Saturday morning was chilly, but close to two hundred riders in the inaugural Heart of Gold gravel race were looking forward to their ride. A 55-mile race, with a 31-mile timed segment, all to benefit for youth mental wellness in Nevada County.

“The Heart of Gold is an opportunity to compete against some of the best riders in the state while increasing awareness for mental wellness in Nevada County,” said race event chair Hardy Bullock, a Nevada County Supervisor and avid bike rider ahead of the event. “The race also showcases how our community comes together for an event that helps promote the region and improves the lives of others.” Bullock added an extra challenge, stating that for every rider who beat him to the finish line at the Rood Center, he’d donate an extra $2.

At 8:00 am, the riders took off from the Rood Center, making their way to Purdon Crossing over the Yuba river, up to Cherokee and North Columbia. After climbing towards Lake City, Malakoff Diggins and North Bloomfield, from Relief to the Town of Washington and the second river crossing then up the steep climb on Washington Road back towards Hwy 20. Single track and more gravel roads finally brought them back to Nevada City and the Rood Center. Food and drinks awaited them, as well as family members and friends.

Race sponsors were Allworth Financial/Scott Hanson, County of Nevada, One Toyota of Oakland, the Rotary Club of Truckee, and Truckee Tahoe Airport District. Over 40 volunteers made the race a safe and fun event. Riders enjoyed their ride and many stated they hope this will become an annual event.

All proceeds from the $145 entry fee are funding six mental wellness programs for youth in Nevada County: Bright Futures for Youth; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Sierra; Child Advocates; Nevada Joint Union High School District; Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District; and Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County (YBONC). 

The full results and race times can be found here.