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 1 – Big Bear to Barstow – 59 miles
Day one begins before dawn as vehicles laden with bicycles, gear, and excited cyclists roll into the Bear Mountain parking lot. After being registered, fed, and the obligatory group photos, riders begin their adventure with an eastern traverse through the scenic Big Bear Valley’s crisp morning air, followed by an exhilarating, winding descent into the warming high desert. As the sun rises, so too will the road, ascending and crossing Goat Mt. Pass before a long cruise into Barstow. Hot showers, cold beverages, introductions and a hearty meal at the verdant park should ease any first-day pains.
DAY 2 – Barstow to Ridgecrest – 84 miles
Day two, the longest of the ride, wends its way out of Barstow, past lumbering freight trains and westward through vast expanses of the open Mojave desert. Occasional headwinds are minimized as new friends work together, urged on by one another, and the seemingly waving Joshua trees.
With the right turn at Kramer Junction comes a steady ascent toward the weathered and rusted mining town of Red Mountain, followed by a big descent and the day’s big climb. After surmounting this challenge, riders catch their first glimpse of the Sierra’s southern flanks as they enjoy a downward sloping finish to Ridgecrest.
DAY 3 – Ridgecrest to Diaz Lake/Lone Pine – 80 miles
Day three departs Ridgecrest and, after turning north at Inyokern onto a quiet country road, riders ponder the incongruous scenery of surprisingly green farmland next to sand dunes and tumbleweeds. Picking up Hwy. 395, they pass jagged escarpments on their way up, up, up, and into the bottom end of the Owens Valley. Blue, reed-bordered lakes, ruddy ancient cinder cones, and golden sage compliment the Sierra’s bleached flanks as the highway rolls onward to Diaz Lake (near Lone Pine). Below Mt. Whitney’s granite spires, a refreshingly cool dip in Diaz Lake dissolves the day’s sweat and grime, and riders soon drift into sleep by the soft orange light of a crackling fire.
DAY 4 – Diaz Lake/Lone Pine to Bishop – 60 miles
On day four, dawn paints the mountains a pinkish-orange as riders are greeted with a high mountain calling card, cold air from the “lower 48’s” highest peak drifting down into the basin. No hurry to rise, even with its gentle rolls, this penultimate day has a negligible elevation gain as it heads toward Bishop. Paralleling the spectacular Sierra Crest, the day’s route passes historic Manzanar, fish hatcheries, hot springs, and cattle ranches on its way to Bishop. Weather permitting, the relatively flat terrain serves as a comparative rest day for the physical and mental challenges to come.
DAY 5 – Bishop to Mammoth Mountain – 52 miles
Leaving Bishop on this fifth and last day, the route meanders past gurgling streams and under massive shade trees through the farmlands of Round Valley. The upward snaking old Sherwin Grade affords panoramic vistas from every turn, serving as a delightful distraction from the task at hand. Shimmering aspen groves afire with fall colors are interspersed among towering pines and putting cobalt Crowley Lake behind them, riders are greeted by a welcome sight, Mammoth’s expansive slopes. A few more turns up one last climb 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. Dinner and lodging will be provided at Mammoth Mountain that night.
ALL RIDERS (AND VOLUNTEERS) MUST REGISTER ON THE PEAK TO PEAK WEBSITE at http://www.firstgiving.com/usarc/p2p26. If you are unable to register yourself, USARC will do it for you.
Riders must remit $500 ONE MONTH BEFORE THE RIDE BEGINS to be guaranteed their rider kit, including a customized jersey, T-shirt, goodie bag, and water bottle.
Riders must turn in pledges totaling $2,500 or more by the first day of the ride and may collect and send in any additional pledges over and above that amount at a later time.
Riders should track collected cash and checks on their FirstGiving fundraising page by entering them as “offline donations” and use the worksheet to keep a written record for themselves prior to mailing them to the USARC (never mail cash!) It is important to mail such collected donations regularly, not just as an accounting courtesy to your sponsors, but also to enable the USARC to check your fundraising progress if you need that information. Moreover, since clerical errors can occur, writing down your cash/check sponsors provides a safety check.
Riders remitting $5,000 or more, no later than ONE MONTH BEFORE THE RIDE BEGINS, will receive a unique Pacesetter jersey for the ride. Pacesetter jerseys earned after that date will be awarded at the reunion party/slide show, and other incentive prizes will be awarded through arrangements made between the rider and the USARC. It is the rider’s responsibility to contact the USARC to redeem prizes. Note: prizes are determined by the amount turned in by the first day of the ride.
Participants requiring wheelchair access must inform the USARC of their needs.
Some riders say the pedaling is the hardest part, while others claim it’s more difficult to ask for money, though many have raised the required entry pledges several times over! The following are some tried and true strategies that have been employed by past participants. Obviously, not every rider will use every suggestion or move among various groups of potential sponsors, but if you utilize even some of the following, you will be successful.
