Wear a helmet. Ride at your own risk. Obey the rules of the road. Bring a pump, tube and tools. Be courteous towards your fellow riders and the public.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stuart Thompson - 1997

Growing up in Southern California, I was a distance runner, specializing in events from 1 to 3 miles.  My mile time was 4:26, and my 3 mile time was 15:05.  But I used to watch the Tour de France on television in the mid-1980s, and always loved it.  So, in 1997, at the age of 30, I decided to take up cycling, mostly because it related to the sport that I most enjoyed watching on television.  About a month after buying my first racing bike, which really wasn't much of a bike, I discovered the river ride, by accident.  I was out riding in the area one Saturday morning and saw the group, and tried to tag along. I wasn't able to keep up from more than the warm-up, but I loved how large the peloton.

Being a newbie in that group was really something you never wanted to be, but everybody had to start at some point or another.  Although almost no one wanted to be caught talking to a newbie, there were a few other guys at the back of the pack who seemed reasonably friendly.

So, I was hooked. Every Saturday I would show up and try to hang on to the pack as long as I could.  Each week I managed to stay with a pack a little bit longer, but I never made my way beyond the back of the pack, for the most part.

I was glad to progress, if you could call it that, from a Cat 5 to a 4.  Some of my best friends at the back of the back, at that time, where Kirt Mason and Andy Gomez.  Actually, those guys were pretty solid riders, at least in my opinion, and they had the strength to mix it up on occasion, including with some of the more decent riders in the group.

The warm-up portion of the ride was, of course, for a rider like me, one of the more enjoyable parts of the ride.  I was able to hang on, because it was only warm.  I enjoyed talking to Jason about Pro cycling, even if I was sure that I wasn't following unwritten protocol by talking to a well-established rider like him.

My friends and I greatly enjoyed watching the faster riders in the group, and we tried to emulate them as much as we could, of course.
Some of the most interesting riders to watch during the rides included, of course, John Brady, Chuck, Chad, Chris Baumann, Mike Sayers, Jason Brown, Vince Gee.  One of My friends knew many of those guys much better than I ever did, and often had stories to share about their amazing feats of strength and occasional misadventures on a bicycle.   Whether all of the stories that were shared with me were true or not, I can't vouch for sure, but I certainly believed them.  Some of the stories centered around the massive gears that Brady used, or how Chucky could solo outfront even in terrible conditions.  I myself witnessed some of these events, so I know that there was at least a grain of truth to much of the legend it made its way to those of us at the back of the pack.

I liked to see the teamwork that took place on the rides.  For example, during the Sierra Nevada year or years, you might see Chuck go out on a breakaway, or Chris Baumann, only see to see the Peloton catch those guys in the last half-mile, all the while towing to the front the eventual sprint winner John Brady.

I would roughly estimate that I was able to do 40 to 45 of these weekly rides each year for approximately four years.  If the ride got rained out on a Saturday, it actually made me more than slightly depressed for that week.

After we passed Chevy's restaurant on the river, I sometimes liked to solo off the front, just to see if I would ever get a reaction, but I usually didn't, because, let's be honest, who really cares about a category 4 rider, because you know that they're going to come back to the pack very quickly.  However, on occasion, I might have the good fortune of finding others wanting to break away at the beginning of the ride.  Would always try to do at least my fair share of the polls, even if it meant that I would get dropped sooner than my quixotic breakaway companions.

One of my favorite memories of the ride was one foggy morning when Julie Young, who then rode for Saturn, had come out for the ride.  I had gone to the front by myself, even though I'm sure that most people didn't notice, and those who were paying attention at the start would pretend not to notice a rider of my nominal ability.  On the particular day that I remember, Julie also decided that she wanted to get the ride going early.  She actually didn't seem to mind that I tried to work with her.  Remember latching onto her wheel and trying to hang on, even though her totally aerodynamic tuck left me still almost fully in the wind, or so it seemed to me.  She was nice enough to let me take a few turns at the front, and after awhile the peloton noticed that we were managing to stay away for perhaps a mile or two.  We knew that we were being chased, but we did not want to let the pack catch us too easily, so we started trying to stay away.  Anyway, despite her strong riding, which was probably just normal tempo for her, we were caught within what I'm sure was still a relatively short distance.  but being in that brief break away helped me the name in the pack all the way to the County Line Sprint.

Well, it was a true privilege to be part of this group for at least a few years, and even though I got taken down by someone's dropped water bottle during a brief 2010 return to the weekly peloton, I still think about getting back out there someday.  Maybe I will.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to ride safely in a group in the city - by Baltimore Bike Party

