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Bike race boasts brutal climbs

Formerly known as the Auburn Century, Wildest Ride offers plenty of hills
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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Cyclists won’t be competing against each other on Saturday when they hit the road for the Wildest Ride in the West. The opponents are the 140 miles and many brutal climbs along the route that winds through Sierra Foothills. The event turns seven years old this year after organizer Glenn Carnahan shifted it from September to June, hoping to draw more riders to what he calls one of the toughest rides in the country. “I’ve had people that have done a lot of rides tell me this is one of the toughest they’ve ever done,” Carnahan said. “The Iowa Hill climb has been rated the toughest climb in its category (less than two miles) in the U.S.” The most hearty riders will take on the Lone Ranger ride, which features nearly 17,000 feet of climbing.  More than 300 cyclists will be on the road Saturday, but not all will take on the full 140-mile challenge. The Outlaw ride is 110 miles, the Pony Express is 70 miles and the Stagecoach is 40 miles - giving casual riders a viable option. The Lone Ranger riders will have seven rest stop areas along the route and most will be on the road by 6 a.m. Saturday. The participants will go at their own pace and Carnahan encourages riders to enjoy the scenery along the way. “This event allows the cyclists to go to areas where there’s typically not a lot of support,” Carnahan said. “A lot of people come to ride a new area and another big draw for us is just the overall support we give them. Without question, we have some of the best food offered at any race.” There will be an optional time-trial competition on the Iowa Hill climb. Participants will make their way up the 13.5 percent grade and take a shot at Dan Tebbs’ record of 14 minutes, 11 seconds. Formerly known as the Auburn Century Ride, the Wildest Ride in the West will raise funds for several non-profit groups in the area. Three athletic programs from Foresthill, a veterans’ group from Sierra College and the Placer Foothill Mountain Bike Club are among the groups that will benefit from this year’s ride. “We like to donate to organizations that promote healthy, recreational activities,” Carnahan said. Registration is still available at any of the three bike shops in Auburn, at Tsuda’s Eatery in Old Town Auburn or at Recreation Park on Friday evening or Saturday morning.Carnahan said volunteers are also still needed.  “Volunteers are always welcome,” he said. “We feed them, give them t-shirts and try to find something they’re comfortable with for the day.” For more information on the event, visit www.wildestride.com.