And what a ride it was! Several riders from the Performance Group joined us for this one and we had about 26 riders in total yesterday which made for quite an impressive site heading out from Folsom. I kept looking for the support cars and the camera helicopter flying overhead with Versus’ Phil Legit and Paul Sherwen voices in the background announcing the ride!

Leaving Karen’s we headed out on Auburn Folsom Rd to E Natoma St then left onto Salmon Falls Rd. Now Salmon Falls starts out as a nice winding route with gradual rollers but don’t be fooled as soon you find yourself cranking up several gradual climbs as a warm up to what’s to come! The group started out together for the most part but once the steeper climbs start in it doesn’t take long for those stronger riders to slowly break away and form a group of their own.

Our first stop for a short break was at the top of a climb across from Zee Estates.

After a short water and refueling stop, we regrouped and were off to Pilot Hill the “official” water and regroup stop.

Several of the faster riders headed out first and after some reminders about how narrow and fast the road will get, we head out and soon you find out just how fast the ride down Salmon Falls really is.

Riding down Salmon Falls Road with its steep curves and no shoulder to speak of, means your riding 2 to 3 abreast in between cars. For me, I love these fast grand prix style turns hugging the corners right behind a car. In fact on a bike you can actually handle the turns faster than the cars can and find yourself having to slow down just to avoid hitting the car a few feet in front of you!

When you get down to the confluence at the bottom and look up to the right at the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge soaring 730 feet above the river, you get a sense of just how far and fast down the hill you’ve come.

Turning right at the El Dorado St/Old Foresthill Rd tee put us on yet another long steady 12% – 14% grade climb up to the approach of what is the 3rd highest bridge in the U.S. and the tallest in California!

From there we rode thru Auburn, got a bit off track at High Street but soon found our way to Auburn Folsom Road and back down into Folsom. Oz, thanks for doing another great job of keeping us “slower” riders on track and riding at a pace that keeps pushing us!

Once passing Indian Hill Road, the group of 10 or so broke up into two and for most of the return ride back to Folsom we attempted to take “short pulls” up front and keep riders rotating out. It gets a bit dicey though on Auburn/ Folsom with its busy traffic and narrow to no shoulder at all to keep a steady pace line going will frequently rotating riders up front.

This ride lived up to being our first goal ride for the Peloton group of the year. I can really fell the group improving not only on the climbs but on the rollers and pushing the pace on the flats. Thanks everyone for a great ride!

I had this one at about 3 hours 21 minuets ride time with about 4500 feet of climbing for a distance of just over 54 miles.