Saturday, May 25, 2013

The final 80 miles of the 230...

The final 80 miles was spent riding in the Salmon River Classic, a new ride, that started from Nordheimer camp ground out by Forks of Salmon. For most, if not all of the blog readers, this would really mean nothing to you as I would bet it is THE most rural town in California. But what an awesome community it is! Friends of ours were helping organize it as a fund raiser for a community center they are trying to build in the coming years. Our friends have two kids about our same age and the rest of the community is filled with awesome people of all ages who have a love for natural beauty and rural living, because this town is 2 1/2 hours really from any city! The thing that struck me about this ride is the friendliness of EVERYONE, how tight-nit the community was, (talk about everyone knowing everybody!), and the incredible beauty of the ride. I would bet just about anything that this is the most beautiful ride in the country. I know we have a beautiful country to live in, but between the impeccable views of the Salmon River and the surrounding mountains, the amazing paved roads without a pot hole to be found, which made you feel like you were on your own private bike path, and the lack of ANY people really, oh my goodness, BIKER HEAVEN!!!!

So, now for the ride. Again, an amazing 5 hours of pre ride sleep, (I seem to be good at that, with little T baby helping me by doing some good middle of the night wake ups...) 1 hour and 45 minute 5 am drive to the start where I was hit again and AGAIN with views such as this....

And so the ride starts. I think only 50 riders were in it. Again this is the first year this ride was held, but oh boy it was well supported. As I rolled along the route, I met up with a couple of great girls who had toured on their bikes in New Zealand...WOW! Again, back to my first ride, the conversation you can have on your bike is quite good! There were stops along the way where community members had set up tables with GORP, Hammer Head powdered super drink mix, water, Almond butter and honey sandwiches, fruit of all kinds, granola bars, power bars, everything you could need. The organization of the ride went like clockwork...and mind you...all WITHOUT CELL PHONES!!!
Yep friends, no cell service for miles, with the exception of at the top of the highest pass in the ride, Carter Summit, 6,100 ft. I'd be lying if I didn't think about this fact. I really wouldn't have ridden way out here without a supported ride given lack of cell service or at least a group to ride with. Wussy maybe but smart in other ways. I really think that this fact impressed me most about this Somes Bar/Forks of Salmon community is that they were incredibly organized, tight nit, close, and were being successful at this great community event as well as being most likely life long friends without what all of us consider an absolute necessity...our cell phone!
I think there is something to this, but for now, back to the ride!

the first 24 miles of the ride involve gentle rollers, moving upriver, so you gain altitude but don't really know it except in that way that says, "Wow I feel slow today..." which is what I was thinking. At the 24 mile stop I joined up with a group of guys that also lived out in Forks and explained they had ridden for years and wanted to support the ride to show the rest of us just how amazing riding out here was....very cool!
The next section was where we did the rest of the climbing for the entire 80 mile route. I was warned that it was a 17 mile hill....a WHAT? 17 mile hill???? crazy. But in reality you were climbing probably only 12 or 13 miles of that 17 miles and none of it was the "oh sh#% my legs are going to explode this is so steep" which is very nive living in the mountains like we do. So a gentle hill for a LONG time. A really long time, as in it took me almost 2 hours. First I went one hour before stopping. As I stopped some guys passed me on mountain bikes that I had passed. I got going after 2...eghhh ummm, 20 minutes of rolling around on the ground stretching and passed them as well as another group taking a break, all guys. 30 minutes later I stop again. I was using my iphone meter to guage how far I was traveling so I had some clue how much farther I had to go, but my battery was dying and I wanted to take that one picture at the top, so off the Iphone went. Just me and the road. One more stop 20 minutes later, and again leap frog with two different guys passing me, and me passing them back, one particular one flying passed me. I was told only one more mile, two more miles maybe. thoughts of me turning around were staring at me. Who would know? I could just coast down back to the rest stop and enjoy a great lunch. But I rode on, hoping it was close and it didn't get steeper. And you know what, it didn't get steeper and it WAS close! Carter Summit was conquered! Only 10 of the 50 riders made it up and I was the third person and the only female. It was so amazingly beautiful up there, snow capped peaks, brisk wind, a lone support table with a cute family of three handing out homemade GORP, more great sandwiches, and lots of smiles. I took my picture....

and rolled around on the warmish pavement a bit before getting back on my bike and decending back down the amazing hill, (so fun riding down a 12 mile hill, though a bit cold!) to the lunch stop.

And the lunch stop! Can we say this happened to be the grand opening of a bar recently built in the super remote town of Cecilville! So that meant a great band was playing, a build your own buritto bar, all the dessert you wanted, drinks a plenty including beer if you so desired. All seemed heavenly...except I had 23 more miles to ride and was a bit worried about it. So down went the burritto and juice. But I left the beer for later and enjoyed the music.
The ride home had me worried. My legs felt like jelly. I was hoping that food would revive them. But a full stomach also had me worried as I think I ate a bit heavy!
Local resident enjoying the view he calls home, Limestone bluffs above the Salmon River
Little did I know that the ride home was blissful! I rode with two other riders and it was mostly down hill along the same epic Salmon River I had rode up that morning. At one point we all stopped and just stared at the amazing scenery, the sheer cliff with the river below.
I felt like I was riding in a dream, along my private bike path, and then the guy I was riding with started blasting his stereo the rest of the way home. Everything from Sting to Shanaya Twain. It was great and seemed to fit the surreal experience quite well!
The last  miles flew by and before you knew it I was home, with the other riders following closely behind. They went on to have a great meal of chicken or vege mole by the river, but I drove home to my wonderful family who was amazing enough to let me go on this great ride.
The best rider EVER!
If you have ever thought of riding a bike, and have a desire to see the most beautiful and rural part of California consider this ride! They have shorter distances as well, plenty of kids, and daycare was offered! The kids, (not mine this year, but Forrest and Talin will be there next year!) looked like they had a great time!

I felt so energized after this ride, and all the riding of this past month! Good for the mind, body, and spirit :-) Alex has been awesome realizing how this was so important to me and going with my needs and wants with the kids. My fish head honey will hopefully get his bliss full moments here soon as well :-)

1 comment:

Sheelagh said...

OK. Maybe this one instead. Though I am not sure I would make that huge hill...especially if it was making you think about turning around!
How awesome!! Those pics are magic. And you, my friend, are one tough lady.