10 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO
1. Register now at https://www.firstgiving.com/event/usarc/p2p26
2. Start EARLY, Start NOW!!!
3. Ask everyone you know
4. Set a goal
5. Be informed about your cause (USARC)
6. Remember you are NOT asking for yourself, but to benefit those served by the USARC.
7. Send out request letters today, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope
8. Thank every donor
9. Don’t give up!
10. Did we say start now?
IT’S MUCH EASIER THAN YOU THINK – HERE ARE THINGS OTHERS HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DONE
1. Tell EVERYBODY about Firstgiving (see #1, above.) This internet approach has proven to be an EASY, FAST,
SECURE, and LUCRATIVE tool for past riders. Easy for your sponsors = more pledges for you!
2. Pledge yourself first. When others see your commitment, they will often match or exceed it.
3. Just ask! People are eager to give if asked by a familiar and committed person, who is passionate about their cause.
4. Do a little math. If you ask six businesses you frequent to donate $100 each, six relatives to give you $50 each, six
friends to give you $50 each, and six workplace associates to give you $50 each, you are already 75% there!
5. Seek out the largest donations first; when people see a flat $300, $100, or $50 pledge, they often follow suit.
6. Ask local businesses patronized, or partner businesses such as suppliers or vendors served (see the list, below.)
7. Personalize a P2P poster with your name and number and place in your local bike shop, office, break room, etc.
8. Check if any sponsors’ donations are matched by their respective employers (this can be a HUGE resource!)
9. Remind sponsors that all donations are tax-deductible, a genuine benefit for most people.
10. Suggest sponsors do a payment plan (for example $50 now and $50 the week before the ride.)
11. Set a pledge goal of $20 per day (or whatever) when averaged overtime prior to the ride, meets the required amount.
12. Pledges based on mileage (25 cents, 50 cents, $1.00) work too, but flat pledges are best (see tip # 4 above.)
13. Ask for support from fellow club members with shared interests (golf, cycling, skiing, bridge, etc.)
14. Approach service organizations in communities whose citizens the USARC likely serves (see the list, below.)
15. Host micro-brew tasting, wine tasting, gourmet dinner, or BBQ with guests paying to attend at a profit.
16. Host yard/garage sale with items donated from friends, neighbors, themselves, etc.
17. Riders sponsor their friends’ causes and thus their friends sponsor the rider.
18. Encourage friends to visit and see the USARC programs in action to serve as a motivator.
19. Post notices on bulletin boards, (electronic or cork), or by e-mails with a reference to the website, www.usarc.org.
20. Make your own pledge form by modifying our brochure or poster with past photos, personal goals, etc.
21. Invite cycling sponsors to meet the group somewhere along the ride (call USARC for restrictions.)
22. View ride as personal vacation, pay any difference themselves, take a tax deduction (for a vacation!) as the law allows.
23. Share photos (available from USARC) of the prior rides with potential donors.
24. Following through on forgotten or neglected initial contacts often produces positive results.
25. Clinch donors by doing something unique on the ride (wore a dress, wore a rival’s uniform, rode a single-speed bike, etc.)
26. Swam to Catalina Island (and across the English Channel, and Lake Tahoe) to raise awareness (we don’t recommend it.)
WHOM YOU SHOULD ASK
Statistics show that virtually everybody knows a person who has a disability. People will line up and support you when they see you are passionate about a cause; all you have to do is ask! Who are they? We already mentioned your family, friends, and colleagues, but don’t forget the many people and companies whom you have supported with your patronage over the years. The below list is partial, but a good starting point.
Christmas Card List
Children’s teammate’s parents
Service Organizations (Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.)
Spouse’s Business Associates
Teammates (softball, etc.)
Tenants in office/apartment
We highly recommend putting in some miles on your bike before the beginning of the ride. While enviable, you should not try to be like one regular and athletically gifted, rider who always claims her first day of the ride is also her first day of training.
The bottom line is that there is no substitute getting out there and riding, hour after hour. Cross-training with running, walking, hiking, and even mountain biking all help to strengthen your legs and build endurance.
Most training regimens encourage working up to the ultimate distance you will be riding. Thus, since the Peak to Peak Pedal averages about 67 miles a day with the longest day being about 85 miles, you should consider completing a progression of rides 10, 25, 40, 55, 70, and 85 miles in length by the time the ride begins. In addition, it is beneficial to do a ride or two at altitude, as well as some rides with some substantial climbing. Perhaps more important than the number of miles ridden is the number of hours spent on your bicycle seat; rider’s backsides generally suffer more than their legs! You need to be prepared and able to sit on your bicycle saddle for anywhere from six to eight (or more) hours a day.
