By Kathryn Reed
Finally, a bike ride just for you.
At least that’s the thinking of the Alta Alpina Cycling Club as it stages the inaugural Riding the Wild Sierra on June 13.
The day is really three rides in one. One is billed as Build Your Own Challenge. Cyclists may design their own ride by choosing from several Sierra passes to pedal up and down. Another option is through the club’s website, the ride consulting team will create a course based on a rider’s desires, experience and mileage target.
For those who want to push themselves, the 8 Pass Challenge is the ticket. Half of the ride is above 7,000 feet. During the approximately 200 miles, cyclists will climb about 20,300 feet.
“It’s what we believe is the world’s hardest double century,” said Michael Bayer, ride director.
Kingsbury Grade, Luther Pass, Carson Pass, Blue Lakes Road, Ebbetts (there and back) and Monitor (up and back) account for the eight passes.
A less rigorous ride that may be enjoyed by novices and families is the Kid Carson Challenge. It comes in 7-, 16- and 27-mile options.
“Part of our mission as a club is to promote cycling,” Bayer said. That’s one reason the group is putting together the multi-event ride.
Alta Alpina, which has about 300 members throughout the Lake, Carson and Markleeville areas, had partnered with the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce for about 18 years to put on the Death Ride. That relationship ended two years ago.
Bayer said the chamber ended the relationship and won’t help promote the club’s Riding the Wild Sierra, even though it starts and ends at Turtle Rock Park in Alpine County.
Teresa Burkhauser, executive director with the Alpine chamber, begs to differ. She says the riding club wanted out of the Death Ride and has not kept the chamber in the loop about the new ride.
The 29-year-old Death Ride, at a capacity of 3,000 riders, is sold-out. It’s the chamber’s main fund-raiser, as well as a key source of income for the nonprofits associated with the ride.
Alta Alpina relied on the Death Ride as its main funding source for cycling programs. The goal is to have Riding the Wild Sierra grow into a profitable endeavor.
Cycling season is definitely here. America’s Most Beautiful Ride (www.bikethewest.com) was June 7, Riding the Wild Sierra (www.altaalpina.org) is June 13, Death Ride (www.deathride.com) is July 11, Tour de Tahoe (www.bikethewest.com) is Sept. 13, and Great Lake Tahoe Cycle Race (www.laketahoemarathon.com) is Sept. 26.