Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Amazing Mosquito Ridge Road

We are lucky to call the little Sierra town of Foresthill our home. Living in the middle of nowhere has it's disadvantages, 30 minutes to the nearest real store of any kind, an hour commute one way for Mary and I and not much in the way of social diversity, unless you count differing variations of married cousins diversity....

But the upside is an amazing network of trails, dirt roads and world class road riding. Now I'm not much of a roadie, to tell the truth the road scares me. Luckily the road riding around here see's very little traffic, there are routes from the house that may cover 100 miles and you might only see a dozen cars on a weekend.

Today was a nice ride out Mosquito Ridge Road with Skip and Mary. I'd been riding this road all week and took a little ribbing from the gang as I am always the one who won't do any ride more than twice without whining about it. The road suits my early (to me at least) season training as it has  some of the longest sustained climbing in California, perfect for steady state zone training.

Monday was an ugly affair, 3-1/2 hrs in the rain freezing my ass off on the 11 mile decent before warming up on the climb back home 60 miles and 6,300'. Thursday saw some zone 4 intervals and a nice 50 mile 5700' after work ride, perfect for the guy who works with his body all day, Friday was a bit ugly in the energy dept at work! Saturday Mary and I headed back out and I managed to get about an hour and a half out when my front hub blew up. Mary headed back home and I started walking back. Two hours and 10 miles of walking later Mary came driving down the road with a spare front wheel. I headed out for another couple of hours to finish off a very long day with not nearly enough food or water, managed to get another 55 miles with about 6,300'.

Sunday saw us out for yet another day on Mosquito Ridge Road. The weather was nice to start, clouded up a bit later, but still comfortable on the way up.

Mary headed down to the curved bridge.

Oxbow reservoir in the distance.

Mary, headed across the curved bridge of the North Fork of the Middle Fork American River, wheww what a name....

The above long winded river.
Mary headed back as we reached Ralston Ridge Road, another bitchin  ride that is still awaiting some summer heat before we venture out that way, 20% grades and all! Skip and I continued up to Big Trees Grove, a massive grove of Giant Sequoias, the farthest Eastern grove if I remember right. The snow started showing up around 4000'. The road has been plowed, not a usual thing, but they are working on the dam at French Meadows so the road needed to be opened up a bit early.

Might be a while before we ride dirt up here.....

It was twice this high 3 weeks ago!

Skip and I continued up to the closed gate at Robinson Flat Road, had a bite to eat and headed back down on the 18 mile decent back to the curved bridge. We could have slipped by the gate and continued out to French Meadows but time was running short. I was envious of Skips vest and arm warmers as we headed back down on the 35mph decent. By the time we reached the bridge 35 minutes later I was ready to go back uphill to get my core temp back up, the forecast high was 65 degrees today, May 22!

The road disappearing in front of us.

The curved bridge lies down there somewhere!

My plan called for me to do 30 minutes of zone three, but that would have put a big gap into the now suffering Skip. I decided that some one legged drills would suit the task. Skip was a good sport as I one legged up the hill in front of him, it was a nice way to spend 30 minutes and I managed to get my heart rate up without putting a huge gap on him.
We met up at the top of the first climb, hit the decent and soft pedaled back the last 5 miles to the top at Foresthill and the downhill run to home. All in all a great day, 75 mile and 8,000' of up. Maybe I'll stay away from Mosquito Ridge this week, maybe not.....

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