As we move out of primarily building base miles, our routes are gaining elevation and preparing us for the challenges of the cycling season. The first weekend of spring was heralded in by a few more riders joining both the Performance and Peloton Groups to begin their training. New to the Peloton was Ryan, who just finished a half marathon last weekend and wanted to try his hand at hanging with the Cycle Folsom gang. And a fine job he did, too!

We left at 8am (sharp!) for a warmup with the Performance Group over Folsom Dam Crossing, then our routes parted as the Peloton headed east on Green Valley to the scenic Malcolm Dixon Road. This stretch poses some challenging rollers that did a great job preparing us for the workout along Deer Valley Road on the way to our water stop at the Rescue fire station.

Amongst our band was the irrepressible, enthusiastic triathlete Danny, who shared his hill attacking strategies with us. You’ll know Danny when you meet him: he has exquisite style on the bike and endlessly dishes up support and encouragement to the other riders.

Once we refilled our bottles at the fire station we put our newly learned hill climbing skills to the test on the undulating Ponderosa Road. Along the way we crossed paths with the Performance riders and traded a friendly “thumbs up” as they headed towards Rescue. What ensued was a nearly futile downhill chase for Stan and Joel’s wheel all the way back to El Dorado Hills.

Thankfully a red signal or two thwarted their getaway and helped us regroup before the final leg up to Beal’s Point and back down to the start point.

From there, Stan, Joel, and Danny took on the optional loop around Lake Natoma where the too-hot-to-handle Joel answered every challenge Danny presented with a serious reply. Stan joined the fray and the threesome finished the day completely igniting the rest of the route. Good thing the spring grass is so lush and green – but even this early in the season these guys are a fire hazard!