Friday, April 12, 2013

Foresthill, Yankee Jims, Colfax.

The finest view from a supermarket that I've ever seen!

I decided to take a day off to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather. What better way to appreciate the conditions than a bike ride? Today, I chose a rather challenging ride for me, a loop that would take me up to Foresthill, across the rough dirt of Yankee Jims road to Colfax, then return to Loomis via Placer Hills Road through Meadow Vista and Auburn.

 View from Old Forest Hill Road.
My route takes me through Auburn via Indian Hill road, then down and up Old Foresthill Road. I avoid the new road due to the endless seismic retrofit work which has been going on the massive Foresthill bridge for a couple of years now, with no end in sight! The lanes open are really too narrow for comfort. I made it up to Foresthill and stopped at Worton's market for a break and to enjoy the view. While there I met a couple of other older cyclists. One was riding an interesting Cervelo, he had a mountain rear derailleur on it which allowed him to use a 34 tooth cog in back. The bike was incredibly light, he said that with the small saddlebag, it weighed 16 lbs! The other impressive thing was the price! He said new ones were around $6,000! He got his used at half that! Wow, Shelly, I hope you appreciate how much money my retro tastes save us! After the break, I started down Yankee Jims Road. This starts with a brisk descent down a good road and eventually you come to the small hamlet of Yankee Jims. No services there. Shortly after that village, the road turns to gravel. This year, the road seems to be in pretty good condition. I believe Cal Fire had some work done during the terrible fire down there last year.

Yankee Jims Road; So far, so good.

At the junction of Yankee Jims and Shirttail Canyon. This is close to the point where the 2012 fire started that threatened Iowa Hill. Also a popular place for target practice evidently.

Plenty of water flowing now, here's a nice waterfall I hadn't noticed before. There's a nice pool at the bottom that would be great for soaking in!

The background is a little busy, but I thought this was a nice shot of the Mercian.

Typical conditions of the rougher stretches of this road. Still, 28c tires were fine.

At the bottom, you cross the North Fork of the American. Here's a look back at the bridge.

Nice panorama; I'm looking back while on the north side of the river now, heading to Colfax.

Road conditions on the north side of the river were better than the south side.

Here I am trying to show the hillside covering of lupine and poppies.

Here's a close-up!

At the start of the pavement, on the way to Colfax.

Back on pavement, I headed for Colfax. I didn't actually go into town, but took the overpass south of town, up to Placer Hills Road. After a short snack break, I headed back to Auburn through Meadow Vista. Climbing out of Meadow Vista I felt the first tingling of a cramp starting in my inner thighs. Gearing down helped and after I started descending they went away and I didn't have anymore trouble.

The bike performed well. The bolt fixing the front fender to the underneath of the fork crown loosened a bit at the start of the ride. I tightened it and it held for the rest of the ride but I will need thread lock for that. It handled the dirt very well, even with 28c tires, it was stable and tracked well. Shifting was very good and my missed shifts are becoming rarer. I feel very comfortable on the bike even after the almost 7 hours I spent on it today!

Once around Folsom Lake

View from the new Folsom Dam Road

Circling Folsom Lake is one of my favorite training rides. I regularly do this a few times each year. Normally, I'll ride this route in a clockwise direction. I was amused to read in several online ride descriptions of this route that this was considered a more dangerous direction, due to the long, curvy and narrow climb up to Cool on Highway 49! Well, it makes sense although I've not had any problems. At any rate, I decided to try the other direction just for fun. This would be a long run on my new Mercian, still getting the bike dialed in.

At Placer School, on Horseshoe Bar Rd.

So I started the ride going up Horseshoe Bar Road out of Loomis, eventually getting on Auburn-Folsom heading south to Folsom. There, I turned on the New Folsom Dam Road. This is a very nice road with 2 sets of bike trails! One is completely separated from the road, it is used by bikes and pedestrians. It seems to me that you could get blocked by the slow traffic. I always take the alternate, a bike trail on the shoulder of the main road. I'm surprised they offer two choices, but it's nice!

Going by the dam; you can see riders on the second bike trail.

Past the dam you navigate residential and semi rural roads to Salmon Falls Road. Salmon Falls is really the heart of this ride. A long undulating climb to Pilot hill. Very pretty, not too busy. A favorite for squids on hot motorcycles. The road surface in generally excellent. The ride was eneventful, I enjoyed it. The climb up 49 from the river did not seem much safer than the climb up to Cool, though. Maybe a few more turnouts. Traffic was heavier because it was later in the day, since it's near the end of the ride going in this direction. Here are a few more shots, no more commentary.

 Salmon Falls Bridge, not sure what caused that blur in the photo.
On Salmon Falls road.
 "The Boat", I've seen this boat on every ride I've taken around Folsom Lake!
 The chimney is all that remains of this old farmhouse.
Yours truly, photo courtesy of the nice folks I met taking a break at Safari Estates(below).

I've often admired this particular view of the Sierra Foothills.
On highway 49 past Cool, dropping to the confluence of the forks of the American River.