The 11th annual Tour de Manure Metric Century brought a record 544 bicycle riders to Sierra Valley on June 15 to benefit the Sierraville Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department. Riders come from local communities as well as from Truckee/Tahoe and Reno and as far away as the Bay Area and Santa Cruz.
“This was a record attendance for the ride,” said Tami McCollum, the Sattley-based firefighter volunteer who coordinates the event. “They come for the ride through the working ranches and amazing views. They come for the ride support (aid stations and on-course guides and “SAG” wagons). They come for the after party with top quality food and to hear traditional western/folk music. They come to support the local volunteer fire department.”
In all, 66 volunteers were assembled to orchestrate the untimed Tour. Starting at 6 a.m., a team guided incoming participants to pre-arranged parking spots on both private properties and along public streets. Those volunteers, under the direction of Doug Read (the “father” of the event), sought effective and safe parking with a goal of minimizing conflicts with residents and traffic. Simultaneously, a team of ten volunteers, under the direction of Nanci Davis, accomplished registration and dispensed T-Shirts to all participants. Sierravile fire department volunteer Shannon Tucker, with the help of Karla Pombo, organized food
Aid Stations are established at strategic points along the ride, McCollum said. The first, at the intersection of A-23 and Marble Hot Springs Road, was again managed by the Plumas Bicycle Club under the oversight of Len Fernandes. A small “Los Marbles Lemonade Stop” staffed by Dick and Chris Spencer was the second support stop. All riders hit the third stop in downtown Loyalton, which is staffed by volunteers from the Eastern Sierra Chamber of Commerce under direction from Mike Welbourn and Bonnie Jessee. As this is a critical point in the course, Loyalton Fire Volunteer EMT, Megan Andaluz, watched for signs of exhaustion or heat-related stress. Those desiring a ride back to Sierraville were offered rides in pre-positioned vehicles. On the course, looking for those needing aid, were two Sierraville Volunteer EMT’s in agency equipment.
Along the bike routes were posted a number of “Burma Shave-style” signs linking the ride to the casual “Tour de Manure” theme. Signs were posted in sets that read, for example, “If you go to slow…the buzzards will know.” A few single triangle-shaped signs were posted at driveways where cattle truck drivers live, warning “Bull Shipper.” Sierraville Fire & Rescue board member Rick Maddalena and volunteer Doug Read maintain and post those signs every year.
The “after party” at the Sierraville Fire Station featured a variety of salads, baked beans, and BBQ by “When Pigs Fly,” a Sierraville business owned by Lee Wright. Wright and his team of volunteers have prepared the chicken and tri-tip for five of the annual events, trading off barbecue duties on alternate years with Sierra County Supervisor Paul Roen. The Los Dos Hermanos restaurant in Sierraville donated a healthy supply of chips and salsa to hungry riders waiting in line for their lunches. The Sierraville Recreation Association sold beer from the Blairsden’s The Brewing Lair and Truckee/Tahoe’s Alibi Ale Works.
Center stage at the party was Sierra Valley homeowner Mike Hogan and musician friends of his from Davis who call themselves “The Simpletones,” playing country, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll. Hogan has his own following of fans and fellow bike riders who commit to ride each year.
The event all comes together under the direction of Tami McCollum. McCollum, who has served as Event Coordinator (or Tour Boss, as some people call her) since the inception of the ride, has honed the volunteer effort into an event that persist with little marketing effort.
“Tami is an incredible organizer and has been the backbone of the Tour since its inception,” said Doug Read. “She’s developed a loyal following among the volunteers, and is deeply appreciated in the community.”
“We have a ton of people to thank” said Tami. “We consistently pull enthusiastic volunteers from Sierraville, Loyalton, Portola, and throughout the valley. Critical to our success is the participation for the Eastern Sierra Chamber of Commerce, the Plumas Bike Club, Sierraville Super Stop, and When Pigs Fly. We also need to thank the entire community of Sierraville for this one-day-a-year interruption to the normal tranquility of their downtown.”
Proceeds from the event have contributed greatly to the outfitting of the Sierraville and Sattley Volunteer Fire Departments,” said Rick Maddalena. Most recently, $20,000 was contributed to the purchase of a specialized Type 6 Brush Engine to be assigned to the Sattley Station. This 2001 Ford F550 with 31,000 miles on it will be used as a “first out” apparatus supporting, not only initial attack wildland fire but also rescue efforts. That truck will replace a 1970 engine and is expected to be in service in mid to late July.