Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Day 3 - Sacramento, CA to Auburn, CA
Today was the easy day. But even on easy days you get to put forth some effort. Our day started with partly cloudy skies that became increasingly overcast, but not even a suggestion of precip. Our route took us a mile up the road to a restaurant for breakfast. I chatted with Mary from New York and Ed from Maple Valley, WA and learned more about their backgrounds and favorite rides. Ed, who is in his 50s, has ridden many of the same rides as me so we compared notes about last year's RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day) and likened that experience to some of the climbs ahead of us.
Following breakfast, we accessed the Jedediah Smith Bicycle Trail at Discovery Park. I was riding with Leigh, Zero, Sean, and Steve. The morning was a bit breezy and in the 60s, rare for this part of California, but it made the biking great. We soon discovered that this trail is outstanding. It runs along the American River through Sacramento but you would never know you were in the middle of the city. The trail is completely wooded with views of the river, bridges, and parks. And it's flat. We sailed along enjoying the easy pedaling and casual conversation. After 15 or so miles, I decided it was time for a necessary break. The others pedaled on but I recaught Leigh and began discussing how pacelining behind people who really don't have all the skills for pacelining can be precarious. In short, being from Seattle, we totally know what we're doing. :-)
At one point in the trail, we came upon two recumbent riders stopped at the side. One was inside a fully enclosed shell that looked like part F-16 fighter jet and part bike. It would be just the rig to take us across the Utah Salt Flats in the coming week or two. We chatted a bit, took some photos, and pressed on. Our route brought us to the Folsom Dam where we saw fisherman bait fishing in the middle of the river. We passed Folsom Prison, which I learned was made famous by Johnny Cash when he performed there in 1968.
Soon we were pulling into our SAG stop at Folsom Lake just above the Folsom Dam. The picturesque location of our stop made all of us linger in the sun, which was now coming out, and relax in the grass or sitting at water's edge at a picnic table. I made a couple of calls to home and friends and then picked up Brad from Columbus, OH and Has from Switzerland for the next leg.
We were on Auburn Folsom Road which was rolling terrain for about 20 miles. It reminded me of many of the routes I ride in Snohomish County in Woodinville or Maltby. The shoulder was wide and the pace was fast. We began climbing up right after the Auburn City limits sign. With sweat now pouring down our faces, we paused to enjoy the view overlooking the valley below. The hillside was dotted with mega mansions. Yeah, I could live here.
As we crested the top of the hill, we regrouped and decided to stop at a nearby pharmacy. I was in a quest for contact solution and this place ought to have what I need. While they didn't have the solution, they did provide a unique photo op. We could trade our bikes in for these powered mobility scooters. That'll get us over the Rockies!
Next we dropped into Old Town Auburn and took our time riding through the streets. We spotted a Bike Shop and pulled in to have a look around. Plenty of new models of bikes, all the accessories we could desire, and a chance to chat with the staff about Auburn. This is as much of a cycling mecca as my hometown of Seattle. We sure saw our share of cyclists today enjoying the roads.
A block up, we stopped at a small cafe for a light meal and more conversation. We had added Brad's dad, Jay, to our group. Jay and Brad are only biking to Salt Lake City with us. Jay is actually finishing his final installment of the Cross Country Challenge which he started in 2006 by riding from Pueblo to Indy. In 2007 he rode from SLC to Pueblo and then Indy to Portsmouth. Now he was cinching the deal. His son, Brad, 35, was really thinking about calling in sick for another 30 days and finishing the ride with us.
After lunch, we finished the final miles up out of downtown Auburn, across I-80, to our hotel. It was only 2:00 p.m. Tomorrow's route will decidedly take longer!
Tomorrow we load luggage at 5:15. The bulletin board says "Luggage at 5:15 AM. Yes, 5:15 AM" Then we climb 8000 ft. of elevation over Donner Pass to Truckee, CA. Total miles will be 76, but it'll be the long slog up the pass that will really hammer on us. Stay tuned and expect plenty of cannibal jokes tomorrow.
For more photos from today, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2/100080
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative miles: 201
Elev Gain: 2572 ft.
Max Elev: 1654 ft.
Avg Climb: 3%
Max Climb: 10%