LUCERNE VALLEY — Riders of all ability levels converged in Lucerne Valley on Saturday morning for one purpose: to help local students.

Altogether, 144 mountain bike riders, runners and walkers — many of them educators, staff and students — participated in the annual Ride in the Rocks event.

The ride is sponsored by the Mitsubishi Cement Corp. Educational Foundation, which donates thousands of dollars annually to Lucerne Valley schools. Despite perfect November weather, the total number of participants was slightly less than last year’s record of 155.

“I think we scared them off with the 40-mile ride,” said event co-organizer Millie Rader. “But it’s been a really good year.”

Seven started the grueling Extreme Challenge 40-miler up rugged hills and difficult single-track. Only three finished, however. The others elected to forgo a second loop and finish the Challenge 25-mile event.

Less serious riders participated in the Tame 10-miler or Family 5-mile ride. A five-mile run/walk also was offered.

While the numbers were not quite as high as last year, Saturday’s event brought new faces and riders. The Bureau of Land Management, which allowed organizers to utilize previously unused areas, had two riders. Lone Valley Solar, which is completing a solar plant off of Camp Rock Road, had several riders and an information booth.

Each year top-echlon rider Robert Otwell, his wife, Heather, and their three children make Ride in the Rocks a family affair. Otwell rides with the fast guns, while the other Otwells — including his father-in-law, Chuck Bell — take in the scenery while riding the 10-miler.


Special education teacher Judy Baudoux brought a group of students 6 to 19 years old, who finished the 5-miler with determination and smiles.

After completing their challenge, all participants enjoyed a lunch of barbecued chicken, coleslaw, corn and a roll cooked up by Out of This World Barbecue.


The fastest 5-mile run/walk finisher was Nick Roberts. The first 5-mile rider was Lisa Herrmann. Peyton Todhunter finished the 10-mile in the front. The 25-mile bike top finisher was Steven Kinney, while Jerry McCluan took top honors in the 40-miler.