11.21.2010

November 20th ARP-Levee Rd-Roseville

Saturday 6am.....getting up and checking weather conditions. Wet roads, slight sprinkles and roads seem to be drying. 6:30am, taking in the usual bowl of oatmeal pre-ride breakfast meal. Watching the news wondering if the rain will hold off until the ride is completed today. 7:20am start to get dressed, piecing together what layers to wear. Do I need a rain jacket? Booties? Ear warmers? It's a crap shoot on what will be found out on the road today. 7:35am, check bike tires, put on shoes and start pedaling to meet the group at the covered parking lot across from Karen's Bakery. The first mile I'm a little cold but after the second mile rolls by I'm thinking I have picked the right combination of layers and winter gear. 7:50 or so arrive at the parking lot. Say hi to Steve Ward (El Patron) who is getting ready to ride up to Georgetown on a BP training ride. He states he might see snow.......

Five riders show up to start this ride. Brian (ride leader), Chad, Claire, Miles, Eric and myself. We are feeling pretty good about today's ride. We might beat the forecast of rain later today. As we roll out the roads are semi dry across the Auburn Folsom bridge. Descending to the north AR bike trail the pavement is wet/dry. Brian and I are at the front pulling the group for the first ten or so miles at a medium pace. Clair and Miles take over and pull for a long period taking us close to the first major route turn at (Northegate) rain drops start hitting us. The levee bike trail is wet with light rain falling. I am riding next to rather than right behind the rider in front to keep away from the wet rooster tail off the rear wheel. We make the one stop for restrooms and water with rain coming down at a pretty good rate.

We get a much needed tail wind down Levee road. I'm seeing an average mph between 22-25 depending on who is on the front. We are all getting wet at this point. Staying warm is on our minds. The easy part of the ride is winding down as we make the turn onto Riego road heading east. Just as Brian gets a pace set....I have the rear tire go flat. I get the tire off and find something in the tread. Brian gets the offending particle out for me, and I get the new tube and tire mounted a quickly as possible. My hands are freezing! Just as we are ready to go the rain lets up. I get out to the front and start soft pedaling until everyone is on and then start to slowly wind up the pace. With the cross wind I'm seeing a 19.4 mph average speed and I keep pounding out this pace not looking back as there is not much shoulder to work with and traffic speeding along the road. After a while I get the feeling that no one is behind me. I take a quick look and see Chad back a couple hundred meters and the rest of the group back even further. Geeze.....I did not mean to drop the group on this stretch of road, just pace them though without slowing too much. I slowed down and let Chad catch up, he said he dropped back to help pull the group back. Chad and I slowed to let the Brian, Eric, Claire and Miles catch up. Then Chad went up front and took a long pull with me on second wheel and Claire third wheel. Chad pulled us all the way to the next turn onto Fiddyment.

The rain was spotty the rest of the way through Roseville. The group was split a few time at stop lights and rollers on Roseville Parkway. The last section of Roseville parkway has a slight climb to Barton Road. Miles went off the front, Chad and I chasing. Brian, Clair and Eric were kept pounding out a reasonable climbing pace. I caught up with Chad, we passed Miles and put a little gap between us and Miles by the time we reached Barton Road. Brian, Clair and Eric arrived soon after.

The last section of the ride should have been easy to return to Karen's. I was in autopilot on Barton telling Brian that these rollers used to hurt me bad. Not so much today! Just after the last roller we encountered a 90 degree right turn. Brian went in first, Miles dove in looked OK but suddenly the back end broke loose and Miles was down hard on the tarmac. I was back a few bike lengths and had just committed to a line through this turn. Miles was right in my line. Race day instincts took over.....A quick assessment of options went through my mind.....#1 slow as much as possible before hitting into Miles, #2 Get off line, slow as much as possible and look for a soft place to land. I went for option #2. As I slowed I over braked and locked up the rear, passed by the outside of Miles and spotted the point where I wanted to hit the wood fence and hopefully glance off it and stay upright. Once I hit the fence I knew that I was going over the bars. I tucked my head and rolled with the bike. I finished the roll laying on my side with my left leg still clipped in. Somehow I managed to not to get hurt. Miles was not so lucky and was not getting up too quick. We took a little while to let Miles get up and make sure he was not hurt bad. Checked the bikes over to make sure they were in riding condition and then rode the last 1-2 miles together back to Karen's.

Everyone was soaked to the bone during this ride. I have to give Claire credit as she wore the least amount of gear for the entire ride. One layer of arm warmers, no leg warmers and light gloves. Claire, I do not know how you stayed warm today!

Brian contacted Miles on Sunday and he is OK. He has some road rash on one hip that will heal. No broken bones. His helmet cracked so he must have hit his head on the pavement at some point in the crash.

10.11.2010

Levi's King Ridge Gran Fondo















This past weekend, many folks associated with Cycle Folsom ventured over to Sonoma County to ride in Levi Leipheimer's back yard, his second annual King Ridge Gran Fondo. The measly 103 mile course only boasted about 9,000 feet of climbing with some pitches hitting 18%. Sounds like something right up Cycle Folsom's alley.



The weather was perfect. The temps were cool in the morning (60s), then reaching into the mid 70s in the afternoon. The coast was spectacular with the sun glinting off of the ocean and a very light breeze coming off the grand Pacific. Some of us had a great ride, yet others faced challenges. Check out some of the stories from the road in their own words below. For a more main stream review, check out what the Press Democrat had to say and browse their Gran Fondo photo album. Or check out what BikeRadar had to say or Cycle To's photos. Cycle Folsom's Meetup site has a load of photos posted too.

It's only fair that I (Brian) give my story first, but the others are better:
How my ride unfolded: It was great to have all the CF riders together at the front, and then to meet up with the Road Rash racers (Curt, Chad, et al.). I was in for a mellow start, but the RRRs shot out the gate, led by Curt, like they were wanting to put Levi on the rivet! Phil kept telling me to jump on there wheel, so I did. It was nice getting swept up in a peloton cruising at 25+ with little effort. We were all together, Phil, me, & RRRs (not sure where Jeff, Oz, Kevin, & Joel were at) until we hit that first little climb in Occidental. Some of those folks on the front totally slowed up and I passed a bunch of folks on that climb. The next thing I know, I was in a group of about 50 guys with what looked like some full teams of 8-9 riders each (TNA from Vancouver, BC). They were humming along, so I just sat-in and enjoyed the ride at 25+. We blew by the first aid station (actually two aid stations - didn't even see the first one), which was fine because I had two full bottles. When we hit the King Ridge climbs, things blew apart as expected. I took it relatively easy staying seated most of the way and hammered the rollers on top. It looked like some folks were hurting themselves on that climb. I got into the aid station at the top (Tin Barn?), used the restroom, filled my bottles, ate some food, and then sat out on the road waiting for any other CF riders. Jeff showed within a few minutes, and then him and I waited for Phil. I think I was at that stop for about 25-30 minutes. The 3 of us took off together. It was telling to take it easy on the descent when we saw someone being tended to by EMS on the side of the road. Jeff, me, and Phil got strung out on the next climb in that order. I kept thinking I had Jeff in my sights, but every time I caught him, it turned out it was someone else in a red and white kit. Near the top where it turned into some rollers and false flats, I caught on the back of a group that was primarily made up of Course Marshals. That group eventually caught Jeff, so him and I road together for the next several miles. The ocean view was spectacular. Jeff and I got in with a fast group that was passing folks, and blasted through Jenner. Eventually we backed off a little on the small climbs and we ended up trading pulls with a few guys hanging on to our wheels. We hung out at the next aid station (just before Coleman Rd) long enough to drink a coke, refill bottles, eat some fig newtons, grab some gels and Clif bars. We were thinking of splitting, but our buddy Phil rolled in, so we decided to chill a little longer. Again, the 3 of us rolled out together. We hit the Coleman Rd climb and both Phil and Jeff were a little worried about cramping. We all took it relatively easy, so as not blow up. I pulled a fast one and dumped one of my water bottles; Jeff said I shot off after that - no way, not true. I felt pretty strong on the top rollers and passed a lot of folks on my way to the water only stop at the top. By now I was familiar with the stops, so I just road straight in and up to the water station, unclipped one foot, filled my bottle, and then rode out. I guess right as I was leaving, Jeff could see me splitting down the road. Sorry, Jeff. I should have waited a bit. It would have been better riding with someone. After that stop, there was a lot of working around and passing folks from the Medio (60 mile) ride. That was a little frustrating, but not too bad. My legs were really feeling it on the climbs back over by Occidental. I took it real easy since I was getting a touch of cramps. Eventually, some group of about 10 guys went by me on a flat section going about 30! I jumped on their wheel; that was tough! This was no free ride, just a discount ride. The guy in front of me was in the drops hanging on for dear life. I had it my biggest gear pedalling as hard as I could so I wouldn't get dropped. Oh, but then the road tilted upwards and I had to sit up. They all sprinted over the top; yikes! I didn't want to dig a grave there. After Occidental, I got in a small group with two other guys for the last 8-9 miles and we all traded pulls on the outlying flats and the bike trail. We kept the pace between 20-23 all the way to the finish. With stops and all, I think my official time that was posted was something like 6:13-6:15 (official results not up yet on the website). Jeff was just a couple of minutes behind me, and Phil was maybe about 5-10 minutes in arrears. Oh, I didn't stop at the final aid station, and I think they did. I would say that my ride time was some like 5:50. My GPS was having problems shutting off near the beginning, but for the final 97 miles it worked, I had a ride time of 5:38 with an average pace around 17 mph.

