Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet & Sour Gravel

Being Earth Day and all, I opted for a quiet gravel ride from the house.

First, I rode down to Big Pine via canals....

and The Old County Road (aka The Gravel Super Highway).

The Black Locust was in full bloom and delightfully fragrant.

Nice views of the hills from Big Pine - unless your a skier, as this would normally be a prime zone right about  this time year.

Starting up the east side of the valley.

Warm Springs serenity.

Gotta stop at the mystery obelisk if you're in the neighborhood.

While the ride to Big Pine and the beginning of the trek up the east side were sweet, the nasty silt pits (deep flour like filth that coats everything) and the jarring gravel north of the obelisk were decidedly sour.

Oh well, all in all it was pretty tasty adventure!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Westside Getaway - Road Riding Paradise

Last weekend Mary and I headed over to the west side of the Sierra for a road cycling getaway. This time of year the closest west side locale is the area around Jackson on Highway 88. We camped at Indian Grinding Rock State Park about ten miles above Jackson. The Scamp in action!

BxCx turned me on to a great on-line resource for rides in this area without which we would be lost, both figuratively and literally! Thanks Brian. The first day Mary and I did this 56 mile ride from camp.

Mary leaves the campground all smiles!

The road down Sutter Creek, like most of the roads we traveled, was quiet, well paved, and beautiful.

We wound our way down to the open oak grasslands near Plymouth.

Historic buildings like this one in Fiddletown were one of the many great attractions along the way.

I turned off the road for a snack and a drink and found this signage on a private road.

Mary descends some of the worst road of the weekend on Hale Road.

And climbs the hardest climb of the weekend. This section had several sustained sections of what seemed like 10% to 15% climbing.


The next day Mary visited the nearby Black Chasm cave and enjoyed the tour quite a lot.

While I tackled another recommended ride from the website.

The rolling oak grassland was stupendously green, with an occasional splash of wildflowers.

The biggest climb on this route was up Stoney Creek Road. The lower sections held nice views of Pardee Reservoir environs.

Road riding heaven! No traffic, good pavement, perfect weather, challenging climbs, and fun twisty descents.

The knee and shoulder held up well, although I have to admit to being pretty worn out after over nine hours in the saddle over the two days.

We wrapped it up with beer, wine, vittles, and live music at the Union Pub in nearby Volcano celebrating life in general and specifically, Mary's Birthday! Happy Birthday BB!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More Valley Gravel

I joined Reed again for another gravel cruise on the valley floor.

A little weather was a brewing, but we managed to avoid any precip.

Stopped for a respite at this artesian well down by the river.

 Headed south under clearing skies.

As we neared the southernmost point of our journey, the wind abruptly shifted from the south to the north, so we endured a perpetual headwind.  It didn't manage to bother us much though as the temps were fine and the scenery was grand.

After about three and half hours the knee was fine. The shoulder, not so much. Gonna give it a break this week and try to get it happy.