Story and Photos by Elmer Martinez
SUTTER, CA (MPG) – Nothing inspires people to get out and exercise like the perfect spring day. Couple that with a huge cycling event for a noble cause and you have a recipe for a great Saturday. This year’s Bike Around the Buttes celebrated their 30th anniversary, drawing around 1,200 participants from all around the state and around 130 volunteers from local organizations and businesses. All proceeds benefitted the Yuba-Sutter Diabetes Support and Resource Center.
Boasting three different course lengths, Fun Ride, Classic, and Century, Bike Around the Buttes had something for everyone no matter their age or physical fitness. The event began at 6:30 a.m. with an estimated 300 cyclists participating in the “century” ride, a 100 mile route around the Sutter Buttes. The ride is one of the flattest 100 mile routes in the whole state. The “fun ride” and “classic” routes attracted the biggest crowd. The latter two courses were better designed for the casual rider or those wanting to push themselves out of their comfort zones.
Sherena Edinburgh from Sacramento, who rode in the 40 mile “classic” course, said she first heard about the race back in 2006 through a cycling class and grew to love the sport. “This is actually my third time participating in the ride,” she said. “This is a beautiful course. I love the camaraderie and seeing everyone out with their families.”
Many of the cyclists who participated in teams even went as far as wearing matching shirts and jerseys. Robert Gonzales, owner of Yuba City’s El Azteca Restaurant, rode with a team comprised of his children and family members. “This is our third year doing this,” Gonzales said. “I haven’t rode since August of last year but it’s really not so bad. It’s actually a very easy ride.”
Many of the area’s businesses and organizations staffed the large scale event. The local Moose Lodge and Peach Bowl Lions served as support staff, cooked meals, and attended to the cyclists at the various rest stops along the route. Yuba City-based bicycle shops Vans Bicycle Center and Corner Bike Shop were present running a raffle fundraiser. And Vans Bicycle Center was even set up doing free repairs and selling last minute items. Vans also donated a new bike as a prize for to the rider who raised the most funds.
The success of an event like Bike Around the Buttes is an example of a community coming together to not only facilitate a world class bicycle course, but also to create a crucial fundraiser for a local organization like the Yuba-Sutter Diabetes Support and Resource Center. According to event director Ouida Wakefield, Bike Around the Buttes is the biggest fundraiser for the resource center. The funds go to the center to provide monthly type 2 diabetes classes, monthly support groups for children with type 1 diabetes and their entire families, a staff, and continuing education.
“The volunteers, the riders, and the sponsors—that’s the success of it,” said Wakefield. “If we didn’t have the volunteers to create this event, if we didn’t have enough help, we wouldn’t be here. It kind of takes a village.”