Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yankee Jims, the other way around!

Yankee Jims Bridge over the North Fork of the American River
 Got a day free to ride so I decided to do my Yankee Jims Loop which involves some decent gravel road riding. This year I did the loop opposite of my usual route, riding from Colfax to Foresthill via Yankee Jims rather than vise versa. It suprises me how the same ride changes simply by reversing direction, in this case, I'd say for the better! This also gave me a chance to try out my newest ride, a 650B Long Haul Trucker!
Heading down to the river from Colfax.
Being Spring, the colors are still fresh and vibrant. The hillsides are bright orange with the poppies, and there's a bit of purple popping out here and there as well. The poppy-covered hills in the picture above really caught my eye.

A nice suprise to see water!
Despite our low precipitation totals over the water year, the rains of February and early April have provided enough water to allow the creeks to flow quite nicely for this early season. The falls shown above were the first I encountered, a little ways up from the river, heading south towards Foresthill. I'm afraid they won't last for long though, so it's nice to see them!
Another Waterfall!
A little further up I encountered a second, smaller falls. Kind of hard to make out but it goes on for a way back into the woods.

As for the ride, I found I prefer this way as opposed to going to Colfax from Foresthill. The long gravel switchbacks you encounter going down to the river from the south are easier to climb than the are to descend. The descent from Colfax to the river is more even and there aren't a lot of switchbacks. The climb up the river is tedious but I easily made it with a the small gear of 30(front)/28(rear). 

Even for a warm Saturday, there wasn't a lot of traffic and just a few folks parked at the river.  Below are a few screen shots from my phone app, "Run the Map". I've discussed this app before and it continues to be a very useful little program. Of course, it doesn't cover up things like my pathetic average speed, but this is a tough ride, doing it within 6 hours seems honorable enough for me!
Here are the stats from my "Run the Map" app...

...and here's a look at the route.

Just a few words about the bike I used on this ride: I got a new bike(yes another new bike)! I sold my Surly Pacer and 700C LHT and bought a 26 inch LHT. For this ride, I tried fitting the 650B wheels from my Pacer conversion. It takes a little finagling to make it work, but once done, they work quite nicely! I was very happy with the bikes performance and the wheels and the (seemingly now out of favor)Col de la Vies were simply perfect for this ride! Of course, I'll do a proper blog entry on this bike soon.
The 650B LHT is actually a 26 inch Trucker slightly modified. (More in a later blog entry).