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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 06/07/2008 11:42 PM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 07/30/2008 11:24 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM
:

Sierra Century Rides Again! ~By "ThePineTree Pedaler", Brett Loring

Calaveras County, CA....We would like to welcome one of our newest Columnists, "ThePineTree Pedaler", Brett Loring. Brett road the 100 mile Sierra Century today and here is what he has to say about his Grand Adventure....."The roads of Calaveras County for the second year in a row were home – for at least 10 hours - to the Sacramento Wheelmen's coveted biking event, The Sierra Century. A total of 607 road bikers braved the warm June 7 sun and the bumpy back roads and steep grades like Highway 26 to West Point, Jesus Maria into Mountain Ranch, and Dogtown en route back to the Ironstone Vineyard finish line. Three hundred seventy five of the riders participated in the 100-kilometer route, while the rest rode the nearly 100-mile course. Many riders on the 100-mile course finished in under 8 hours......

Click Photo for full slide show


This writer/rider completed 85 miles of the 100 mile loop last weekend in training to find that hazards along the route include dramatic fast descents, potholes, narrow shoulders, long distances between water stops, a sunning rattlesnake, and intense sun. Scenery includes beautiful Valley and Sierra vistas, crumbling old buildings, browsing turkeys and deer, rushing river crossings, and magnificent vineyards and ranches.

The climbs with exhilarating long downhill runs are some of the rewards of the ride along with well-stocked rest stops, and an abundant meal awaiting riders at the Ironstone finish line. Rest stops were strategically set up at Sheep Ranch, Wilseyville, Jesus Maria Road, Mountain Ranch, and Angels Camp. Rest stops were equipped with opportunities for riders to refill with cold water and power drinks, as well as an assortment of fruit, nuts, cookies, breads, and bars. The much-sought-after seasoned red potatoes served cold, a Sierra Century staple, were gobbled up by carb-seeking riders. SAG (Support and Gear) services were provided for riders who needed it as was mechanical support and repairs sponsored by participating bike shops. California Highway Patrol presence and support was evident all along the route.

During the ride, the most talked-about section of the course among riders was the infamous Jesus Maria Road from Mokelumne Hill into Mountain Ranch. The road takes cyclists down a winding route that parallels the river through shaded groves of trees. Then reality hits – what goes down must go up! With significant elevation gain, a long, arduous climb up the hot, brush-covered western end of Jesus Maria offers little reprieve from sun, hills and cramping. Labored expletives and “vivid” descriptions for the road could be heard as riders slowly cranked up this stretch of the route. The return for riders’ hard work on Jesus Maria is the shade of the easternmost end of the road as well as the eventual descent down bumpy Whiskey Slide Road, and the culminating lunch stop in Mountain Ranch where riders were enthusiastically cheered in by Wheelmen staff. There riders could enjoy an ample lunch, splash cold water on themselves, and relax for a bit while music played in the park before they headed out Michel Road, Old Gulch, and Calaveritas for the final stretch along Dogtown into Angels Camp and then up to Murphys.

Among participants in Saturday’s ride were 2 members of Team Will, a group of cyclists who ride to raise awareness and funds for children's charities. Team Will member, John Depew, donning the team’s new jersey, remarked that the Sierra Century is good training ground for the up-to 120 miles per day he and a dozen other cyclists will cover this June 16-25. Team Will rode the Sierra Century in honor of children and families like local resident Matthew McCullough to show their dedication to continue to educate and ask for help from the public to fund research to "reach the day" when cures will be found for childhood diseases like cancer. In less than 2 weeks, Team Will embarks on a cross-country 10-day trip called Ride to Reach the Day, from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to hopefully raise beyond the $60,000 amount they contributed to the Curesearch Foundation on a similar 2006 trip.

During the delicious post-ride meal at Ironstone, one rider commented that she had traveled all the way from Portland just to ride the Sierra Century. She indicated that she was getting cabin fever waiting for the Oregon snow to melt and just needed to get out and do a good fair-weather ride. Others shared that the Sierra Century was a great training ground in preparation for this July’s Death Ride over 5 Sierra passes. Thanks to the Sacramento Wheelmen for putting on another well-organized event and for supporting our county with an opportunity to showcase our local resources and recreation opportunities."

Stay tune for more Adventures with Brett "ThePineTree Pedaler" This Summer!



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