In this Adventure of the Week, Tahoe City resident Laura Read takes us north to Sierra Valley for the Tour de Manure. Don’t let the name fool you, this quirky bike ride doesn’t stink.
WHO: Laura Read, Debbie Kelly-Hogan, Toni Rockwell, Colleen Conners-Pace, Diane Pang, Jojo Toeppner, Gerald Rockwell, Carl Toeppner and 200 other bicycle riders from Nevada and California
WHERE: Sierra Valley, California
WHEN: The second weekend every June (this coming weekend!)
WHY IT’S SO EPIC: It is gorgeous, it is a gentle ride and it has great food at the finish-line party. Sierra Valley is like a little Montana. Turn north on Highway 89 from Truckee and drive back in time 30 or 50 years. The historic ranching communities were settled by the Italian-Swiss during the Gold Rush and are still operated by Maddelenas, Pasquettis and other founding families. Streams and meadows surrounding the ranches form habitat for red-wing and yellow-headed blackbirds as well as prehistoric-looking sandhill cranes, who nest in the valley every spring.
And then there’s the Tour. Unlike the agro century rides hosted all over the Northern Sierra that boast big mountain climbs, this is a gentle tour covering mostly flat terrain. It offers a 30-mile route and a 42-mile route, so it’s a great event for first-time tour riders and families to do together. The Tour is a fundraiser for the Sierraville Fire and Rescue Department, a volunteer outfit that spends its summers pulling crashed motorcyclists out of ditches, aiding people with medical emergencies and responding to forest and house fires. But the Tour is also a showcase for the quirky, enduring little businesses in the valley, including Los Dos Hermanos and the Red Pony in Sierraville When Pigs Fly BBQ, Pasquetti’s Silver Eagle Catering and Vicki’s Blue Moon Bakery in Loyalton.
What I love the most about the Tour de Manure is the camaraderie among riders. There aren’t thousands of riders, just a few hundred. Add to that the beauty, the fun party and the outrageous “charging bull” T-shirt that all riders receive, and you’ve got an event that is my absolute favorite.
The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb or Northern California bike tour) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.