 Here are a few riding rules to keep us all safe!
1) Know the route.  If the group ahead of you makes a turn while your group is waiting at an intersection, it’s important to be able to know where to go.  We will be posting the route earlier in the month along with turn-by-turn directions that you can print out and bring with you on the ride.  We will still have ride guides throughout the party, but it’s best to have an idea of the route yourself just in case!
2) If you come up on vehicles stopped at an intersection (or anywhere there might be condensed vehicle traffic), stop behind the cars.  Think of your chunk of bike party as ONE big vehicle that has to stay behind the cars ahead of it.
Do not begin to filter through the cars.  This is a dangerous move in a group.  Sure you might be able to cut in front of the car(s) but the 80 people behind you might not be able to.  This runs the risk of having someone stuck next to a car in their blind spot when the light changes, and even more so splits your group into 2 with cars in the middle!  Just stick behind the traffic and stay together in a mass.
3) Even if you come up next to one vehicle on a multi-lane street, it’s best to stay behind the front of that car.  You don’t know when they may accelerate or want to make a turn.
correct single vehicle1
Don’t crowd around them, blocking them in.  Let the car have the ability to pull out in front of your group and not be trapped in the middle of the party.trap 5
4) Ride ONLY in lanes of traffic going your direction.  If we have 2-3 lanes all going the same direction, like Charles Street, feel free to spread out in your group and enjoy the ride.  However if there is traffic going both directions, especially on streets with only 1 lane each way, like Keswick, it is EXTREMELY important to stay in OUR lane.  Riding against traffic is one of the most dangerous things you can do.  It may look like no car is coming at the moment, but someone could turn into that lane at any moment without seeing you.  Just don’t do it, let’s stay in our own lanes and stay safe!
wrong side 4
5) Stay off the sidewalks.  They are for pedestrians, little old ladies, and kiddos playing hopscotch.  There is no need for us to risk barreling over any of them.   Even if the sidewalk looks nice and wide, we have enough numbers where it’s safe to be in the street, let’s leave the sidewalks for others. (By the way, it’s also illegal!)
sidewalk 6
6) If we come up on any police officers that are directing traffic, go with their directions.  If they are motioning for us to continue through a red light, it’s okay to go ahead.  Consider that one a freebie!
7) It’s okay to make a right turn on red, but think about the group behind you.  If there is potentially oncoming traffic that could split your group in half, it may be best just to wait until you get a green light.
So that’s easy enough, right?  Stay together, stay behind the cars, and stay on the street in the correct lane.  You know, follow basic common sense.  If we keep these rules in mind we can ensure that Bike Party will continue to be an awesome event year round.
Stolen from:

Thanks Giving Ride, Sacramento

What: Thanks Giving Ride, Sacramento:

When: Thanksgiving - every year - 8am

Where: Bella Bru at the corner of fair oaks blvd and Arden way

How: This is a conversational pace ride, there will be a stop at the market in rancho murietta for about 15 minutes for everyone to get a drink and what not.

Who: Riders who are self sufficient, can ride at a conversational pace, obey the law, and ride in a safe manner.

Why: To talk to old friends, enjoy the morning and work up an appetite.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 River Ride World Championship!

Saturday November 30th.

There can be only one.

After much discussion and reflecting on the "natural" turnout of the River Ride it has been determined that this years "Official" River Ride World Championships shall be the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  According to some, this has been the tradition - and we will be able to include the River Riders who are out of town for school and such. 
Thanksgiving next year is on November 28th, so the Championship will be Saturday,November 30th.

Mark your calenders and start training.

Women and Men's World GHETO World Championship Jerseys

Q. I want to participate, what do I do?
A. Show up at the start a few minutes early to hear the route and get told not to cross the center line, run red lights or do stupid things that can injure yourself, other riders or break the law.

Q. What is the "center line?"
A. It is the long yellow line down the center of the road. In the United States we ride on the RIGHT SIDE of it. If you ride on the left side of it you endanger other riders, cars passing, cars coming forward and yourself. If you do cross it, simply "U" turn and ride the direction of the lane you are in and disappear into the sunset.

Q. What if I come up to a traffic signal and it is red and there is a group ahead of me, or I am in a group off of the front of the pack?

A. You come to a complete stop, put your foot down and wait for it to turn green before proceeding.

Q. How do I get the win?

A. By not crossing the center line, obeying traffic lights, riding in a safe manner and crossing the only sprint on San Juan 1st.

Q. What do I get if I win one of the other sprints on the route?
A. You get to look silly because on this ride there is only one sprint, the one on San Juan.

Q. What is the route?
Warm up:
Start in the Alley behind 2419 K street. Head west and make a right on 24th st. Left on C st. Right on bike trail between 19th and 20th street. Exit bike trail on Northgate Blvd - head North. Left on Garden Hwy. Pace picks up after the I80 over pass.
Fast part:
Continue Garden Hwy. Right Elverta. Right Metro Air Parkway. Right W Elkhorn Blvd. Left Power Line. Right Bayou. Right Airport Blvd. Right and loop around Crossfield. Left N Bayou. Left Garden Hwy. Left Power Line. Right Bayou. Bayou becomes El Centro Rd. Right Del Paso Rd. Left Power Line. Left Garden Hwy. Left on San Juan Rd.
On San Juan.

Q. How long is it?
A. ~45 miles from the shop.  Give or take 5.

What: River Ride World Championship

When: Leaves at 10am

Where: 2419 K st Behind City Bicycle Works (in alley)

Why: For a shot at immortality

How: By crossing the finish line 1st in a SAFE manner

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cue Sheet for Wednesday Folsom Race Ride - "A" Group

5:30 pm  at 7610 Folsom-Auburn Rd, Folsom, CA

Leave Parking lot
Left on Folsom Auburn Rd
Left on Oak Hill Dr
Right on Barton Rd
Left on Olive Ranch Rd
Right on Barton
Sprint #1 Lomis "City Limit" Sign

Left on Brace Rd
Right on Sierra College Blvd
Sprint #2 Top of Sierra College Climb

Right on English Colony Way
Sprint #3 at top of the Hill in Penryn (Store KOM)

Regroup at English Colony Way and Taylor Rd
Continue onto Rock Springs Rd
Continue onto Brenmans Rd
Left on King Rd
Right on Auburn-Folsom Rd
Sprint #4 at Cavitt Stalman Fire station

Continue on Auburn-Folsom Rd
Sprint # 5 Last Yellow Light before Shop

The Actual Link:

Here is the route from a riders Strava ride:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bad Crash and the Silver Lining - Linda Elgart

