All aboard!

There’’s something special about trains. From the excitement of the conductor working the whistle to the appearance of the caboose at a railroad crossing, we are hypnotized by these unique vessels. Whether you’’re eight or 80, chances are excellent that you’’ve ridden one before. They give us the opportunity to enjoy our surroundings without having to worry about keeping our eyes on the road. Both passenger trains and freight cars serve the same purpose: —to get people and goods from Point A to Point B. The next time you’’re out and about, notice how pervasive trains are in our culture. You’’ll find books like The Little Engine That Could and toys galore such as Thomas the Tank Engine and model train sets in stores and online.

If you want to view former cargo cars in northern California, several options are available. Head to the Old Spaghetti Factory on J and 19th streets in Sacramento, where you can request to dine in the rail car and add a touch of novelty to your dining experience. Not in the mood for food? Old Sacramento lies a short distance away, where you’’ll discover the California State Railroad Museum. But perhaps the coolest example of an engine car is in Ione. Originally built for McCloud River Railroad in 1901, Iron Ivan, Old No. 7, is an early steam locomotive manufactured by Baldwin Locomotive Works. Its last trip took place in 1956 between Ione and Martell. The 12-mile long railroad lies completely within Amador County and is

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Nearly every town in America can stake claim to a famous inhabitant. In California alone, many stars of the silver screen and music world were born here in the Golden State. Actor/director Clint Eastwood hails from San Francisco, football player Tom Brady came into the world in San Mateo and singer/songwriter Chris Isaak was born in Stockton. Here in Ione, no other name is more recognizable than famous jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. Born in Concord, Brubeck was subsequently raised in Ione by his cattle rancher father and piano-playing mother. His sustained dedication to the city is perhaps best illustrated by his support of Preston Castle. In 1998, Brubeck wrote the score for a video tour of the beloved landmark entitled “A Castle’s Song,” which was sold through KVIE public television to assist with restoration funding. Brubeck may be gone, but his memory lives on through his cool jazz-style music. If you’re a fan of piano music, please join us Friday nights at Clark’s Corner for a flavorful prime rib dinner accompanied by the keystrokes of local musician Dennis Yancey.

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Clark’s Corner

We’ve all seen the mugs that say “Those Who Can, Teach.” When it comes to cooking, one can make the same statement about Clark’s Corner General Manager, Chef Chris Martin. The gastronomic dynamo obtained his culinary education not at cooking school, but learned from several excellent chefs. Martin also swears by his local experiences. “My first real job was at an Italian steak house in Sacramento. The head cook had 30 years’ experience, so I learned a lot from him. The best thing I learned was that it takes a team to serve great food and [that] everyone is important. I’ve gotten great ideas from dishwashers!” Of course, a celebrity chef encounter is always appreciated. Martin crossed paths with one such idol: “Anthony Bourdain—also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet!”

Martin joined Clark’s Corner Ione six months ago, and now feels like a local. “The way the community has embraced me, it feels like I’ve been here forever.”
The Elk Grove resident commutes 39 minutes to Ione to make filling, delicious comfort food for his customers. “I have always loved to cook. Since the age of eight, I was cooking complete dinners for my family.”
If you’re new to the menu, Martin has some recommendations: “The soups that Mayra makes are phenomenal, but I’d like everyone to try my prime rib on Friday to get an idea about what we’re really trying to serve to the people of Ione and surrounding areas.”

One might think that the dedicated chef has food on the brain 24/7, but Martin is an impressive multitasker both in and out of the kitchen. “I’m [also] a high school baseball umpire and I LOVE Family Guy.”
Speaking of television, Martin offers his two cents worth about authentic cooking programs: “I would love to see a reality show about the inner workings of a restaurant. The shows out there aren’t realistic. A good cook needs time to do a great job, and most of them give the cooks only an hour.”

From hearty meat dishes to lighter fare, Martin’s menu offers something for everyone. Come by tonight for an unforgettable meal—your tummy will thank you.

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CCCC 13-Chris Horner w-Sacramento Team

‘Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge’ Featuring ‘Tour’ Winner Chris Horner: Event Saturday, 10/12 – Broke Attendance & Fundraising Records!

What: Founded in 2010, the “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge,” (CCCC) is an annual cycling event/group ride held annually, starting in beautiful Ione, CA, and circling through Amador County. This year, “Tour of Spain” Cycling Champion Chris Horner, rode in the charity event — attracting record-breaking attendance of over 600 cyclists and spectators, and increasing funds raised for charity by over 66 percent. The event benefits three important charities: Interfaith Food Bank of Amador County, World Bicycle Relief, and
The Chevo Foundation.

Who: Kraig Clark, a northern California entrepreneur and philanthropist, founded the “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge” (CCCC), due in part to his strong roots and background growing up in the Amador County Foothills. Clark, an enthusiastic cyclist and Ironman competitor, began the CCCC to encourage tourism and economic development in the region, and advance opportunities for regional cyclists.

