The annual Tour de Manure Metric Century in Sierra Valley celebrates its fifth year on Saturday, June 15.
The Tour welcomes all people looking for a bit of weekend fun — not just cyclists, but also anyone who wants to enjoy some barbecue tri-tip and chicken, some foot-stomping tunes and a browse along Sierraville’s commercial row.
The Tour was launched five years ago by volunteers at the Sierraville Fire and Rescue Department to raise funds for training and equipment, and also to showcase the town and bring people into the valley.
“It’s a really fun event for the whole valley,” said Tour Boss Tami McCollum. “We’ve grown from 150 riders our first year to 401 last year. We have a big party that’s really popular at the finish line, serving food from local restaurants like Los Dos Hermanos, and from a local catering company, Pasquetti’s Silver Eagle Catering. Sierra County Supervisor Paul Roen barbecues the tri-tip for us.”
The Tour’s name came along when firefighters put their heads together to think of something fun. “First we thought of “Cowpokes and Spokes,” said Doug Read, Tour founder. “But when we were thinking about how all the cows are coming home from the Central Valley in the spring, and how there are cow pies on the road from the cattle trucks, we thought of Tour de Manure.
“People love the name. When we put up flyers in bike shops in Reno, Tahoe City, Carson City, Truckee and all around, the shop owners get big grins when they see us coming. They all know about the Tour.”
The ride offers three planned routes, all beginning at the Sierraville fire station and heading east on Highway 89/49.
At Sattley, the route turns north onto A-23. The 62-mile version goes all the way to Highway 70, turns right through Beckwourth, and then, after a few miles, turns right off the highway onto the quieter road of A-24. Then the course zigzags among the ranchlands and Feather River headwaters before entering Loyalton, where it gains a hill on an out-and-back scenic tour of Sierra Brooks before rolling over gentle terrain back to Sierraville.
The 45-mile route turns right from A-23 at Marble Hot Springs Road to enter the valley’s stretches of creeks and marshes, then meets up in Loyalton with the longer route.
The 30-mile route is a simple out-and-back along historic Highway 49 between Sierraville and Loyalton. Check out the map and details at sierravillefireandrescue.com, or the Tour de Manure registration page at active.com.
SAG wagons guided by the trusty Sierraville fire and rescue crew will cruise around to help anyone needing extra water, a flat-tire fix, or a helping hand, McCollum said.
For the fifth year, Tahoma resident and musician Michael Hogan and his band will welcome the weary cyclists to the finish line. This year, Calpine musicians Art Franco and Jan Drummond will also be on stage. The always-filling Tour de Manure menu is available for $15 for anyone who doesn’t register for the tour.
The bike ride fee is $50 until June 7 and $60 starting June 8. Registrations are taken in person on Tour day, but the organizers ask people to register ahead so they can calculate food. Registrants receive a T-shirt, meal and party, SAG wagon support, and pit-stop food and drink.
Register at www.active.com. (Enter “Tour de Manure 2013” into the search engine.) Or pick up registration forms at a bike shop in Truckee, Tahoe City or Reno, or in Sierraville.
The Tour starts between 8 and 9 a.m. at the Sierraville firehouse.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a bunch of firefighters who don’t ride bicycles putting on a fun event for people who love to ride,” Read said.