This was a monstrous ride, my biggest ever dirt ride (I've been on one road ride longer than this one). I have been on a few other rides that compare as far as total effort goes, mostly 30+ mile long rides at elevation. We went completely around Folsom Lake with the exception of cutting off the huge dogleg where the North Fork of the American River enters the lake. We bypassed the dogleg by hitching a ride on a boat.
There is a ton of great singletrack around Folsom Lake, and we rode almost all of it. Starting in the town of Folsom we went clockwise around the lake, dropping down to the bike trail and heading to Beals Point, Granite Bay, (Boat Shuttle), Salmon Falls, Sweetwater, FalconCrest, and ____ to Dyke 8 and back into Folsom. None of the trails we rode were particularly challenging in and of themselves but together it was a true Epic Trip.
Without the boat shortcut this trip would have included a lot more road riding and poaching and would have been over 70 miles long. Some riders have done it but it is beyond me right now.
We started and ended our ride in old town Folsom. Take highway 50 east from Sacramento and take Folsom Blvd into the town of Folsom. Turn off of Folsom Blvd at the sign for Old Folsom and park in the lot there.
Here's a rough map of our route. User the bigger version for details. Map was given to me by Zon and he engineered the route as well.
A unique ride with a unique shortcut. I'm not sure a lot of people can claim to have used a boat as part of their mountain bike ride.
With bikes hanging from the ski bar, stacked in the back and hanging from the ski racks on the outside of the boat, Captain Jeff guides the boat across the lake to the far shore. Some of our fellow riders are seen in the background waiting onshore for their turn.
As we approach the far shore the hammerheads from the Folsom Breakouts are relaxing a short way from the Rattlesnake Bar end of Salmon Falls Trail.
We had to take a short detour across county to get to the road from the beach where we were dropped off.
More cross country with the lake in the background. It was views like this where you can barely see the far shore of the lake off in the distance where you really started to appreciate how monstrous this ride really was.
Dan (Dan'ger) along with a couple other riders.
It turns out that after about the half way point this ride was largely a solo effort for me. While one rider's mechanical ended his day and another bonked and had to detour around I was a good 10-20 minutes off the back by the time I rolled into Folsom. During the last 10 miles or so I was anxiously monitoring the mile markers and even small hills were a herculean effort or just walked. I remember shifting into granny gear in order to climb up even the smallest grade hills.
Ugly by nature, add some mud and a bit of exhaustion down right hideous. The whole idea of an "Epic" ride is strangely heatedly debated. Some people say it's the number of miles, some use other criterion. On some rides there is just no question, rides like this one are the ones that define the word "Epic". Seventeen riders left Folsom at 8:30 AM, one didn't finish, two took a shortcut out, and I stumbled in last sometime after 5:15PM, about 1/2 hour before sunset.