Part of an email from Phil:
The entire ride was much better for me this year. No mechanicals or flats. I rode with Jeff all the way to the stop we made just before starting the climb up King Ridge Road. I stayed on Jeff's wheel until we hit the 12-18 percent grades. Then I backed off so I would not blow up. After meeting up again with Brian & Jeff at the last stop before Coleman Valley I knew the both of them were going to summit before me and I had no hope of catching you guys before the finish. I drafted riders on the flats and dropped most on the descents. The last 10-12 miles back a rider in a USA Champion kit came by with a gal drafting. I jumped on the pace line with speeds up to 30 mph most of the way. Started to feel twinges of cramping in both calves on the last stretch of bike trail and had to back off for a mile. Brian and Jeff have really raised the climbing bar this year. I'll need to work really hard to catch up. (If it is even possible.) Next year I'd like to ride this course even faster!

Part of an email from Kevin:
That had to be the fastest start to a ride I’ve ever been a part of. I really tried to keep Brian, Jeff and Phil in eye sight but as soon as we started moving and turned onto College Ave I lost sight of everyone. Frank pulled out in front of me and I hung on his rear wheel for quite a while when I finally had to pull off. You're just too fast for me Frank! Then some time later I caught sight of Frank on the left side of the road changing a flat so I pulled off to wait. That’s when Oz and then Joel caught up and we regrouped and started out towards Occidental.

Yes, Oz and I had some “mechanical” issues. Well, actually I pulled a bone headed move and drifted into his rear wheel (derailleur side) with my front wheel when turning at the bottom of King Ridge Road to look for Joel who was behind us. It was the same thing that happened to me during the Ride for a Reason when one of those Team Revolutions guys crashed into my rear derailleur. Long story short, Oz had some serious shifting issues and my front wheel was out of true and binding against the brake pads even when wide open. We decided to hang out and wait for a SAG ride up to the nearest mechanic which unfortunately was at the top of the signature climb and the lunch stop (Tin Barn?). Just as we reached the rest stop I noticed Joel pulling out towards the exit so it took us quite a bit of time even by car to get to the top. Man, there were some seriously steep grades and killer views up there.

It only took the mechanic about 10 mins each to straighten and adjust Oz’s derailleur and to re-true my front wheel. After slamming down some lunch and grabbing some water we headed down towards the coast. And what a sight the coast was coming down Sea View Road! Growing up in Santa Rosa, you learn that this time of the year is really the best time to visit the coast and Saturday didn’t disappoint. Oz and I caught up to Joel at the Portuguese Beach Rest Stop and the three of us rode in the rest of the way in from there. We ended up seeing Phil right as we pulled into the Finish, he mentioned that a few of you had just left about 10 mins before that?

Gotta give props to Brian and his Tuesday evening climbing rides because this year I felt really good going up Coleman Valley Road and did a pretty good job of hanging on Oz’s wheel. Last year I had to get off the bike and walk up a bit of Coleman Valley so riding with you guys has really paid off.

Really felt like an idiot the rest of the day by keeping Oz from getting to ride the signature portion of the ride. He sent me a message later that he took the bike into Folsom Bike and thankfully nothing had to be replaced, just adjusted. I Hope it’s shifting like before with no issues Oz? I know, shit happens but still…

The real story from Beirut by El Patron, Steve W:
This is my (Steve's) post-ride recap from the Gran Fondo. Be forewarned that there may be objectionable language, including language that may be racially inciting to some (this language occurs as the result of quotations from actual events/conversations, the words are not my own).

In an inauspicious beginning to my 2010 Levi’s King Ridge Gran Fondo, I was seated in the comfortable chair at the entry to the registration area when I heard a strong, gruff voice from behind me bellow-out “What’s up!” – accompanied by sharp, straight right jab to my right scapula. I turned to see a tall, bald-headed man with a stunned look upon his face; I immediately discerned that I was not who he thought I was – and I was right. He looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite put it together a name for the man. He indicated my t-shirt (Williams Cycling) with his large, long boney finger and exclaimed that he thought I was Williams (although he couldn’t remember Mr. Williams’s first name – that would be Keith Williams of Williams Cycling). He introduced himself as Dave Toule (pronounced: towel), you known, the guy who does the announcing for, among other notable events, the Tour of California. He apologized for punching me out, and then we went on to have a lengthy chat. Good dude – and full of great stories.

Day turned to night and it was time to retire to my accommodations as this little dive of a hotel I came to call “Little Beirut”. The place was in shambles, taking on the appearance of Beirut in the 80’s during the troubles there. It appears to have been built in the early 50’s as a motor hotel type property, the kind you can pull up to with your car and take exactly two paces to get from your car door to your room. The walls are paper thin and the front of the room consists of a floor-to-ceiling plate of glass and a door. There is no insulation, no phones in the rooms, really, not much of what most of us have come to expect in a room for which one might pay for a nights lodging. Spartan for sure, but the cost was half of what the economical end of the market was bearing for the weekend. I checked in to room 131 and retired at 8:45pm to ensure a good nights sleep prior to the 5am alarm. At 9:30pm the local gangsters arrived, about 30 of them, and rented room 133, the room directly adjacent to mine and began to party O.G. style. Their room, being too small to host all of them, forced them to spill out onto to the walkway that separated the rooms from the parking lot. Since our doors were literally less then one foot apart from each other, it became convenient for them to congregate directly in front of my room. As expected, the longer the party went on, the louder their music played, and thus, their conversations became louder in order to remain above the level of the music. By 11:30pm I was ready to call the front desk and ask them to take some action, however, after turning on the light and scanning the room, I realized there were no phones in the room. I quick peek out the peep-hole in the door revealed some serious ganster-types hittin’ on the crack pipe. I was already aware of the small tobacco and hemp campfires burning in Little Beirut because the fumes were wafting through un-insulated gaps around the door to my room. A heap of empty beer cans were being stacked on the hood of my Highlander.

Taking in the scope and magnitude of the circumstances, I retreated to my bed to consider my options; there was one – do nothing. I couldn’t leave the room without fearing for my life. I thought about checking out early and driving off somewhere to get some sleep in my car but then I realized I’d have to push an $8,000 bike though a crack-pipe smokin’ gangsters to get to my care which was, at present, buried in beer cans. At 4:30am the party concluded – just in time for me to get half an hours sleep. 15 minutes later there is a very loud and persistent knocking on the door at room 133. No answer. Now there was knocking and kicking at the door. Then LOUD voices: “…THAT FUCKER PASSED OUT. FUCKIN’ RAP HARDER, WAKE TH’ ‘N..... UP!”. More pounding, more kicking. More voices: “…he passed out…maybe he locked himself out; let’s go get a key from the office”. Footsteps. Quiet. More footsteps. The door opens, and then closes. It’s quiet again. 20 minutes later a car pulls up. Footsteps; and then a soft knocking on the door at room 133. A voice “…’TH’ FUCK MAN – WHO DAT!.” The reply: “Taxi”. Retort, “Coo”. Door opens, footsteps, car leaves as my alarm clock rings. Perfect.

Greg Cook and I met in the parking lot at Finley Community Center, geared-up and then headed over to the staging area. What a mess. People and long lines everywhere. We maneuvered to end of the gates defending the VIP starting area and queued up right at the corner of the gates. We were going to be in good position very near the front. And then it was on…

We stayed in good position near the front, noticing that the pace up front was slower than what we experienced the previous year. Moreover, there were no slow riders in our way at all because the CHP was out in front with several motorbikes and cruisers clearing all of the early starters off the road so that Levi and Odessa would not have to worry about them; and neither would we.

