Monday, June 2, 2014

Sierra Century Double Metric (2014)

(May 31, 2014) Sierra Century Double Metric, 124 miles, 10,000' climbing.    w/ Dr. Dave.  Started with Mountain Bike Racer Jerry (who I 1st rode this with in 2003.)   We joined up with Cisco Dave (30th-2013 DMD) , "I am not a Climber "Fredrik (10th-2013 DMD, 21st-2014 DMD) and Blinky Ray (26th-2013 DMD) at 2nd rest stop.  Jerry dropped off, Fredrik took off and it was the two Daves, Ray and me for most of the ride, 15.5 mph.
Route map & elevation.  First follow orange arrows to Fiddletown and up Slug Gulch/ El Dorado National Forest, blue arrows 2nd time to Fiddletown and back to Plymouth.

Dr. Dave and Jerry on climb out of Ione
Fredrik and Ray at rest stop on the way to Volcano

Someone emailed me for a ride report and since I put it in one paragraph there is no reason for me to write 'War and Peace' about this great ride.  The email:

Dr Dave killed Slug Gulch--I killed the steep rollers--we both slammed down the Fiddletown freeway the 1st time chasing a guy wearing a non Flanders, non New Zealand foreign jersey.  I was pissed that I got dropped on the initial steep descent--we eventually worked as a team with the guy wearing a London Underground jersey.   Dr Dave and I finally agreed once our thumb thawed out from the initial 45 degrees that the weather was perfect.  Dr. Dave and I were constantly mathematically challenged; we agreed to keep our power below 250 watts before the Slug Gulch climb--and we constantly shouted out "is 375 less than 250?"  Dr. Dave and I met up with the Cisco Dave group in 35 miles and rode with him and Blinky Ray, who wasn't feeling well at the start, for the rest of the day; while Fredrik eventually took off (all three finished 30th or better on DMD in the last two years.) Slug Gulch wasn't bad; when I got to the top I rode back down 1/2 mile to make sure our group was all together.   Joanie ('on your left') was once of the chief rest stop workers at the top of Omo Ranch where everyone got deluxe treatment. Well maybe not Fredrik as he might have just grabbed a new water bottle as he sped past.  El Dorado National Forest was perfect, esp with a little cooler weather than in the past. Ray was the man of the match doing Slug Gulch while hurting but he enjoyed the ride.  When we joined with the 100 milers they were coming off a downhill and some passed without calling out, so we then raced a few of them in.  Dr. Dave and I happy with our speed/ endurance; on the significant "Strava Sections" we were faster than 80-85% of the riders that day--though much slower than those at 90%, (which is where Fredrik and Cisco would be if they were on Strava), including one woman, Sarah, who shot up every climb. Great day.  Glad I'm not slowing down as much as I was trending downward last year.  

Let me use the rest of this space to give you the TWENTY-FOUR REASONS why the SIERRA DOUBLE METRIC CENTURY is the  GREATEST organized ride in California.

1) Day Before EZ Spin--Lots of nice possibilities for ez spin the day before.   One of the best is the 24 mile round trip between Sutter Creek and Volcano (see #5 below.)  At Volcano, water, bathrooms, and idyllic setting for carbo loading in either the Volcano Park or Mayor Rosie's bench on the porch in front of the General Store.
Day before ez spin, I'm above Sutter Creek near Volcano

2) Day before sightseeing/ dining options--Old West ambiance with collectible possibilities on main street Jackson or Sutter Creek.   Lots of unique dining, one favorite is the Imperial Hotel, elegant dining in an almost ghost town.
Imperial Hotel dining room, Amador City

Dr Dave in the heart of bustling Amador City, may be as crowded as Times Square

Something for everyone--Lots of varied sections--Mix of flats, downhills, rollers and climbs.
3) To Ione.   About 15 miles on a series of fast rollers.
Jerry on the fast section of the course from Plymouth to Ione

4) To Sutter Creek.  About 6 miles on a series of attention getting rollers (aka mini hills)
5) To Volcano.  Twelve miles of a mostly very gradual (1%) uphill along a road shaded with oak and California Buckeye and Sutter Creek running nearby.  (Road does kick up for the last three miles)
Dr Dave on the road to Volcano

Fredrik on the road to Volcano, why is he going the opposite way of Dr. Dave?  Eventually we didn't see Fredrik and didn't know if he got lost or finished way before the rest of us, which is what he did. 

6) Rams Horn Climb.  Two and a half mile steady climb of 6% with another mile of uphill rollers at the top.  Sun is coming up but road is nicely shaded by tall pine trees.
7) Fiddletown Expressway.   Twelve miles of downhill punctuated by a series of fast rollers.  An E ticket ride.  This is so much fun no one minds doing it twice on the ride.
Cisco Dave, Ray and Fredrik discover that we get to do the Fiddletown Freeway another time. That seals it for Ray, he'll continue on.