Here at River Ride headquarters, we like to believe that there is no such thing as crashes.  We also believe in unicorns, the tooth fairy, and non-anal triathletes!  So, in light of the evidence, we present you the truth that happens eventually....
I had a really bad bicycle crash 3 weeks ago. I was on the River Ride. It’s the regular Saturday racer training ride. 
It’s 40 miles of hard, fast training in a big group of miscellaneous racer types. There have been crashes but I’ve been lucky never to have witnessed a devastating one in almost 18 years of participation.
That day, the weather was mild, there wasn’t much of a wind to break things up, and the fastest pro riders were off racing. That meant that everyone, about 50 of us, was still there ¾ of the way into the ride. Two guys a couple of riders ahead of me got tangled, the one behind them either was bumped or performed an evasive maneuver, and before I even had a chance to think, my front wheel was taken right out and I went down at about 28 mph onto my face and arms.
Luckily I wasn’t able to see how I looked lying there in a pool of blood from facial wounds (which bleed a lot). I was able to see my right arm, floppy and bent at a 90 degree angle. I used my injured left arm to grab my right hand and pull it straight so I could stand to look at it. 
My front teeth were broken. 
I couldn’t believe this was happening.
John, my husband, thankfully was on the ride. This wasn’t my first bad crash, but it was the worst he’s had to witness. Thank goodness he was able to reach our friend Alyssa, who went to our house to get our van, so she could pick up John, his bike, my bike, and follow the ambulance to the hospital.
Final tally: 
broken left elbow and right forearm, 3 damaged teeth, and facial lacerations. I had surgery to repair my arms at the UC Davis Trauma center, then spent two nights at Kaiser. I have temporary caps on my teeth and get a root canal this week. The cast came off my left arm after two weeks (never had one on the right-all the plates are internal) and I’m busy doing physical therapy 5 times a day to regain range of motion. 
Facial wounds heal fast and I look almost normal, but I’ll always have the scars on my arms. I’m non-weight bearing for 5 more weeks, but I hope to regain full strength eventually. 
I am really doing quite well; able to wash, eat, and even do things around the house. I can type. I can work. My legs are fine and I’m riding the bicycle trainer, and walking for transportation. I sure miss doing yoga, but I am doing what I can at home, that doesn’t require the use of arms. Counting my blessings: no head injury, no neck or back injury. It could have been worse. 
So what is the silver lining? 
This has made me want to focus on being a better person. I felt so much love afterwards from friends, family, and neighbors. I received more than 150 Facebook greetings, and so many people called, sent cards and flowers, brought me food and wine, and visited. In return, I have made a pact with myself to be cheerful, not to feel sorry for myself, and to express my appreciation. Not just for now but whenever someone does something nice. 
Trying to be nice not only makes other people feel good, but it actually makes one feel better inside. 
I’m not perfect. I’ve had one bout of feeling sorry for myself, but putting on a smile really has changed my outlook. The weeks pass quickly. 
I will be back.

Friday, June 21, 2013

River Ride Route for Monday and Thursday “A” Ride during construction

Ride route change during construction begining Monday June 24th (see below).

Normal start times and locations for both rides.

Proceed down Garden Hwy
Right on Power Line Road
Left on Elverta

Sprint #1 on Elverta towards top of levee right before Garden Hwy.

TURN AROUND and proceed back down Elverta
Right on Metro Air Parkway
Right on Elkhorn
Left on Power Line  Road
LEFT on Bayou Way and continue through the “S” turns
Bayou becomes El Centro Road
Right on Del Paso Road
Left on Power Line Road
Left on Garden Hwy
Left on San Juan

Sprint #2 on San Juan

The Sacramento County Department of Transportation is scheduled to start work on a a pavement repair project on Garden Highway next week. Construction will take place June 24-27 and again July 8-26. Work will occur 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to a press release issued by the county. The paving project is expected to result in intermittent daytime lane closures and traffic restrictions on Garden Highway from North Bayou Road to West Elverta Road. There will be no weekend work for this project. Lane closures will likely impact both northbound and southbound traffic on Garden Highway including vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. Emergency vehicles and local resident traffic will be permitted, with the possibility of some delays. This includes access to Teal Bend Golf Club, Alamar Restaurant & Marina and Swabbies on the River. Pavement repair work will include placement of a two-inch asphalt concrete overlay. Paving and trucking operations may cause long delays. Motorists are encouraged to seek alternate routes include a detour around the repair project. Currently, an interchange project at State Route 99 at Elverta Road is underway and West Elverta Road is closed between Metro Air Parkway and State Route 99. - See more at: http://www.natomasbuzz.com/2013/06/garden-highway-paving-project-starts-next-week/#sthash.pJNjUmjH.dpuf


Monday, April 29, 2013

Bev (Turpin) McInnes - 1991

One of the friendliest riders out there, Bev has that uncanny knack of being nice and telling it like it is.  She has been the backbone of organizing "women's only" rides and has been a wise mentor to both sexes   She's got skills, and has been no stranger to some of the fastest rides.

