The bike ride was supposed to be 74 miles with 8400 feet of climbing. It ended up being 105 miles with 10,800 feet of vertical, the result of one wrong turn.
I started in Foresthill headed out Mosquito Ridge Rd toward French Meadow reservoir with the idea of looping back by Oxbow reservoir to where I started. Mosquito Ridge Rd is really nice, a 10 mile descent starts you off followed by a real nice gradual climb that lasts 15+ miles. I was advised to leave a bottle at the start of the loop so I could have it for the long climb back up to Foresthill, which I did. It took me about 3 hours to reach French Meadow, a recreation lake that really has an isolated feel about it. You can't help but notice the surroundings showing evidence of past wildfires. Pretty stark.
It was a beautiful day, blue skies, not too hot (yet), light breeze. At the first intersection after French Meadow, I knew I didn't want to go to Hell Hole reservoir so I hung a right toward Georgetown. Shortly after that I was on a descent when I noticed writing on the road that said H2O with an arrow pointing toward the side of the road. Since there weren't any convenient 7-11's nearby, I decided to investigate. I'm glad I did. I found a pipe coming out of the side of the hill pouring forth cold, good-tasting water from some unseen spring. I topped myself and my bottles off and continued on. The next intersection I came to was a bit confusing. It was a non-descript fork in the road with no signs anywhere. I went left here, apparently I should have gone right.
After a long time of very quiet, deserted backroads in the middle of nowhere, climbing and descending relentlessly, I came out on a beautiful, 2 lane stretch of blacktop, nice wide shoulders, and virtually no traffic. I didn't have a clue where I was. I could go left or right. This time I chose right, literally. I rode on, completely unsure if I had made the right decision, when I passed a campground called Stumpy Meadows. I swung in and went to the RV of the campground host to ask directions. She told me I was on Wentworth Springs Rd. Shit. I knew I was hell and gone from where I wanted to be.
The nice lady said I had 2 choices, go back the way I came (I don't THINK so) or ride 30 miles to Cool then another 20 to Foresthill. I was already 69 miles into my ride so I did the math and knew I had some work ahead of me. She gave me 2 cold bottles of water, some snacks, and I was on my way. Thank you so much Stumpy Meadows Campground Host.
I figured I'd call Pat when I got to Georgetown and have him come and get me in Cool. But when I got there he didn't answer his phone, I left a message and continued on to Cool. I wanted him to rescue me but I also knew I had the fitness to make the whole ride. It would just make for a very long day. The math told me it would be about 100-105 miles to Cool, and 120 miles back to Foresthill. I was tired but pleased that I was still riding strong. I also knew my coach would think this was sooo cool.
I arrived in Cool and headed to the Holiday market to use the restroom and get some cold water and snacks to get me the last 20 miles. I called Pat again to let him know how I was doing and he asked if he and the girls should come and get me. I have to say that I was totally prepared to ride back to Foresthill but at this point my resolve crumbled. I had been on the road since 7:40, it was about 90 degrees, and I still had about 2 hours of riding ahead of me, including a descent to the Confluence, back up the other side, and then 14 more miles of hot, exposed, uphill riding. I told Pat to meet me at Old Foresthill and Foresthill Rd. That enabled me to enjoy the descent to the river and a very strong and motivated climb up to my "finish" line.
So the ride didn't go exactly as planned but it sure turned out to be a great training ride. Quite the confidence booster heading into the last month of training before Leadwoman starts. And my coach reacted exactly like I thought he would, he told me to repeat that "mistake" ride about 3 more times! The best part is I still have to complete the original French Meadow loop ride. My husband's nice insulated water bottle is still out there that I have to retrieve.
Here is the Strava link to my ride.