As a Rider, you will join others with a wide range of biking abilities but a single purpose: to help struggling young people. You must be at least 16* years of age. Participants are required to gather at least $500.00 in pledged support.
*16 and 17 year olds must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The parent does not need to ride with the minor, but must be present at the ride and participating as a rider or a sagger.
9:00 a.m. Arrive at the Loyalton Elementary School (see Route Map). Unload your equipment and get ready for sign-in and meetings. If SAG helpers drive up with you, have them drop you off at the school then go to their assigned stations for their SAG meetings and setup. Sign-in and complete the bike inspection. Turn in money and pledge sheets. You need your bike, gear and rider bag with you.
11:00 a.m. Pre-ride meal. It is very important that you eat and drink before the ride begins. You may want to bring something to snack on throughout the morning. Some snacks will be provided at registration.
11:30 a.m. Mandatory Rider Meeting. Important last-minute instructions will be given. You must be on time! The meeting will be held in the cafeteria, so you may continue to eat your pre-ride meal.
12:30 p.m. Change clothes, make final preparations, and rest.
1:00 p.m. The ride starts promptly from the Loyalton Elementary School. The distances between SAG stations are 12 and 13 miles.
1:00 p.m. The ride ends no matter where you are. Stop riding. You and your bike will be picked up and transported back to the Loyalton SAG station by an official sweep vehicle.
1:15 p.m. CEM will provide a complimentary Victory Meal for all riders and saggers at the Loyalton Elementary School. Plan to stay for this meal to find out how far others rode and how much money was raised. Presentations will be made at this time.
9:30 a.m. If you will be in the area, we would love to have you join us for the post-Agony church service at Christian Encounter Ranch, 17183 Retrac Way, Grass Valley, CA in Angels' Meadow.
The Agony ride is a personal challenge. It’s a time of good fellowship, lots of fun, and a chance to go to bat for someone else!
Here are some quotes from individuals who have been helped through the CEM programs over the years:
"Coming to the Ranch was my last chance to be a better person…I was plagued by rebellion, not caring if I hurt others…People here gave me a chance."
"…I came with a life full of family problems and …drug use. I ditched school all the time. I was such an angry person…I was not a sociable or loving person. That, and so much more, has changed because of the Lord…"
"…My life seemed like a big blur. I felt nothing, I thought nothing, and my abilities were worth nothing; …I was shown God's love…Now I know in my heart He loves me no matter what!" “I arrived at the Ranch at the age of 16. I was rebellious, I ran away from home, continuously drank, partied, and defied my parents... It has been over 10 years since I was a student at the Ranch, but it continues to be an important part of my life. They have generously spent many an hour counseling me and encouraging me in my walk with the Lord. The terrific thing about the Ranch family is they never forget about you.”
Here are some quotes from former riders:
“...I’m tithing for the next 24 hours!”
“Any pain in the body is more than balanced by the joy in the soul.”
“My pedal power is provided by the Spirit.”
“It’s the neatest picture I’ve ever seen of Christ’s Body at work. Some sponsor, some ride, some refill water bottles....but all give and take. Each person is a spoke in the wheel that makes it go ‘round!”
“My most intense lesson came through the death of my bike light. I had to follow my partner’s light ahead to stay safely on the road. It taught me how really desperate life is without God’s light.”
“I had a list of all the CEM students taped to my bike as I rode. When I got tired, that list reminded me of my reason for riding, and it got easier to keep pedaling. What an encouragement to see so many people working hard for that same purpose.”
Liability constraints and ethical issues require that these guidelines are respected without compromise.
Saggers are a team of people helping you during the ride.
We ask everyone who comes to register to help as a stationary or roving SAG helper. There are tasks for folks with varying levels of ability and endurance. All saggers must be at least 18 years of age.
25 miles north of Truckee in the Sierra Valley in and between the towns of Vinton, Loyalton, and Beckwourth.
Paved state and county highways are in very good to fair condition; some may have occasional wash-boards, potholes, sand, or gravel. The route is relatively flat. Two, three-mile stretches of the route are on State Hwy. 49, which is moderately traveled. You must obey all traffic laws, including riding single file at all times except to pass other riders.
Temperatures may range from 90ºF or higher in the day to 20ºF at night. The average elevation is 5,000 ft., and it can rain almost any day of the year. There are almost always strong, gusty winds in the afternoon.
Check in at the Loyalton Elementary School (see map) at 9:00 a.m. on Friday for a bike inspection, pulse and blood pressure check, and to receive numbered tags for your bike and bag and a numbered reflective vest.
Sponsorship is the core of the Agony ride. Through Agony sponsorship, your family, friends, and acquaintances become part of your team, making a difference in our society and in Christ's kingdom. Each rider needs to raise a minimum of $500.00. For example, 10 sponsors pledging 25 cents per mile each = 2.50 per mile x 200 miles ridden = $500.00. There is no maximum—it is okay to raise $10,000 or more! Seriously, we encourage you to work towards recognition as a "Pedal Pusher" by raising at least $1,000 this year. For those of you who have ridden before or will ride again, we also have several cumulative awards. Those who raise $2,500 become "Big Wheels"; $5,000 fundraisers are "Spokesmen"; those raising $10,000 are "Royal Rollers"; $15,000 fundraisers are "Cycle Slaves." Anyone who rides enough years with enough sponsorship to raise a total of $25,000 or more will be one of the "Agony Hall of Fame Chain Gang." Tokens of appreciation will be given to each person reaching one of these levels. The greatest reward is knowing you have played an important part in changing lives.