Everyone in the top one to two hundred riders was trying to get all of the way to the front to ride with Levi, and that made things a little sketchy for the first ten miles or so. Greg and I just tried to remain near the front, but stayed out of the mess occurring in the first fifty riders. Once the road kicked up on the ascent up Graton Road to Occidental, the pretenders faded fast allowing Greg and I to move forward in the pack very quickly. I led the way up the climb into Occidental, towing a long string of riders in my wake. As we turned the corner at Occidental and began the flowing descent down the Bohemian Hwy into Monte Rio, Greg went to the front and lifted the pace. We had a group of about 80 riders and we all worked together to keep the pace high. The collective belief was that we were the third group on the road.

Once the climbing started in earnest on King Ridge Road, our hundred rides thinned-out quickly to about twenty riders. Half way up the mountain it was down to less than ten riders. That’s when Greg and about five others rode off the front leaving me and the rest to form our own group. I arrived at the Tin Barn rest stop (mile 40+) to find Greg chowing on a handful of PB&J sandwich quarters. We headed over to fill up our water bottles and as I looked to my left I saw Levi about 20 yards away, with a gaggle of paparazzi and cyclists covering his every move and trying to get a word in edge-wise with him.

I told Greg I was going to go over and get in a photo with Levi – Greg offered that it might be a difficult task with all those other people surrounding him. I replied, “Watch this.”

Levi was heading in our direction and I took a direct, assertive but not aggressive approach toward him. From ten yards out, with a strong voice I let out with: “Levi, I’ve only got a couple of seconds so if you still want to get that picture with me that I promised you, we have to do it right now.” Everyone looked at me and I know they were wondering: who is that guy? Levi had the same look on his face and I could tell he was quickly wracking his memory to place a name with my face. Then a sly little smirk formed as he approached me and he put a hand on my shoulder, saying, “Nice, I’ve never heard that one before.” It was only then that I realized that I didn’t have a camera – yeah, I was standing there with Levi, we were both posing and no one had a camera…uncomfortable pause…then we spun around and there was a member of the official media team there with his professional rig and he snapped a few quick shots. I gave Levi the nod and as I walked off; he was good enough play along with: “Hey, I owe you one!” I kept in character as I walked briskly back over to Greg – we got on our bikes and rode-off – and I know at least a handful of people were asking themselves, “who was that little guy in the Radio Shack kit getting his picture taken with Steve Ward”.

Then we were off again, falling off the edge of the earth, plunging down to Hauser Bridge and then up the long string of climbs on Sea View Road. I experienced some bonking on this section, which might have been at least partially induced by not a single minute of sleep in Little Beirut. I was struggling on this climb and catching the occasional glimpse Greg every now and then, but it’s because he’s going as slow as he can to wait for me. I kept telling him to go chase Odessa and get the hell out of my sight because he’s annoying me. He hangs around a while longer and then finally gets bored and heads off in earnest. I ride a recovery pace that allows me to start renewing my strength.

Greg and his group ride off, then another group overwhelms me and passes through (with Ed Lix of VOS on the front saying, “Steve, did you go out too hard on King Ridge…”). Yet another group passes through and then I feel good enough to latch onto the next group. My group catches the group in front of us heading up to Fort Ross Road. We descend like wild banshees and catch the next group up the road. We absolutely drill it down Barf-Bluff on Hwy 1, then ease our way up the grade that follows before pushing on down the coast, catching back on to Ed’s group and riding in together to our second and final rest stop of the day at Arched Rock. Greg is there and has been for at least ten minutes. We refuel and I decide to go for the new Clif Turbo Gel (50 mg of caffeine). This is my first caffeine of the day and is very useful in helping me overcome what I thought would be a miserable climb up Coleman Valley Road. I wasn’t fast by any means, but it was a smooth, consistent climb in which I was able to hold a non-stop conversation with two of the Ride Marshalls all the way to the top of the first climb. Greg shot up the hill in the expected fashion and topped out at the first summit about four minutes ahead of me. Then Greg disappeared over the horizon and took another 25 minutes out of me over the final fourteen miles.

I joined in with a group of guys that were going steady but not killing it. I stayed with them all the way to the fast descent into Occidental where I absolutely bombed the descent (50+ mph) and ran away from the group I was riding with to join another, stronger group up the road. We worked together the rest of the way back to Santa Rosa but no one was pushing the pace, it was steady, but nothing like the all-out hammer-fest from last year.

This photo was taken from the Helicopter just a few miles before we exited from the road onto the river trail that leads back to the Finley Center (I’m just moving onto the front to take my turn at pace-making - next to the “S”).

My loop time was 5:52 this year, twenty minutes slower than last year.

And the best for last, Joel's story:
Not much more to add other than the fact that each of you are lucky I got caught drafting behind that old lady and her walker on King Ridge Road. The tennis balls on the bottom of her rocker really caused me to lose valuable time to Phil, Brian and Jeff. Perhaps next year I won't allow her to pass me on the way up!

But seriously, that was by far one of the best rides I have ever done. Even though my time was far from respectable, I can honestly say that I have learned the value of carrying a 30lb tool chest in my back pocket. I can't wait until next year to see what kind of improvements I can make to my climbing, nutrition and overall performance. Special thanks to Kevin and OZ for carrying me back in. Our last few miles at over 23mph ave made it all worth while as several cyclists commented on "team CycleFolsom" bringing it home! The views were incredible, the food excellent and the company was by far the best!

Here's to a great 2011!

Big Frank's story:
It’s a rare to participate in any ride that attracts six thousand cyclists; that much energy creates a buzz all its own. Six thousand? Seemed too good to miss.

Having done it, I can say it was worth all the hype. In fact, it’s the kind of event that makes you feel fine about being swept up in the hype. If I’d just driven by the event in a car, I’d probably have to race home, suit up, and pedal over in an attempt to pirate the ride—it’s that kind of event.

From my point of view, the start was unbelievably civilized for a mass start. Not many speed jockeys bolting out of the gates in a hot sweat within 5 minutes; not many weekend hammerhead types pushing through the crowds in a lame attempt to “win” the start. No bigtime jumbo Aunt Sally or Good Ole Uncle Ed types with flip-flops and squeaky cranks, either. Just lots of riders moving out in relatively orderly fashion, all doing their thing. I started out near Kevin and Doug, but it doesn’t take much to get separated from your amigos in an event like this;
too many other riders out there.

After the first few miles, the pace picked up a bit for some, and the separations began. I felt pretty good so I thought I’d ride forward to see if I could find Jeff, Phil, Brian, or any of the other CycleFolsom jerseys I knew were out there in front of me. Within a few more miles, I found them. I rode by Jeff and told him this was all I would see of him all day. He laughed, but it turned out to be true. Rode with Phil and Brian for a few hundred yards too, but this was still a giant peloton and you spend a lot of time navigating around/with/through other riders. At just about mile 10, I all but decided today was going to be a great day and I was going to hammer pretty
good. So I got going. And just when I pulled in a big lungful of unearned, breathless ambition-----BANG!-----wow, that sucks, who’s the mope with the rotten luck to get the flat tire? You
guessed it… I look down and see my back tire flopping on the asphalt like a glued-up chain of dying frogs.

I’m still not sure what caused the flat—a 2-inch violent blowout in the side of my tube. Doug L. was cool to stop and make sure I got rolling again, but after oh, say, 3,000 riders had passed us during the flat-fixing exercise, the momentum had really slowed. Doug and I spent the next 30 minutes or so wishing to god almighty that there weren’t so many pokey Medio route riders in front of us; it’s physically hard to move around them all. I tried passing a couple times and was very politely scolded by a Marshall for crossing the yellow line. Still, blew through the first rest stop and hoped to gain some ground on the others.

I was a bit surprised by my motivations at this point. It’s not a race--wasn’t this supposed to be just for fun? Was the “chase or be chased” tagline worming its way into my attitude toward the ride? Not sure. At any rate, I was determined to push on in hopes of bridging up to a CycleFolsom jersey. Any of them.

Doug and I got inadvertently separated at a rest stop; I wasn't sure who was where. So I started a pattern that I would follow for the rest of the day: push on to the rest stop, stop very briefly or just blow by it, and keep looking for a CF jersey. In that manner, I worked alone nearly all day. The scenery, the climbs, the support, the other riders, hell even the Marshalls were great. Not really an a**hole in the whole bunch, so I have nothing but great things to say. And I do remember thinking to myself that the route selection was really excellent. Redwoods, shade, good descents, and by and large good road quality, everything---totally and completely well-planned. But I wanted to see at least one CF jersey in front of me before we crossed the finish.

At the very last rest stop I finally saw one—not sure who—but definitely a CycleFolsom jersey by the water spigots. I had plenty of water so I just kept going. Picked up the pace a little maybe, to be sure I wasn’t caught, and just finished the ride in the big ring for the last miles. I was pleasantly surprised by the paved bike trail in place of what was probably pure gravel last year (or so I’m told). Nice bonus. Then, it was suddenly just over.

