Monday, March 1, 2010

Auburn to Foresthill Ride

I woke Saturday around 7:00am and by 7:40 was dressed and on the road for what I thought might eventually work into a 100+ mile ride. Weather was crisp and sunny with temperatures in the 40's with an expected high of 62. This would be the first long ride with major climbing using my compact 50/34 and 11-28 cassette combination. From Auburn I followed the route of the annual Auburn Century by heading up toward Colfax which is about a twenty mile section with about 2600 feet of climbing. Along the way, I began riding with a nice woman named Jana who it turns out is moving to Auburn from the Bay Area. We rode together all the way to Colfax where we stopped and had a coffee at Starbucks. It turns out that she knows Lorri Lee Lown of Velogirls fame! That was cool and it was nice meeting her. From Colfax she was heading back down the hill and I decided to continue on toward Iowa Hill Rd and the hill that kills. I was not sure how I could handle it without my trusty triple but I planned to give it a go anyway.

This was the first time I have tried this climb this early in the year and everything was extremely green from the recent rains.

At the bottom of the descent is a bridge that spans the American River.

And on the other side....1.75 miles of climbing torture...

I had to stop about a mile up the hill due to tightness in my lower back.  Other than that, I managed to keep a slow enough pace that my breathing and my legs could handle the grade albeit with some tacking back and forth in places.  I figure I'm nearly 56 years old and about 20 lbs heavier than I should be so that's acceptable.

Once you finally reach the top of this monster the climbing continues and is very deceptive.  For the 1.8 miles up you've just climbed 1400 ft with several grades of 18 to 20%.  The average grade on this hill is 13.5%.  It's pretty much crazy in my opinion, but I keep going back to it.  Once at the top you have some nice scenery to look at without worrying about toppling over!

It was at this point that I began to feel a little bit strange.  My legs began to feel really weak and something just wasn't right.  I found myself stopping several times because I just could not keep going.  I'm not sure what it was, but I felt really bad and wasn't sure how I would make it in if things didn't improve.  I finally made it to Sugar Pine reservoir at about mile 36 and felt like I could lay down and go to sleep I was just incredibly weak.  The strange thing is, I was not the least bit cold or hot.

  After awhile I decided to try and push on to Foresthill Rd which was another four or five miles.  That would have been the point where, had I felt good, I would continue the climb up to Robinson Flat before returning to Foresthill and on into Auburn.  That would have put me over 100 miles for the day, but there was no way I was going to be able to do that.  I must have stopped five or six times.  I just couldn't go far without having to stop and rest my legs felt so weak.  I thought if I could just make it to Foresthill Rd, I could turn right and it would be pretty much down hill into the town of Foresthill and I could stop and rest in a restaurant or coffee shop.  I finally made the turn on to Foresthill Rd around 4pm and started descending toward town.

Even going down hill at speeds up to thirty five mph I still had to stop twice to rest before finally pulling in to town.  I found a Subway and went in and got some food and a two Cokes.  The food made me feel better for a bit, but then I suddenly began to shiver with chills that steadily got worse.  I thought for a minute there I was going to shake my teeth out of my head and I got very cold.  About that time I realized I had no cell phone service where I was and the girl behind the counter allowed me to call my daughter from their phone.  My daughter drove up and picked me and the bike up and I had the heater going full blast in the car for several minutes before I stopped shivering.  Upon arriving home, I immediately got undressed and tried to nap for a bit and began to feel better.  Click the link to see the route map with the various elevations.

My century ride turned out to be 53 miles and 7600 ft of climbing instead of the 100+ and 12,000 ft I was planning on.  It started out great and ended rather shakily.


  1. Fantastic ride, thanks for posting the photos! It'd be so much fun to have that scenery to ride in.

    I hope all you needed was more food and a hot bath, that you don't have the flu.

    Take care of yourself!

  2. That sounds like all the earmarks of a classic bonk. Did you feel better after food and sleep?