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Athens Gambler Recreation Bike Event

You've got to…

Know when to Drop 'em

Know when to Race away

On my bucket list has been to attend the annual Athens Twilight Criterium and Gambler Recreational Ride which occured on April 21, 2023

The Athens Twilight Gambler Bike Event was pure bliss, thanks to Georgia CycleSport, Specialized Bikes and the City of Athens.

Georgia Cycle Sport, Specialized Bikes loaned me a S Works Turbo Creo to ride in the Gambler Ride. I registered for the 50K but rode the 100K because it was just too much fun riding the rural roads surrounding Athens.

Hold ‘Em

For the first 20 miles I rode the Creo with no electric boost. The bike rolled easily and shifting a breeze. Early along the ride, after reaching the Athens city limits I met a strong rider from Atlanta who was spinning at 17-19 miles per hour. I used the level one boost to draft and Hold ‘Em to ride along with my new Georgia friend for several miles.

Drop ‘Em

After 20 miles, I decided to utilize the electric boost options. I jumped into several cycling groups and drafted for a respite, still using electric assist. Riding in a peloton with an e boost was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I was spinning but, without any effort that allowed me to enjoy the thrill of riding along at 20 miles per hour.

Race Away

After the last rest stop I used all electric boost levels and flew by groups of cyclists heading back to the finish line in Athens. My slow, dreamy ride during the last 3 and half hours we’re over. I wanted my 100 K time to be under 4 hours and 19 minutes so I raced away to downtown Athens. The Creo Specialized screamed into Athens and while I imagined the race fans hooting and howling. But, suddenly I was stopped by Nick, the Specialized Representative who was waiting for the return of his “very fancy Specialized Creo E bike!”

Traditional Road vs Road E Bike

Riding a Specialized Electric road bike is a very different experience from a traditional road bike. It allowed me to ride a long distance without being anxious about fatigue. It allowed me to be more mindful of my surroundings to really enjoy the spring countryside.

As the ride winded down I ramped up the electric power to fly up and down gradual rolling hills, and flat out drag racing on the flat road surfaces.

During my ride back to Athens, this Creo, along with my experienced legs I passed several cycling groups filled with youth, ambition, and drive. There was no catching this Creo unless it was a LA Legion or Miami Heat Pro during a training lap in Athens.

At the end of the day riding the Specialized E Bike Creo was heavenly and made my trip to the Athens Twilight a last memory.

Thank you, Georgia CYCLE SPORT and SPECIALIZED BIKES. Timed ride, 4 hours, 20 minutes!

Bike Calaveras – Cycling Events in Calaveras County

Written by the Calaveras Visitors Bureau GoCalaveras

Whether you are looking for a nice easy bike ride, a heart pumping mountain bike trail, or a challenging bike race, Calaveras offers diverse trails and some of the best racing events. Combined with mild temperatures, lush green countryside, and wildflowers bursting with color, Calaveras in the springtime is a great time to ride. Everything you need to ride is right here in Calaveras. Read on for scenic racing events, leisurely routes, breathtaking mountain bike trails, and the right folks to talk to about biking in Calaveras.

Get Riding – Bike Rentals & Gear Bear Valley Bicycles

  • Bear Valley Adventure Company – Bear Valley, CA

  • Bear Valley Bicycles – Arnold, CA

  • Mountain Aloha MTB Co. – Avery, CA

  • Mountain Pedaler –

Calaveras Cycling Events – March March 5, 2023 – Copper Valley Circuit Race The Copperopolis Road Race is a Velo Promo bicycle race. The circuit is just under 21 miles long, begins in Milton at its westernmost point, and winds around Salt Springs Valley Reservoir near Copperopolis on its easternmost point. This California classic is known as the Paris-Roubaix of California. Depending on your category, the race is 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 circuits. The scenery is gorgeous, but the roads are rough. Be sure to have everything tightened on your bike, and you’ll want thick tires.

March 19, 2023 – Ride & Walk 4 Art The Calaveras Art Council’s annual Ride & Walk4 Art event is a bicycle ride and walk event at New Hogan Lake near Valley Springs, CA that raises funds for Calaveras youth. Tickets include event participation, music, art show, and food. March in lower Calaveras County is lush, green and beautiful! Get in on the action in a warm, laid back atmosphere when you join us for Calaveras County Arts Council’s 4th annual Ride & Walk4 Art, a bicycle ride and walk to raise funds for the Arts in Education program. While Ride and Walk4 Art is not a race; it is known among past participants as the best local bike and walk event. In the last two years this great event has enriched Calaveras youth through revenue for watercolor classes, collage instruction, ceramic classes, and school murals. Accepting no more than 290 participants—250 cyclists and 40 walkers (making this an intimate ride with a community vibe) you’ll traverse rolling California foothills along roads that rarely see cars, past scenic views of oak forests and pastoral meadows and the blue waters of three reservoirs. Getting out in the sunshine to enjoy a sensational lunch, fresh air, and the friendly community atmosphere you’ll be helping the children of Calaveras County simply by having fun. Now that sounds like a great way to spend a day in Calaveras County! View Ride and Walk4 Art ticket pricing, sign-up or learn more here.

Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride has three routes to challenge and enchant bicycle riders. The shortest, the San Domingo Road route is only 21 miles, but you’ll bicycle through some of the best of rural Calaveras County and the California foothills. After a short ride through the sweet neighborhoods of Murphys, you’ll bicycle out Sheep Ranch Road. Just downhill from Mercer Caverns, you’ll make a left turn to catch San Domingo Road. San Domingo Road comprises gravel, dirt, and old funky paving, making this an exciting ride for adventurous cyclists on mountain bikes or road bikes, and even e-bikes. The narrow, rarely traveled back road descends through gorgeous territory. You’ll cycle through the historic Stevenot Vineyards (now the Rorick Heritage Vineyards) tucked into San Domingo Valley, but soon the road becomes more wild. You’ll pass under ancient oak forests and over untouched rangeland. Occasionally you’ll see the remnants of houses and barns, but mostly it will be just you, other cyclists, and a few wild turkeys or squirrels. Be aware that cell phone service is spotty along Calaveras County’s back country roads. Recharge with water and snacks at the quick stop on the corner of San Domingo Road and Dogtown Road before you start climbing out of the San Domingo Creek valley. The ascent is worth it as you crest the ridge and vistas open up to the west. Take some time to take in the view. It’s amazing. Dogtown Road gradually becomes more civilized. You’ll pass ranches and farms that gradually become the residential areas on the outskirts of Angels Camp. A sharp left at Country Lane will take you under Highway 4, then left at the high school to Murphys Grade Road. Murphys Grade Road is the back road return to Murphys. It’s wide, well paved, and used by locals, so be aware of cars and trucks on the road. You’ll be climbing nearly the whole way through range land and up a forested valley along Angels Creek. Watch for the historic wooden File Flume that carries water to Angels Camp. You’ll finish your ride through Murphys historic downtown back to Feeney Park.

Calaveras Cycling Events – July July 15, 2023 – Death Ride Challenge yourself to the premier cycling event in California. The route offers over 14,000′ of climbing, 103 miles, and up to six (6) HC Alpine climbs. This ride is sure to challenge you, inspire you, and leave you wanting more. Located in the stunning California Alps, the Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride® course covers the traditional five mountain passes. This challenging course includes climbing both sides of Monitor Pass, both sides of Ebbetts Pass, and the final climb up the east side of Carson Pass. Cyclists will register and finish at Turtle Rock Park, located two miles north of Markleeville, CA. Calaveras Cycling Events – August August 27, 2023 – Ebbetts Pass Century Ride A grueling, yet exhilarating 100-mile century ride begins and ends in the scenic alpine village of Bear Valley at 7100 feet on Highway 4. Riders embark on some of the best cycling terrain in the Sierra Nevada with breathtaking vistas, challenging climbs and thrilling descents. Highlights – 100 miles with 10,250 feet of climbing, well-stocked support stations and a post-ride meal. Some of the best cycling terrain in California. The event includes four different scenic rides: 100-mile Ebbetts Pass Century, 65-mile Bear Valley Metric Century, 50-mile Bear Valley Half Century, and the 25-mile Stanislaus Quarter Century. Check in with Bear Valley Adventure Company for more details.

Motherlode Bicycling Coalition Join the Motherlode Bicycling Coalition to get social while enjoying bike rides in Calaveras County year round. Whether a first time visitor to the region, or well experienced with Calaveras’ most enjoyable cycling routes, you’ll love connecting with this free bicycle organization. Offering warm and laid back social rides for cycling enthusiasts in some of Calaveras’ most beautiful cycling destinations, get the inside scoop on Calaveras’ cycling enthusiast scene with the people who know Calaveras bike routes the best!

