Monday, December 6, 2021

Breezy Tour de Marco a Huge Success

Photos by Scott H. Shook | MIA students Aiden Boughton, Phoenix Gutierrez, and Vanessa Lopez were among a group of 15 Marco Island Academy Key Club volunteers who drew praise from tour director Steve Lampar.


Participants in Sunday’s 11th Annual Tour de Marco were welcomed by chilly 55-degree temperatures and a 13-mile-per-hour breeze at the start of the 30-mile ride at the YMCA’s airnasium. As the 30-mile group hit the halfway point and the 15-mile group was getting started, the temperature had risen to 70 degrees and the wind was whistling at a brisk 18 miles-per-hour.

Riders take a left at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Bald Eagle

As the 30-milers pulled into the water stop in Key Marco – sponsored by Sascha’s Salon – everyone was talking about the wind. “I’ve got a complaint,” one rider said, “somebody needs to turn that wind down!” Another rider chimed in, “No matter which way we turned it was still windy.” One optimistic rider predicted, “we should have a tailwind on the way back!”

But neither the chilly early temperatures nor the breezy conditions could dampen the enthusiasm of the riders.

“Seeing everyone coming back with smiles on their faces was very satisfying,” said Steve Lampar, the new Fundraising Director for the YMCA. “I think it went really well. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments. The riders loved Key Marco.”



Riders were treated to rides down Collier Boulevard, normally the domain of motorized traffic, Key Marco, and the hilly estates area. 

This group of friends enjoyed the Tour de Marco together: Rich and Monica Cobuzio, Susan and Don Julich, Ben and Gina Garfunkel, as well as Lisa and John Hamilton.

“They were so thrilled that we were doing the Tour de Marco in these COVID times,” Lampar said. “An outdoor activity, a group activity. They were happy that the Y was moving forward with healthy activities that people can do together.”

Cindy Love, the YMCA CEO, was pleased with the turnout. She actually rode in the Tour de Marco, along with her husband George Abounader, who led the 15-mile version of the tour.

“It was a beautiful day,” Love said. “We want to continue at the Y to provide healthy and safe events and exercise activities. Everybody wants to be outside, so it was a perfect event for the pandemic. Everybody could stay six feet apart.”

Lampar was impressed with the volunteer support he received in organizing his first event at the YMCA.

“I have 15 volunteers from the Key Club at Marco Island Academy. They were here early and ready to work. I actually drove out on the route and saw their enthusiasm with the signs. I got compliments on the signs, that they were where they needed to be. I’m really thankful for the help of all the volunteers.”


Riders of all ages enjoyed the Tour de Marco.


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