w/ Ward, Todd*, Christine, Johnna, Carole*, Sacto Cyclocross Racer*, Dr. Dave*, Sacto Doug, Laurie & Doug2 (aka Mr. Laurie), Sacto Patti Smith Fan, Sacto Achtervolger (*first timers on 105 mile route, 95 miles, 80 miles, 60 miles)
Ward-ographThe official Sierra Century (black route) started off going southwest down to the flatlands around Ione, and then went counterclockwise to Volcano and Fiddletown. Then a clockwise loop to Mt. Aukem and Slug Gulch--the feared climb of the day. If not timed out you could continue on the 120 mile course, clockwise, to Highway 88, and then back downhill to Fiddletown. We (orange route) cut out all the flatlands, and begin going north to Mt. Aukem and Slug Gulch. Then we go clockwise to Cook Station for lunch and then back downhill to Sutter Creek via Shake Ridge Road, go back up to Volcano, then down to Fiddletown. This blog report sponsored by Ward Industries Sundry Vending Division (Ward Industries Advertisement)
The public jailhouse/ restroom was still locked in Plymouth so a few of us sprinted across town to the gas station for a 3 mile prelude. It was still overcast and cold and we were riding into a real thick fog, on the only segment that has frequent vehicle traffic. On the rollers in the Shenandoah Wine Valley you couldn't see 20' in front of you. My M.O. for the first half of the ride would be to speed up to make sure the person in front knew where the next turn was, (and later set up for photos) then go to the back and ride with the achtervolgers. Ward would stay near the front and he knows the course well, so even though we had groups get unhooked here there was no problem.
We then hit the short Steiner Loop that at the top of the Shenandoah Valley--its an add on that Erma's Diner Bike Club once showed me. Like magic the fog lifted as soon as we hit the start of the loop (@mile 7) and it would be sunny for the rest of the day. Much better when we rode out on the assortment of baby and Italian (can't power over) rollers to Mt. Aukem. I knew where we were going but I had been away too long and couldn't estimate how long we had on a specific road before a turn--I should have taped the rest stop miles to the bike' stem. Diablo Cyclists were near the front along with a Sacto Team Revolution Cyclocross Racer, the rest of the Sacto Contingency was near the back, and I bs'd with Sacto Doug somewhere in the middle.
The rest stop is usually at a corner store in Fairplay, but people seem to enjoy Pioneer Park more, and unless someone needed something, most people bypassed the store and went right to the park. I give Doug a rash of shit as this is the place where he, Big Mike and Jack pushed on ahead in 2005 when I stopped for water--and I had to catch and pass their butts on Slug Gulch; I may not remember names of people I just met but I remember events.
We park right outside the Amador County Fairgrounds, next to the bluegrass fest campers (sorry.) (Pumpkinpoto)
Christine returns from the sprint across MODERN Plymouth complete with fine dining, as the bathroom in OLD TOWN Plymouth is still locked up. (Ward-o-photo)
Omo Ranch to Cook Station (5'000' ele) via El Dorado National Forest (11 1/2 miles, 1664 climbing, 12.3 mph)
Cooks Station to Sutter Creek via Shake Ridge Road. (25 miles, 906' climbing, 22.9 mph)
Sutter Creek to Volcano (12 1/2 miles, 1035' elevation gain, 14.4 mph)