Sacramento River Rides - Skills Gone Wild!
If there’s a place to learn bike handling and pack riding skills it’s on the Sacramento River Rides. 
I started doing the River Rides 22 years ago in 1991. I had a lot of fun but not without a lot of pain. I learned ALL of my bike handling skills from the best of the best on our river rides. I also learned how to deal with crashes, avoid crashes, not crash, and most importantly, ride home after crashing. We’ve certainly had our share crashes out there too. 
When I first started river riding, I was inundated with advice from everyone.. “don’t overlap wheels, if you do and you crash, it’s your fault, keep moving forward, pull through, don’t go up to the front and do nothing, if you do go up front, make sure you have a reason, when you move up, make sure you have a place to go, what are you doing, know what you’re doing, have a reason, don’t make abrupt moves from inside the pack without looking, don’t push such a big gear, keep your cadence relatively high, just pedal faster when the pack speeds up, leave yourself an out, watch the pack and don’t just stare at the wheel in front of you, pick good wheels, don’t dangle at the back - it’s harder.” I heard every bit of that advice and I absorbed it all too. 
I was pretty driven back then, showing up to every Saturday river ride if I wasn’t racing. It was a high priority item for me. I absolutely would not miss one if I could help it. 
Many memorable moments in the past river rides do include good memories. One of them was Eric Heiden stringing out the whole group of 50 to 100 riders for the first two to three miles on the Saturday River Ride. It was hilarious! There was just this looooong line of riders he was inflicting pain upon. Ouch! He’d do it first thing too when nobody was warmed up yet. He wasn’t out there very often, but you always knew when he was.. Yeah, that was a good memory alright, good AND painful. 
Then it finally happened, I witnessed my first nasty bicycle crash. It was on the Saturday river ride. Luckily, I was toward the front. Like I was safe for something…. The crash happened right in the front when everyone was going for the sprint. Talk about coming to a screeching halt with 90 riders queuing up to sprint and right behind you. The lucky ones involved were John Brady, Declan Lonergan, among others. They looked like this rolling ball of flesh and concrete. 
It was bad! 
Brady ended up with not much left of the back of his jersey or the skin on his back for that matter. He had road rash from his neck to his butt. The crash happened right at the county line so it was a long ride back for everyone involved. And all the way back I was just staring at John’s back thinking, “that’s REALLY going to hurt in the shower.”

A couple other memorable crashes were Chad Gerlach going off the levee. We see him flying down the embankment, his bike was in the air as we all rolled on by. 
Another one was when a dog went running right into our pack on a very foggy Saturday morning taking several people down which included Julie Young whose bike broke in half. If there ever was a time when the whole river ride stopped, it was that day. And I mean the whole group did. 
Those few times where we did have crashes on the Saturday River Rides, it always seemed to be Gordon Ong, Bowen Doxsee, Mike Giomi, or someone else from City Bike Works who would drive all the way out to Garden Highway and pick up the wounded who couldn’t make it back. Many years of great River Ride support from out local bike shop. 
But, the successful river rides did and still do outweigh the bad ones though. I’d say that in my 22 years of doing river rides, around 99.9% of them are successful, crash free. 
Today I don’t get out to the Saturday river ride or the Tuesday/Thursday south river rides very much anymore but that’s because there are so many other rides going on that are closer to where I live. I do still make it out to the Monday ride though. 
Love that one!! 
We are really very lucky to have all of our river rides. I’d like to give Chuck Hutcheson a huge thanks for taking the initiative to really streamline all of river rides by creating the A and B groups for them, keeping the more advanced riders separated from the rest. It really gives everyone a better opportunity to exercise their abilities within the race rides. These are training rides and are a great place to test yourselves and practice your skills. 
Though, I never became a pro because life got in the way, as it seems to do, I did get the opportunity to enjoy my many cycling successes. I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people who really helped me along the way; Vince Gee, Robert Jiminez., Jerry Roberts, John Brady, Declan Lonergan, Stace Cooper, Troy White, Chris Bauman, Steve Ghorely, Kevin Metcaff, Bowen Doxsee, Dave C., Gordon Ong, Chris Dominguez, Wayne, and many others. 
My goal these days is now to pay forward all the skills I learned from our river rides to my Rio Strada women’s team.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chris Husing - 1982

My relationship with cycling began in 1982. I watched a viewing of "Sunday in Hell" at a theater on J street just across from Macy's. Shortly later, I was a spectator at Nevada City and If I remember correctly Toby Powers won that day.  
I was hooked.  
I learned of the south river ride from the Bicycle Business and decided to give it a try. I had an old, way too big English Dawes that I painted Bianchi green. I remember meeting Vince Gee and Tim Imai and they would give me cycling tips. 
I was dropped often and quickly, but was determined to get the fitness and strategies to stay with the main group.  Eventually, this high school senior with a piece of junk touring bike finished with the leaders.  
One crazy memory I have back in the early 90s, we had just concluded the south river ride and were riding across the Capitol bridge. A mother duck with a bunch of ducklings was stuck in the middle of the road unable to get her offspring to safety. The peleton stopped, blocked some of the traffic, and many of us in our cycling cleats ran around helping catch and put her ducklings out of danger.
Chris Husing

Saturday, April 27, 2013

David S Kause - 1986

Some guys just don't age, and Kause is a perfect example.  For over 25 years he has been doing the River Ride, and has watched riders come and go, but he is still here - sporting the latest in cool euro team fashion and occasionally sticking it to the best, while giving everyone advice.

-Tom Boonen approves this message.

I first started riding back in 1986. I had some friends that lived 4 houses down . They were Sean Co and Brian Co. Their cousins had come from LA to visit. Their names were Allen and Almarric Lim. Yes this is the famous Allen Lim from labs. Anyway they had brought these really cool bikes , I think Arraya and Nishiki back in the day. My bike was a red Torelli . So they had come for the weekend to ride.

We had heard about this river ride thing and decided to check it out. Previously I had ridden a small group ride with Jess Polakoff , Sam Giles that he hosted twice a week for people whom wanted to learn to ride in groups. We had ridden down from Carmichael and ride started at 10am sharp. I was totally stoked to ride.

We rolled in and as I pulled up there were my idols. 7 eleven team. Andreau ..McKinley, Brady, Nitz it was so cool. I was going to get to ride with the best. We rolled out slowly through downtown ,by blue diamond almonds, down 16th... to Northgate.

As soon as we passed Chevy's on the river it was on.
Pain, pain pain.

Fast, furious but it was the adrenaline that kept me going. Sprint was at county line and McKinley lit it up. Sprint on way back was at Chevy's and that was nuts.
Funny thing was, there was a Sacramento Bee photographer who got a shot of the aftermath of the crash. I'm standing in background adjusting my bike and McKinley has his arm in air smiling after not crashing.

We rolled back and Mr Nitz said, "So kid what ya think?"
I said "a few more of these and I might want to race." My first river ride experience and a real pro actually spoke to me. We got back to shop and then rolled back to home.

