raise pledge money. Over the past ten years of the event has raised nearly $100,000 for charities. The Highlander Cycle Tour proceeds go to supporting the South Bristol Historical Society (preservation of American history), The Lance Armstrong Foundation (cancer), the Rochester XC Ski Foundation, Mercy Flight and other local health and fitness oriented groups. Our way of giving back to the community that has helped so many.
HISTORIC NOTES ON THE HIGHLANDER COURSE
For those interested in local history, click here for a brochure detailing points of interest on the route of the original Highland Century. Though the course have changed, most is still applicable to core routes through the Bristol Hills area.