As with many long-distance rides, the Peak to Peak Pedal has flat and downhill sections, and may even have days with tailwinds. Of course, as noted, there can be headwinds and heat, and there will be plenty of climbing, so anytime your training involves those conditions you will be ahead of the game.
Learning to ride in a pace-line is also recommended, although this is a more advanced skill requiring numerous safety considerations. The USARC will share information regarding any rides hosted by potential participants in Big Bear or at locations “down the hill”. Training rides also provide an opportunity to meet and be mentored by (or mentor) other riders, new and experienced.
BICYCLE, HANDCYCLE, ETC.
• Helmets are required to be worn by ALL riders at ANY time they are riding.
• A reliable, well-maintained, quality cycle.
• E-Bike users are responsible for charging their own cycles and/or bringing extra batteries. NOTE: There are no electrical outlets at Diaz Lake and support vehicles will NOT be able to charge such batteries.
• Light weight mountain bikes combining low gearing with high-pressure slick tires are one good option but a similarly geared lightweight road bike is even better. Traditionally-geared road bikes can be tough in the hills (especially the last day), and should only be used by very strong and experienced riders. Touring bikes, which often combine the ideal blend of features, are another great option. “Beach Cruisers” and heavy “department store” bikes are poor choices.
• Two water bottles and/or a hydration system should be carried, along with spare tube(s), patch kit and tire pump.
• To repeat, we cannot over-emphasize the importance a good bike that has been recently tuned up by a professional. Most of the mechanical issues arising on the ride result from poor maintenance and abuse (“recently tuned” does not mean when you oiled the chain in college 30 years ago.)
• All riders MUST know how to change a flat and carry the tools to do so. It is so EASY!. Mechanical support may only be available from one or two volunteers, and waiting an hour or more simply because you didn’t learn to change a flat is no fun. The bike shop(s) listed here can show you how, and your local REI offers free basic bike maintenance classes.
• In Big Bear Lake, both Bear Valley Bikes (909-866-8000) and Chains Required (909-878-3268) have traditionally provided registered P2P riders with discounts on parts and/or service. Please call them to confirm.
• A small self-standing (dome style) tent
• Warm sleeping bag (nights can get quite cold)
• Compact sleeping pad
• Cycling clothes for hot and cool weather (includes investing in a pair or two or three of quality padded bicycle shorts!)
• Rain (and thus, rain gear) is always a possibility (check the forecast!)
• Comfortable, warm, post-ride clothes (try to avoid “overpacking” with a fresh post-ride “outfit” every day)
• Casual clothing for the banquet in Mammoth and the drive home
• Swimsuit (in case you want to cool off in Diaz Lake or enjoy the hot tub at Mammoth)
• Towel and any personal items such as toiletries, hat, sunscreen, book, camera, flashlight, etc.
• Some riders choose to bring a lock to secure their bicycle at night.
• It is ideal to bring one huge duffel bag in which to put most of your possessions (multiple items floating around independently can become separated or lost), which in turn will be placed in a trailer that will depart for the subsequent destination camp each morning. Any items you will require during the day can be placed in a small backpack in one of the roving support vehicles, or in one of the motor homes serving the break stops or lunch stop. Note that not every rider will encounter every support vehicle during a given day.
*NOTE: Excepting the cycling-related gear, volunteers should bring most of the preceding items.
Yes, ALL RIDERS AND VOLUNTEERS MUST REGISTER ONLINE at https://www.firstgiving.com/event/usarc/p2p26.
If you are unable to register yourself, call the USARC (909.584.0269) and we will do it for you.
Riders must remit the initial $500 no later than ONE MONTH BEFORE THE RIDE BEGINS, to secure your rider kit. Only when you have remitted $2,500 in pledges is your participation guaranteed, as long as you are among the first 50 riders to do so. One option is to use your credit card to cover the difference between the pledges you have remitted in advance and the required amount as of the beginning of the ride. Please do not mail any pledges in the final two weeks before the ride!
This is no problem, as there are lodging options in or near each of the four overnight stops. However, booking such a room is solely up to the rider/volunteer, and should be done as EARLY AS POSSIBLE!
Moreover, please note that we may be able to help transport people and their gear to their lodging of choice each night, but it is NOT GUARANTEED! If a bicycle will not suffice, you should plan on arranging your own transportation (via taxi, shuttle, ride-service, etc.) to and from your lodging option in such a manner that conforms with the daily schedule.
Riders assemble and break down their own camps each evening and morning, respectively. Camping locations vary greatly depending on the town (it may be a park, fairgrounds, or campground) but all will have showers and restroom facilities of one type or another.