I was beat but at the same time so addicted to riding simply because everyone was so cool. It was like riding with a bunch of my best friends and I knew nobody. Everyone was helpful, understood I was new and showed me and told me where and what to do. That's just the way it was back then. I could learn a lot from those days, skills were taught, handling ,riding, etiquette. It was the way it should be now. That was my first river ride. Thank you to all that made that day one I will never forget.

One of my favorite memories of the Saturday Ride was when Scott McKinley had a crash prior to ride in a race. He lived on I think D and 24th. Anyway we were riding by his house and out he comes with his bars flipped up because of a back injury after the crash.

He still slaughtered the field.

That following Tuesday night river ride he was there and same situation, handle bars bull horned but one small problem. Halfway through the ride there was a crash. Two city guys bumped and went down.

I followed over the top and went down...McKinley was behind me and because of the skills he had was able to push through crash with no.problem.

Great times..great rides..


A lot of talent back then.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rod Spradlin - 1995

River Rides have changed over the years.  Most of the time, there is a temporary change because of construction - or even changes that last several years (think of the South River Finish).  Every once and a while there are whole scale changes that might involve a transition from one location to another, or a complete morph in the ride.  The Thursday River Ride was identical to the Tuesday - but it is gone.  You might ask yourself, has the quality of the racers changed with the disappearance of this ride? Whatever happened to the Thursday South River Ride?  

River rides 1995-2001 (history of the airport ride) 

I bought a used bike from City Bicycle Works from Mike Giomi in the mid 1990’s. I learned of the river rides and that’s where my riding apprenticeship started. You started on a down tube (shifting) used bike and were lucky to get a cyclometer to see how fast you were going. You just rode your bike hard and learned.  

The Tuesday and Thursday south river rides were so hard that rarely did I make the front group, much less even witness a sprint. It was an accomplishment just to make it to the end and never had a chance.  

The alternative ride was the generic ride. The Cutters ride. It was an eclectic group for sure that ride met every Tuesday and Thursday at guy west bridge during day light savings. There was an A and a B group. I do remember some racer types dropping in here and there, but they would never admit to it. 
The Cutters always regrouped.  

After the sprint on winding way, they stopped at the village park in downtown fair oaks, got water and waited for everyone - then went back to guy west via the bike trail. At some point during the year, it stayed light enough to do the airport loop.  

Dave Burke was who I remembered being the one who stated next weeks meeting times and routes.  

The Airport Loop went out El Centro through the then stop signs (at that time, the Saturday river ride sprint was on El Centro with no “S turns” on bayou). We crossed over at the airport and finished on north bayou just like today. We went across the road and into Swabbie’s bar (not sure if that was the name back then). We regrouped there, got water, used restrooms and commonly got a beer. We headed back and the second sprint was the city limit sign on garden highway. The ride often ended at the Thursday night market and regroup at the bar.  

Over the years, many people stopped doing the Thursday south river ride for various reasons until one day, no one showed up and the “Airport Ride” was the official Thursday night race ride. Now you know why it meets at the guy west bridge. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dan Glass - 1990

Of course, not all River Riders started off as juniors - though we plan on having a River Ride history of the Juniors like Justin Morgan, Troy White, Chad Gerlach, Marty Woy and Chris Baumann.  Dan Glass. as a masters rider, began doing the ride when it was probably the fastest it has ever been.  He's a little bit older now, and a regular on the "B" rides.  He is also one of our recommended attorneys for cycling related issues (see his link at the bottom right of the blog!).

I did not begin to seriously ride a bike until about 1990, at the age of 33. After a year or two of working my way up to finishing a “century”, and being a regular customer of the Bicycle Business, I found the south RR on Tuesday and Thursday nights. At 34, I was pretty much the “old guy” back then. Chuck Hutcheson was still in high school. From what I remember, the true leaders of the ride were Scott McKinley (I think John McKinley also showed up now and then), Vince Gee, Dominic Anderson, Declain Lonegan, John Brady, and of course - young Chuck, Chad Gerlach, Chirs Bauman, Alex Holt, Cory McCracken, Steve Gorley. The ave. speed of the ride was never less than 25 mph and I had times when we covered the 12.5 miles at an average speed above 29 mph. Most times, about 27 - 28. 

I was not one of the “chosen ones” and remained “pack fodder”. About 25% of the time I was lucky enough to just be in the pack for the sprint, although it was probably only 5% of the time that I was close enough to actually contest the final sprint finish. Most of the time, because I had little bike handling skills as a beginner, and a great fear of crashing, I would be dropped by the Ferrari tower and then spend the next half hour time trialing to pick off people - which is really what I did well.

One time I am trying to catch a guy in front of me - I see him, and I chase and chase, and get closer, and see HE IS ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE going 24 mph. I am pissed. No one on a mountain bike is gonna beat me!! I work harder, I get closer, and I see that the guy is on a mountain bike and his left arm is in a friggen sling. The guy is riding a mountain bike with one arm and he is kicking my ass. I catch, I ride with him for a mile, he says “lets go get that guy in front of us” and he drops me like the old man I thought I was.

I was devastated. Why ride a bike when some guy with a broken arm on a mountain bike can drop you at will??? Anyway, about two weeks later I am in the Bicycle Business telling my tale of woe when Bob Johnson tells me - oh, that was Norm Alvis. He rode for 7-11 or Motorola at the time. He crashed in Europe and broke his collarbone and was home recovering - so he just came out for fun.

