Chances are good that if you plan to ride the Oct. 9 Dempsey Challenge, you’re already well into your training and getting jazzed for the big day.

Chances are also good that, even if you’re a cyclist who’s not participating, you wouldn’t give up a chance to see Maine’s dreamiest celeb pedaling through Lewiston/Auburn, surrounded by a pack of pros.

That’s the thing about the Dempsey: Not only does it bring out a slew of locals who last year raised $1.1 million for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center, it also brings out some big names — who in turn bring out the cheering crowds.

“They come out, they hold signs, they have water for riders,” communications director Mark Turcotte says of the Mainers who line the route and wait at the finish line. “People pack their vehicles full of water and energy bars and things like that and stop on the side of the road.”

The event, in its third year, features rides of 10, 25, 50, 70 and 100 miles.

The entry fee is $75 and each rider is asked to raise an additional $150 for the cause.

There also will be a festival at Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park in Lewiston from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 9.

It will include a health and wellness expo, a kids zone, live entertainment, fitness equipment demos and, believe it or not, a 20-foot by 8-foot inflatable colon you’re welcome to walk through.

The Dempsey Challenge 5K & 10K Run/Walk takes place on Oct. 8.

Spectators who show up for the start of the 50-mile ride — or find spots along the route — will get the chance to view plenty of star power.

Dempsey will be joined on the ride by professionals Tom Danielson, who finished ninth in this year’s Tour de France, Levi Leipheimer, an Olympic medalist and the third-place finisher in the 2007 Tour, and former pro riders Davis Phinney, the first American to win a Tour de France stage, and his wife, Connie Phinney, a cycling gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics.

Last week, Coryn Rivera and Kristin McGrath, members of the Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty12 team, also joined the roster.

Rivera, 19, has won 32 Junior National Championships. McGrath, 29, took third in the time trial at the 2009 La Route de France.

Dempsey and his crew are expected to begin pedaling at about 7:20 a.m., just before the scheduled 7:30 a.m. start for the 100-mile group. If you’re thinking of catching them at the finish, Turcotte suggests being there between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.

That may sound like a pretty slow 50, but, as Turcotte explains, “Patrick really likes to talk. He loves meeting people, he wants to hear their stories. He wants to be at the rest stops.”

Which means there are three other great spots to maybe catch a glimpse, shake a hand or chat up a celeb rider. Rest stops on the 50-mile route are planned for Thomas Moser Furniture (corner of Kittyhawk and Lewiston Junction), Harvest Hill Farms (on Route 11) and Elm Street School (in Mechanic Falls).

Turcotte also suggests roadside viewing on the long climb up Route 122 near the Poland Springs plant, along the rolling hills on North Raymond Road just before the 50 splits off from the 100 at Spiller Hill, and along North Raymond Road north of Meguire Hill Road.

And because Dempsey is so personable and has such a deep affection for his home state, if you’re fortunate enough to live along the 50-mile route (find a map at www.dempseychallenge. org), you may not have to stray any further than your dooryard to experience your own “Grey’s Anatomy” moment.

During last year’s ride, Dempsey was pedaling past a house on a lake. The sight of the gorgeous Maine scene caused him to stop and ask the photographer documenting the ride to take advantage of the photo opp.

“The owner of the house came out and didn’t know what was going on,” Turcotte says.

Lucky she hadn’t run out for a gallon of milk, or she would have missed her chance to pose with McDreamy.

Contact Deputy Features Editor Karen Beaudoin at 791-6296 or at:

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