IMPORTANT: Be sure all checks are made out to CEM. Sponsors may also donate here.
You must obey all the California State traffic rules that apply to bicycle operation. Always travel the same direction as vehicle traffic. Signal before making a turn, don’t go over 55 mph (don’t you wish), ride single file, etc.
The location of the Agony is one of the safest routes for a bicycle event in the entire state of California. Keep in mind however:
The following information is provided for novice riders. If you are an experienced rider, you’re on your own!
Bring any filled-out sponsorship forms and donations you still have. Make sure all checks are made out to CEM.
Limited housing is available at Christian Encounter Ranch the night before and the night after the ride. Call 530-268-0877 as soon as possible to make arrangements. We may also be able to help you with transportation from the Ranch to the ride and back. Please contact us at least two weeks before the ride to make arrangements for housing and transportation.
Parking in Vinton and Loyalton is limited. Carpool if you can. If at all possible, ride with a sagger. We strongly discourage riders from driving after the Agony unless you slept most of the night. (Driving at that level of fatigue is no better than driving drunk.) If you absolutely must drive yourself home after the ride, you should plan on sleeping at least 6 hours during the ride or before starting your journey home.
Truckee, CA, is located on Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe. Hwy. 89 leaves Truckee, crosses Interstate 80 and goes north to Sierraville and Loyalton. Sierraville is located 25 miles north of Truckee, where Hwy. 89 and Hwy. 49 intersect. Turn right at the stoplight in Sierraville (onto Hwy. 49) and continue about 14 miles to Loyalton. The Loyalton Sag Station is on Beckwith Street at the Loyalton Elementary School.
To go to the Loyalton Elementary School turn left on 4th street, go one block and turn left on Beckwith Street. The school will be on your right. See map.
Riders must be at this school by 9:00 a.m. the day of the ride.
Please see the current list of Agony Top Tens here!
We're very excited about our jerseys. They are a great way to spread the word about what God is doing here at CEM and how others can participate in it through the Agony Ride. If you're looking for a conversation starter, this is a good one!
Cost for the jerseys is $72 by cash or check, $74 by credit card.
How old do I have to be to ride?
You must be at least 16 on the day of the ride. If you are 16 or 17, you must have a parent or guardian present at the ride.
Is there an upper age limit?
No. If you can ride a bicycle (or adult tricycle) you can participate as a rider. We have had several riders in their 70s and even one or two in their 80s!
How much money do I have to raise?
We ask that you raise at least $500.00.
I’m not good at fundraising. Can you help me?
Yes. Start by watching the fundraising video for ideas and inspiration. After you sign up, you will be sent a link for your personal fundraising page. Put your personal message on that page and send the link to all your potential sponsors. We have brochures available for you to use; we will email you flyers to refer people to our YouTube videos; and we are available to come speak at your church or club. Also, our donor services staff will contact you to offer help.
Can I sponsor myself?
Certainly. All donations are tax deductible, even if you sponsor yourself.
How and when do I turn in my sponsorship forms?
You can mail forms to us as you collect them at any time before the ride. The more forms we receive before the ride, the better. Any forms you collect too late to mail you can bring to the ride with you. Having sponsors use the online sponsorship form is ideal.
What percent of the donations actually goes to CEM?
We do not use an outside fundraising organization, so 100% goes to CEM. We spend about 10-12% on the cost of the event (permits, food, gear, gas, etc.).
Can my friends and I ride as a relay?
No. Each participant must raise at least $500. You may ride as little or as much as you want or can.
How far is it between SAG stations?
Loyalton to Vinton is 12 miles. Vinton to Beckwourth is 13 miles. Beckwourth to Loyalton is 13 miles.
What does SAG stand for?
Support and Gear.
What food and drink is provided?
All SAG stations will have water, Gatorade, Coke, chicken noodle soup, a variety of fresh fruit, sandwiches made to order (turkey, ham, cheese, PB & J), chips, and cookies. In addition there may be pancakes, eggs, waffles, biscuits and gravy, and other varied items. Food will be provided at the pre-ride meal, throughout the ride, and at the post-ride meal.
Is there any provision for people with food allergies/sensitivities?
There will be some gluten-free food available. Let us know what specific issues you have and we will try to be accommodating. Despite our best efforts, we cannot guarantee that cross-contamination will not occur; therefore it may be a good idea to have some of your own food.
Biking is not my thing. Can I run instead?
No. This is a biking event. You can help as a "sagger" (volunteer) and/or participate in our 5K Rescue Run in April.
Do I have to ride all night?
No. We provide mattresses and blankets/sleeping bags at each SAG station. You may sleep as long as you like.
Can I sleep at any SAG station?
Yes. We provide sleeping arrangements at all three SAG stations. At Loyalton the beds are in classrooms in the school, at Vinton they are in the large meeting room of the Grange Hall, and at Beckwourth they are in tents.
Can my family and friends come and watch?
No. Unfortunately, this is not really a spectator-friendly environment. For the safety of your children and the bike riders, we ask that you not bring anyone under the age of 18 (except 16 and 17 year olds who are riding) to the event. Any adults who wish to see you ride should sign up and participate as saggers. Folks will be able to track your progress from SAG station to SAG station online.