By Dave Iltis — Cycle The Sierra, a five day, fully supported road ride throughout the western Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe, California will take place from June 16 – 20, 2017. Now in its 6th year, the ride travels through mining towns, hot springs, and other great waypoints over 300 miles of beautiful terrain.
We caught up with ride director Mark Reiner to ask him about the ride.
CW: Where does the ride start and finish? Tell us about the route.
CTS: We Start in Grass Valley, CA. 5 days later we finish at the same location. It is a loop route through breathtaking country, beneath granite peaks, through evergreen forests and to alpine hot springs. We’ll ride through iconic locations like Lake Tahoe and the area where gold was discovered starting the California Gold Rush, over the 4th highest bridge in the US, and through numerous unique and historical communities along the way.
CW: Tell us a little about the gold rush history of the area. When were the mining towns active? What are some of the things riders can expect to see or learn about on the course?
CTS: We’ll roll past the wooden farmhouses and oak woodlands known as the “Motherlode”. This area is where the gold rush of California began and continued for many years… and still does to this day. We’ll ride past the covered wooden sidewalks of Nevada City and Placerville stopping to camp along the South Fork of the American River, right where gold was first discovered by James Marshall in 1848.
CW: The ride travels through the Sierras. How much climbing is involved? What are the options for those who aren’t as strong in the mountains? How many miles per day do you ride?
CTS: The route averages 60 miles per day. We set up rest stops with food and hydration every 15 miles so riders can hop from one to the next with ease. There are some climbs to satisfy experienced riders who like the uphill challenges with options to make the days easier for those who would rather spend their time dipping their feet in a river or stopping along the way in one of the numerous historical towns.
CW: In the evenings, the ride sets up camp. Tell us about the accommodations, and about the post-ride amenities.
CTS: It’s ‘Glamping’ at its finest. Over the course of the ride we overnight at established campgrounds right along the American River, Silver Lake, Lake Tahoe and at The Sierraville Hot Springs. Each night we feature live music with local musicians, a beer & wine and massage garden. Camps feature delicious catered food and hot showers with an optional tent and porter service. Resort accommodations are available on two of the evenings. We keep the rider max at 100. It is a more intimate experience vs. a bigger ‘marathon vibe’. Over the course of 5 days riding and camping together, you’re guaranteed to make some great new friends!
CW: Tell us more about the natural history of the area. What are some of the highlights of the geology, flora, and fauna.
CTS: We’ll pass through mountain meadows with views of the Granite High Sierra, roll along the Alpine Scenic Highway, and look down on numerous mountain lakes and lush meadowland surrounded by snow capped mountains. We’ll ride along the crystal clear and brilliant blue waters of Lake Tahoe’s West Shore and continue into the Sierra Valley’s grassland and sagebrush ecosystem, among migratory birds and soaring eagles to our final destination…the natural healing pools at Sierraville Hot Springs.
CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
CTS: In a time when life seems busier and free time scarce, we need to break away from the grind and “fill the well” — to challenge ourselves physically, mentally and to just have fun; to eat good food, laugh, ride, cool off in a clear mountain stream, dance to live music — to re-charge the soul. Come along with us on the journey — a journey of discovery, good times and adventure.
Riding 300 miles on your bike in the Northern Sierra is a trip of a lifetime you will remember forever.
June 16-20 — Cycle The Sierra, Grass Valley, CA, This fully supported, five-day journey takes riders on a 300-mile loop through the Lake Tahoe area. The ride features beautiful mountain scenery, live music each night, delicious catered food, a beer and wine garden, massage and much more. Mark Reiner, 530-320-1625, [email protected], cyclethesierra.com