In a sense, I enjoyed the ride more after it was over. I’d pushed harder than I would have otherwise, and didn’t have the patience to try to work in with another group. So, I still have
much to learn. It wasn’t my best day, but I did push a bit. And without the CycleFolsom motivation, I might have been content to treat it all as a “lazy century,” which isn’t quite the
appropriate spirit to bring to this ride, is it? Glad it didn’t go that way. I’ll be sure to give it another go next year.

And finally from Death Ride Doug:
I came to this ride thinking that I would never do it again because of the crowds of people, and the costs. As the ride progressed, I realized that I was smitten by the beauty of the scenery. It was just an incredible ride. I am already thinking about doing it next year. I had a good day on the bike. I am 10 lbs. lighter, and stronger than last year. Had great fun on King Ridge. Hammered all the hills dropping a bunch of people. The part on Hwy 1 was cool, not too windy, and spectacular. Climbing back up to Coleman Valley was very steep in parts. Great fun!

It was fun meeting up and riding with the boys. I got separated from Oz early when I hit a huge pot hole and lost my bottle. Went back to get it in the dirt, only to see a man crash in the same hole, and 3 others run him over! Damn! Saw Frank B. on the side of the road with a flat, and waited for him. OZ and Kevin touched wheels, and damaged the bikes, Waited with them for a while. Helped another guy fix a flat on the same hill. His CO2 cartridge didn’t work. It seemed like I spent the AM waiting, or helping people. Should have been a ride Marshall!

9.18.2010

Fox 'n Hound, Cameron Park

"Chase or be chased" is one of the Cycle Folsom motto's. For this ride, the Peloton group were the sly foxes, and us Performance riders would be the hungry hounds trying to chase them down. I did the math. It would be nearly impossible to catch the foxes with their 30 minute lead over a relatively short route (48 miles) through the foothills. If they averaged 16 mph, the Performance hounds would have to average a full 4 mph faster to get some fox legs for brunch.

This was a tough ride with lots of climbing for a fox 'n hound. First, just to warm up the legs, we headed up Auburn Folsom and then climbed Folsom Lake crossing. Next stop, Beatty, then Serrano I & II to be topped off with a little bit of icing called Hollow Oak. And if that wasn't enough, the road would continue to tilt upwards into Cameron Park, and then skyward on Meder. Now there is new, smooth pavement on Deer Valley, but I'm not sure if it made the climbing any easier. As always, the run in on Green Valley would be the best and fastest part of the ride.

Patrick, Jeremy, & Oz had me on the rivet most of the way. Unfortunately, Luis dropped off our group up Serrano. Us hungry hounds did all we could to try and out fox the Peloton foxes, like skip all the water stops, but we came up relatively empty. We caught Joel on Green Valley right at Salmon Falls, but this was his first ride back in about a month (tough day to get back in the swing of things). We got a little strung out on Green Valley & East Natoma, but by the light at Auburn Folsom Rd, we were gruppo compacto. I thought I got a jump on the group at the Auburn-Folsom Rd sprint, but Jeremy pulled Patrick and Oz up to me and Oz pimped me at the line. Eventually, the Performance hounds would finish about 5 minutes in arrears of the Peloton foxes. The Peloton group stopped for about 10 min for water; the Performance group was attacking through the feed zones for every second! Great ride everyone! I was totally spent.

Performance (Brian) ride stats: 46 miles, 2:34 ride time, 17.7 mph ave, elev. gain 3,900ft.
Peloton (Kevin) ride stats: 46 miles, 2:50 ride time, 16.5 mph ave, elev. gain 3,900 ft.

9.15.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

I think we all had a great ride Tues night! The route was cut a little short due to the waning daylight, but what we lacked in distance and climbing was made up with speed.

We all rolled out of Folsom on time. I really only had one goal for the night even though the “Big Dogs” RSVPed on the Meetup site: me, I just wanted to keep the whole group together until we got onto Green Valley (mile 4.5). It’s no fun to blow the group apart before the ride really even begins. So, for me, the ride was a success when we all lined up at the red light and then rolled onto Green Valley on the green double file. However, I knew things would blow apart once we turned onto Sophia.

Sure enough, on the first little climb up Sophia to Elmores, all the Big Dogs began to amass at the front. Once we turned onto the slopes of Elmores, the splits were made that mainly stood for the following 18 miles. I tried to follow the wheels of Steve, Curt, Jeff, Tom, and Frank, but I totally red-lined my heart rate and I was gasping for air and had a cramp in my side by the time I got to Brittany. Chad flew past me with no mercy; no chance to catch a wheel. The next thing I knew I was in Purgatory on El Dorado Hills Blvd: cyclists getting smaller on the horizon in front of me, and no one visible behind me! That’s when I had to let my ego go and focus on a quick recovery on the false flats of EDH and get ready for the queen climb of the night, Ridgeview.

This is what I suspect happened on Ridgeview up the road from me: Curt and Steve put the hammer down and rode up the steep slope like they had wings. Chad bridged up to either Frank or Tom, and then regrouped with Jeff, so they had a group 4 strong. But this is where things get a little gray. Somehow, after suffering up Ridgeview, but bombing Powers & Beatty (51 mph), and sneaking a short cut to Sophia (I didn’t go around the park; I admit it!), the next cyclists I see are Steve & Curt soft pedaling on Sophia. I ain’t stupid! You bet on boogied on over and caught onto their wheels! It sounds like Jeff et al. took the longer route down Ridgeview to Powers and added a little more distance and climbing. Somehow I leapfrogged over them, but they were all the stronger riders. I’m just a sneak, a cheater, and had good luck!

In arrears, Patrick & Tim (riding his TT bike on a climbing ride!) were working together as a small group, Kevin was riding solo, but in no way throwing in the towel, and Stan & Krysta were helping each other out.

I yo-yoed off the back of the Steve & Curt Fright Train, but more or less hung with them, probably because they had to stop for the lights on Iron Point. I was surprised we didn’t get caught by Jeff, Frank, Tom, & Chad; I kept looking over my shoulder for the rest of the night!

We all rolled back into the start around 7:05 -7:15 with smiles on our faces!

9.04.2010

Folsom Lake Loop

The plan for the Folsom Lake Loop ride was stated this way in brief: "Both the Peloton and the Performance groups will be doing this ride together. The plan for the Performance group ride leaders is to keep this ride mellow and provide some pacing, encouragement, & coaching for Peloton riders should they want it. However, once on Auburn-Folsom Rd, I suspect the deck will get reshuffled and the real poker will begin." About 40 cyclists showed up for the ride!

I ended up sweeping the route and riding with the most important folks on the ride, my partner, Krysta, and a friend from work, Roxanne. After mile 9 on Salmon Falls Rd, we never saw the main group again, so I've asked the other ride leaders from the Performance & Peloton groups to give their two bits. My ride stats: 54 miles in a ride time of 3:26, for an average speed of 15 mph, and about 4100 ft of climbing, with an average heart rate of 139 bpm.

Performance ride leader Phil says:
After checking the CF site one last time at home I rolled to meet up at Karen's Bakery by 8am. Made the last turn into the parking lot and was greeted by a HUGE turnout of riders [something close to 40 cyclists, ed.]. After descending and crossing Salmon Falls Bridge the road turned up. I rode to the Rhino riding with Stan and a rider from out of town [Jim G.]. We reached the Rhino and caught up with Kevin who was taking on nutrition. Kevin you were climbing great today. The group briefly discussed waiting for the group behind us, but no one knew how far back they were. We took a few sips of water and decided to ride on to Pilot Hill.

The front group was still at Pilot Hill when we rolled in. We replenished our water, took in some nutrition, and rolled out in a large group towards Cool. I sat in around 5th-6th and waited patiently for the city limit sign to come into view. I decided at 300 meters or so to put in an all out sprint to the line. I surprised the group and no one took up a chase [the sprint wasn't announced, so Phil was sprinting against the wind (ed.)]. The group rolled right through Cool without stopping, to work our way to the descent into the Am. River confluence. I ramped up the downhill speed out front, but caught up to a pickup and two cars that took my advantage away. Big Ring Jeff caught up with me and the cars, & took the inside line. This was a great move by Jeff as the shoulder widened at the bottom, Jeff coasted in no contest for the county line points! [This sprint was announced.] I stopped and took some pictures of a few riders at the start of the climb up Old Forrest Hill Road. In the background you see the new bridge that we will cross shortly on the way into Auburn.

I was one of the last riders in this group to top the Old Forrest Hill climb. A group had just rolled out and I had to put in some effort to catch them. I caught up and decided to pass them and get out front for the descent down to cross Forrest Hill Bridge. Almost every rider passed me on this last climb up to Auburn. A few of us caught up with a group at the left turn light. We rolled on through Auburn to Auburn-Folsom Road. I took the front and upped the effort a few watts climbing the last roller to Maidu Market. We rolled in to catch the front group.

