MURPHYS — Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride returns to Feeney Park in Murphys on Saturday, May 7, with three all-new bicycle rides that take you through some of the most beautiful countryside in Northern California at one of the most beautiful times of the year. Late rains have kept the Sierra Foothills green and wildflowers are blooming; the weather is expected to be comfortable and cloudy with a slight chance of rain. After the ride, there will be a party in the park with barbecue prepared by Chef Laura Lowell and a crew of Feeney Park volunteers, all backed by the music of guitarist Nicholas Lefler.
Each of the three rides is challenging to some degree, with remote routes on a variety of road surfaces, heart-thumping climbs and winding descents on back roads that emphasize the wildness of Mr. Frog’s Ride.
The shortest ride, at 21-miles, takes cyclists through the San Domingo Creek valley past vineyards, through shady oak forests, and rises to upland meadows that will make you think you’re in Europe. Although this ride is mostly on pavement, it does cover about five miles of gravel. But the road base is well graded and, according to organizer and cyclist Rob Williams, “completely doable on a road bike.”
The 43-mile Medium Ride and the 55-mile Wild Ride will take cyclists to the micro-town of Sheep Ranch. While Sheep Ranch Road is a little rough, cyclists will be in for a treat once they hit the newly paved routes on the rest of the ride. The Medium Ride cuts over at Murray Creek Road from Railroad Flat Road to take riders into Mountain Ranch. The Wild Ride, described as “epic” by Williams, climbs, descends, then climbs again on Jesus Maria Road until it meets up with Whiskey Slide Road and heads into Mountain Ranch.
From Mountain Ranch, both rides take Old Gulch Road to Calaveritas, then Dogtown Road to Murphys Grade Road back to Murphys. According to Williams, at Old Gulch Road, “the road surface is like glass and cyclists say the descent is a Disneyland-like Best Ride. But watch for sand and rock at corners.”
Williams advises that while SAG wagons will be available to rescue worn-out cyclists, riders should honestly assess their capabilities, and that, once on the road, “ride slowly and enjoy yourself. It’s a ride, not a race.” Of course, e-bikes provide a welcome boost and are perfectly acceptable on this ride. Along the way, riders will find fully-stocked rest stops; restrooms will be available. Riders should be off the course by 4 p.m.
A fundraiser for Feeney Park — a community resource managed and supported solely by volunteers — Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride relies on the community to make this a successful event. Volunteers are still needed for everything from check-in, to food prep, to ride safety.
Register in advance for Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride online at www.mrfrogswildride.org so that you can start your ride early on Saturday. You can also register Friday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., or on the day of the event between 7 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.
For more information or to register in advance, contact Maggie Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.