The adventure goes as follows:
I attended a wedding in Sac the night before and was up all night with a couple of drinks in hand...so I got no sleep! My hubby and I stayed at the Hyatt downtown so the drive was a non-issue. I woke up around 7am and fortified with some breakfast (an egg, a croissant, fingerling potatoes, asparagus tips and orange juice - hey, I'm going to take advantage of room service whenever I can!) and headed out the door to meet my faithful training partner Sheri.
In the beginning
Sheri drove us over to West Sac to the start of the American River Trail (ART). We took our time getting ready because it was cold, gray and miserable...and I was a *bit* tired;) After the tires were all pumped up and we were packed with energy gels and gum, we hit the trail and were very excited.
We got one mile and were faced with a flooded path. I mean...flooded big-time with nowhere to go but back the way from which we came. When we got back to the car we looked at the trail map and realized we could catch the trail from a bike path and footbridge in the middle of downtown. Then we realized that Sheri had a flat tire! So, because we are never beaten by flat tires, weather, floods or anything else for that matter. She fixed her flat and we took the five-mile detour to get to the ART once more.
Sheri through water
That detour led us over a couple of foot bridges that were currently being occupied by hobos with brown bags and although it was a *bit* scary, we trudged on with our super-fast bikes and got out of danger very quickly. At the junction where we were to hook up with the ART, we stopped to talk to the park ranger and he told us of a shortcut that would eliminate having to go through any majorly flooded trails, but there would be a *little bit* of water we'd have to ride through to get there. We can totally handle a little bit of water, so we carried on and followed his directions.
End of ghetto trail
6 miles later and at the END OF THE TRAIL.... we realized we had been led down the wrong path (literally). I guess the fact that we were nowhere near the shore of the American River should have tipped us off, but we didn't catch on. We're not that smart. We are in Rio Linda for feck's sake! We stopped for some more fuel at the corner market and high-tailed it back to the ART direction. We were almost to the junction to get on to the ART, when we encountered a freakin' train that was stopped and blocking our crossing!
Jumping the Train
Trains cannot stop us either, by the way. With very little coaxing, I managed to talk Sheri into jumping the train through a couple of boxcars! We are soooooooooooooo bad! Sha...like I'm really going to wait for a train to move before I do! Got pictures of that. The adrenaline coursing through our veins because we were scared to death that it was going to start moving at any second was i-n-s-a-n-e. Such a rush.... note-to-self.... don’t do this again...it was not a smart thing to do:D We saw a guy on the other side of the train that was trying to find a way around the train. We offered to help him jump the train like we did, but he declined.... we called him a weenie and went on about our business.
We eventually made it to the trailhead where we would eventually catch up to the river. This ride was cool. Because of the water we had to ride through, my socks were soaked and making my feet freeze off. So, we stopped and I took them off and put them on my aero bars to dry off. This is really what aero bars are for, by the way. We rode for what seemed like years. It was a beautiful trail and nice to see the river so high. The ART is not flat; it's got lots of rollers with switchbacks that make it completely fun.
Sheri and I have a habit of pushing each other beyond what we expect from one another, this is why we make good training partners. For example, when I wanted to stop and eat, she made me ride more. And when she wanted to stop and take a nap, I made her ride more. We did stop for lunch at a burger place near the end of Arden Road. We had chicken sammies and water. It was perfect for being 26 miles into our ride. We decided that since our detour from earlier tagged on an additional 12 miles to our ride, we were not going to be able to do the entire ART. So, we figured out that her grandma lives about 7 miles (as the crow flies) up the trail in Fair Oaks that would be a good place to turnaround. So we decided to pay her a visit.
Break at Nimbus Dam
For me, starting after eating is the toughest. After food, I want a siesta! But Sheri took the lead for a while and got us to 37 miles. I took the lead at that point and pushed us to 40 miles because I wanted to have an even number on my bike computer before turning around for the day because I'm OCD like that sometimes. And wouldn't you know it, the side road we went down ended at Nimbus Dam at exactly 40.00 miles?! I swear, freakish things like that happen to us all the time! We hung out at the end of the Dam for a while and took some pictures, had a snack and talked a little bit.
Sheri & Grandma
Then we got back on the ART and headed towards Grandma's house. She was so happy to see Sheri and it was good to sit in a warm house for a while. Her Grandma is very nice and even gave me one of her new tubes of chapstick because I was whining about my dry and wind-chapped lips. It was starting to get dark and the threat of rain that had been looming all day was slowly becoming a promise. We said goodbye to Grandma and made our way back to the ART.
And for the next 5 miles or so we lolly-gagged and messed about and got off our bikes and stretched. And we laughed and goofed around in delirium because this day was long and we were spent. Then the rain fell and it was time to get home. So, I told Sheri to get on my wheel and I'd take us all the way to the trailhead in downtown Sac. I threw my bike into a big gear and mashed for an hour straight and we averaged between 16.8-17 mph the entire time! That was hellish hard work but I was in the zone and completely proud of the fact that Sheri was mashing right with me while catching a nice draft:)
The last 5 mile leg into old Sac was fairly uneventful aside from the fact that we were soaked to the bone and so ready to get off the bikes. We got a *bit* lost at the very end because the trail disappeared, but when we caught sight of the park where the car was anxiously awaiting us, we squealed with glee and sang our silly little songs all the way to it. We loaded up the bikes and ourselves, changed out of our wet gear and hit the road for home. Was an absolutely brilliant day of riding. Can't wait to do it again:)
Total Mileage = 67 long miles
Total Ride Time = 5.5 hours
Total Time Out = 8 hours!
Here are the pics of the adventure
You probably need a nap after reading that! Just thought I'd share:)