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!
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.