Iowa Hill

Bridge At The Bottom Of Iowa Hill

Bridge At The Bottom Of Iowa Hill

Lee McKinley and I rode up to Iowa Hill today for a trip of 75 miles. Lots of climbing. I forgot how much climbing this ride contains. At the botton of Iowa Hill, the elevation is just over 1000′ as you pass over the North Fork of the American River. For the next 20 miles, the narrow road climbs to about 4500′ before reaching Foresthill Road and then descending into Foresthill. Most of the Iowa Hill Road had a thin layer of loose gravel so we had to ride the brakes much of the climb. This probably was the big factor in our slow average speed. (Not really, because once you’ve ridden it you know the climb from the river to the top is a LONG, JUST KEEP MOVING, type of climb.) Contrary to one’s hopes and dreams of stopping for a nice Starbucks upon reaching downtown, the town of Iowa Hill is just a few wooden buildings, just a General Store and a few homes, in the middle of beautiful nowhere. And beautiful it is although I would not want to have my bike break down in this neck of the woods. The town is probably a good 20-30 miles from cell phone coverage and very few cars use the road. We stopped at the town’s cemetery and they have a list of those who are buried and what they died from. The list goes back into the 1800’s as Iowa Hill was a gold mining town. The list is fascinating. Here’s a small sample:

  • Claus Ravensburg, 77 years old, died 10-6-1907 of exposure/froze (he fell in a ditch).
  • Gaginto Rodoni, 33 years old, died 1-20-1908 of mine accident.
  • James Ryan died 7-1-1854. He was murdered.
  • Charles Schwab, 35 years old, died 4-7-1878 of mine accident.
  • Benjamin Shermire, 42 years old, died 12-24-1862 of Croton Oil Overdose (result of practical joke).
Lee McKinley at the Iowa Hill Landmark

Lee McKinley at the Iowa Hill Landmark

What a perfect day for the ride and I can’t believe the sunny days we are having in January and February. At around 4500′, we had some snow on the sides of the road. Great to have the company on the ride and will need to do it once a month or so as prep for RAAM. I need to have my wheels looked at as I’m getting some creaking noise on the climbs. Last time I heard this noise, I found I had a cracked rear wheel. I’m hoping it is something more like a spoke. I foolishly thought 4 hours of riding would bring us home. It took 4 hours and 52 minutes on the bike to complete the loop. With stops (that Dr. Pepper in Foresthill tasted good) I think we were close to 5 hours and 45 minutes. Here is link to the ride:

I’m starting to put together my calendar for the year. Looks like April and May will be big months with some ultras runs, marathons and double centuries. Will be a very fine balance between family, work, races and training. And throw in some rest and I think we’ll be pretty busy up through July.

Now Nicole, Dylan and I are watching the Super Bowl.


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