You will wish to start early if you are planning to ride the 135 mile version of this course; I like to start no later than 6:00 AM.
In the early morning the roads between Bowman and Colfax are cool, quiet, and easy, a pleasant way to start the day (photo left - Applegate Road).
I recommend forcing fluids at Rest Stop #1 in Colfax.
The day's excitement begins with the Iowa Hill descent (photo right), a fun, moderately steep downhill to the American River.
Control your speed: some of the hairpin turns are almost 180°.
Arm warmers can be welcome in the early morning coolness.
After crossing the North Fork of the American River, serious climbing starts immediately (photo left).
The next 1.8 miles narrow to one-lane and average a 12.5% grade, making this a challenging climb.
One of the thrills of this ascent is that you will be treated to grand views of the American River deep down in its canyon (photo below). Climbing continues after the initial steep section, but not nearly as severely.
Just before the town of Iowa Hill the road crosses an isthmus created by hydraulic gold mining on both sides of the road (photo left); this region supported intense mining activities in the 1800's.
The Iowa Hill Store (photo right) hosts Rest Stop #2.
Iowa Hill still has no electricity; power at the store is supplied (intermittently) by its own generator!
Take the time to eat and drink adequately; this is no time to let your glycogen stores or hydration become depleted.
A right turn onto Big Dipper Road (photo right) brings you to an initial sharp descent and then climbing back up to Iowa Hill Road.
After crossing one of the dams of Big Reservoir (photo above), you gradually will climb up to Foresthill Road. With 5,900' climbing completed, you will enjoy the descent down to Foresthill, the Foresthill Grocery, and Rest Stop #3.
Riders on the 135 mile option MUST take the time to eat, "hyper-hydrate," and top off fluid reservoirs here, as there is no access to either food or water for the next 61 miles!
In Foresthill the 66 and 135 mile rides separate.
The 66 mile route descends Yankee Jims Road to Spring Garden Road (photos right & left), which offers a lovely, if steep, climb to Foresthill Road.
After crossing the Foresthill Bridge (photo below), a 300' climb returns you to Lincoln Way and ride's end in Bowman.
Click here to continue the 135 mile route preview.