This year CCCC participants enjoyed the privilege of cycling with “Grand Tour” champion cyclist, and the 2013 “La Vuelta a España” (Tour of Spain) winner, Chris Horner. Considered one of the world’s greatest cyclists, Horner attended and spoke at a fundraising dinner at “Clark’s Corner” restaurant on Friday, October 11, 2013. And then on Saturday morning, October 12, 2013, Chris rode in the CCCC – allowing every CCCC participant to take a photo with the “Tour” legend during the ride!

Quote from Chris Horner: “I love riding in the ‘Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge,’ and am happy to be back with the cyclists in Northern California. After the big win a few weeks ago at the ‘Tour of Spain,’ I was excited to be returning for a fun ride in Amador County, because Northern California has a very loyal and enthusiastic cycling community. But then I had the accident in the World Championships, was afraid I would have to miss the Clark’s Corner event. Luckily, I have been treated and resting, and felt strong enough to attend the Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge for the fourth time. And it was great! I’m really glad I could make it”

Quote from Kraig Clark: I started the “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge,” because I like to ride, and because I wanted more people to come up and appreciate the gorgeous foothills of Amador County. But I’m also proud that the Cycling Challenge supports three important charities, as well as the local, Ione, California, economy. I am very happy that we increased both participation and our fundraising with this year’s event. We were lucky to have Chris Horner join us today. And we are looking forward to the next “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge”, October 11, 2014!”

Where: The Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge launches from “Clark’s Corner,” 12 West Main Street
Ione, CA 95640. The CCCC provides all participants with beautiful 10-, 30-, and 50-mile courses to enjoy.

When: The “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge” Artisan Dinner and silent auction was Friday, October 11, 2013. The “Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge” was Saturday, October 12, 2013.

Why: The Cycling Challenge was born out of Kraig Clark’s passion for the sport, and for the foothills of his youth; and it has evolved to become an anchor event for the rural communities of Amador County, the city of Ione, and for California, geography known for/by both sport and recreational cycling enthusiasts.

Charities: Interfaith Food Bank of Amador County (provides food to regional, socio-economically challenged families), World Bicycle Relief (providing bicycles to support relief, economic development, and educational opportunities in Africa), and The Chevo Foundation (funding research to eradicate Parkinson’s Disease).

For Further Information: Please check the website: Media inquiries or participate in the event: Drisha Leggitt (916) 206-2553 or

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This year’s 4th Annual Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge has been a tremendous success!

“This year’s 4th Annual Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge has been a tremendous success! Early results indicate bigger attendance, a sold out dinner, Chris Horner did indeed share intimate stories if his Spain win and more; and he did ride the 30 mile ride even with his fractured ribs.

A few thousand people reportedly biked, spectated, and came out to Ione for a day filled with art, wine tasting, crafts for kids, local vendors, and for the regional Harvest Festival.

Watch for details as our professional video footage of the entire event weekend is released, and look for stories to be shared.

Kraig Clark would like to thank all the riders, everyone who volunteered, the teams at Clark’s Corner, our local community in Ione, our wonderful charity partners, Perry Creek Winery, and the great cycling art auction pieces by David Sobon Auctions.

More great stories and pics to come in the following weeks!!”

Here is to a successful and growing event next year – save the date: Second Saturday in October!

– The Challenge Team

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Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 5.22.30 PM

3 Days and Counting

Sport stories–at least well-told ones–are chock full of romanticism about the sport itself. Great sport stories connect with readers when they tell tales of human courage and perseverance in the face of adversity, resonating in the athlete inside us all.

This weekend, Friday October 11th and Saturday October 12th, Clark’s Corner gets to host a story-in-the-making, and a sports hero to the world of cycling; a man who personifies courage, perseverance, and a can-do philosophy few, if any, professional athletes can best.

Chris Horner, who by all accounts became the oldest winner of one of cycling’s Grand Tour races with a victory in the Vuelta a España at the age of 41 this year (2013), was taken out with fractured ribs at the World Championship in Florence, Italy, September 29th, in a crash that took down other athletes, including Australian Cadel Evans and Britain’s Bradley Wiggins.

But what are a few fractured ribs compared to a commitment to help raise money, or to his die-hard fans (and new ones) in California? Even an injury won’t keep this champion from showing up and keeping his promise just a few weeks after a serious fall; that’s what real sport heroes do, they personify the very best in us, and make us secretly wish we could conquer the world at that level ourselves.

Ever the pro, and great guy that he is, Chris Horner joins us all in Ione, CA, for tales from the road, making northern Californians lucky and grateful to be among the first to hear up-close-and-personal about why this sport story may be one that goes down in the history books. We know his story already does, by virtue of his celebrated career, but in the drama of what happens which we can’t predict or don’t see coming, there is always the nugget of human inspiration at work which makes heroes and their stories our own.
For more about Chris Horner’s crash.

