It started with a Facebook post from my friend Shaun asking if any of us wanted to join her on this cycling event. Of course I was curious and looked up more information…although very little “more” information was to be found. The website gave four distances to choose – 70 mile, 50, 30 and 15 and stated that their top-secret route will take you to destinations where you’ll receive treats throughout the Vegas Valley. Ok, 50 mile ride with treats – I’m in!

Richard, Me, Shaun, Jeff

Richard, Me, Shaun, Jeff

Even though I hadn’t been cycling since my half distance triathlon I figured 50 miles was doable, especially with stops along the route. I even convinced my hubby, Richard, to join in on the fun! And fun it was!

We really didn’t know what to expect, how many stops there would be or where we were going so this was new to all four of us – me, Richard, Shaun and her husband Jeff. Fortunately Shaun’s friend, Cory, joined us who rode this last year and, although a different course, knew the area and an idea of how it all went.

Chocolate Brownie from Flemmings

Chocolate Brownie from Flemmings

The 70 milers kicked off the start then our 50 mile group left about five minutes later. There were probably 100 riders in the group. Our first stop was seven miles in at Flemming’s Bake Shop. My initial reaction was “only seven miles to our first stop – we can just skip it and go to the next” but Cory assured us that the stop was worth it and boy was it! We received this little brick of a chocolate brownie that was so good! It was then that it really hit me this is truly a chocolaty cycling adventure and to enjoy every stop! I was even impressed by how organized the little tiny bakery got all of us in and out so quickly! You can imagine how many riders there were it being the first stop only seven miles in.

Mini Cupcakes from Lil Brown Sugar Cupcake Cafe

Mini Cupcakes from Lil Brown Sugar Cupcake Cafe

Next we were off to Lil Brown Sugar Cupcake Café twelve miles away. We lost the pack leaving Flemmings a little late and this was when it was very nice having Cory to lead the way as it would have been challenging to try and read directions and ride in unfamiliar territory. Here we were given delicious mini chocolate cupcakes and also reunited with several other riders along the way.

Cory in line for her shake at Mustang Sallys

Cory in line for her shake at Mustang Sallys

Seven and a half miles later we were at Mustang Sally’s Café at the Ford dealership. Odd location but very cool little café with the most amazing chocolate shake samples. Mmmm mmm good! We were now 26 miles into our ride and Richard was holding up quite well for someone who hadn’t ridden more than 12 miles in the past year. Granted most of the ride had been rather flat or downhill to this point which only meant one thing…lots of uphill to come, as Cory warned us.

26 miles in and Richard still smiling...sorta!

26 miles in and Richard still smiling…sorta!

Only 5 miles, and as promised, some very decent hill climbs later, we arrived at Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory! What a fun place this was! As we clicked our way through the factory in our bike shoes we were handed little candy samples throughout. Richard decided to sit this one out and rest his tired legs so he could continue on the remainder of the course.

Shaun and Me at Ethel M's

Shaun and Me at Ethel M’s

The shortest route was just two miles from Ethel M’s to Sweet Addiction where you had your choice of cookies or ice cream – a FULL scoop of ice cream! At this point none of us in our group could eat the full scoop but a few bites of butter pecan did the trick! Except for Richard who’s legs were totally cramping up on him but he was a good sport nonetheless and continued on without complaining!

Next was Sweet Ruby Jane’s Confections six miles later. Not only were we offered delicious chocolate and peanut clusters of goodness but a much desired cold bottle of water as well!

Donna bbsitting Gracie for us w/her grandson Jaron

My friend Donna babysat Gracie for us w/her grandson Jaron

Text from Donna "best babysitter ever" - agree!

Text from Donna “best babysitter ever” – agree!

The cyclist seemed to be thinning out as the ride continued on. Another 7 miles and we arrived at Layers Bakery. I was the only one in our group at this point to go in and try a sample. That was, until I came out with my eyes rolling back in my head at the moist chocolate piece of heaven, I mean cake I have ever tasted. That was enough to send Jeff in to sample a piece as well.

Pop Corn Girl

Pop Corn Girl

One last stop before we got back to the bike shop was just over four miles away at Pop Corn Girl. They had tubs full of flavored popcorn. At this point I asked which one was salty and not sweet and she said the loaded baked potato popcorn was salty and so good with real bacon pieces in it – and boy was she right! I had two servings of it! They also offered cold bottled water as well which is a very nice touch at this point in the ride.

It was just a few turns here and there and we were back at the bike shop.

All in all this was a very fun event. The Bike Shop did an excellent job at coordinating the stops and marking the streets and bike paths with arrows. This came in very handy for Richard when he’d fall back on the hill climbs he said. And there were A LOT of turns and intersections to mark and I know how much time it took to do that so thank you Bike Shop! The ending was a little anti-climactic with no finish line or anything. There were more treats and goodies inside the Bike Shop if you wanted more to eat. We wanted REAL food, however and asked one of the employees where we could get a burger. She told us a place and said next year they’ll have a barbeque out in the parking lot at the finish which I think will add to festivities and make it more fun for the riders.

I will definitely put this event on next year’s calendar and see if I can get more friends from the run club to join as well. A week later, Richard legs have stopped burning and he’s talking about keeping up his cycling so he’ll be better prepared for next year! Who ever thought chocolate could be so motivating?!

At the finish!  50.22 miles and lots of chocolate later!

At the finish! 50.22 miles and lots of chocolate later!