Rolling out of Maidu we were around 20-25 riders strong. The group split at the light and I was fortunate enough to be in the lead group for the run down Auburn-Folsom road. Tom M. did a quick descent and I caught up with him just as the road turned up with the rest of the group passing us on this short climb before the real run in to Folsom starts. Big Ring Jeff took to the front (I guess BR Jeff likes this stretch of the road) and upped the pace for a couple of miles, then Robert and friend went to the front and put in huge pulls with everyone hanging on. There was an effort to get a double pace line going a few times but some of the riders are not up to speed on this type of pace line and it disintegrated. (We need to have a ride clinic to educate riders on this technique). Some of the riders split off on the way through Granite Bay to head home. Arriving at Karen's around 11:30am, I had a ride time of 3:10 at an average speed of 17.1 mph.

Overall this was a great ride today. All of the riders participating kept the ride safe.

Oz will have to fill in the KOM riders. I was too far back on the climbs to comment.

Performance ride leader Oz says:
In all my years with CF, this was probably one of the largest turnouts we have ever had. Guesstimates are that we had about 27 riders. There was definitely a feeling of excitement in the air. We rolled easily out of Karen's Parking lot over to East Natoma towards Green Valley road. Everyone stayed together until the road started to tilt slightly upwards towards Salmon Falls road. As we crested Green Valley road approaching our left turn onto Salmon Falls Road, the group heard a loud pop. The group slowed/stopped to evaluate the situation and we had heard that one of the riders had a side tire blowout. It was decided to roll slowly as one of the other riders (Danny) was able to help patch the rider's tire. As we headed down Salmon Falls Road toward the bridge, there were a good set of small hills/valleys and heart rate started to rise. This is just enough for the anticipation of the fast decent onto the bridge where some of the riders were planning a TT run from the bridge to the Rhino [Safari Estates]. Jeff T. and a handful of riders took off the front and were not to be seen again until the Rhino. Jeff told me that his time was slightly over 18 minutes (18:08)! A small group waited at the Rhino as the ensuing group finally arrived a few minutes back. We then all rode together to Pilot Hill where everyone got water and replenished on their nutrition. Kevin, Stan, and the rest of the Peloton group were not far behind and joined us for a while.

Once we had our water, Jeff Minter, Tom, Phil, and I led the group out of Pilot Hill into Cool. There were a lot of cars on the small curvy road into the confluence of the river. Some of the faster descenders were actually held up due to the traffic. We had heard later on that one of the riders (the one with a flat) may have collided with a motorcycle [ed., we don't know what really happened]. Hopefully he was OK. We enjoyed our descent into the confluence in anticipation of what would be the "queen" climb of the day (Old Foresthill Road). This is not a particularly steep climb, but a steady 6-8 percent, 3 mile climb. It's a grind getting up it. It's very exposed to the sun and we were starting to feel the heat. Once again, Jeff T. led a small group to the top and waited for the remaining ensuing riders at the top of the climb. We regrouped on Foresthilll road and road 20 riders strong down towards the Foresthill bridge. Just as you cross the bridge the road kicks up for about 3/4 mile with grades of around 10-12 percent. A small group was able to make it through the stop light but others got caught. The groups came back together in Auburn and we worked our way at an easy pace to Maidu Market where we refilled knowing that we had an exciting downhill to come on Auburn-Folsom. Seeing as how I got unhitched on the last ride down AF, I was not going to let that happen again so I stayed very close to the front group up and over PowerHouse road. Jeff T, Robert Goss, and Vic did some hard individual pulls at the front. Phil was in front of me the majority of the time, so I knew I was in a good position (thanks Phil!). The group was finally able to all join and share the load in a paceline rotation all the way to Folsom. As we approached Karen's, I looked down at my cyclometer and couldn't believe it was a little past 11:00.

Another great and safe ride!

Oz's ride stats: 54.4 miles in a ride time of 3:08 with an average speed of 17.3 mph and a total elevation gain of 4,304 ft and an average heart rate of 167 [Wow! That seems high. I guess Brian was coasting].

Peloton ride leader Stan says:
When I counted 30 cyclists at the ride start I got a bit nervous. Fortunately everyone had the appearance of being comfortable on their bikes. As we started the ride, my brain was saying "dude, you're gonna have a great ride today." As we started the climb up Salmon Falls from the bridge to the Rhino, my body began to slowly protest against my brain's jovial spirit.

Phil was kind enough to hang back and pace me and Jim Garwood up a good portion of the hill. Support from experienced riders like Phil is especially helpful when you're riding a route for the first time. Phil gave us a sense of how long the hill was, and when we might get some relief along the road, etc. After a while, Carl Costas dropped back to relieve Phil. Carl, too, offered helpful tips as we made our way up Old Forest Hill Road after the bridge. The climbs always seem longer to me the first time I do them.

At the top of Old Forest Hill Road, we re-grouped with Jim, Carl, Brian, Krysta, and Roxanne. We made our way up to the gas station and re-filled with water, Gatorade, and ice and got on our way for the fun part of the ride. As we came up on the descent on Auburn-Folsom at Indian Hill, Brian asked us to stop and suggested a game plan for the pace and pulling. I'm learning to appreciate more and more Brian's desire to communicate his thoughts and get people on the same page during a ride. I'm learning as I go along and hope to emulate his approach on rides I lead. Problem is, lately I've been doing very little leading and a lot of following! I'll keep at it though!

Peloton ride leader Kevin says:
We had a huge turn out today, I counted over 27 riders [more showed up later, ed.] staged at Karen’s for what I like to call the “Meat Grinder” or officially known as the Folsom Lake Loop. Starting out from Karen’s both groups stayed together for the most part until the first slow climb up Green Valley Road. Just at the top before turning onto Salmon Falls, one of the newer riders had a tire blow out (sidewall) and Danny stopped to help out. We heard later that he used the ol’ dollar bill trick to “patch” the blow out and I heard later that the rider continued on with the route. As we started up the 1st set of climbs towards the “Rhino” (at Safari Estates), the gradual, slow slog up the hill naturally thinned out the group. Most of the Performance riders had already spilt off the front of the group and started their timed sprints from the bridge to the Rhino. Phil dropped back to check on those of us slower climbers and offered encouragement to those needing a bit of extra help up the climbs. I stopped for a quick break and along with Phil waited for Stan and a few others to catch up before heading out. I managed to follow Phil and Danny up to the Pilot Hill water stop to find the Performance riders filling up their water bottles before heading up to Cool.

Not long after reaching Pilot Hill, Stan and few others rolled in for water and a short rest before the entire group rolled out towards Cool and down to the Confluence. Once on Hwy 49, I was able to catch up to a fast group of Performance riders that included Danny, Bruce, Oz, Carl, and Phil among others. Once we reached the descent the group spilt up a bit with the fastest out front all the way down to the bottom. The descent is fast and a bit tricky at times with one or two hairpin turns with reverse concaves on the roadway. This is one of those descents that can put you right in between cars as you barrel down the road. Found my self having to slow a bit to avoid rear ending a car on the sharpest curves. Some of us heard later that the same rider who had that blow out back at the beginning had a run in with a motorcycle; hopefully he wasn’t hurt too badly [we're not really sure what happened, sort of hearsay, ed.]. Once reaching the bottom we turned right and headed up the 3 mile climb to the Forest Hill Bridge. By this time it started to really heat up and I felt myself having to work hard just to keep a steady pace. It wasn’t long before I fell off of Oz and Bruce’s wheels. At the top of the climb we regrouped and headed up and over the Forest Hill bridge. The breeze while riding across was a welcome reprieve from the heat and it helped me catch on to a group of about 5 heading up that nasty little climb after the bridge into Auburn. This group included Bruce, Danny and John (Jeff?, ed.) who races for BP and we traded off taking the front heading back towards Folsom out of Auburn. It wasn’t long after heading out from our second water break at Maidu Market, a group of “fast movers” rolled by us like we were out for a Sunday stroll. At this point, I, along with the others in our small group were really felling like we were out of gas, but soon rolled into Karen’s to find a large group including those fast movers talking up the ride.

All and all, I felt pretty good today. This has got to be one of the best routes around; it’s got climbs, but nothing too steep and you gotta love the fast and curvy descent down to the confluence. Great ride everyone and thanks for helping pull me up a few of those climbs when the gas was just about to run out!

Kevin's ride stats: 53.75 miles in a ride time of 3:17 for an average speed of 16.3 with a total elevation gain of 4,371 and an average heart rate of 152 bpm.

