Sunday, April 11, 2010

Folsom Lake Loop: First goal ride of the season for the Peloton Group

And what a ride it was! Several riders from the Performance Group joined us for this one and we had about 26 riders in total yesterday which made for quite an impressive site heading out from Folsom. I kept looking for the support cars and the camera helicopter flying overhead with Versus’ Phil Legit and Paul Sherwen voices in the background announcing the ride!

Leaving Karen’s we headed out on Auburn Folsom Rd to E Natoma St then left onto Salmon Falls Rd. Now Salmon Falls starts out as a nice winding route with gradual rollers but don’t be fooled as soon you find yourself cranking up several gradual climbs as a warm up to what’s to come! The group started out together for the most part but once the steeper climbs start in it doesn’t take long for those stronger riders to slowly break away and form a group of their own.

Our first stop for a short break was at the top of a climb across from Zee Estates.
After a short water and refueling stop, we regrouped and were off to Pilot Hill the “official” water and regroup stop.

Several of the faster riders headed out first and after some reminders about how narrow and fast the road will get, we head out and soon you find out just how fast the ride down Salmon Falls really is.

Riding down Salmon Falls Road with its steep curves and no shoulder to speak of, means your riding 2 to 3 abreast in between cars. For me, I love these fast grand prix style turns hugging the corners right behind a car. In fact on a bike you can actually handle the turns faster than the cars can and find yourself having to slow down just to avoid hitting the car a few feet in front of you!

When you get down to the confluence at the bottom and look up to the right at the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge soaring 730 feet above the river, you get a sense of just how far and fast down the hill you’ve come.

Turning right at the El Dorado St/Old Foresthill Rd tee put us on yet another long steady 12% - 14% grade climb up to the approach of what is the 3rd highest bridge in the U.S. and the tallest in California!
From there we rode thru Auburn, got a bit off track at High Street but soon found our way to Auburn Folsom Road and back down into Folsom. Oz, thanks for doing another great job of keeping us "slower" riders on track and riding at a pace that keeps pushing us!

Once passing Indian Hill Road, the group of 10 or so broke up into two and for most of the return ride back to Folsom we attempted to take "short pulls" up front and keep riders rotating out. It gets a bit dicey though on Auburn/ Folsom with its busy traffic and narrow to no shoulder at all to keep a steady pace line going will frequently rotating riders up front.

This ride lived up to being our first goal ride for the Peloton group of the year. I can really fell the group improving not only on the climbs but on the rollers and pushing the pace on the flats. Thanks everyone for a great ride!

I had this one at about 3 hours 21 minuets ride time with about 4500 feet of climbing for a distance of just over 54 miles.

1 comment:

  1. What you probably don't know about last Saturday's Folsom Lake Loop ride:
    A new rider, Vic, from Sacramento dropped in on the Cycle Folsom weekly ride. If you were near the front, you'll remember him. He was riding a 1998 Trek 5200 (precursor to the Madone series and ridden to Lance's first TDF win) set up for time trailing and you were likely only able to get views of his backside. Vic easily took the KOM points on Salmon Falls Rd and Old Forest Hill Rd. Later, after a group of about 10 of us muddled through Auburn and took a quick break at Maidu Market, the attacks came on the descent of Indian Hill. But with a head wind, all breaks were eventually pulled in, and everyone settled for a smooth, rotating pace line. Then Vic went to the front, set the cruise control at 25 mph and made everyone work to hang on the wheel in front. I was sitting second wheel and wanted to take a pull, but there was no way I could come around him in the wind. Vic towed everyone for about 7 miles to Granite Bay. Vic, again was at the sharp end leading the run into Folsom, but unfortunately flatted around Eureka Rd. I was a little surprised the wheel-suckers didn’t give a second look back. I guess they thought he was rotating off the front (into the dirt), or the smell of Karen’s Bakery back at the barn was just too inviting. After a tube change, Vic and I got caught up with OZ and company to finish up the day.

    Vic had to have been the points leader with at least 10 or more points. Way to go Vic; I hope you show up again.

    ~Brian A.