Well, at least I wasn’t beat by a “wing nut” on a mountain bike - so I started racing - and did crits and road races for the next 8 years. It was great, and it all started because someone told me - you gotta try the South RR.
For those who do not know Norm, he was a fierce racer and pro for years. He held, and my still hold, the U.S. one hour record.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mary Maroon - 2000

Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Hither came Mary Maroon, brown-haired, sullen-eyed, bike in hand, a hammer, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and a great sprint, to tread the jeweled races of the NCNCA under her cycling cleats. But first, hear of her exploits on the Sacramento River Ride.....

Brian Agnell, James Pedely and Chuck Hutcheson fostered me into the River Ride. It took them a little while but when I finally did my first,  I was hooked. Try to find a Sacto cyclist who doesn't share the same sentiment. My first ride however, wasn't nearly as important as every consecutive ride afterward. 
The River Ride was hard & fast. I didn't have friends in the back. So I had to work to get to the front. I don't remember how long it took but every single time I made it a little further before getting dropped. One day I would be at the front the entire ride.  I would work all the way to the sprint. I would sprint with my friends. That day would be so amazing.
Until then, I earned my spot in the draft by getting dropped every week & being pushed into the wind: sometimes on purpose, sometimes because of my lack of skill. By being told blatantly to give up or try an easy ride. By being intentionally crashed out and having to take a week off of work because I'd lost so much skin. 
But I was also encouraged and nurtured. I idolized Linda Elgart for being the only other woman I had seen on the ride. She was good at positioning and graceful. I put all my energy into marking her wheel for as long as I could and she wouldn't get annoyed with me.
I was taught to ride by Mike Sayers and Chris Horner. I focused intently on their every hip twitch and ankle stroke because they were so damn smooth. Finally another girl showed up! Flavia Olivaria moved to town and it was like I had a play mate on the road. Years later, she would turn out to be my Vanderkitten teammate. I earned the respect of the good guys because I would never give up. I eventually earned the respect of the bad guys because I could beat them. That and the good guys stuck up for me. I was treated like an equal. 
The ride has changed just a little since I used to do it all the time. The route is a little different. It seems shorter. Last week I road out with guys I hadn't seen in years. It was a nice reunion  I got third in the sprint! I've been on every single group ride from Chico to Fresno and firmly maintain the the River Ride is the best one of all. The sheer number of riders, the scenery, the quality of riders, the drama, the terrain and weather & how a rider can develop with the ride;
The River Ride is hands down the best group ride in Northern California. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Clint Williams - 2012

With all of this "History", people may wonder - "does the River Ride still exist?" or "are people still getting their teeth kicked in?" and "is there really a Snata Clause?" Well, we can answer you. Yes Virginia, people are still getting their teeth kicked in.

I was lucky enough to have worked with a guy who introduced me to the river rides and who just so happened to know how to pedal a bike around pretty well: Kenny Kwong. Kenny was infamous in our building for winning the May is Bike Month award on several occasions so I was a little intimidated when he invited me to come check out a river ride.

When I came out to my first river ride, I immediately sought out Kenny as he was the only familiar face at the time. I chatted with him briefly and found out that there was an A and B group and he was the ride leader for the latter. As soon as his cycling computer rolled over to 5:30, he began the chain reaction of clipping in throughout the parking lot; the sound of a cyclist's journey beginning and the beginning of my very first river ride.

The rather large group of riders made their way out to Garden Highway at a leisurely pace, until we got down past Sand Cove and passed under the freeway. Suddenly, the blurred line between the A and B group became clear as riders moved up to the front of the group and quickly put distance on the group I was in. As I watched the group move away, a feeling came over me that I wanted to one day be an A group rider.

I had ridden in small pace lines before, and large packs in races, but the river ride dynamic was different- there was an efficiency to it and purpose: changing direction with the winds and riders jumping back in the line to keep the rotation going and maintain the pace. I survived my first river ride, even taking some pulls, but was not in contention for the sprints- for I still had a lot to learn.

When I got into work the next morning, I was shocked to see an email from Kenny! He had kind words to say to me and we made it somewhat of a weekly update where we would go over how the ride went and I was always eager to learn how to improve.

It was in these B group rides that I cut my teeth on real group riding skills like echeloning, positioning for sprints, moving up without extending too much energy and more than I had learned doing any races thus far. With each passing week I had become a stronger and smarter rider, even winning some sprints. I was always eager and willing to flog myself at the front, trying to squeeze that last bit of burn in my legs out in order to fulfill my ambitions of joining the A group.

By the end of the season with some peer pressure from other riders who I had raced and become friends with, I tried my first ride in the A group. As we passed under the freeway and I followed the wheels of the quick-moving line of A's, I almost felt as if I was leaving the nest for the first time. Time to test out these wings....

The A group was fast! I hadn't seen numbers that large on my cycling computer on flat land before. After passing by Swabbie's, Chuck had gone on the attack and a gap had formed. I decided to try to bridge and it took everything I had to catch up to Chuck. I checked under my shoulder briefly and was ecstatic that I hadn't drug the whole group along.

Then as I chewed my bars trying to hold his wheel to recover, I noticed the gear he was pushing and messed my chamois a little- simply massive! I then tried to pull through and quickly regretted my decision to try to bridge as it felt like the pedals were pushing back harder than I could! As I inevitably blew up, Chuck took off up the road and I was quickly devoured and spat out the back of a rabid chasing pack. I desperately turned my pedals over to catch back on after the brief respite after the first sprint point and I just tried to hang on for the remainder of the ride.

As much as it hurt, it just made me want to come back for more, and keep improving. That's part of what I love about river ride besides, the friends I have met, knowledge I have acquired, and fitness improved: every time I come out it makes me want to be a better rider.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

John Brady - (1986ish)

Speaking out about how the UCI and other federations are basically trashing the sport of Cycling, John Brady threw us (the River Ride) a bone, or a plug if you will.  Because of a well practiced accent, many thought he was from Dublin, Ireland - by but he was really from Ashland, Kentucky.  