8.31.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

Tonight's evening climbing ride of 14 riders split-up into two groups (OK, maybe 2 1/2 groups): the Billy Goats doing the full clockwise route, the Easy Riders opting for the easy clockwise route, and the Junior Billy Goats knocking out the easy clockwise route, but at a faster pace than the Easy Riders. I opted to cruise with the Easy Riders.

Chief Billy Goat, Jeff, was gracious enough to lead the front group and take Frank, Andrew, Patrick, & Tim on the romp through the foothills of Folsom. I'm not too sure of what all went on in their group, but I think Frank was the first one back that did the full route (but also skipped the water stop at the park). Jeff and Andrew were not far behind and had an average speed of 17.3 mph. Nice riding guys!

The Easy Riders got dropped by the Billy Goats about 4 miles into the ride, but they caught a couple of green lights. Ya, OK, they were flat-out faster, no excuses. I lead Krysta, Cesar, Stan, Danny, Rowland, Oz, Bruce, & Kevin over the local cols. Junior Billy Goats Bruce and Kevin were itching too much to go faster and attacked over the top of Ridgeview and disappeared off the front. However, the Easy Riders skipped the water stop at the park and scooted on up Sophia toward Cote de Costco and slipped up the road, leap-frogging the Billy Goats and the Junior Billy Goats. That didn't last long! Up near the little climb on Sophia near E. Natoma, a blur of cyclists shot by us as the Easy Riders were searching for lower gears! That would be the last time till the ride's end that we would see the Billy Goats & Junior Billy Goats.

The Easy Riders cruised over Cote de Costco and suffered through the lights on Iron Point, but put in a solid effort for a great ride.

My Easy Rider stats for the evening were 25.4 miles in 1:37 ride time for an average speed of 15.6 mph and about 1,800 feet of climbing. I was happy to have a mellow ride keeping my average heart rate at 134 bpm.

Thanks for the ride everyone!

8.29.2010

Coon Creek via Garden Bar Road

My ride stats: 68 miles in 3:46 ride time for an average speed of 18.0 mph and 4,300 ft of climbing.

We had a good group with 7 of us setting out on the ride to see where Coon Creek was at and to see what riding Garden Bar had to offer for cycling. The weather was very cool for this time of year (low to mid 60s) with a south wind of 10-15 mph. It was a good thing we were heading north first to have the tailwind help us up and over the rolling hills west of Auburn; but as always, heading down Auburn-Folsom Road into a headwind is no picnic.

The pace was moving along around 20 mph for about the first 10-15 miles. John (I think the guy's name wearing the gray jersey on the white Tarmac was John; could be wrong) decided to take over the pace setting for Jeremy and bumped it up to about 23 mph on the uphill rollers on Val Verde Rd. That did it for me; I've been riding too hard the past couple of weeks without the proper rest and I went right out the back and rode through Penryn and over English Colony solo. I bet the lead group was fast and punchy over English Colony and the little climb up to Sierra College was making its self known.

We all regrouped at the top of Sierra College (thanks guys!) and I ramped up the pace on the descent down to Hwy 193; going downhill is the easy part. We had a good double pace line heading toward Lincoln, but I was on the front; not the ideal place to be to sprint for the city limit. I waited till the sign was clearly visible for everyone and then made my successful jump. OK, I got to admit, I was the only one that remembered the sprint and caught everyone off guard.

After a short water stop at the park in Lincoln we headed north out of town to Virginiatown (12th St) to work our way through the country roads west of Auburn. Although there isn't any serious or signature climb, the whole area is generally rolling hills and starts to sap the strength in your legs. We headed north on Garden Bar for the out-n-back to Coon Creek (Garden Bar Rd turns to dirt for about 3 miles and has private gates). The road is small and generally quite (a couple of cars), and the surface is decent. It climbs gradually up and over an oak studded hill that changes in elevation about 400 ft and then descends down to Coon Creek. We regrouped at the bridge and took a very brief break and then climbed back out of the little valley.

Next up was Wise and Lozanos Roads. After some route finding issues, everyone was on track wandering the windy (and windy now) Wise Rd. We regrouped near the fire station at Crater Hill Rd, then dropped down through Ophir, only to be surprised by more climbing up to Ophir Road.

We made the regular stop at the gas station in Newcastle and then headed up the high point of the day, Indian Hill. The last big obstacle of the day was the ride down Auburn-Folsom. It's certainly not a hard ride, but after 50 miles, the high pace, wind, and rollers could easily unhitch you from the group. I got passed by John and the Webcor guy, but quickly jumped on their wheel for a nice draft. Carl caught on behind me making the group 4 strong. Mr. Webcor did a monster pull at 25+ into the headwind for the first few miles. I think everyone was happy to sit-in; I know I was. I was surprised when Jeremy came over the top and went to the front to pull. The Webcor guy swung off and wasn't see again; I think he may have returned home, since we picked him up earlier when we were heading north. Oz was unhitched and rode into the wind most of the way, and Patrick had a cramped or pulled calf that kept him from riding with the lead group. Carl eventually swung off at Cavitt-Stallman to head home. Upfront, it was me, Jeremy, John, & Tom trading pulls into the wind and keeping the pace as high as possible back into Folsom.

8.24.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

Hot! Hot! Hot! We were feeling hot, Hot, HOT! At 5:30 pm the temperature in Folsom was about 103 degrees! A dedicated group of us rolled out despite the heat to get in a ride: CF regulars Phil, Gary, Kevin, Stan, Carl, Krysta, Curt, & myself were joined by Chad and Bob for a counter clockwise jaunt around Folsom.

The group started to split up on the first real climb (Carpenter Hill) and, combined with the heat, some folks decided to pull the plug and head back to the start. No problem! It's all about riding within yourself and knowing your limits, and then come out swinging another day.

Curt, Carl, Chad, Bob, and I crested Carpenter Hill (Costco) more or less together and made a moderate run down Sophia to Beatty. Curt must have been wearing an ice jacket under his Road Rash jersey because he flew up Beatty unfazed by the heat. I was in no hurry to kill myself just yet and kept a high-moderate pace. We all regrouped at the top and Gary was able to latch back onto the group. We dropped down Montridge at 45 mph and then watched Curt sprint to the top of Wilson. We soft-pedaled on EDH a little ways to get the group together, and then shot down EDH at 25 mph to Brittany. After a little more climbing and a mellow descent, we stopped at the park for shade and water. Phil caught back up with us and we all rolled out 7 strong.

Curt wasn't messing around with the final miles to the ride start. He went to the front on the little climb on Sophia to E Natoma and hammered it. I was barely able to hang onto his wheel, but others were put through the wood chipper and spit-out. Curt and I made a good run into Folsom, but had Phil and Carl hot on our heels. Chad and Bob rolled in not too far behind. Gary split the route to go to his house. Great riding guys!

Stan gets big kudos! Our Chief Evangelist was opting out of the climbing ride at the beginning of the ride due to the heat and was thinking of doing a ride on the bike trail. We gave him some friendly encouragement (Come on you loser! What are you talking about?!) and he stuck with the ride. Way to go Stan!

My ride stats: 27 miles in 1:40 ride time for an average speed of 16.3 mph and about 1,900 feet of climbing.

8.19.2010

Georgetown

Preview
Counter clockwise; we'll be heading out Green Valley & return on Salmon Falls with Prospector's Grade thrown in for good measure. RSVP via Meetup.
Route map: RideWithGPS or MapMyRide
Meet location: Parking lot across from Karen's Bakery/Bicycles Plus
Leave time: 8:00 am
Distance: 70 miles
Climbing: Yup, its all climbing heading out. About 6,000-7,000 feet.

Ride Report
My ride stats: 71.5 miles in 4:20 ride time for an average speed of 16.5 mph and 6,200 ft of climbing.

The weather was great for cycling. The sky was little overcast in the morning keeping it cool enough for some to wear arm warmers, and comfortable descending the foothills later when it warmed up. Phil, Dave, Gary, and I left downtown Folsom, and then met up with Oz on Green Valley. The rolling climbs on Green Valley got everyone warmed up and ready for the climbs to come. I ended up getting a flat on Starbuck, but this allowed Bicycles Plus riders Jeff & Steve to join up with our group. We were all totally surprised to see that Deer Valley had fresh, smooth tarmac and some couldn't help from attacking on the big rollers to Rescue.

After our water stop at the Rescue Fire Dept, Gary headed out on his own through Cameron Park and the rest of us headed for Lotus. Oz set a fierce tempo up over the climb on Lotus Road, whereas Phil and I were more interested in bombing the downhill side. We all made our way over to Prospector's Grade; the wise climber knowing that this was only mile 28 of a 70 mile ride with another 6 miles of steady climbing to go, opted to settle into a an easy tempo and not race for the top. Of course, if you're turning around at the top to head home early, I guess you can push the pace. Steve took the KOM and then headed back home due to time constraints. The rest of us, Phil, Oz, Dave, Jeff, & I, forged on to Georgetown.

