Peak to Peak Pedal
The Peak to Peak Pedal is a life-changing event, not just for the cyclists, but for those whom the ride supports. Children (and children at heart) with disabilities learn to face challenges and develop important skills through the programs of the United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC), programs supported by events such as the Peak to Peak Pedal.
Day one begins as vehicles laden with bicycles, gear, and excited cyclists roll into the Mammoth Mountain parking lot. After being registered, fed, and the obligatory group photos, riders begin their adventure with a descent toward town before turning left, following the scenic road out to 395. Onward past towering serrated peaks and sapphire waters of Crowley Lake, then down, down, down the snaking curves of old Sherwin Grade. This thrilling descent becomes a tour of the pastoral Round Valley as you make your way into Bishop. Hot showers, cold beverages, a hearty meal, and warm introductions will ease any first-day pains.
Day two parallels the spectacular Sierra Crest, as this flattest day eases southward through the bucolic hamlets of Big Pine and Independence, past sadly historic Manzanar and Lone Pine with its old west movie heritage. Keep an eye out for herds of elk as you enjoy today’s gentle rolls and negligible elevation change, ending up at the beautiful Diaz Lake campground below 14,505’ Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States! A refreshingly cool dip in Diaz Lake dissolves away the days sweat (or dirt) and riders drift into sleep by the soft orange light of a crackling fire (weather and winds permitting).
Day three departs Diaz Lake as the morning sun bathes Mt. Whitney in golden light. The route heads south along the Owens Valley, past glowing yellow sage and Olancha’s massive shade trees, past ancient rusty cinder cones and sparkling blue Little Lake, past the paradoxically green swatches of farmland that dot the increasingly arid countryside as you steadily slope ever downward. A long two lane country road stretches into Inyokern, before turning east, away from the Sierra’s familiar companionship, and into Ridgecrest.
On day four, the longest leg of the Peak to Peak adventure, you are first met with a steady climb up and of out Ridgecrest and into the true beginnings of the high desert where U.S. Navy jets can often be seen roaring through spectacular low altitude maneuvers. A long descent followed by the day’s biggest ascent will take you through the forgotten-looking mining remnants of Red Mountain and out into a vast flatness of open space and big sky. At Kramer Junction, turn east and hammer along in a big gear, chatting with your companions or riding effortlessly in their slipstream as you wend your way into Barstow for your final night on the road.
Leaving Barstow for the fifth and final day takes you across the desert in the morning coolness before a warm-up transit of Goat Mountain Pass, then the thrill of one last long downhill, and on into Lucerne Valley. Ahead of you lies the massif of the San Bernardino Mountains, where Joshua trees change to pine trees, and the elevation-losing days behind you now come to collect their debts. The ascent ahead has steep pitches and sharp curves, but it also has some mellower sections to break up the climb. Coupling your four days of “training” with some cold water at the frequent rest stops and you will be in the Big Bear Valley before you know it. A few more turns through the Big Bear Valley and suddenly it’s champagne, cheers, and tears of joy as everyone dismounts for the final time, having completed an adventure they will never forget.
Riders and volunteers are needed to support this important ride and program. Riders must raise a minimum of $2,000 and volunteers can serve in a variety of capacities. The USARC has partnered with FirstGiving.com, a SIMPLE, FAST, SECURE and PRODUCTIVE online tool for the registration and donation process. Using FirstGiving.com, riders and volunteers can easily register, while supporters can securely donate in the name of a rider (or make a general donation) using a major credit card.
The proceeds from Peak to Peak support the USARC's fantastic Summer and Winter programs. Space is limited. Please join us for this special experience as we ride in support of USARC!