Routes

All riders can look forward to a delicious, riverside barbecue dinner following the ride served between 2:30 and 6:30 pm.

All distances and climbing data is provided by RidewithGPS.com .  DON’T PANIC!  Much of the longer routes are hilly with some steep climbs although shorter than most Sierra passes.  Those riders that sign up for the 63 mile route or longer can choose from any routes on the fly to customize their challenge.   The longest route is great training for the Alta Alpina Challenge or Death Ride!

We recommend all riders start between 6:30 and 8:00 am.  Please use the Aid Station Operation  Hours on the Safety and Support page as a guide.  

GOLD DUST - Half Metric -1 aid station, post ride dinner. 33.5 miles,                2,691 ’climbing
This is a relaxing introduction to the bicycling options of Northern El Dorado County. Leaving Lotus cyclists enjoy a very gradual climb to the community of Cool on Highway 49 ”The Golden Chain Highway”.  Approximately eight miles further on Highway 193 you will turn to enjoy the quiet of Greenwood Road.  A short climb brings you to the bucolic town of Garden Valley.    Rolling through Garden Valley sets you up for a beautiful descent down a newly paved jewel of cycling to camp.  Freshen up, take in a self guided tour of the Gold Discovery State Park, enjoy some tasting at the local wineries, or just sit by the river and enjoy a good read. Be sure to return to camp for our riverside BBQ dinner served from 2:30 – 6:30pm.
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GOLD NUGGET – Metric Century – 3 aid stations, lunch stop, & post ride dinner. 63.3 miles, 6,036’ climbing
Where the Gold Dust riders turn to camp you will descend down canyon where you refuel to prepare for the steady ascent of Rock Creek Road.  This stretch offers the sublime views of the South Fork of the American River canyon above Chili Bar Resevoir, and concludes with a refreshing aid station at Finnon Resevoir.  Replenished you will experience the thrilling descent to the historic Mosquito Road Suspension Bridge (originally put into service in 1867).  Pause to take in the view then get out of the saddle for the climb up to Placerville. This portion of the canyon is the centerpiece of the ride and you will want your camera!

While being rewarded with a delicious lunch in Placerville you can ponder the mostly downhill return to Lotus, or elect to ride the additional loops of the Motherlode. Be aware of the historical significance of Main Street Placerville being part of the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway turns 101 this year!
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APPLE HILL LOOP – OPTIONAL ADDITION – 1 Water Stop, 1 Aid, 19.8 miles, 1830’ climbing  (must begin by 1:15 pm)
Extend the fun riding part way up the El Dorado Trail to access the orchards and vineyards of Apple Hill.  A water stop (not endorsed but tasty $1 beer samples) at Jack Russell Brewery will whet your whistle until your return to the lunch site for more sustenance. Adding this loop to the Gold Nugget Metric will result in a total ride of 83.1 miles with 7,866′ of climbing.
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WEBER CREEK LOOP - OPTIONAL ADDITION - 1 Aid,  13.6 miles, 1764’ climbing (Must begin by 4:15 pm)
If the legs are willing discover this very rural loop with a unique crossing of a perennial creek flowing across the road.  Some ride through, but most avail themselves of the aid food while the valet carries their bike across.  And if it’s toasty some riders enjoy a swim!  Adding this loop to the Gold Nugget Metric will result in a total ride of 76.9 miles with 7,800′ of climbing.
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THE MOTHERLODE - Century -  5 aid stations, lunch stop, & post ride dinner. 96.7 miles, 9,630′ climbing
The Motherlode shares all of the beauty of the Gold Nugget route with the addition of the Apple Hill, and Weber Creek loops. Following lunch riders will ascend El Dorado Trail to explore the bucolic vineyards and orchards of Apple Hill.  Later on where the Gold Nugget riders turn downhill, you, the durable, persevere through the Weber Creek drainage with a last aid station and stream crossing valet.   Massage, showers, dinner, live music and beverages await you at our riverside camp!
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * OTHER COLOMA/LOTUS VALLEY RIDES
The following are suggestions for further exploration of the area. They are not part of the event, and are not sagged.

PROSPECTOR GRADE - 6.6 miles, 1,467’ climbing
This climb up Prospector Grade and descent down Marshall Grade offers a nice workout and rewarding panoramic view of the Coloma Valley.
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Thompson Hill Loop – 8.9 Miles, 1188′ of climbing
This short loop offers a sampling of what Gold Country cycling is all about.  A short climb, a quiet contemplative stretch, and a short but fast descent.  This includes the Highway 153 (shortest CA highway) piece and a spin through the Gold Discovery State Park.
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Highway 153 – 1.5 Miles, 238′ of Climbing

Just to say you did it

Reported to be the shortest Highway in California State Route 153 at .5 miles in length is a short scenic ride through history.

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Get a glimpse of some of the Gold Nugget 63, 77, and 83, or Motherlode 97 mile routes on You Tube