Mountain Biking – Next Level Adventure New Melones Mountain Bike Trail wildflowers I Courtesy of Instagrammer @geopedlerIf mountain biking is your thing, Calaveras does not disappoint. Choose from alpine biking, sierra trails, and lake trails to that dose of adrenaline pumping. Watch this video mountain biking in Bear Valley to get a little taste of the divine…

Skyline Bear Valley Resort The resort opened two mountain biking trails, both accessible by a highspeed chair lift recently outfitted with bike carriers. More than four miles of trails integrate berms, bank turns, tabletops, and other features mountain bikers expect on a proper biking trail. The new trails integrate the existing trails throughout Bear Valley and create a complete loop between the Bear Valley Lodge and the Village. “The Central Sierras are an up-and-coming mountain biking scene, every weekend we see more and more bikers in the valley; our new lift access trails give enthusiasts a fuller experience.,” commented Tim Schimke, director of operations at the resort. Also opening is a skills park for people to hone their abilities before heading up the mountain. High-end equipment, including Norco mountain bikes and e-bikes are available to rent, on a first-come-serve basis. The trails on the Bear Valley eastern slope operate on a year-round special use permit from the Stanislaus National Forest Service and require a lift ticket to access. Tickets can be purchased at the resort. For more information visit Arnold Rim Trail says, “While I highly recommend this ride, the climbs from either direction to Manuel Peak are face-punchers. Out from the Museum @ about 3.5 miles you’ll hit ‘The Beast’: +500ft in 1/4 mile and HAB for most. Not as bad in the other direction.” The Arnold Rim Trail (ART) is a unique trail system at mid-elevation in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. A non-motorized trail system designed for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, it connects the many wonders of public lands along the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway stretch of Hwy 4 to its communities, creating a high level of access for its residents and visitors. You’ll discover breathtaking vistas with panoramic views stretching from Mt. Diablo in the East Bay Area to snowy Mt. Lyell on the high eastern slopes of the Sierras near Yosemite, then dive down into canyons with streams coursing through the shade of older growth forests of cedar, pine, fir and oak. High rocky promontories, native acorn grinding rocks, a magnificent waterfall, many birds and wildlife of all kinds, and a lake lie along its current completed section in the part of the Stanislaus National Forest known as the Interface.

New Hogan Reservoir – Coyote Point Trail describes the trail as “The trail is relatively flat with a mix of narrow rocky single track followed by some narrow smooth single track. Trail has a great flow with even mix of uphills and downhills, trail is very narrow in places adding to the sensation of riding through a tunnel of brush (great on the downhills).” In the spring, this is a great trail will ride through the California poppies, lupine, and other Calaveras wildflowers in perfect temps typically ranging 70 to 80 degrees. Something Different

Waranerosa Bike Park in Murphys – Bring the whole family! Waranerosa offers 40 miles of unique private mountain bike trails in Murphys, CA. Experience Waranerosa mountain retreat’s private guided mountain bike tour from owners, Dustin and Kim Waraner. The morning starts with a 2-3 hour mountain bike adventure through 80 acres of private mountain biking trails. Enjoy nature’s beauty and magnificent views during this unique behind-the-scenes experience with expert guides to teach, advise, and share their private outdoor passion with like minded enthusiasts. Watch this video of the fun they are having at Waranerosa!

Want to spend the night?! Click here to see their vacation rentals at the mountain retreat!

Frogtown Classic BMX Days – September 8 – 10, 2023


BikeValleytoSierra is featuring California Alps Cycling to update cyclists about news of the 2023 Deathride and other related happenings in Markleeville, California.

Mark Schwartz, Bike Advocate and Co- Founder of California Alps Cycling

ADVOCACY. It’s THE reason we (Mrs. California Alps and I) founded California Alps Cycling. Not just for cycling and cyclists, or mountain biking and gravelleurs, but for the all of those that are Alpine; or wish to be Alpine, if only for a little while.

SURE, our primary mission is to “spread the gospel of cycling, all types of cycling,” yet it’s also about stewardship of the Sierra; helping to ensure that we, and others, have skin in the game, if you will.

CHAMPIONING for the area has become a passion. One that I’m reminded of everytime I ride a bike, or go fishing, or hunting, or birding.

Caltrans District 10 Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)

AFTER five (5) meetings we’re getting to know each other better and our relationships are getting stronger. The committee, comprised of members of the public from the eight (8) counties in District 10: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne, and Caltrans staff, has had productive conversations about rumble strips, how they effect cyclists and potential alternatives.

WE’VE begun exploring bicycle event permits, how they’re handled and the financial impact they have on the mostly non-profit local groups that host these events, including

THERE have been frank conversations about unsafe intersections in Stockton (for pedestrians) and missed stretches of sweeping on some highways within the district. The Caltrans Team has been oh so gracious, and inviting of the criticism.

COMMITTEE Chair, Charles Carroll, has been instrumental, at one point reaching out to me to set up a meeting with leadership and legal, so we can continue exploring the idea of allowing bike and pedestrian (including wheelchair) access to Ebbett’s Pass or Monitor Pass, here in Alpine Co., after the roads are plowed but before they’re open to vehicles.

