The 2017 annual Park to Park Pedal, sponsored by the Nevada State Parks, took place Oct. 14, beginning and ending at Kershaw-Ryan State Park outside Caliente.
The ride is also known as the Extreme 100 because the longest course is a little over 100 miles and includes visits to four of the five state parks within the county including Cathedral Gorge, Spring Valley, and Echo Canyon. However, for those who preferred something less adventurous, there was a 60 and a 40-mile course.
Whichever route a rider took, bikers had the opportunity to enjoy miles of scenic beauty along Nevada’s first Scenic Byway, U.S. Highway 93. All riders went past the 1920’s mission-style railroad depot in Caliente. Some headed up the highway to the historic mining town of Pioche, even going by the famed Million Dollar Courthouse and the Thompson’s Opera House.
Event originator Dawn Andone, a state park interpreter, said she, Cody Tingey, and Jonathan Brunges started this ride in 2010. She said about 150 riders came this year, “down a little from past years, but some folks called and said they could not come for various reasons. About half of the riders this year were first-timers.”
The reason for having the annual ride, Andone explained, is because “We love to bring people to the community to see what we have to offer and to experience our great county. We like to make it a family-oriented affair, just a lot of fun.”
Suzanne and Tom Wion from Carson City said they came to the Park to Park Pedal because the ride they had planned this weekend got canceled due to the wildfires in the Sonoma, California area. “We had the time set aside, so we looked on the Internet and found this event and wanted to come over and see the area.”
Tom said, “We have always wondered if we would be able to get to this area, and this weekend it turned out to be so.”
A number of the riders came over the day before and stayed overnight at the campground at Kershaw-Ryan in RVs or tents.
Gary Strabala of Las Vegas, who has participated in the Gravel Grinder ride in June a couple of times, but not the Park to Park Pedal, said he came for the 100-miler. “I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful Nevada scenery. It’s been a long time since I’ve been up to Pioche or Spring Valley.”
County District Attorney Daniel Hooge and deputy attorney Franklin Katschke also rode in the Extreme 100. He said, “It’s a challenge, something I have never done before, just want to say I did it. We’ve been practicing, 25-30 mile rides in training a couple of times a week.”
Park Ranger Andrew Porter said, “All the parks in the local area are in this together, helping provide what is needed at each of the relief stations along the routes. I like to see all these people come out. A great time to see Kershaw-Ryan with the fall colors. It gives people who might not normally come to the parks a chance to come out and see Lincoln County’s finest parks.”
Joanna Piette, a Las Vegas real estate company owner and president of a non-profit cycling team founded last year, Breakaway Cycling, sponsored in part by Station Casinos, brought about eight or nine of the team members for the first time in the 100-mile event, although some did the shorter routes.
She said Breakaway Cycling is a charity cycling team in the Vegas valley, “a 501(c)3. We do a ton of community charity work for children. We give away bicycles to underprivileged kids as well as bicycle and safety education for the kids. Today, we expect to see a lot of beautiful trees and flowers and stuff I don’t get to see in the desert every day.”
Andone said riders for the Park to Park Pedal “have been as young as 11 and as old as 80. One family even came from Texas one year because they had family in the local area they were visiting. Another person came all the way from Vermont one time.”