I raced for years as a professional, yet some of the best “races” I’ve ridden were nothing more than training rides. The races were policed by other riders, not UCI officials, and the prizes consisted of nothing more than bragging rights.

You can go from Sydney to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, and you’ll find a plethora of vibrant racing and training events, organised and prospering, regardless of the existence of the UCI.

There’s a river ride in Sacramento I did for years, and the battles we had on those roads were as good as some of the pro races I competed in. The ride was safe, intense, fun, and five minutes after the ride ended, no one cared who’d won.

When the group had all finished, we’d casually pedal into town, friends and enemies, chatting away about the weekend races, or even other random events outside the world of cycling.
The full article can be found at:
BTW, he was Irish!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Corey McCracken - 1988

When I started riding and racing in 1988, I almost immediately began riding Saturday river rides.  I was hooked on the speed, quality of riders, and sheer size of the peloton headed up and back on relatively narrow roads. Saturday was a great learning experience-and it helped me improve quickly and move through the lower categories quickly (as it had for many Sacramento racers). Yet, Saturday river rides could be a bit deceiving in creating a false sense of strength, considering a relatively easy “sit-in ride” due to the size of the pack, and protection from the wind via the trees lining the river. I thought I had it figured out, though, because it was still damn fast. The sky was the limit with this bike racing thing once I started the Saturday ride. Then I heard about the Tuesday and Thursday river rides…

My first Tuesday/Thursday RR wasn't until 1990. Being a Sacramento boy, I am still not sure how I missed these weekday training sessions for my first couple years. I had been racing in the 2’s for a few months, and even though I couldn't beat the Scott McKinley’s and John Brady’s in the sprints-I could finish top 5 consistently on Saturdays. My teammates (most of us were riding for Rio Strada at the time) told me that Tuesday was different, and I really needed to be ready for serious speed.  “Nothing to worry about,” I thought to myself. Vince Gee-one of my first mentors-pulled me aside and let me know, once again, this ride was going to be harder, and I really needed to pay attention to the wind and my position. “Right, right… I got this,” as I brushed Vince off.

We rolled through the back surface streets to get out to Freeport Blvd. It was a windy evening with the typical southwest wind that cuts across the road from the left and only leaves room for eight to ten riders during echelons. I had let myself drift towards the back of the pack, and realized Harvey-Nitz was next to me. “Good company… a bit far back, although I got Harvey to shepherd me,” I assured myself. As the pace began to pick up with the tailwind after the right turn from the bridge, I followed Harvey forward through the pack smoothly. Then-suddenly-I heard brakes screeching and riders spread out across the road. No one had gone down, although a large tree branch had fallen into the road from the strong wind and disrupted the packs echelons as we had begun to swing left by the farm houses. I was happy to not have hit the ground, yet Harvey was pissed. Rider etiquette hadn't been followed, and no one up front was calling out debris sitting in the road. Harvey, and I, was pretty far back and the braking left a healthy gap between the front group and the back. Harvey was done with the chaos and decided to swing out to the left (into the wind), and begin the effort alone to get across to the front group. “No worries, Harvey’s got this,” I thought to myself.

I latched onto Harvey’s hip and settled in to enjoy the ride. Harvey upped the pace to the low thirties, and we quickly passed the entire second group and we were now in no man’s land. There were about twenty-five top notch racers still in front, and I figured Harvey would get there, although it was going to take some serious effort. Well, Harvey kept notching up the effort and he quickly took us across to the lead group. “Perfect! Glad I was close to Harvey, now we can settle in and get ready for the real ride,” I thought. Yet, as we came up on the back of the front group, Harvey stayed on the center dotted line and just kept going. I had the perfect wheel, so I kept going, too. Harvey was now doing about thirty-five and he rolled right past the group with me hooked onto his wheel, all the while my eyes fixated on his back hub. After a good mile and-a-half effort, Harvey glanced under his arm and saw someone (I am sure he had no idea who I was-with him). He flicked his elbow for a bit of help, and I took a turn. “No worries, I got this,” for some reason, crossed my mind. After about a hundred meters, I swung off and said to myself, “Wow, this is really fast.” Harvey took over and increased the tempo a couple mph, since I had let it drop. He turned it for a few hundred meters and gave me a flick, again. I took my turn and swung off after a hundred (probably fifty) meters. Harvey quickly came back up and increased the pace, yet again. In a very short period of time, my lactic acid had spiked and my body and mind were buzzing. Harvey powerfully rode away from me just before the Ferrari tower, and in my state of physical and mental confusion, I had glanced back to see the lead/chase pack one-hundred meters back. “OK, that didn't work very well, although get some deep breaths and jump into the chase group,” I tried to convince myself. Scott McKinley, John Brady, Kevin Metcalfe, Dominique Anderson, etc. flew by in pursuit. I couldn't even get out of the saddle to sprint onto the back and was dropped, again. Fortunately, I saw another echelon coming along fifty meters further back, and their pace looked about right. Once they passed, and dropped me, (along with the next couple groups), I found myself riding alone asking myself, “What the hell just happened?” I rode along the river (quite peaceful when by yourself) and found my way back into town as I crossed the Tower Bridge.

Needless to say, I had gotten my ass handed to me, and it was a wake-up call on what real racing was going to be about. There wasn't going to be any hiding in the middle of a hundred strong peloton like Saturdays, anymore. This was going to be survival of the fittest, and that was not me at the time. Even though I had been humbled, I quickly grew to love the Tuesday and Thursday rides. There wasn't in my mind-a better way to find out what you were really made of, and where your fitness/speed actually stood. Even though the Tuesday/Thursday rides are only about twelve miles in actual flat out riding, I was fortunate enough to experience some of the fastest, and hardest, rides I ever was part of. And, the best part was that it was just a few miles from my doorstep-twice a week for more than half the year around. 

