There is a plethora of organized rides in Northern California, most designed to raise money for charities of all kinds. But I rarely do any of them. I ride with the Stockton Bicycle Club 3-4 times a week, and supplement this with a few local trips to the Sierras or the Bay Area. Stoker and I do tandem rides, sometimes with the club, and sometimes with a slightly less fast and smaller group, or on our own. And I take at least two cycling vacations a year away from home. Sometimes far away; France is coming up this summer.
But on Saturday I decided to join some SBC friends and do ‘Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride’; a hilly metric century (there is also a 30 mile option) on mostly quiet roads between Murphys and Angels Camp. I was joined by the Chief (Don H), Grasshoppa (Roberta) and Paul G, who like me was doing the event for the first time. The ride raises funds to support Feeney Park in Murphys, and the organizers did a really nice job.
You can suffer a calorie deficit on this ride, but you certainly do not have to. Four well stocked rest stops (bagels, muffins, fruit, Fig Newtons, chips and delicious small sandwiches in Vallecito) meant that riders were never far from refreshment. And the post ride meal of barbequed chicken, pasta salad, green salad, chili beans, and cookies really hit the spot after the final climb from Angels Camp back to Murphys.
The route featured about a mile of gravel on Red Hill Road that the route description assured us was ‘perfectly rideable’. I would leave out the work ‘perfectly’. It was steep up and steep down and covered with some fine dirt and sand that made traction highly uncertain. That meant make sure you stay seated while climbing and brake very carefully descending. It also meant I left my nicest bike at home and brought along my least favorite frameset. So I had an extra 2 lbs. of bike to push up the hills.
Speaking of hills, the ride was claimed to have about 4,500 feet of climbing in 60 miles. Some truth in advertising law was violated; my device measured 5,600 feet and it is usually very consistent with mapping web sites. I would describe the route as hilly without any really long climbs, but with some very steep pitches. There is almost no completely flat road on any on the route, which made for an entertaining day of up and down.
In fact, I had such a great time on a perfect day (shorts and short sleeves, with all the vests, jackets, arm warmers, skull caps, etc. left behind in the car) that I’m planning to return next year. Maybe I will do a few more rides like this in the next few months and see what I’ve been missing.