Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day, 2008-Sutter Creek to Volcano--The Greatest 12 Mile Climb

Head cold and knee hurting, weather crappy, and Club ride up here fell apart, but had to go back to my spiritual cycling roots once over the three day Memorial Day Weekend. The 12 miles, from Sutter Creek (ele 1198) to Volcano (ele 2053) one of the gentlest climbs, most beautiful rides there is, with interesting towns at the end points. I was first blown away when we turned into Sutter Creek on the 1999 Sierra Century Metric--a real Disneyland looking gold rush town. Then the road to Volcano always beautiful but always clogged with riders on the Sierra Century as well as the town of Volcano which housed a rest stop. I was again blown away when I went up to the Gold Country and did some Erma's Diner rides and unlike Century day Volcano had nary a sole in sight albeit Rosie, the chain smoking mayor who was a fixture on Main Street.

Out of Volcano there is the Rams Horn climb, which today, with a bad knee, would have seemed like a killer, just like it seemed a decade ago before becoming "not that hard," or, the truly killer Charleston Grade--the hardest climb I know of. Ironically, as I was leaving town to go back down Volcano Road a rider stopped me to ask--"is this THE CHARLESTON GRADE, I'm going to try to do it" All I could do today was wish him well, as now my knee fully locked up. I practically coasted back to Sutter Creek thinking about the Old Sierra Century and other events from the past few years. So drove 150 miles to cycle 26--but well worth it.

(Top) Sutter Creek-Main Street out of Central Casting, THE Sutter Creek--not that impressive here, The Aud with parking and secret bathrooms behind (Middle) On Sutter Creek-Volcano Road, the turnoff (good for the ride back) from Shake Ridge Road to Pine Gulch Road, California Buckeye and Oaks dot the road, a more picturesque portion of Sutter Creek runs alongside (Bottom) Volcano--Suddenly we are there--Volcano Hotel, Volcano Limestone(facade) amphitheatre

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