As the sun rose over San Benito County on Oct. 20, bicyclists from inside and outside the county prepared to set off of the first-ever Discovery Classic Bike Ride.
With two rides to choose from, event coordinator Heatherly Takeuchi said 55 riders participated in the Gravel Grinder, and 20 took part in the Family Fun Ride.
Miguel Alvarez of Santa Clara came for the Family Fun Ride with four of his siblings and three of their spouses. The family, which used to do 5K runs, switched to biking as a way to indulge in a passion from their childhoods.
“We are doing all the things we didn’t do as kids,” said Becky Cortez, Alvarez’s sister. “It’s our time.”
Nick Madronio of Prunedale said he enjoyed the ability to participate in a race close to home and enjoy the views of the county roads.
“It is beautiful,” Madronio stated. “I also felt safe. The search and rescue didn’t seem to be far away.”
Ron Ross of Hollister helped lead the command post for the race as communications chief. Located outside of the Veterans’ Memorial Building in Hollister, the search and rescue team worked available if needed.
“We make sure the event runs smoothly and direct resources to ensure rider safety,” Ross said. “For a large part of the ride there is no cell coverage, so using amatuer radio keeps everyone on course and connected.”
That support was felt by cyclists, who also interacted with volunteers along the route running hydration and rest stations.
“Support was great,” said Steph Matson of Corralitos. “[I enjoyed] talking to the ranchers on Browns Valley Road.”
For Hollister resident Theodore Rialson, the challenge of the hills on the Gravel Grinder was his favorite part of the race. Calling the race a “great experience,” Rialson, 16, hopes more young people will join the event next year.
“I would love to have more people my age come out,” Rialson stated.
As participants made it safely back to Veterans’ Memorial Building in Hollister, riders were heard talking about the beautiful views of the county and their hopes to return next year.
“One couple said ‘We are definitely bringing the grandkids next year,’” Takeuchi said.