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Ride, Ride on the Range: Up to 100 Miles on Bike

February 11, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

One hundred miles sounds like a long way to ride a bike--heck, it is a long way--but it's also one of the most popular distances for organized group rides.

The annual Ride on the Range, coming up on Feb. 21, offers a nice, flat course for anyone who's been thinking of trying the century distance.

For those who aren't quite ready to rack up that much mileage, the event also offers courses of 25 and 50 miles.

All three rides (these aren't races, although some riders move much faster than others) start at Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim Hills and head generally east toward Corona. The century course then wanders south to the Lake Elsinore and Murrieta areas. All return to Yorba Park, where a chili lunch is planned for participants.

"It's the flattest century that I know of," said ride director Randy DeMarco of Dimo Cycling in Newport Beach, who said he's ridden in "quite a few" century rides. "Doing 100 miles is hard enough as it is" without adding a lot of hills, he said, calling the Ride on the Range a "great first-time century."

The 50-mile course, likewise, is pretty flat. "The difficulty level is very low for the century and the 50," DeMarco said. "There are very few hills." Ironically, there are more hills on the 25-mile course, generally considered the beginner distance.

In its first year, the Ride on the Range drew about 1,500 participants. Last year, organizers decided to move the start of the ride to Lake Perris in Riverside County, but participation plummeted to 700 riders (although the rainy weather may have helped dampen the turnout).

This year, with the ride back at Yorba Park, DeMarco expects about 1,500 riders again. The breakdown, he figures, will work out to about half the riders taking the 50-mile course, with about a quarter of the field each on the 25- and 100-mile rides.

In the two longer distances, the fastest riders average about 25 m.p.h. For the century, the top riders will come in at about four hours, with 5 1/2 hours a more average time and some riders coming in at eight or nine hours. For 50 miles, the fastest will come in at about two hours, with 2 1/2 to three hours a more typical time.

Average times for the 25-mile ride are 1 1/2 to two hours. (Because there are more beginners at this distance, the average speeds are a little slower.)

Starts will be staggered, with groups of 25 riders leaving every five minutes. The start of the 100-mile ride is 8 a.m.; the 50-mile ride will start about 8:30 a.m., and the 25-mile ride will begin about 9 a.m.

Day-of-event registration begins at 7 a.m.

The event is called Ride on the Range because it goes through some semirural country.

"When we go out from Yorba Park, it does get out into the country pretty quick," DeMarco said. "There's some real nice countryside out there."

Moving the ride location last year was an ill-advised attempt to get it further out into the country, DeMarco said: "I wanted to bring it out more to the range, but people don't even know where Lake Perris is."

What: Ride on the Range bicycle ride; 25-, 50- and 100-mile courses.

When: Sunday, Feb. 21, 8 a.m. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

Where: Yorba Regional Park, 7600 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim.

Whereabouts: From the Riverside (91) Freeway, take the Imperial Highway exit and head north to La Palma Avenue. Turn right; Yorba Park is about one mile ahead on the right side of the road.

Wherewithal: $25 entry fee includes T-shirt and chili lunch ($30 on day of event).

Where to call: (714) 645-3848.

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