ROGUE RIVER — Rain couldn't keep the riders away.
Ignoring wet roads and terrain from the weekend's steady showers, hundreds of cyclists flocked to Rogue River's Palmerton Park Saturday morning for the sixth annual Ride the Rogue event.
Riders embarked on one of four scenic rides, covering 25-, 40-, 70- or 100-mile routes that took riders through Applegate Valley vineyards, the Table Rocks and Evans Valley. The event culminated with a post-race celebration at the Palmerton Park Arboretum, where tri-tip and salmon dinners were available.
All proceeds from the event will go to ongoing development of the Rogue River Recreational Corridor and Greenway.
"This is our main benefit that we do ... to get the money to build the Greenway," said Richard Amneus, event coordinator and Rogue River Greenway Foundation board member.
The Rogue River Greenway, when finished, will extend from Grants Pass to Central Point, where it will link up with Jackson County's 18-mile Bear Creek Greenway, creating a continuous ribbon of traffic-free pavement all the way to Ashland.
"There are a lot of little pieces that are built already; they just don't all connect yet," Amneus said. "There are still major amounts to do, but we're getting there."
The National Weather Service reported two-tenths of an inch of rain fell around the Rogue Valley between 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. It had a slight impact on rider numbers, Amneus said, but many eager bicyclists still showed up.
"As Oregonians, we don't change our plans because of rain," said Don Prescott of Medford, who rode the 25-mile route.
Judy Schribman traveled from Portland to participate in Ride the Rogue for the fourth time since its inception. She originally signed up for the 100-mile, or century route, but she scaled back her plans to the 25- or 40-mile routes because of the rain. She said the scenic beauty of the area keeps her coming back.
"It's really pretty here, and I'm not that familiar with it, so it's new," Schribman said. "You get tired of riding around your own neighborhood."
Tom and Tina Venzon of Grants Pass participated on a tandem bike. It was Tom's second year doing the course and Tina's first, but both looked forward to the challenge of riding together on the 25-mile course.
"Tandem cycling is awesome because it forces you to work together," Tom Venzon said. "You don't have an option."
Both said they love riding in the surrounding area and looked forward to the course.
"It's just beautiful," Tina Venzon said. "It follows the river; it's just gorgeous. It's kind of like a vacation while you're getting a workout."
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com.