We had an amazing ride this weekend!
Our first gathering was at Outback Steakhouse in Gold River for pre-registration on Friday night. Those that could make it picked up their tshirts and jerseys and signed the necessary waviers. This event gave participants the opportunity to get the business out of the way to make room for all the fun of the next couple days.
In the morning, registration opened at 630 at Negro Bar State Park.
We hung out and ate from a huge spread provided by Sodexo/University Dining Services and many of their partners, in fact all the food at both breakfasts and all the rest stops was provided by these folks. Sodexo partners include: Kellogg's, Fresh Point, General Mills, Nature Valley, Dasani, Naked Juice, Kashi, Yoplait, Sysco, Powerade, Coca Cola, Clif Bar, Heinz, McCain, Mission, Pepperidge Farm, John Morrell, Michael Foods, Gatorade, Dawn Food Product, Bimbo Bakeries.
After some safety and logistics information, the 2 dayers left for their uphill 50 mile trek between 730 and 8am. The 25 milers left between 10 and 1030 and the 10 milers left between 1030 and 11.
The 25 mile route started out with a gradual incline to the top of the dam and featured a rest stop at Beal's point right on the lake before it took off and winded through some country roads and a subpision on Oak Hill. Oak Hill was the tough climb on the 25 mile route but everyone made it!
The 10 mile route looped around Lake Natoma and was set up for the whole family which proved to be a great feature of this event.
Above: Dylan (left) and Jason Helms. The Helms family came from Montana to join the fun and support FARA who is working to find treatments and a cure for Dylan and many others.
The 10 mile route also included a pedicab which allowed FAers to join the ride with the assistance of an able bodied rider.
Above: Brianne Konanz rides with the rest of the team including her sister Cheri, Dad Paul and Brother-in-law Doug.
The pedicabs were a great addition to a great day and were loaned to us by the Folsom Area Bicycle Associates (FABA), thank you! We hope to expand the pedicab initiative to other rides and more pedicabs in the future!
After the 10 and 25 mile routes, the participants enjoyed a much deserved lunch catered by Outback Steakhouse.
The two day 100 mile route was amazing, and much of the credit must be given to Mother Nature. We had a beautiful ride that winded through country roads, across rivers and UP MOUNTAINS! There's no doubt it was a tough ride with 5,000 feet of climbing the first day and 3,000 feet the second day. Many people were under the impression that the second day would be all down hill...not so. The second day had much less climbing but every hill was super steep (perhaps everything just seemed steep because we were on the second of two tough days).
Regardless of the difficulty everyone had a great time challenging themselves and we all felt very supported with plenty of vehicle support and fully stocked rest stops.
On Saturday night we all gathered in the Northern Mines building at the Nevada County Fairgrounds and enjoyed ribs, chicken, potatoes, vegetables and cake catered by Outback Steakhouse while we listened to speeches by Lisa Swarthout (Mayor of Grass Valley), Steve Davis (Bicycle Recycle Program), Me, and Jen Farmer (Executive Director of FARA). The evening was very powerful because it allowed over 200 people to sit down and enjoy each other in unity for a great cause.
After the banquet, everyone either retreated to their tent or gathered on the hill for a campfire. I slept outside under the stars and Mother Nature provided me with perfect sleeping conditions.
In the morning (Sunday Morning) we gathered for breakfast once again provided by Sodexo/University Dining Services and their partners while we were packing up tents and gathering gear to go in the luggage trailer. At that time we also gathered for a group photo which was truly amazing.
When I was first diagnosed with FA, my family and I felt very alone, we had no idea what the future would hold and to experience all these people gathering to support the cause was an amazing thing. We are all in this together! Thank you, friends.
While we had everyone together we paid a little attention to Team FARA in Race Across America. Starting June 12, the guys pictured below (Right to left: Me, John Lockwood, Sean Baumstark, Mike Mellott) will ride 3,000 miles from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD in less than 9 days. Learn more at and track our progress at teamfara.blogspot.com or watch the trailer for our documentary at theataxian.com.
After the group photo we took off for our second day on the road.
The ride Ataxia NorCal Team consisted of 200 riders and 75 volunteers who helped raise $100,000 for a disease that has no treatment, no cure, no hope...until now.
Thank you once again to Outback Steakhouse for the support at lunch and dinner. Thanks to our jersey sponsors, Edison Pharmaceuticals and Brown and Caldwell and thank you to our rest stop suppliers and volunteers including Sodexo, Kellogg's, Fresh Point, General Mills, Nature Valley, Dasani, Naked Juice, Kashi, Yoplait, Sysco, Powerade, Coca Cola, Clif Bar, Heinz, McCain, Mission, Pepperidge Farm, John Morrell, Michael Foods, Gatorade, Dawn Food Product, Bimbo Bakeries.
See you next year!