After knocking back some fuel in Georgetown (for me that was 2 snickers and a Coca-Cola), we tore out of Georgetown looking forward to some descending. I was able to get a gap off the front at first, but then Phil resorted to drafting off some cars to catch my wheel. Oz caught up to us when we starting hitting some of the rollers and the 3 of us worked together to keep the pace going. We were almost to Cool when Oz couldn't ride his flattening tire anymore. After pulling out a couple of thorns and slapping in a new tube, we were all gruppo compacto when we rolled into Cool. Phil did all the hard work on the slight descent (but into a head wind) from Cool to Pilot Hill; the rest of us were more than willing to free-wheel it in his draft.

After a little bit of climbing from Hwy 49 to the "rhino" on Salmon Falls, the downhill attacks started coming; first Jeff, then Phil. I was just happy to catch their wheels as they went blowing past. Me, I was waiting for the last two little climbs on Salmon Falls and then the roll-out to Green Valley. Phil, Jeff, & I crossed the South Fork bridge together and starting grinding up the first climb. The cumulative climbing for the day could be felt, and felt good; I was just on the edge of cramping. I made it over the top first and within sight of Phil. I tried to descend fast, but rest my legs a little for the next climb up to Falcon Crest. I made it up to Falcon Crest and couldn't see Phil or Jeff and was feeling good for the run-out to Green Valley. I had a good tempo going, but I was expecting Phil & Jeff to ride up on me at any moment. I was surprised to make it to Green Valley without them in sight.

I made it back to downtown Folsom and chatted with Dave when he rolled in little bit latter. Oz, Phil, & Jeff had all headed on home while rolling into Folsom. It was a great day of riding!

8.17.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

12 of us rolled out of down town Folsom for a 30 mile clockwise loop of the local climbs. We all stayed together more or less onto Green Valley and Sophia. I'm not sure what happened to Rowland and his two friends; I thought everyone made the light onto Green Valley.

Jeff was off the front up the first climbs of Sophia, Elmores, & Brittany starting the splits in the group. Oz, Jeff, new rider Jim, and I formed a small lead group and were happy to let Jeff pull on El Dorado Hills Blvd to the base of the Ridgeview climb. We all settled into our own personal pergatory up this climb, but the climbing gods were smiling on Big Ring Jeff; we wouldn't see him again until the park. Jim, Oz, & I were gruppo compacto at the bottom of Montridge and more or less were together up and over Powers. We met up with Kevin along Powers; I guess he had some route finding issues & happened to take a short cut. We all met up at the Park after dropping down Beatty at 50 mph. Bruce met up with us after a late ride start, and Tim was also able to catch back on.

Seven us rolled out of the park and into the head wind on Sophia/Empire Ranch with our sights set on Cote de Costco (Carpenter Hill). I knew Jeff would be knocking out another KOM on Carpenter Hill; I thought I'd do my best to sit on his wheel and draft considering the wind. He went over the top a ways ahead of me, but it was no holds barred on the descent to Serpa. The key is to carry your speed onto Serpa to roll over the next little hill. I put in a dig here and was able to go over the top of Jeff. I was hoping to keep the gap until the next pass of Cote de Costco, but just as I swung back onto the climb and looked over my shoulder, yup, there he was. So, for the second pass I tried to ride out of the wind and on his wheel.

We all regrouped at the top of Carpenter Hill for the run down Iron Point. I wanted the pace to be high, so I rode at the front and tried to keep the pace around 23-26 mph. Everyone was on board, but unfortunately the lights were not our friends. We cruised a moderate to high pace along the trail as the sun was setting.

This was a great ride with a lot of folks staying in the lead group. My ride stats were 29.6 miles in a ride time of 1:46 with a 16.6 mph average and about 2,275 feet of climbing. Jeff was the first one over every single climb and averaged 17.2 mph.

Krysta and Stan did the whole route and had a great ride doing the 29.6 miles in 2:06 for an average pace of 14.1 mph. Great riding guys!

8.10.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

Wow! Ten of us set out to conquer the local cotes: new or returning Cycle Folsom riders John & Brad, Peloton group regulars Joel, Kevin, Bruce, Stan, & Krysta, and Performance group regulars Jeff, Patrick, & myself. The group stayed together on the warm-up along the trail and Iron Point. As expected, the first pass of Carpenter Hill (Cote de Costco) started stringing folks out, and the second pass sealed the split. John was strong over the first two climbs, but had to bail-out on the ride due to time. Jeff, Patrick, Bruce, and I formed a small group off the front and took pulls at 25-30 mph along Empire Ranch/Sophia. Bing Ring Jeff decided to drop us all on Beatty, but Patrick put in a dig to stay with him. I had to drop down Montridge at 45 mph to catch back up to them & Bruce was close behind. I thought I'd take a dig on EDH and try and ride the others off my wheel on the false flat. I think I had a gap for a little ways, but the lights were not my friend. We all swung onto Brittany where I got dropped on the little climb up to the school. From there it seemed that route finding became an issue. I got back to Karen's first, but I think Bruce & Jeff just rode home. Patrick showed up a few minutes later followed by Krysta. Not too long after that Joel and Kevin rolled in. Unfortunately, Stanley Steamer got a flat at the bottom of Beatty and rolled in a little bit later.

All in all it was a great ride and I'm glad everyone showed up! My ride stats: 30.8 miles in 1:48 ride time for an average speed of 17.1 mph and about 2,300 ft of climbing.

8.06.2010

Eight 'Hoods

Preview
Route map: RideWithGPS or MapMyRide
Meet location: Parking lot across from Karen's Bakery/Bicycles Plus
Leave time: 8:00 am
Distance: 75 miles
Climbing: Relatively flat



Ride Report
Carl, Gary, Phil, and I set out from Folsom and hit the rollers through Orangevale and Fair Oaks. We met up with Patrick in Carmichael and kept the pace high along American River Rd, a great alternative to the Parkway. We made out down to Discovery Park and then onto Old Sacramento. The plan was to stay on the levee trail along the Sacramento River, however there were gates and gravel that prevented us from cruising along this route. Instead we opted for Riverside Blvd and Pocket Rd through Pocket that were great roads that let us keep the pace high and unencumbered. We wound our way along South Land Park and then shot through Mid Town Sac and jumped onto the Parkway trail for a short stint. Gary opted to continue on back to Folsom on the Parkway. The rest of us got back on American River Rd and rotated through at a pace around 20-23 mph. We made our way up toward Sunset where we said "hasta" to Patrick. Carl, Phil, and I hit all the rollers along Sunset; for me it was a little more challenging after 65 miles averaging nearly 20 mph! We rolled into Folsom just after noon.

My ride stats: we ended up riding 74.2 miles in 3:45 ride time with an overall average pace of 19.8 mph and about 1,790 ft total elevation gain.

8.03.2010

Tuesday Climbing Ride

Colleen, Patrick, Phil, and I set out to conquer the local buttes in the regular clockwise direction. We all stayed together until we hit the climb up Ridgeview. Some of the folks short cutted the Montridge climb due to route finding, but Colleen and I did this nasty little climb on the sun baked slope. I don't know if it was the heat frying my electronics, but I was surprised to see my Garmin 305 record a reading of 15% grade on Montridge. This may have been part of the reason why Colleen ducked out a little early from the ride. But she also said she "was feeling the weekend" (too much riding or too much partying? I'm guessing the former).

We all met up at the park for a nice water stop and then headed south on Sophia giving Colleen a tow to E Natoma where she headed back for the barn. Patrick, Phil, and I did the two loops around Cote de Costco and enjoyed the climbing in the shade; Phil liked it so much that he had to do it in the Big Ring. The three of us kept the pace high (20-26 mph) on the run down Iron Point, then backed off a little to cool down as we returned on the bike trail.

My ride stats: 29.7 miles in 1:46 ride time, with an average pace of 16.7 mph (my max speed was 48 mph, Beatty), and about 2,290 ft total climbing.

8.01.2010

The Ups and Downs of Callison Road and Shirland Tract

The Peloton had a super ride out to Auburn on Saturday. We started out with an unbelievably crisp morning (in July??!) and lucked out with stunning weather throughout our jaunt through the hills. Fitness was not an issue with this pack as we averaged a tad under 20 mph over most of the terrain but often exceeded that to bring in a 17.4 mph average over the 43.5 mile course with 2400 feet of climbing thrown in. A fresh face in the crowd was Patrick, who drove the pace most of the morning. He looks suspiciously like Performance group material to me!