Breakfast is served early each morning to facilitate an expeditious departure by riders, although due to logistical considerations the departure on the first day will likely be around 9:00 AM. Much like the first day of the ride, it is recommended that each day riders dress and get ready to ride, pack and deposit his or her gear (detailed below) by the trailer, and then proceed to breakfast. Every rider must check out with a communications volunteer (those with radios) before departing camp each day, and check-in when arriving at camp.
Break stops are established at locations roughly halfway between the departure point and lunch, and halfway between lunch and the location of camp that evening. Break and lunch stops will generally wait for the last rider to arrive, but all riders must be off the road by sunset each day or will be transported forward as necessary. Water is available from virtually every roving support vehicle or roadside businesses in an emergency.
Snacks and refreshments are typically available at each camp location, affording arriving riders a chance to socialize before dinner. Dinner provides the perfect opportunity to orient riders to the subsequent day’s route, as well as a chance to review any issues and observations regarding the day just completed. While people are welcome to stay up as late as they choose, “lights out” (meaning quiet time around camp) is typically no later than 9:00 p.m. since most riders rise at dawn.
Not unless you have arranged transportation to that end. If carpooling with one of the vehicles leaving on Monday morning, you should expect to arrive in Big Bear between 3 PM and 4 PM on Monday.
In addition to dinner, shared lodging is provided at the condominiums at Mammoth Mountain Inn. Most riders will receive a bed in a loft. Bedrooms are awarded to the highest fundraisers. NOTE: If you want a private room it is up to you to be one of the top fundraisers or arrange it with the Mammoth Mountain Inn on your own.
Several local Big Bear lodging options provide riders and volunteers with reduced rates. Please contact the USARC for hotels/motels offering discounts.
You must check-in and complete your registration no later than 7:00 AM on the first day of the ride at the USARC program office at Bear Mountain Resort. A breakfast/orientation will begin at 8:00 AM, after which photos will be taken, immediately followed by our departure to Barstow, hopefully no later than 9:00 AM.
NOTE: Prior to attending breakfast/orientation, you should be completely ready to ride (meaning you and your bike are prepped to ride and your WELL-LABELED bag[s] have been stowed in the gear trailer.)
Volunteers are needed to serve in numerous capacities. In particular, professional massage therapists, photographers, and bicycle mechanics are welcome additions. Other duties include helping with the meal preparation, serving, and clean-up, or driving one of the roving communication vehicles.
The hours are long but the genuine gratitude of the riders makes for wonderful compensation, as does playing an invaluable role in the success of an event that facilitates wondrous changes in the lives of USARC participants.
All prospective volunteers MUST inquire with the USARC office BEFORE they can register to join the ride. Most positions are usually filled by mid-summer, so interested people should call the USARC as soon as possible.
Again, no volunteers (or friends and family members) are allowed to show up to volunteer without first being approved by the USARC staff!
Volunteer expenses such as vehicle fuel and incidentals are not reimbursed and should be considered a donation (for which a tax deduction is possible; consult your tax advisor for details.)
Transportation to Big Bear is the rider/volunteer responsibility. Return transportation from Mammoth to Big Bear will be facilitated in the various support vehicles returning to Big Bear. However, any participant is able to arrange their own transportation departing from Mammoth. This is part of the online registration questionnaire.
Not exactly. People in RVs accompanying riders on the ride are considered guests and must remit the appropriate fees. Moreover, the P2P support RVs have priority at ALL locations (including overnight, lunch, and break stop locations,) meaning your guest RV will have to wait until after all approved ride support RVs are parked at those locations.
NOTE: At Barstow, there is a very small parking area, subject to the above restrictions. At Ridgecrest and Bishop, we camp at the fairgrounds with adjacent RV parks, and Lake Diaz also has RV spaces, although Saturday night can sell out due to the Lone Pine Film Festival. Riders/guests with RVs must arrange their overnight reservations at each location.
Minors are only permitted to ride if they are accompanied by a fully participating adult (ie – a registered rider). The minor must always be in the presence of the participating adult when actually cycling on any of the roads.
Yes, non-cycling guests may accompany the ride, but only for camping and dining along with the riders and volunteers. Guests may NOT ride bicycles along the route. Everyone on the ride is ONLY ONE of three things: a registered rider, an approved volunteer, or a paying guest.
The registered rider must indicate the number of guests and quantity of days they will be attending on the registration site. There is a $50 fee per person per day, plus an additional $50 for any guest(s) attending dinner on Sunday. Fees must be paid prior to the first day of the ride and there is no refund for changes or cancellations.
Don’t worry about your ability to complete the entire distance each day. The goal is to challenge yourself and do the best you can. Push your limits, but to do so wisely. Should you need to retire early on one or more days there will always be a vehicle available, or within radio contact, to transport you to your final destination or to the top of that last difficult hill. However, every rider must be off the road by sunset!