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ABOUT Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge

This event, in its fourth year, was founded by Northern California-born entrepreneur and community builder Kraig Clark, who set out to make a difference in his community by combining his passions for business, community wellness, cycling, and the wine country foothills of his youth.

Clark owns Clark’s Corner in Ione, CA., a staple destination community center, restaurant, banquet facility, and favorite weekend stop for cyclists in the region.
Clark’s Corner is a part of an effort on Clark’s behalf (and many other local businesses and business leaders) toward reviving the local community of Ione, CA and is an active part of helping to make Amador County and the city of Ione a destination experience.

Kraig wants to know: What is your favorite thing to do when you ride in the foothills, or tell us about your favorite challenging road to ride when you do come out this way?
We hope you will join us for the dinner with Chris Horner October 11th and ride October 12th. Bring the family, kids and friends; while you ride they can enjoy an entertaining day in downtown Ione! Activities planned include wine tasting, sidewalk art, fund crafts for the kids, local businesses, and more!

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Seven Days and Counting: 4th annual Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge!

As of October 3, 2013: Despite several fractured ribs from his recent crash at the Worlds, Chris Horner reports it’s nothing he hasn’t experienced before. With the course of his healing going well, he’s expected to be with us next week—oh, the stories he will have to tell!

Fresh off his historic La Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) win this past September 15, we are honored to have the American cycling champion grace us with his presence once again in Ione, CA, October 11 and 12.


This year we’re excited to expand our beneficiaries to include an important new organization, The Chevo Fund, which raises money to support local programs and research for Parkinson’s disease. We’ll also be hosting a silent auction at the dinner with Chris, October 11, which includes a Las Vegas trip, wine tours, extraordinary local art and many additional fine prizes on which to bid.


World Bicycle Relief is an organization with more than 148,000 bikes in the field world wide.

The Chevo Fund’s mission is to raise resources for Parkinson’s research, support and education.

The Interfaith Food Bank of Amador County came into being through the collective efforts of a local patron, 16 local churches and a community development block grant from AT-CAA, all of which worked together to form the Interfaith Council of Amador County in 1996.

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Amazing Race

Now that summer’s intense heat is mostly behind us, there’s no better way to spend our free time than by being outdoors. Whether you like to sip lemonade in the privacy of your own backyard or get in a long power walk is a matter of personal preference. If you live in Amador County, miles of hilly greenery are at your disposal. Leave the car in the garage, grab your bike and head out for an invigorating ride. Trails range from 6.9 to 48.5 miles with moderate-to-difficult terrain replete with switchbacks and steep climbs, and take the average rider between one and five hours to complete. Wine enthusiasts should check out Perry Creek and Slug Gulch in particular, whose routes pass through the Fairplay winery region. After all that pedaling, the 21 and older crowd can make a pit stop for some Cabernet or White Zinfandel at one–or all!–of eight wineries–you deserve it.

Mixing fitness with pleasure is not a foreign concept to American professional road racing cyclist Chris Horner. This fall, Horner comes to the Motherlode to participate in the 4th annual Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge in Ione on Saturday, October 12. Despite a recent knee surgery this past June, he is back in the saddle and ready to pedal. Hard-core cyclists and recreational riders alike are welcome to join Chris; in fact, he’d like to see you there. “I hope to meet you personally and I am looking forward to our ride together,” says Horner. Entrants can choose between 10, 30 or 50-mile rides. Sign up today and be a part of local history. To view the full itinerary, go to

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Around the World on Two Tires

To say that Chris Horner is one busy guy is an understatement. Just coming off Bend, Oregon’s Cascade Gran Fondo, he barely had time to load up on carbs before hopping on a Utah-bound plane to participate in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a six-day cycling event in southern and central parts of the state, featuring some of the world’s best teams, and one of only five UCI-sanctioned North American pro cycling occurrences this year.

But don’t put away that suitcase just yet, Chris. Once that ride’s behind him, Horner packs his passport and heads for Tour of Spain 2013 (Vuelta a España), from August 24 to September 15, featuring 21 stages and 3,319.1 miles of terrain. Oh, and let’s not forget the 41 mountain passes. Thank goodness the riders get two days of rest to recharge their batteries. Can you say WOW?

Unlike other professional sports, most cycling competitions give fans the opportunity not only to get close to the action, but allow athlete accessibility from race start to finish. You could wind up an arm’s length away from your bicycle idol, perhaps even get a candid photo. Although most of us won’t be able to join Horner in Spain, we can be there in spirit–maybe even see a time trial on TV. Those lucky enough to live in Utah just might catch a glimpse of him whizzing by.

Amador County residents will have the opportunity to be in the presence of velocipede greatness when Horner comes for the 4th annual Clark’s Corner Cycling Challenge on October 12, 2013. Get all the details at Cheer Chris on as he rides to raise money for Interfaith Food Bank of Amador County and World Bicycle Relief.

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