Auburn is in the Gold Country but further North than the Sutter Creek-Volcano area I am familiar with--in fact I had never been to Auburn so I got up there early the day before just to kick around and take advantage of the early check in. Route sheet showed that supposed 126 mile ride was really 139 miles, but I had no clue what the terrain was going to be like--not that many ride reports on the web. Iowa Hill, where they run the time trial, was supposedly an average of 13% but only 1.7 miles. Course seemed like a mini Climb to Kaiser.
Doug vanishes uphill and they hand me my starting time so I'm ready to go--absent mindedly forget to start my watch, and more importantly slam down on the pedals on an uphill dead stop and FORGET I was still in the big ring. F-my ankle hurt immediately and hurt the rest of the day. Still with an adrenaline rush I don't pace myself but want to get back to Doug as soon as possible.
Doug is happy about the next section which feature long uphill rollers that have kicked up to about 5-7%, where he is happy to have me slack off as we bs, and long twisty downhill sections where he proclaims "this is a fun section" and then shoots off. After a while I am tired of chasing him so I kick it up a notch on the uphill sections so he has to chase back. The weather is now perfect--probably high 70's as we continue on a well paved tree lined road with very little traffic. This reminds me of the El Dorado Forest section of the Old Sierra Century with the grade a little tougher and this beautiful section a little longer. Another rest stop before we come out of this horizontal section of our inverted A--mile 67--Sugar Pine Boat Ramp stop, which is supposedly lunch. We still have lots of climbing so just another tortilla shell , though a worker gets a banana from his car for me. Doug is still anise--"lets go," "lets go," while at the same time starting to express doubt that he will do the whole 139 miles.
We quickly get to the Western leg of our ride--where the trees start to recede and the views of the tree filled valley of the surrounding national forest are constant. No more rollers--the road is now a constant uphill but usually a gentle 3-4%. Doug gamefully along for the ride but his pace is falling off--a Fremont Freeheeler passes us at a leisurely pace and Doug can't hang--unfortunately the boy has been business travelling too much. This part reminds me of the out and back portion of the Grizzly after lunch. I ride at the Fremont Freewheeler pace until the center line disappears and the grade kicks up a bit, and I shoot on ahead. Now like the final run in on the Climb to Kaiser but not nearly as steep..
One rider coming back yells out " just 1/4 of a mile more" but the climb was long but gentle--I had lots of fun even with constant (but slight) pain from my ankle. The climbing was now almost all done and the word that described the ride was not "hard" but "beautiful."
East and west views from the Tahoe National Forest seen on eastern leg of the climb.
Foresthill Road a few miles from the 6,000' turnaround at Robinson Flat. Road as smooth as a babies butt, little to no traffic, this would be a feature until getting to Foresthill 26 miles away on the return trip.
Now in Auburn and riding with Fremont Freewheeler who also using this a tune up for the Knoxville Double. I warn him that I am my CLUB CHAMP---in getting lost--and I proptly take a wrong turn that we have to retrace. Finally back in the parkling lot @6:20--90% of the cars from the morning gone. Supposedly there was chicken but none left--just a few scoops of rice and veggies. One rider keeps insisting that they are cooking more chicken for us--never see anything but more overhangs/ chairs/ tables being carted off. Funny thing is that Doug and I rode easy until we split up at @mile 75, except for STOPPING AT MILE 7 (alright it was mile 9) we didn't take more than 10-12 minutes anywhere else. I'd love to do this ride next year but start 30-45 early (they sag lights from the 1st and 2nd stop), and ride harder so that can be more a part of the organized ride--with people around and rest stops open. Otherwise why $$$ for this ride--may as well come up here and do Doug's metric ride. In any event--BEAUTIFUL AREA, will try to get some Diablo Cyclists up here