Perfect Day for Rafting the American River

The blimp was over Carmichael to cover the Masters' Golf Tournament.
It was a high of 92 degrees with light cloud cover. Perfect for rafting, cycling, and golfing.

I stopped my bike along the American River Parkway to watch the hundreds of river rafters floating downstream. It brings back so many good memories of rafting as a teenager. My son and his friends also have spent many a day on the river. It is a lot of fun and best when hot but not too hot. You can rent a raft around the Sunrise Boulevard bridge or launch your own craft from one of the parks on either side of the river. It takes a couple of hours to float down to Ancil Hoffman park or to Arden Park. A small part of me worried that none of the boaters has their life jacket on and I know they are drinking alcohol.  (Boating and alcohol should not mix!) I did not wear a life jacket as a teenager either as tan lines were more important to me than safety. In spite of the drought Lake Natoma and the American River from Orangevale to where it meets the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento are at normal summer levels because it is regulated by releases from the Folsom Lake reservoir.

Looking across to Negro Bar on Lake Natoma.
Looking across to Negro Bar on Lake Natoma. The Aquatic Center has hosted the NCAA Pacific Region rowing championships.

Lots of people were also boating on Lake Natoma. This manmade lake stretches from the Aquatic Center at Hazel Avenue to the Rainbow Bridge in Folsom (about 5 miles). The bike/horse trail makes a ring around it. I cycled 56 miles round trip from 9-2:30 today. I was still recovering from 30 miles yesterday in the 104 degree heat. This is all about preparing for RAGBRAI so it is miles + time in the saddle. Speed is less important. I am finding that it is a mental challenge as much as a physical challenge. I shared with my cousin John that I am worried I will not be able to ride the full length, and he chuckled and said he gives himself permission to take a day off and go play golf. I felt better and decided I will do my best. Keep my eye on the prize: have fun. On the ride home I noticed the blimp in the sky. At first I thought it must be passing through on its way to or fro an event in the Bay Area. Then I remembered the US Senior Open Golf Tournament in Carmichael. I hope none of the old duffers playing yesterday expired in the triple digit temperatures. I imagine today’s high of 92 with breeze was a relief. I hope the television gives the audience some views of the river.

Tour of California Bike Race, Stage 1

18th and L in Midtown SacramentoThe 10th annual Amgen Tour of California bike race started on Sunday, May 10 in Sacramento. I have moved to midtown Sacramento so I was thrilled when I looked up the Stage 1 route and learned that the final circuit around Capitol Park would turn left at my building. Turns always mean a bit more drama.

The best part of the being the host city for Stage 1 is the teams arrive a few days before the start and you see them training on the American River Parkway. Sacramento has a well paved, wonderful 30 mile+ bike trail stretching from Old Sacramento to Folsom Lake. Apparently some of the riders got a little careless and especially the great bike handler Peter Sagan bumped into some cyclists on the trail. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour but the flat wide trail with great pavement is too great a temptation.

The men’s race started on L Street at the North entrance of the Capitol. They cycled out of town on their way to Rio Vista. Shortly afterward the women’s Stage 3 circuit race began. We watched them go round and checked out the festival. I bought some Nuun. Stopped at the Trek Factory Racing booth to take a picture of the bike that Jens Voigt’s used to break the 1 hour record. I also asked about using slightly wider tires on my Trek road bike to gain a little speed in the hopes this will save me a little time in the saddle on RAGBRAI.

We all relaxed and napped while the riders were out on the road--even Dozer.
We all relaxed and napped while the riders were out on the road–even Dozer.

There were a lot of fans out on a Sunday and Mother’s Day. We bumped into a few family friends. We returned to my apartment home and watched the women from my balcony. I need to learn more about women’s cycling. I have been watching the men’s racing for years so I know the players and teams. I am going to invest some attention to learn more about the top women racers. Leah Kirchmann (CAN) won the Stage 3 circuit race and Trixi Worrack (GER) hung on to the yellow jersey to win the overall Women’s Race.

We downloaded the excellent Amgen Tour of California Live App on the iPad and phones. You can watch the video from 2:00 p.m. to the finish plus other features.

I dozed while I listened/watched the video. I sat up when one of the Jelly Belly riders went off the levee on the road winding along the Sacramento River on the return from Woodland. Lucky for him he let go of the bike and landed just before the riprap rocks. (He finished last; but he finished.)

This close!When the 3 breakaway riders crossed the Tower Bridge I ran downstairs with my camera to get a first hand look. The turn itself was 3 fans deep so I moved down L Street a little towards the Lutheran Church. I did not think about the physics, but it was perfect as the riders had to move to our side of the street on the curve. The first time around I was surprised by the wind/blow back and thrilled by the speed. The first two of four circuits Sagan’s Tinkoff Saxo team lead out train was in front. The last two times the front lead out train was Cavendish’s Etixx Quickstep (my favorite team).

Mark Cavendish's lead out train in front.
Mark Cavendish’s lead out train in front.

The last time round the church bells were pealing and the fans yelling and the cowbells clanging. We turned to the App to find out who won and there was a bit of a delay… Cavendish first, Sagan second.