Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The El Dorado Trail: Folsom to Camino--And Back!

Due to being unemployed this last year I decided to skip both the Mendocino 100 and the Tahoe 100 this year. So I thought I should go out and do something just as hard, but instead I Rode the El Dorado Trail for a 2nd time. I’ve Been wanting to ride the entire trail since I saw this thread, and I had some free time to git’er done, so I grabbed my wife’s bike (a.k.a. my backup bike), a beautiful, green, rigid SIR9 single-speed and headed out.

Parked at In-N-out in Folsom and after a quick trip through the bushes to Starbucks for a rest-stop, off I went at ~7:40 a.m. (forgot to check, but that’s close);  Placerville Rd to Payen to the trail. I recall that the first few miles were going to be kinda bumpy, but today it seemed like the first 10 miles were rough.
Naturally, there were occasions where I missed the trail and had to hike through some brush to get to it, or was forced to ride along the tracks for a spell until I could cut over to the trail, but all was well on the way up to Camino. I did not have a lot of time for the ride as I needed to be back in Auburn by ~5 so my plan was to stop as little as possible. I carried two bottles with 2hrs each of Infinite mix and 72 ounces of water in my pack. Thought that would be enough. Wrong! Anyway, no problems heading up to Camino. Navigated my way o.k. through Placerville and enjoyed the long steady climb up to the end of the trail (my first time past Missouri Flat Rd.). I made it to the end in just less than 4 hrs and enjoyed some of the fresh black berries and did a water check. I was down to 16 ounces of water and full bottle of Infinite. Not enough. Suddenly a bee started buggin’ me (no pun intended) and I realized I had forgotten my Epi pen, so I grabbed the bike and got the heck out of there.
This fence is the 'dead end' of the trail.

Fun (and restful) just coasting down to Placerville. Stopped at a gas station and emptied a liter of water in my pack and shared a liter of coke between my empty bottle and belly.
Definitely a faster ride heading back to Folsom. Stopped to return a call to my 72 year old mother who is driving her car across the US with her 80 year old friend (it should be a movie) and another stop to pick some needled out of my legs (I was getting tore up!). Still, all was going well…until that long bumpy stretch of trail. I did not remember it being so bad the first time I rode the trail. On the SS I am use to standing and pedaling for long stretches, but my legs were tired and it was hot. I decided I had to sit on the saddle regardless of the trail condition, so I gritted my teeth and took my pounding like a man. I noticed some birds circling overhead. I don’t know what there ‘caws’ meant, but I interpreted them as, “This guys not going to make it” and “I call dibs on his eyes…” so I stood again and picked up the pace. But now my rear end started to feel a bit squishy (my tire, not my butt you freak), but I pressed on.  I was almost to Payen and was not about to stop. When I finally crossed the RR bridge to and arrived at  Payen I saw that my rear tire was kinda flat. Screw it, I am going to press  on. Then after a couple minutes I noticed it was flatter, and I did not want to change it on a busier Placerville rd. So it was flat repair time, under the hot sun, on the blacktop, only a couple miles from my car. Thank God  it just needed some air. I pulled out some star thistle spikes, gave the tire a spin to seal the holes and it was good to go. Made it back to the car at ~3:20, in a total time of ~7:40.
Enjoyed a short break and a blackberry snack.

Now like many other riders, I Strava every ride. This was no exception. I saved the ride as usual and in several minutes the familiar trophy icon was present showing results ready. I pressed to see the results…and nothing. Unbelievable! My entire ride was gone. I mean, if a ride is not on Strava, did it actually happen? This has happened to me once before, but on a ride with my kids. I thought maybe I did something wrong. Strava also did not get all the data from the 24hr race a few weeks ago. I was (still am) pissed, sadden, disappointed and frustrated. I tried all the recommended tricks and ultimately put in a Customer Support Request, but I may need to accept that it is gone.  Oh well. I will wait to see what Strava support says, and in the end, I can manually input the miles, but I won’t get to see how I did on the segments, and I won’t get to make the cool new out and back segment that I was hoping for. I may just need to purchase a Garmin 510 (with my first pay check) and ride it again (next year?), but I am NOT looking forward to that.

Taken in Folsom at the end of the ride.

Star Thistle tore me up. Next time, long socks!

Proof of the ride. Taken after I realized that my ride may be lost in the the Strava-Zone

Riding time shown. Total time was ~7:40.

Averaged ~10.3 going up, and 12+ coming down for a total of ~11.3


  1. I've got an Edge 305 you're welcome to have as I just replaced it with a 510 so I could see/track my power data. Works great still and lasts 20+ hrs for your REALLY long rides ;) Haven't used it in weeks and likely won't use it much, ever.

  2. Seriously? I am still an unemployed teacher, so I have to take you up on it. No idea what a used one goes for, but could throw some quid your way when I start work this Fall...OR even better, when you take a trip to NorCal and I can provide you with room, board and a trail guide!

    Thanks Matt!

    jameshaskins at yahoo dot com
    851 Holly Hills Drive
    Auburn CA 95603

  3. You know your money is no good here in NC! We don't want none of the bad CA mojo...
    In all honesty we'll call it good from all the coaching I've gotten from you for free over the years ;)
    Sent you an email.

    1. Dang Matt, that is SUPER cool. From buying me Jimmy John's at least a few times...and now a gps, you are one generous guy. Kinda wish I were 6'4" in case you decide that you don't need one of your custom bikes. ;)
      If I get the garmin bug (or is it 'drink the garmin cool-aid'?) and decide I absolutely must get the latest and greatest come Xmas (since I start an actual job next week) then I promise to pass it on to another needy individual (and naturally, they get priority if they ride SS), but this may be all I need so I am stoked.
      Thanks again.