Ahh…Spring training. My favorite time of year for exploring the back roads of California. I know, by March I should be doing intervals and sharpening my racing skills, but for me it’s base miles time, after nordic skiing all winter.
One of the best places to ride early season is the Auburn/Foresthill area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. A personal favorite ride is Mosquito Ridge Road. The road descends from Foresthill, then climbs up into snow country and is not plowed in winter, so if you want to make for a longer outing, you can go until the road is no longer plowed, then drop down to Interbay Power Station.
This road plummets 2200′ in just 4.5 miles. A sign reminds the rider, “This road is steep, crooked, and hazardous.” It’s remote and beautiful, but it won’t go unnoticed to the early season legs that the first 2.5 miles of the climb back out averages 12%. It eases off a bit for the final 2 miles but it’s a great workout. If you add in Spring Garden and Yankee Jim roads just off of Foresthill Road, you can fashion together a pretty nice 65 mile ride with about 9,000′ of climbing! Just take it easy and this can be a thoroughly enjoyable early season training ride. Honest.