The annual Tour de Manure Metric Century in Sierra Valley spins into its fourth year Saturday, June 16. The tour welcomes all people looking for a bit of fun on a Saturday afternoon — not just cyclists, but also anyone who yearns for a delicious hot lunch, some foot-stomping tunes, and a browse along Sierraville’s commercial row — the Sierra Valley Feed Store and the Red Pony. This year, the finish line party will be bigger than ever.
“The supported bike tour is growing in popularity every year, and it’s been a great fundraising event for our department,” said Tami McCollum, tour boss and volunteer with Sierraville Fire and Rescue. “Believe me, it takes a whole community to pull it off.”
The highlight of the day is the cycling tour. There are three supported routes, all beginning at the Sierraville fire station and heading east on Highway 89/49. At Sattley, the route turns north onto peaceful A23. The 62-mile version goes all the way to Highway 70, turns right and passes through Beckwourth, then, after a few miles, turns right onto A24 into the valley’s treasured cow and hawk country. The course zigzags among the Feather River headwaters before entering the town of Loyalton, where it gains a hill on an out-and-back scenic tour of Sierra Brooks before rolling over gentle terrain back to the Sierraville firehouse.
The shorter 45-mile route leaves A23 at Marble Hot Springs Road to enter the valley’s fabled 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. Visit the Tour de Manure Facebook page for a map and more details.
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.
Welcoming the riders at the finish line will be live music and a sampling of local cuisine. Sierra Valley’s notorious crooner Dwight Brooks will dazzle the crowd with his guitar music, warbling his favorite country ballads and honky-tonk tunes and sharpening up his yodel. Later, Michael Hogan and his band, the Simpletones, will fire up their own mad brand of country rock ‘n’ roll.
Meanwhile, fajitas will fly hot and furious from the steamy kitchen of Los Dos Hermanos, the oft-proclaimed best Mexican restaurant anywhere. Pasquetti’s Silver Eagle Catering will spoon up tri-colored tortellini salad. When Pigs Fly BBQ is busy this year with a wedding to cater, so Paul Roen, the sole candidate for Sierra County supervisor, District 3, will supervise some barbecue tri-tip provided by the fire department. Vicki’s Blue Moon Bakery and the newly opened Beckwith Tavern will top the meal with dessert.
A new feature this year is a showcase of handcrafted goods at the finish line. Vendors include Grant Eddie Winery, Redwood Rails, Deerskin Essentials, Touch of Light, Country Class Stained Glass, Plumas-Sierra CattleWomen and the Sierra Valley Trading Company. The Entrepreneur’s Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
An additional silent auction will spotlight more local goods and services including handcrafted metal artwork, homemade coffee liquor and gift certificates to Longboards restaurant, Plumas Pines Golf Course and Active Family Chiropractic.
The bike ride fee is $50 until June 8 and $60 from June 9 until tour day, so those interested are encouraged to saddle up quick and sign up. Proceeds last year helped to upgrade the firehouse and buy new safety gear, and to replace a collection of stinky old fire “turnouts.”
The fee gets participants mounds of tasty food on their plates, a commemorative T-shirt featuring the famous mad bull drawn by Sattley’s talented cartoonist Jay Huebert, and SAG wagon support and pit-stop vittles along the route.
Last year’s riders crowed mightily online about how much they enjoyed the tour’s rest stop volunteers. The Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce ladies will be back this year at the Loyalton rest stop with all their goodies set to fire up those legs on the home stretch of Highway 49. Inspiring a little giddy-up at the Marble Hot Springs Road turnoff food stand will be those cheery, intrepid bicycle clubbers, the Plumas-Sierra Bicycling Club. A motley crew of “Turn Cowboys” will wave signs around to take the confusion out of intersections.
Registration is capped at 250, and as of mid-May 80 people were already signed up. Registration is available now at active.com. Enter “Tour de Manure 2012” into the search engine. Or pick up registration forms at The Sierraville Kitchen, Los Dos Hermanos in Sierraville or at local bike shops.
The tour starts between 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday, June 16.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a bunch of firefighters who don’t usually ride bicycles putting on a fun event for people who love to ride,” says Doug Read, tour co-director. “See you at the tour!”
For more information, go to active.com, or the Sierraville Fire and Rescue website, sierravillefireandrescue.com/html, or the Tour de Manure’s Facebook page.