Scott McKinley - History Snippet - Late 80s, early 90s

In reference to the now construction blocked finish of the Tuesday/Thursday South River Ride: 

The levee finish is where Nitz taught me never to come around somebody on the leeward side. Almost ended up in the river.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Linda Elgart - 1994

Cue in deep movie voice:
In a world where men's egos roamed, there lived a woman, a woman who was not the first, nor the last of a line of women who would ride the River Ride.  Witness this woman's tale.  A story or tragedy, triumphs, and betrayal ...
Cue out movie voice.
Play grainy real to real and action..
I remember the first time I did the Tuesday night River Ride. It must have been in about 1994, before John and I lived in Sacramento. We were in town on business, calling on City Bicycle Works and The Bicycle Business. When we arrived at McClatchy High, I was a bit intimidated looking around at all the pros. John Brady was there, Harvey Nitz, and I think at the time maybe Bobby Julich. Chad, Chuck. I didn't really know anyone at that time. But everyone looked cool, tanned and lean, old jerseys with sleeves cut off for the hot summer weather.
We rolled on down Land Park Dr. I was concerned about hanging on, as I didn't even know the way. On to Freeport, we crossed the bridge, and all hell broke loose! Oh my god, this was fast! Somehow, I clung on for dear life. I remember looking down at my computer after we crossed the dreaded diagonal tracks and swooped through the underpass. 37.5mph. Yikes. This was the limit!
Back up the levee, deeply in distress, yet I managed to maintain contact with a group. I know there were riders up the road. I didn't care who they were. Just get me to the finish with someone so I don't have to find my way back alone! There was the final sprint, and we all coalesced by the time we got to the Tower Bridge. I found John up ahead of me somewhere, and we drifted back to McClatchy with the group.
I got back to San Jose, and reported back to my Alto Velo teammates, "There was this ride! There were all these pros there!! And we were going 37 mph!!! It was intense!!!!"
Soon after, we moved to Sacramento, just a 3 minutes by bike to the start of the south River Ride and 8 minutes to the start of the Saturday ride. While we now ride in the mountains on Tuesdays, I will always have a fond spot in my heart for the infamous McClatchy ride. And it surely helped me win some national championships along the way.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cue Sheet for Saturday River Ride - "B" Group

check back soon.

Max Mack - 1982

Max Mack has been around for quiet some time, blessing us with his gift of gab and some awesome, yet very bright, neon kits.  Did I mention he has bright kits?  You can't miss him, especially when he is in the mood to sprint - which he does very well.  

He begins his interview commenting on the Portuguese rider Fernando.... 

Word. Fernando needs to tell us how the hell he was able to ride along side of the peleton at 28mph saying, "Hahlo"!

I cut my teeth on learning how to ride in 1982 with Alvis, Nitz, Williams, Imai, Brady, McKinley, Dave Baker and later with Chris Baker. It was a true proving ground and keen venue to hone one's skills for race day. Though, I have found that some race days were easier after doing a Tuesday / Thursday River Ride (Fast & Furious). The Saturday River Rides were always huge due to the longer distance and double sprint lines. 

Funny story: When Chris Horner was riding for Saunier / Prodir, he rolled with us, effortlessly at that. On the way out, I got in a break with him and three other guys. I did not realize this was CHRIS HORNER! As I struggled to stay with the break, he easily rolled through and said just sit in a bit and don't kill myself. He then proceeded to roll through and stayed at the front for the final 3K or so. As we turned around, I thanked him and asked him if he was a Cat 1 or a US Pro. He nonchalantly said he was a pro. I complimented him on his prowess and asked his name. Again, with grace and calm, he said, "Oh, I'm Chris". 

As we made our way back in to town, I commented on how bloody fast, smooth and clean of a rider this guy, Chris was. The person told me that, "that Chris guy" was CHRIS HORNER! What a knuckle head was I. Even better, what a gracious, humble man he was, and still is. Too boot, Chris had ridden down from his home in Auburn and was riding back after schooling us all, gracefully, on the River Ride! 

I am continually grateful to ride with so many quality elite, master, and professionals on the River Rides. 

Just a few other notables I have had the pleasure to ride with and get schooled by: John Elgart, Mary Maroon, Chad Gerlach, Flavia Oliveira, Jesse Moore, Chuck Hutcheson, Vince Gee. 

Keep it coming...

Max Mack

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"B" Ride Tuesday Thursday Start Time Change "B" RIDE ONLY!

The Tuesday/Thursday "B" Ride starting from the parking lot off of South Land Park Drive, is moving to a 5:45 p.m. start time (from 5:30). 

5:45 is the normal start time-5:30 is for those first few weeks after the time change and the last few rides of the year in September.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Vince Gee - 1977

Vince Gee may hold the record for the most River Rides ever done, and if he is not at the top of the most sprint wins, he is certainly close.  Though he is the "teacher" to many "grasshoppers," myself included, even he had to have a River Ride first.  Here is Vince Gee's recount:

I first found out about the river ride in the late seventy's. But it was not because I did one. It was my brother who told me about them. One day, he and his friend tried the river ride. They crossed the Freeport bridge and the peloton started the rotation. My brother and his friend made it through 1 rotation. Immediately after that, they were dropped.

From that day forward , I looked for the river ride. My street was perpendicular to Freeport Boulevard, so I could look across a field and see the river ride go by.

Later on, my first year of high school, I met 2 guys who were cyclist. I was drawn into cycling and from that day forward I did as many River rides as I could. 
Hooked for life. 

It took me MANY river rides to figure it out. I am not sure how many times I got dropped before I figured out how to finish with the pack. I got dropped so many times because I was not physically very strong and also not very smart tactically. But even though I got dropped often, I still came back for more.

Here, 36 years later, I am still looking to have fun on the river ride.