Today, I rode in the Ride For A Reason with a group of other cyclists from work.
This was the first time I have done this ride and wasn’t sure what to expect. All I heard was that it was a great way to spend a half day on a bike while supporting some very worthwhile charities. With the focus on improving the lives of those fighting Parkinson’s disease and cancer, the RFAR benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation,Livestrong, UC Davis Cancer Center and Triumph Fitness Program.
As bike rides go, I wouldn’t normally have done this one. Driving almost 60 miles to do a ride less than that has always been an unofficial no-no in my book. I enjoy riding centuries out on the open road. The ride, however, was absolutely worth it.
This ride was a party from the start. The start line was at Nimbus Flat at Lake Natoma. There was great food and drinks and tons of raffle prizes. They were giving away bikes to the top fundraisers and had other great prizes. The cool things was that you could buy raffle tickets for $1 and put them into whatever drawings you wanted to. The general raffle had some of the best giveaways, including 4 pairs of Oakley Livestrong Jawbone sunglasses. The ride started at 8 AM and the ride was a 12-mile loop along the beautiful American River bike trail.
Along the route were great themed rest stops with more food, drinks and prizes. At the Beale Point rest stop I took my chance at horseshoes and won a couple of small prizes. With each stop I also got more tickets to enter in the raffle. The volunteers (there must have been hundreds) were arguably the most energetic and friendly group of volunteers I have ever seen at a ride!
After the first loop, including Beale Point, I went around the circuit two more times. Lunch at the end was better than at any other ride I’ve done: bar-b-qued steak and chicken, caesar salad and rice from The Outback Steakhouse. Of course, I was hungry, but I wasn’t there to eat. I wanted to win something. Before the raffle winners were announced, John Crews, the owner of Bicycles Plus in Folsom, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, gave a very touching speech. He got choked up a little and it was then I realized the power of this ride. My eyes welled up as he thanked the organizers, volunteers and riders. I didn’t win anything in the raffle but it was still a lot of fun to see everyone else win great prizes.
In the end, I logged 44.4 miles and had an awesome time. The big difference with this ride was the fact that none of it was on the open road. That was nice because of lack of car traffic. It was challenging at times because of the amount of other bikes and joggers out on the trail. On the other hand, it was so cool seeing families out on the ride and everyone was cautious and careful. I will definitely be doing this ride again next year!
I did take a few pictures. Check them out here.