On May 10, the ninth Cap2Cap will go off, with bicyclists in Richmond and Williamsburg riding 100, 50 and 25 miles (and a family ride of 15 miles) to support the Virginia Capital Trail. And if history is any guide, the 9th Cap2Cap will be bigger than the 8th.
“The ride has grown every year,” said Beth Weisbrod, Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, the Cap2Cap organizer. “We’ve averaged around 10 percent growth…Last year we had a record 2,500 riders…and I think we’re going to end up growing yet again.”
It’s not just riders, she added, “Our sponsorships have grown, too, which I think is a big indicator of the reputation of the ride because a lot of people want to be involved with it.”
The Cap2Cap is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser, netting $140,000 last year, and it also serves to showcase the parts of Virginia that the still-under-construction Capital Trail will traverse. Riders who start the century ride in Richmond at Rocketts Landing will head east and ride to Williamsburg’s Chickahominy Riverfront Park before turning around. Williamsburg 100-milers will do the opposite ride. The shorter rides will stay closer to their respective start lines.
Weisbrod said she’s heartened that the returning rider/new rider split is currently about 50/50. People want to come back because they’ve enjoyed the experience — the ride, the rest stops, the afterparty — and new people hear about that and want to give it a try.
“People that do running races are sometimes hesitant to commit to a bike ride,” she said. “Maybe the numbers seem bigger, so where someone can visualize what it’s like to run a 10K, the idea of riding 25-miles on their bike is scary.
The Cap2Cap has become a popular spring bike ride — even with kids. Credit: Virginia Capital Trail
“It’s just a different kind of challenge to people who might not have done it before. But when you break it down and you say, well, you need to go at least 8 or 9 mph to stay upright, 25 miles is not that hard. That’s a two-and-a-half-hour effort with a rest stop in the middle of it. That doesn’t sound so scary.”