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February 15, 2009 Press Conference
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5th Annual Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston Begins at Discovery Green March 22

Mayor Bill White joined state Senator Rodney Ellis, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, title sponsor Guaranty Bank and other sponsors today in announcing the 5th Annual Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston bicycle ride benefiting Houston parks on Sunday, March 22, 2009.  The popular ride will begin and end this year at Discovery Green in downtown Houston, and routes of 20, 40 and 70 miles will visit many of Houston’s scenic neighborhoods, including the historic Houston Heights.

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“I can’t think of a better, more fun way to see our city and the number of riders keeps growing to prove it,” said Mayor White. “We’re so glad to have Guaranty Bank’s continuing support to help keep Houston moving and to keep improving our parks. I encourage all Houstonians to come out, get fit and have a great ride through beautiful Houston.”

The state is committed to working with the mayor and the City to keep this as one of Houston’s signature recreational events,” said Sen. Rodney Ellis. “This is a great way for families to get fit, have fun and support parks.”

Each year the Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston, a BP MS 150 recommended training ride, draws thousands and has become a popular Houston cycling classic.  All three routes this year, for the first time, begin at the beautiful new Discovery Green park, where a post-ride party will be held for participants and volunteers.  Along the route riders will find:  fully stocked rest stops, police support, bicycle mechanics at each rest stop and roving medical support.

“The Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston has become one of our city’s premier events and, now, one of the top cycling events in Texas.  We are proud to be its title sponsor, but we are even more proud of the nearly $1 million the Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston has contributed to the Tour,” said Brent Johnston, Guaranty Bank Executive Vice President for Houston.

Mayor White and Senator Ellis, avid cyclists, will join bike teams from sponsors Guaranty Bank,  Sun & Ski Sports, Michelob Ultra, KSBJ Radio  and others to kick-off the event at 7:15 a.m. for the 70-mile route, 7:40 a.m. for the 40-mile route, and 8 a.m. for the 20-mile route.

Limited free parking for participants will be available at designated meter spaces and at Minute Maid Park Lots A, B and C  (1,500 spaces)   will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Regular parking fees will apply at additional lots surrounding the Discovery Green area. More information on parking, registration and volunteer information can be found at  Registration by mail will be open until March 7, 2009. Online registration will close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. On-site registration will be available on the day of the event at Discovery Green.  Registration is $25 per rider, $15 for riders age 12 and under in advance, and $35 for all riders the day of the event. Packet pick-up locations and schedules for pre-registered riders can be found on the web site.

Sponsors for the 5th Annual Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston include: Title Sponsor, Guaranty Bank, and media sponsors Local 2/KPRC TV, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Cumulus Media Houston (103.7 Jack FM, 104 KRBE, 97.5 The Ticket), 89.3 KSBJ Radio, and the Houston Press; and co-sponsors Sun & Ski Sports, Michelob Ultra,  Antone's Famous Po’boys, Watermill Express, the BP MS150, Discovery Green, Houston Avocado Company, Fresh Brew,  Sam’s Club Willowbrook,  Best Buddies International, NX Media, Discount Tires, Kolache Factory, Get Moving Houston, and Houston Parks and Recreation Dept.  Sun & Ski Sports will provide mechanical support at each rest stop throughout the ride.  Funds raised by the Guaranty Bank Tour de Houston will benefit the Houston Parks and Recreation Department through the Houston Parks Board.