My ride stats: 68 miles in 3:46 ride time for an average speed of 18.0 mph and 4,300 ft of climbing.

We had a good group with 7 of us setting out on the ride to see where Coon Creek was at and to see what riding Garden Bar had to offer for cycling. The weather was very cool for this time of year (low to mid 60s) with a south wind of 10-15 mph. It was a good thing we were heading north first to have the tailwind help us up and over the rolling hills west of Auburn; but as always, heading down Auburn-Folsom Road into a headwind is no picnic.

The pace was moving along around 20 mph for about the first 10-15 miles. John (I think the guy’s name wearing the gray jersey on the white Tarmac was John; could be wrong) decided to take over the pace setting for Jeremy and bumped it up to about 23 mph on the uphill rollers on Val Verde Rd. That did it for me; I’ve been riding too hard the past couple of weeks without the proper rest and I went right out the back and rode through Penryn and over English Colony solo. I bet the lead group was fast and punchy over English Colony and the little climb up to Sierra College was making its self known.

We all regrouped at the top of Sierra College (thanks guys!) and I ramped up the pace on the descent down to Hwy 193; going downhill is the easy part. We had a good double pace line heading toward Lincoln, but I was on the front; not the ideal place to be to sprint for the city limit. I waited till the sign was clearly visible for everyone and then made my successful jump. OK, I got to admit, I was the only one that remembered the sprint and caught everyone off guard.

After a short water stop at the park in Lincoln we headed north out of town to Virginiatown (12th St) to work our way through the country roads west of Auburn. Although there isn’t any serious or signature climb, the whole area is generally rolling hills and starts to sap the strength in your legs. We headed north on Garden Bar for the out-n-back to Coon Creek (Garden Bar Rd turns to dirt for about 3 miles and has private gates). The road is small and generally quite (a couple of cars), and the surface is decent. It climbs gradually up and over an oak studded hill that changes in elevation about 400 ft and then descends down to Coon Creek. We regrouped at the bridge and took a very brief break and then climbed back out of the little valley.

Next up was Wise and Lozanos Roads. After some route finding issues, everyone was on track wandering the windy (and windy now) Wise Rd. We regrouped near the fire station at Crater Hill Rd, then dropped down through Ophir, only to be surprised by more climbing up to Ophir Road.

We made the regular stop at the gas station in Newcastle and then headed up the high point of the day, Indian Hill. The last big obstacle of the day was the ride down Auburn-Folsom. It’s certainly not a hard ride, but after 50 miles, the high pace, wind, and rollers could easily unhitch you from the group. I got passed by John and the Webcor guy, but quickly jumped on their wheel for a nice draft. Carl caught on behind me making the group 4 strong. Mr. Webcor did a monster pull at 25+ into the headwind for the first few miles. I think everyone was happy to sit-in; I know I was. I was surprised when Jeremy came over the top and went to the front to pull. The Webcor guy swung off and wasn’t see again; I think he may have returned home, since we picked him up earlier when we were heading north. Oz was unhitched and rode into the wind most of the way, and Patrick had a cramped or pulled calf that kept him from riding with the lead group. Carl eventually swung off at Cavitt-Stallman to head home. Upfront, it was me, Jeremy, John, & Tom trading pulls into the wind and keeping the pace as high as possible back into Folsom.