Whatcom County has established itself as an outdoors enthusiast's haven.
From the ski slopes of Mount Baker in the winter to kayaking on Bellingham Bay in the summer, it's no wonder the county has some of the best opportunities to experience Mother Nature.
It comes as no surprise, then, that adventurists will have no shortage of summer events to choose from to fill their cravings for a race day.
One of the many events that highlight both the love of outdoors and Whatcom residents' desire to give back to the community is Tour de Whatcom.
"It's just part of Bellingham culture to be active and outdoors," said Tour de Whatcom coordinator Grace McDonough.
The bike ride, named after the famous French race, epitomizes what summer events are about in Whatcom County - taking in the sights, being outside, and donating to charity.
Tour de Whatcom is suitable for almost anyone, as it offers rides of three lengths - 105 miles, 44 miles and 22 miles. The shortest ride offers views of the bay, Nooksack River and Ferndale farmland, while the longest ride exposes bikers everything from valleys to mountains to the bay.
With three lengths, the race appeals to professionals and families alike.
"We really want to reach out to all sorts of groups," McDonough said. "We're all about promoting community."
Tour de Whatcom has raised $30,000 the past two years for nonprofit organizations. This year, race donations will go to Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, a nonprofit group that coordinates volunteers who preserve and improve trails in Whatcom County.
This year, Tour de Whatcom is on Saturday, July 26. Registrations can be submitted as late as the day of the race. Entry fees range from $55 to $75.
For more information, go to tourdewhatcom.com.
The race is hosted by Whatcom Events, which also runs Ski to Sea and Muds to Suds.
Muds to Suds is another of the county's many summer events. The foot race features 22 obstacles in a 2.5-mile loop. Of course, the race is done in the mud.
Other Whatcom County summer races include the Chuckanut Footrace on July 12; the Bellingham Youth Triathlon on Aug. 2; the Homemade Cookie Triathlon on Aug. 9, and, the same day, the Bellingham Youth Regatta.
In September, Fairhaven Runners plans a 15-kilometer race, the Bellingham Traverse takes place, and, to end the season of competition, there's the Bellingham Bay Marathon.