Keeping 3,000 bicyclists wet and energized |

Keeping 3,000 bicyclists wet and energized

AROUND LAKE TAHOE ” The 3,000 cyclists who circled the lake Sunday for America’s Most Beautiful Ride ate up more than the scenery.

They ate and drank “everything put in front” of them, as Steve McCormick indicated at the Horizon Casino pool party at the finish line.

McCormick, who participated in the 72-mile Lake Tahoe ride to raise money for leukemia through the Team in Training Sacramento chapter, quickly consumed a beer on the warm Tahoe day within the first uttering of “congratulations.”

The 66 nationwide chapters that make up two-thirds of the riders raked in $8.5 million for the U.S. fundraising effort.

John Grimpel of the New York City chapter concurred. “There’s nothing better than a cold beer,” he said at the pool party. This despite his team’s tune changing through the day. His buddy, John Bader, enjoyed the freshness of the oranges and the salty replenishment of starch.

“They were perfect because that’s pure energy, and they have salt,” he said.

The 14th annual event is considered one of the best-supported rides in California and Nevada ” with plenty of food choices and water at five rest stops to carry the riders over Emerald Bay and up the long, gradual climb of Spooner Summit.

There, some Team in Training riders got an extra treat ” popsicles.

“I feel like a VIP,” Eve Binder of New Jersey said, stuffing the cold treat in her mouth.

Debbie Graham of Sacramento filled eight water bottles with water and the Cytomax mix to ensure she stayed hydrated, she said at the Spooner stop. She averages six glasses a day at her office.

Cherie Hunter said she appreciates that kind of attention, recalling another ride a few years ago in which volunteers working the aid station handed riders a garden hose.

They were told the station was out of food. So since then, she carries two Snickers bars.

Still at the first rest stop at the north side of Emerald Bay, the first-time rider kept the candy in her pocket and opted for the provided peanut butter on a granola bar.

One veteran told her to pace herself.

“You could weigh more by the time you stop,” Richard Van Slyke said, joking. The Mountain Ranch, Calif., man went right for the fruit ” oranges and strawberries.

Janet Baumann, one of the more than 50 volunteers on hand for the ride, said the strawberries were the most popular fruit at the Emerald Bay stop.

And volunteer Kathy Pitcher said the bananas were better this year, considering last year’s were so ripe she could smell them in the garage from her upstairs bedroom.

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