Callison Road was a treat with its pastoric countryside and still-green hillsides. And Shirland Tract rewarded us with a fast twisting downhill that kept everyone focused on technical skills. Another newcomer to the Peloton was Krysta, who did a magnificent job toughing it out over the rollers and making it look easier than my legs told me it was. Kudos to you, Krysta! Back in Folsom we finished on an upbeat note at Karen's Bakery parking lot and agreed it was a fun workout in the midst of great company. Looking forward to next Saturday already!

7.31.2010

Folsom Lake Rhino Loop



Ride Stats from my Garmin:

69.7 miles in 5 hours ride time.

7,783 feet of climbing (We cut out Folsom Crossing Bridge, started the ride with Steve Ward's group up to Salmon Falls Road)

Avg speed (15.3)

This morning was a little brisk on my warmup ride from home to the meetup. At the start of the ride there was just three of us, Jeff, Doug and myself. We decided to ride with Steve's group up to Salmon Falls Road where we would turn left while Steve and group would continue on towards Georgetown. Tom joined us at Salmon Falls Road. I was happy to see Tom as we would have another rider to share pulls with. At Zee Estates we picked up Oz who had been waiting for around 5 minutes. Now the group was five strong riders. I rode off the front on the descent to the start of the climb to the Rhino. Steve Ward told Jeff this morning a good time would be around 17 minutes to the Rhino. As typical with the performance group the challenge was on once we crossed Salmon Falls Bridge. It did not take two pedal strokes for Big Chain Ring Jeff to move off the the front of the group with Tom, Doug, OZ and I chasing. For a short while I was solo chasing down Doug, Tom and OZ. I made an effort on a flatter section of the climb to overtake and pass them. They grabbed my wheel and we traded pulls until the last section of road up to the Rhino. We could see Jeff in the distance and I wanted to try to close the gap on this last stretch of road. I took off and heard Oz say "I'm done". I ran out of road trying for the catch.....Jeff completed the climb with a time somewhere in the mid 18 minute range to earn the KOM on this climb. Great climb Jeff! I came in behind Jeff at 19:24. We made our way through Rhino Estates, a rolling road with a few short climbs to get us onto the road that winds down to Rattlesnake Bar road.


Picture at right, Water stop at the end of Rattlesnake Bar road.


After the effort put out on Salmon falls Road, the climbs on Rattlesnake Bar road were at a slightly slower pace with everyone staying in a group during the climbs. Tom was doing alot of the pacing (great job Tom) on each climb. As Tom says....he wanted to keep the climbing pace reasonable. We briefly stopped at Pilot Hill for a nature break. Oz decided to return home via Salmon Falls road. Oz, you rode strong today!
Picture at right: Forrest Hill Climb.
We rode hwy 49 with Tom putting in a monster pull to Cool for a brief water stop before continuing on hwy 49 to drop into the confluence. I made a furious descent to make the right onto Old Forrest Hill Road with a small lead on the group. I stopped to take a picture of them climbing but did not get the iphone out quick enough. So you are seeing what I saw....the backside of the group spinning away from me up this climb. Big Chain Ring Jeff made another break from Tom and Doug. We topped the last climb on Forrest Hill and made our way through Auburn to the last water stop at Madiu Market. From there I pulled to the first descent and bombed it using a Harley rider for a moto pacer. Jeff moved to the front and put in an enormous pull to get the peloton moving at a fast pace. We all traded pulls down Auburn Folsom with Doug doing a fine pull from Douglas until Tom turned off at Beals Point to make his way home. Jeff turned right at Oak Parkway to head home. Doug and I rode into Karen's together. Everyone in the group rode strong today. Great job all!

7.27.2010

Tuesday climbing ride

Finally! An evening when the temp wasn't 95+ degrees! Kevin, Joel, Bruce, Gary, and I were joined by first-time Tuesday Climbers Patrick and Krysta (my partner) for the full counter clockwise route. The weather gods smiled upon us with temperatures in the mid 80s and a mild south-southwest wind that propelled us on Sophia & EDH Blvd, but hammered us on the return on E Natoma.

We rolled out on the bike trail and were briefly joined by Phil on his TT bike (Phil is going to make the podium this Thursday in his TT race series; Go Phil!). We headed up Iron Point riding at a moderate pace around 17-20 mph to loosen-up the legs. We were gruppo compacto at the base of Carpenter Hill (Cote de Costco), but as typical, everyone rode at their own pace up the first pass. I guess newcomer Patrick was feeling a little spry and jumped off the front on the upper slope of Cote de Costco when the light turned green. I wasn't interested in chasing since this was the first of 5 climbs. We were all relatively close together over the top. Krysta opted for the medium counter clockwise route which skipped the second pass of Cote de Costco and headed off towards Beatty. I thought I'd toughen up the ride a little and attacked before the stop sign at Broadstone & Empire Ranch, hitting the left turn onto Broadstone fast and carrying my speed up over the next little uncategorized climb. I slipped away... at least till I hit the red light at Serpa & Iron Point.

We all started the second pass of Carpenter Hill together. I thought Patrick had caught back on as we turned onto Empire Ranch, but it turns out he missed the turn and hit the dead end at the east end of Iron Point. Latter he let me know he finished up his ride heading out Sophia, to Green Valley, and back to Karen's. Kevin, Joel, Bruce, Gary, and I were more than happy with the tailwind on Sophia to set us up for Beatty. We knocked-out the grind up Beatty (tops out at 13% grade) and skirted the ridge up on Powers, only to drop down Montridge to have to climb back out over Wilson.

We swept Krysta up on El Dorado Hills Blvd and gave her a tow over to Brittany, but the heat was on to hammer down the short descent to set-up the little climb on Brittany. We made a quick water stop at the park and then turned south on Sophia into an uphill headwind; I think we were all happy to let Gary do the work on the front. Gary split at Blue Ravine to head home and Kevin, Joel, Bruce, & I pointed our noses toward the barn and hammered down E Natoma into a headwind at 26 mph to finish up the ride.

My computer registered 31.2 miles in 1:54 hours for an average speed of 16.4 mph and about 2,300 ft total elevation gain.

7.23.2010

Magnolia Road

Preview
Route: Magnolia Road (Nevada County) from Folsom
Meet location: Parking lot across the street from Karen's Bakery/Bicycles Plus
Leave time: Saturday, 24 July, 7:30 am (Sharp! You've been warned)
Distance: about 74 miles
Climbing: About 5,500 to 6,500 elevation gain; mostly rolling hills.
Pace: Variable, but we'll likely average about 17-19 mph. It really depends on who shows up and does the pulling.
Past Cycle Folsom ride report

Ride Report (By Phil)
The Performance Group had around 8-10 riders at the start. Gary, Dave, Frank B (Hammerin Wheels), Scott, CycleFolsom guru Steve, myself (Phil), and a few new riders (sorry guys for not remembering all your names). We started off on-time heading up Auburn-Folsom Road. I lead out for a mile or so taking it slightly slower than normal pace not knowing the fitness level of the new riders in the group. Steve and Scott came to the front and picked up the pace slowly over the next couple of miles... and then put the hammer down. The group stayed together with three of us trading pulls until the main climb up to Auburn. Steve made a move off the front and drew out one of the new riders who put in a good effort to break off the front. Shortly after, Steve started to chase. Scott, myself and another rider traded pulls up the climb into Auburn. Steve took the KOM on this climb. Scott dropped off to head home (some kind of excuse, like make breakfast for the kids). We rode our way through Auburn where Steve showed us a route with less traffic, including riding through a school. Steve was keeping the pace high on the climbs. A few riders commented on how beautiful this route was. We had good shade on most climbs and the descents were long enough to recover before the next climb. During one long descent, Steve and I made a breakaway and worked together to put time on a four man chase group. We held them off all the way to Hwy 49. The new riders were great climbers staying up at the front on most of the climbs (great job!). The run down Auburn-Folsom was at a decent pace. We pulled up to a few other groups of riders at Douglas. You know what happens next... it was on to pass them and get lined up for the last sprint. The pace was high and there were only four of us left for the sprint. I was pulling up the last slight incline and decided to drop off and rest for a few hundred yards. I knew Steve was marking everyone and waiting to see who would make the first move. One of the new riders asked me if there was a final sprint just as I decided to go at the 200 meter mark. I got in a good dig and held Steve off until the last 25 meters where Steve clicked down a gear and moved passed for the win! After the sprint we soft pedaled into Karen's.

Notes: Gary went down hard descending a hill at 45 mph on his bike about a month ago and is back improving every week. Steve had his bicycles stolen and was testing his fitness level with the performance group on a brand new Specialized Tarmac SL3. Steve won all the jerseys today!