Starting last Sunday, a group of three intrepid mountain bike explorers lit out from North Lake Tahoe heading west through hundreds of miles of known and unknown singletrack, double track and the occasional bike lane on their way to the ultimate destination of San Francisco on a ride dubbed simply “TheCommute.” Our very own Angry Singlespeeder (AKA Kurt Gensheimer) is one of those explorers and we will be posting mostly visual updates throughout the week as the group makes their way west with the towns of Nevada City, Auburn, Folsom, Davis, Cache Creek, Calistoga, Novato and finally San Francisco pencilled in on the route.
Below are photos and descriptions of Day 2’s leg from Soda Springs to Foresthill, Calif. You can look at their Day 2 Strava Tracks here.
The Commute Day 2
I don’t use the word epic very often to describe a day of riding, mainly because it’s a completely hackneyed term in mountain biking circles. But today’s ride from Soda Springs to Foresthill was epic in every sense of the word. Mind blowing views atop Royal Gorge, towering terrain with 4,000 foot deep canyons, blackened burn areas, legendary trails dating back to 1850 and the final few miles ridden in the dark in a complete downpour made the 67 miles and 9,700 feet of climbing a day we won’t soon forget.
What truly befuddled us was the fact that even though we started at nearly 7,000 feet elevation near the crest of the Sierras and finished at 3,000 feet in the foothills, somehow we ended up climbing almost as much as we descended, much of it on the legendary Western States Trail. The climbs were brutal at times. The 1,800 foot vertical of hike-a-bike in 1.2 miles out of Last Chance Canyon was utter punishment. The 2,000 feet of climbing in 2.5 miles out of El Dorado Canyon wasn’t much better. But all that pain paid off huge dividends in the descent department. Steep and rocky with dozens of switchbacks, Western States Trail is a rare treat that most mountain bikers will never get to sample. As a bonus, aside from a hunter in a gunny suit, we didn’t see a single human on trail all day long.
Jamming through Foresthill in a complete downpour at dusk, Justin and I somehow lost James, who didn’t know where we were staying. Completely drenched, cold and muddy, Justin and I made it to Sean Allan’s house, our gracious host for the night. We waited anxiously for 20 minutes, hoping James would find his way. Eventually he showed up with a huge shivering muddy grin. It was a monster day, and we made it in one piece. – Kurt Gensheimer
View all of “TheCommute” daily entries here.