Butler Valley Loop – #2 Banana Slug Results

With all the rain we’ve been getting on the Redwood Coast, I was very pleased that Saturday morning arrived with some sunshine and a nice big group of riders eager to challenge themselves on our perennial favorite: the Butler Valley loop. Over thirty riders wrote their names on the roster, and there were at least another half dozen guest appearances. Some of the fast riders blazed the course in impossibly fast times, with the claims that they felt slower than last year, though many of them were significantly faster. Most of the riders finished in under four hours, and the few who took longer all still arrived back at Arcata Community Center with big smiles on their faces while letting out whoops of joy.

But the day was not without its glitches. First, the host, your truly, misplaced the envelope containing membership roster, membership forms, and worst of all, route slips. Not having any way to take new memberships wasn’t all bad, as I was soloing it at the table, and the onslaught of riders wanting to register kept me busier than a one armed, one legged cyclist in the Tour de France. To make matters worse, there was a group of five riders from Petaluma, and they had no idea where they were going and needed some direction. Sean Tetrault, ever the problem solver, inquired if they had smartphones. At least some of them did, and Sean suggested they take a look at Jim Robbins Northcoast Bike Rides blog for a nicely detailed description of the route complete with mileage. It seemed to work; in the end, nobody got lost or off course. Well, that’s not entirely true. Rik Rieder took a bit of a deviation to Revolution Bicycle Repair to get his headset adjusted. Seems it was making unusual noises, and Rik decided against venturing into Butler Valley without being properly prepared for what can be a very rough ride. As well, a small contingent of riders opted to turn off Butler Valley Road onto Fickle Hill Road for some extra-curricular dirt road climbing, and a somewhat sketchy descent back into Arcata. After some brief discussion, we agreed that while it’s probably a bit shorter, it is nonetheless just as challenging, if not more so.

While Mark Severy turned in an incredibly fast time of 2:45:50, followed by four other riders to complete the course in under three hours, my real heroes for the day were Tom Graves, and his son Joel. It took Tom over seven hours to complete the course, but he stayed on it, and finished with a big smile on his face and tales to tell. That’s a long time to be out there, and Joel stayed with him every pedal stroke of the way. You guys are awesome!

Thanks to everybody who showed up, whether you were on the roster or not, it was a great day to ride with RCMBA!

2:45:50 Mark Severy
2:48:10 Michael Davies-Hughes
2:48:10 Steve Hoffman
2:56:40 Errin Odell
2:58:14 Allen Hoy
3:04:53 Andrea Achilli
3:06:00 Jeff Gutierrez
3:07:20 Ario Bigattini
3:07:20 Andy Schruck
3:07:20 Frank Paula
3:09:58 Michael Chapman
3:14:30 Robert East
3:14:30 Tessa Thralls
3:14:30 Humberto Faria – Fickle Hill Rd.
3:16:20 Bob Moore – Fickle Hill Rd.
3:17:06 Jude Stromberg – Fickle Hill Rd.
3:20:29 Grant Lay
3:20:30 Sky McKinley
3:24:40 Jim Robbins
3:35:30 Andre Guimaraes – Fickle Hill Rd.
3:41:26 Andy Cesarez
3:48:00 Todd Kraemer
3:54:50 Rik “pit stop” Rieder
3:54:50 Jess Couch
4:05:30 Mark Paula
4:12:40 Mike Woychak
4:56:35 Gina Bauer
4:56:35 Lacey Comer
4:56:35 Ali Osgood
4:56:35 Sharon Osgood
7:09:00 Thomas Graves

Guest Appearances…
Joel Graves
Chris Johnson
Robert Berg
Feff Farnum
James Williams
Rick Beale
Wally Coppini
and last but certainly not least,
Sean Tetrault and his Aids/LifeCycle ride cohorts

P.S. My humble apologies for not being properly prepared. For what it’s worth, that’s the first time it has happened, and we’ve been doing this four times a year for at least five years now.


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