I am done with my ride and I am recovering today. I slept until about mid-day and my body is still in recovery.
It was a lovely ride through some of the best the state has to offer. I saw some incredible scenery I have never seen before and met some really nice people. The staff was fantastic and worked hard to make the ride pleasant. We had fun and people were generally very happy.
The ride has tried historically to offer something for all levels of riders. Cyclists on the Sierra-to-the-Sea range from bike riding Grandparents (like myself) to hard core, very driven and competitive cyclists. The folks who plan the event have historically tried to make everybody happy, which is simply not possible. The hard core "racer" type riders have historically not been happy and some have complained in the past that the ride is too easy. This year the ride management seemed to want to make the ride more of a challenge, they seemed to me to be more aggressive in route selection.
In my opinion, on the first day they ran into a perfect storm of too much heat, too many climbs and very bad roads that, in (again) my opinion, threatened rider safety and the ability of both riders and support staff to cope with riding conditions on the first day. We were lucky to have gotten through that day without serious injury (again in my opinion.)
Arguing between and amongst event staff and clients was too public to be ignored. There were more incidents of conflict this year than I ever remember.
My rating of this ride
My "new scale" rating [Link] 85.