YOSEMITE does something similar on Tioga Pass most years and I’ve had exchanges with their team to learn more about how they do it.

WE still have a few things to work through/understand: liability, is one example, the possible use of permits, another.

THANK you Caltrans. We’re building bridges, and we’re all being heard.

The Deathride Is In Excellent Hands…Again

YOURS truly moved up here to Markleeville because of the Deathride. Since that fateful day in the fall of 2016 I’ve ridden in it three (3) times, doing all the climbs once. I joined the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce board back in 2019 because of the ride. For those who are not aware, the Chamber owns and operates (with a LOT OF HELP) this one of kind ride.

I’m currently the Board President, and along with my fellow “Boarders” – we all volunteer – and our amazing manager, Meghan, with institutional knowledge (and assurance) provided by our former Executive Director, Becky DeForest, we’ve begun working on this year’s ride. Professionals are the name of the game and so we’ve again inked a deal with Corey Bolton, last year’s Ride Director, to fufill the same role this year! We’re also very excited to have Di Bolton, the other half of the Bolton Team, taking on the role of Logistics and Volunteer Coordinator. We’re blessed to have these two fine individuals (key members of Curtis Fong’s Bike The West Team for many years) as leaders of ours.

MICHAEL Bayer, who’s headed up Alta Alpina Cycling Club’s (AACC) Alta Alpina Challenge for many years, and was part of some of the original AACC Deathride teams, has been instrumental too, and is guiding us on so many levels this year.

SPEAKING of Alta Alpina, the Club is hosting a training series this year. You can register for it when you register for the ride. For a nominal fee you can get some training in with these local experts so be sure to take advantage!

VOLUNTEERS, including our intrepid Kate Harvey, Boy Scouts, and more, help complete the team. Pacific Grade will again be the double-feature this year. We had such great feedback from riders regarding the course last year so it was a no-brainer for the 2023 ride.

Blue, green? Samples of some of the artwork we’re considering for the 2023 Deathride logo.

OVER 600 riders have already registered and we’re grateful. Check out the website for more information.

We Continue to Adopt

HARD to believe it’s been five (5) years of pickin’ but it has. Holy detritus, Batman!

WELL, the work will continue for another five; we’ve just renewed our commitment to toiling on the turnpike. Not much work to be done presently, though, due to so much snow on the highway. Dang.

Coming Soon To Alpine County

THE Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has received proposals for six (6) projects and we’re looking forward to reviewing them. From wayfinding to “Camping Like a Pro,” we’ve got some good juju focused on our local forests. Check out this recent post for more on the RAC.

MARKLEEVILLE’S water company, known as the Markleeville Water Company (who’d a thunk it?), on which I volunteer on the board, and am our webmaster, is hoping to finally get things flowing on a major project this spring. We’ve been working with the state for some time now on a grant to replace the core of our infrastructure, with new water lines for the town and surrounding residences. Timing is key because after that project, comes another for the town.

HOT Springs Road repaving would be it. The partial redo of one of the two (2) main roads in town, this one on the way to Grover Hot Springs State Park, will give us some buttery pavement on which to walk (and ride) and some wider shoulders to do it on.

SPEAKING of Grover…While the hot springs themselves are doing what they have for thousands of years, the infrastructure that funnels that hot, mineral-rich water into a walled pool, is not. CAMPING is open on a first-come, first-served basis, and will continue to be, including for the Deathride, but the plumbing (among other things) is in need of repair and a start date is unknown at this point. WE continue to communicate with the state, and fingers crossed we’ll come up with a solution soon. BRIDGES? We’ve got bridges. And we’re working on them. Well technically it’s Caltrans and their contractors that are but we’ll reap the rewards. There are approximately five (5) in the county that are on the list, a couple of which have been started, including the bridge just south of town and the one on Highway 4 near Silver Creek. LAST, but definitely not least, is the Arts and Culture initiative. Our former District 1 Supervisor, and Club-Mom, January Riddle, is heading up the effort. Our mentor, and sponsor, Arts and Culture El Dorado, has been instrumental in guiding us and will continue to be our partner. Work has begun on a tentative program to kick things off, and the team is forming its board and getting ready to file that “(c)(3) paperwork” with the state and the Feds. THESE last few years have been a bit of a wild ride here in the heart of the California Alps. HEY, the rest of the world has been experiencing its challenges too. IT’S not just us. It’s all of us. NONETHELESS, while we may still be grieving a bit over what was lost in the Tamamarack Fire, and the ensuing natural disasters that followed, we are NOT WALLOWING. In fact, as you have read, we’re rising! MORE surprises are in store so stay involved and keep visiting, especially this spring and summer. We’ve got a good one (or ones) queued up for you!

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