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  Club Trip: American River Bike Trail - 11/24/07

This is always a favorite ride for our club and today was not different.  But we did do a few things that we hadn't done in the past so it was a little different.  We really lucked out with the weather.  Clear skies the whole day, cold, but very clear.  We meet at the appointed corner at 8:00 a.m.  While Connie and Devin were standing there waiting Chris joined us, not in his cycling gear, but with his video camera.  We stood for a bit waiting for the rest of the group to show.  About 8:10 a.m. the gang arrived and we were ready to go.  As we headed out Chris captured it all on tape for a viewing later.  What we didn't know is that Chris had plans to keep up the footage.  We took the usual route out of town, through Old Roseville, over the freeway via Lead Hill, and made our way over to Douglas Blvd.  As we came up and around the corner to Douglas there on the other side of the street was none other than our roving camera man!  As the light turned green we all hollered and waved.  We didn't realize Chris would be following and now wondered if he had intentions of documenting the whole trip.

We made our way down Douglas Blvd picking up the pace along this 3 mile stretch.  Traffic was light and the temp was just starting to rise but it was still plenty cold.  Up at the corner those in the lead paused for a moment to let the others catch up.  As soon as the rear caught up we started up again and pushed on to Beals Point.  Up and over the four rollers and then a left hand turn.  As we climbed the hill to the top of trail there was our friendly videographer rooting us on.  Here we meet up with a Shelby.  A quick group photo and then it's back to the trail.

This is the quickest part of the route because of the down hill path all the way to the Bluffs.  We always talk about this part and how much we enjoy it.  Some more than others because some of us just like to go fast.  Traffic on the trail was already starting to pickup, despite the temps out this morning.  Still no breeze, maybe we'll get lucky today and not have to fight the wind.  Meanwhile we're screaming down the hill.

Up around the corner is the breakaway stretch we hammer through to the Rainbow Bridge and there on the sidelines is that fun guy with the video camera once again cheering us on.  The next section is just as nice as we wander in and out of the trees and then it's another down hill to Negro Bar.  This is my favorite part, the bottom of the bluffs.  You fly down the hill and then the bluffs open up to your right, then to your left is the river, it's just a gorgeous view especially on a beautiful morning.

We make our way along Lake Natomas, under Hazel Ave, up to the bridge and then over the American River.  We arrive at the Fish Hatchery in hopes of meeting the rest of the group.  They're up at the bike store getting a few last minute items. We wait and then push on to Sunrise to meet them there.

The next three miles goes quick and we arrive to find the rest of the group ready to go.  After a quick stop we get water use the restrooms and head out.  The weather has finally started to warm and we shed a layer or two.  Chris calls us along the way to see where we're at.  He's waiting for us at Watt Ave for another shot.

The pace picks up a bit now that we're warmer and there are more on the trails.  We hook up with another cyclists with a nice pace of 21 to 22, we're moving along and then he has to turn around.  Soon we're at the next rest stop of William Pond Park.  Time for more water, shed another layer, and then it's back on the trail.

There are only 13 miles between us and lunch.  It already sounds good.  But before we can enjoy that we have to keep moving.  We take turns pulling, pushing, and drafting off of each other.  We have a nice group moving along as we pass our roving camera man near Watt Ave.  I think he had almost given up on us because we took too long getting there.

The last stretch is going faster now, I think it's because we're getting hungry.  We wind our way under the railroad tracks.  It's nice that they have repaved the trail finally, it was a pain to use the detour.  One more bridge and then we're in Discovery Park.

We cross the bridge and ride along the levee.  Old Town Sacramento is packed, more so than we thought it would be.  But then again the weather is nice and it's the time for shoppers to come out in full force.

We make our way to our favorite lunch stop, Steamers.  We park the bikes, order up lunch, and enjoy the nice sun.  An hour later we're geared up and ready to head home.  As we get back on the trail something is missing, I can't pick it out at first, and then I figure it out, the wind.  There is no wind.  I can't tell you how many times that this the wind picks up at this point, making the last 19 miles miserable.  Not today. 

We've split up a bit and so at the appropriate fork in the road we stop to make sure we can all head home on the right trail.  We make our way through Del Paso and then head under the freeway.  Our favorite part is coming up, riding through the Oak Trees just before you hit Elkhorn Blvd.  But instead of heading down Cherry Lane we keep going straight.  We decide to see how far the Bike Trail will take us.  So we keep going.

We find that the trail heads all the way up to Elverta Blvd and then it abruptly stops, very abruptly.  At the end of the trail is a Park and Ride parking lot for cars, not very big, but enough for a few cars.  I'm glad that they have extended the trail but a lot of work needs to be done.  If you want to go anywhere else you get to share the road with the cars.  They really need to extend the trail further, supposedly that is on the drawing board.  But for today we share the road.

We waited until all of us were together and then we head East down Elverta.  Most of the cars gave us room and slowed just a bit.  We finally made our way back to civilization as we came to the intersection of Elverta and Watt Ave.  We continued on through, making a left on North Loop, another left on Walerga, we're in the home stretch now.  Then we hit that point where we begin to split off, Dry Creeks.  Robert and family head down their trail and the rest of us continue North on Walerga.

After crossing by the Morgan Creek houses we take a trail off to the right and head through the Forecast Homes.  Then up and around to Baseline.  Home is around the corner.  Another successful ride indeed. 

Stats for the Day:
Max Speed: 34.4
Avg Speed: 17.5
Distance: 69.30
Time Moving: 3:57:59

Riders for this trip:
Robert Smith
Laura Smith
Devin Holmes
Connie Hathaway
Lisa Dye
Sean Smith
Haley Smith
Shelby & Craig
Chelsea & Scott

Resource Links for this ride:
American River Bike Trail Map - pdf
Map 6 American River Bike Trail - html
Sacramento Area Bikeway Maps - html
Map my Ride for the route we took - html

Pictures from the ride:

Scott and Chelsea get ready for the trail ahead. Connie sports her R5CC Jersey for the camera. How many miles do we have to go? The group shot at the beginning.  Two more join the group further down the trail. Laura shedding a layer at the fish hatchery.  Lisa taking a breather.
Chelsea and Scott. Connie is having fun now. Stopping at William B. Pond park and recreational area. Filling up with water. Filling up before we head out.

Shelby pulling hard with Connie on the draft. Sean drafting along. Lisa and Laura stretching it out. Devin and Sean enjoying lunch. Shelby, Scott, and Craig eat up.
Laura and Connie. Lisa, Laura, and Connie. Devin, Sean, and Chris. Mom with her girls - Chelsea, Haley, Mom, and Shelby. Devin, Sean, and Connie.
Mother and Son - Sean and Laura. Love that R5CC Jersey! Heading home through Discovery Park. Sean leading the way with Connie on his tail. Heading up the Sacramento North Trail.
Looking behind at the group catching up. Haley out in front. Sean pulls the lead as we make our way through the Oaks. Stopping in Elverta to use the restrooms. Back on the trail to the end of road.
   
This is where we part ways at the Dry Creek Trail. Sean made it in one piece. Connie leading the way home back to Roseville.