The Big Sandy Race turns 10 years old on Saturday, and it’s aiming to be a proper birthday celebration along the San Joaquin River Trail.
“The significance of the race’s 10th anniversary is that it’s centered around community and the volunteers that we have that participate in trail work,” said race director Jeanae DuBois, who also serves as president of the Central California Off-Road Cyclists (CCORC), the nonprofit arm that spearheads trail work and bridge projects.
The Big Sandy Bridge and its namesake race are the direct result of volunteers donating money and thousands of hours of labor, from as far back as planning the original bridge to clearing downed trees the week of the race.
Saturday’s race will be a “celebration of all that, and we’re excited to welcome racers from all across the western U.S.,” DuBois added.
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The Big Sandy point-to-point mountain bike race offers course options of 15, 23 and 38 miles. The short and midrange routes start at the San Joaquin River Gorge and end at Finegold Bay, while the 38-mile pro/expert route starts and finishes at Finegold.
Racers will receive a T-shirt and a hot meal at the finish line, as well as the choice of a Tioga-Sequoia cold beer, Rosa Brothers chocolate milk, water, or all three.
Ten years ago they built Big Sandy Bridge and this year we’ve resurfaced it, so that way it will be used by everyone, not just mountain bikers, for years and years to come.
Jeanae DuBois, Big Sandy Race director and CCORC president
Entry includes three food/drink/raffle tickets. Registration starts at $58 for the short course, $65 for the 23-miler and $75 for the long course. Juniors range from $40-$50. Online registration will close Thursday.
In-person registration is available from 4-7 p.m. Friday at Wilson’s Bicycles in Fresno, 9433 Fort Washington Road, No. 102, (no signage yet, but is located next to Sport Clips), or starting at 7 a.m. on race day.
Race-day volunteers are also being sought. To sign up, visit the “Big Sandy Race” Facebook page.
Spring blooms – Winter is gone, spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy nature’s floral bounty. There’s plenty of color to see up and down California with wildflower season in full bloom over the next several weeks. Patches of wildflowers can be seen across the foothills and are starting to come up around the San Joaquin River Trail.
For a guide on wildflower spotting and current conditions, check out the Theodore Payne Foundation’s wildflower hotline, updated online every Friday through May. You can also listen to weekly reports by calling 818-768-1802, ext. 7.
Here are a few places worth checking out:
▪ Nearby (within an hour’s drive): Millerton Lake, San Joaquin River Gorge, Hensley Lake, Avocado Lake, Pine Flat Reservoir, Lake Kaweah
▪ A little further out (2-3) hours: Pacheco State Park at San Luis Reservoir, Henry W. Coe State Park, Pinnacles National Park, Carrizo Plain National Monument, Montaña de Oro State Park
▪ Worth the drive (3 hours-plus): Sunol Regional Wilderness Area, Los Padres National Forest, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu, Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
California Classic next weekend –The seventh annual California Classic century ride and half marathon is right around the corner. Action starts April 1 with bicycle rides of 35, 60 or 100 miles. April 2 is the half-marathon and Rock-and-Run 5K.
Registration is $75-$80 for the rides, $85 for the half marathon and $45 for the 5K.
The bicycle rides will start at 7 a.m. at Inyo and H streets outside Chukchansi Park with the course taking cyclists up Highway 168 at the McKinley Avenue on-ramp to Shepherd Avenue, where it then splits into separate courses.
The half marathon will begin at 7 a.m. and take runners through downtown Fresno and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo before finishing at the ballpark. The 5K starts at 7:05 a.m.
Open preserve day – Pack a lunch and spend a few hours exploring and admiring the views on the McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve.
The preserve will be open to the public April 1 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dogs are not allowed. Details: www.sierrafoothill.org.