8) Slug Gulch.  The serious climb of the day, 5 miles at 6% but most of the climb is packed in the first half with many double digit sections.  Lead in to Slug Gulch is no picnic as Perry Creek has some serious rollers but is well shaded.
The two Dave's on Perry Creek Road

Cisco Dave at the end of Slug Gulch
9) El Dorado National Forest. Twelve miles through the pine trees in the EL Dorado National Forest at 4,000'.  Mostly gentle climbing with a few kicks, and some great views at the end of the rolling hills filled with pine trees.
I'm having a great time in the El Dorado National Forest (Cisco Dave)

Dr. Dave is enjoying this ride as much as I am. 
10) Omo Ranch Road.   About eight miles of mostly downhill among houses sparsely placed near the pine forest, punctuated by some rollers, getting you back to Fiddletown.

11) 90% of the ride on good-excellent road surfaces with virtually no traffic.  Only notable exceptions re road surface are the middle 4 miles to Volcano and 9 miles of real crappy (Sonoma County like) roads through an oak forest getting you from Fiddletown to Mt Aukum-Fairplay.   

12) Virtually no motor traffic!  Only real traffic is early morning for two miles along Highway 16 and one mile climb out of Ione on Highway 104--but  both sections have a good shoulder.   Later you go screaming downhill on Highway 88 for about three miles, much with no shoulder, but there is virtually no traffic on this road. 

13) Less than a dozen traffic controls and about half of these are a series of stop signs streets when rolling through Ione.

Oh Wow Spots (aka Kodak Moments)
14) Sutter Creek--Making the sudden left turn and seeing main street Sutter Creek, the Jewel of the Mother Lode.
15) Volcano--population 108 and the St George Hotel perched onto of the roller into Volcano, the oh wow view is the stone amphitheater.
Entering Volcano

The day before in Volcano riding on the pave-the Cobblestone Theatre should show "A Sunday in Hell'

An "oh wow" moment in Volcano when Cisco Dave discovers this food ain't free

A few seconds of the great ride through the El Dorado National Forest (Cisco Dave)

16) El Dorado National Forest encasing you in pine trees, with glimpses of the valleys off to the side covered with more pine.

Sacramento Wheelmen Support
The Sacramento Wheelmen got your backside

17) Check in (and start/ end) of ride at the Amador Fairgrounds that resembles an old western town.  One of the two most quaint/ picturesque California County fairgrounds (the other being Humboldt) that I've seen.
Dr Dave and I at the day before checkin at the Amador Fairgrounds

18) Preride Checkin--the Sacramento Wheelmen great support starts at ez pre ride checkin with food (This year fruit salad and antipasto)--you think you are part of a Club social event.
Food at the preride checkin

19) Start with ez parking, real bathrooms, food and coffee at the Amador Fairgrounds.
Early morning at the Amador Fairgrounds before the start of the ride

20) Rest stops nicely spaced and right after all the signature climbs (mile 20-35-46-59-74-83-95-@110)  (OK, they have to work on Fiddletown #2 rest stop at mile 110 which was still open but depressingly was closing up shop when we pulled in, and many riders still behind us.)
21) One of greatest rest stops ever at Mt Aukum School after Slug Gulch.  At 3,000' in school yard surrounded by tall pine trees and wading pool (foot bath) set up.

Doug at the Mt Aukum school--when the rest stop closes I know we'll find him on the swings.  Great Sacramento Wheelmen support.

22) Free food in Volcano by local merchants just for the taking by cyclists (Cisco Dave asked me to put this one in, no one else knew about it)
23) Sacramento Wheelmen rest stops well stocked with plenty of ice, and surprise treats like Ice Coffee before Slug Gulch, and Ice Bars at Mt Aukum. 
24) Free Jewelry-a Slug Gulch pin once you complete the climb.

(top) Ray and (below) Cicso Dave after last climb (honest Ray) right before we join in with 100 milers for last 5 miles of ride.

25) End of ride meal at the Amador Fairgrounds.  Nice food and venue to discuss the highlights of the day.
Another great Slug Gulch Sierra Century.


Anonymous said...

Did the rest stop at Slug Gulch (or wherever it was) close earlier this year? I don't remember the warnings in the past. They had a flyer at the Fiddletown rest stop that you had to be be riding from Fiddletown no later than 12:30 in order to make it before the rest stop at Slug Gulch closed. Because of that, I took the bail out and only did 80 miles.

Pumpkincycle said...

The Slug Gulch rest stop always has a 2pm cutoff for setting out on the 120 mile route. Back in 2003 I was so scared of this ride my group started out at 5:30 so we'd make the cutoff--and the Sacto Wheelmen Ride Chair wouldn't clue us in on the bonus route prior to the ride (I wanted to preride every part of the course.) It's 22 miles from Fiddletown 1 to the top of Slug Gulch which will take most cyclist not named Richard Virenque 2 hours--not including time for a water stop in Pioneer, so one best leave Fiddletown well before 12:30.

Anonymous said...

I thought that I saw you hiking Black Diamond on Sunday. The day after 10,000 vertical and 124 miles. Nice. I should have stopped the MTB and given you some type of award.

Pumpkincycle said...

Yeah--I don't like hiking but didn't want to bike ride and felt very well. Stop and say hi next time. Best.