This year’s event, last Saturday, drew the largest crowds they have had in the four years it has been held.
Event coordinator Dawn Andone said between 350-400 people from a number of southwest states were at the event, and a few others even as far away as Illinois and Texas. All the rides, either 40, 60 or 100-miles, started and finished at Kershaw-Ryan State Park.
“We had 180 registered riders, a lot of new ones, too,” she said, plus many friends and family who came along for the fun of it and to enjoy the beauties of Lincoln County.
“One man,” Andone said, “was vacationing here from Colorado, didn’t know the event was happening, saw our advertisement, said he was a cyclist, and asked was there still room to enter. There was, and he had a good time doing something different from his original plan.”
All the Caliente motels were full on Friday night with riders and many stayed Saturday after the ride. Both Cathedral Gorge and Kershaw Ryan State Parks were full. At Kershaw, they had to double up and put campers into overflow. There were riders who stayed at the Overland Hotel in Pioche also.
Andone said, “The Farm Bureau did a wonderful job cooking for us this year- their pulled pork dinner was a huge hit! We had salad with the fixings grown locally by Blue Lizard. One of our cyclists, Larry Stoner, made Dutch oven cobbler which was devoured because it was so good.”
Andone gave special credit to the locals who volunteered their time to help on Saturday. “There’s no way we could possibly put this on without volunteers, some who started at 6 a.m. and worked until 7 p.m.”
One report of the great help given involved a rider who shredded a tire at mile 70, he was so impressed and said his ride was saved when one of the support vehicles stopped to help and pulled out a new tire. “He just couldn’t believe it,” Andone said. “He was able to finish the whole 100 miles because of it.”
She added, “All of the riders say the same, that the volunteers, the staff, and the community, always make them feel so welcome. It’s just like a big family when they come up here. Some have been here all four years and we’ve gotten to know them a little bit. Like one huge family. We are told year after year that this ride is the best supported of any ride they have ever done. The community and all the volunteers and staff make them feel so welcome.”
She said one rider, Calvin Hackwell, commented he and his wife and two kids, who come every year, said, “It’s just like coming home to family – with the family you like.”