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Top Local winter training rides

Contrary to popular belief, keen cyclists actually do most of their riding through the cooler months of the year. Strange, right? The wind, cold, and rain are the ideal conditions for racking up those winter miles in preparation for peak summer form. Big base mile rides form the foundation of any rider’s winter training plans so we’ve collated our favorite longer training rides for the coming cooler months.

El Dorado Hills Winter Circuit - 80 miles/8,900ft - Difficulty - 8/10

This one will certainly be a test of strength. 80 miles and almost 9,000 ft of climbing mean this circuit through the foothills is a good benchmark ride at the beginning of your winter training plan.

EDH Climb

Head south from our El Dorado Hills location before turning onto Cothrin Ranch Road. This short and stubborn climb is a great leg opener on a quieter road. After a steep descent, the next section on the well-traveled Frenchtown Road is one of the most pleasant in the area. The route will also offer spectacular glimpses of the snow-capped mountains to the east.

From here, it’s on to Placerville and the first long climb up Highway 193. A rapid descent to Coloma will take you to the foot of the second climb up a steep Prospectus Road. Loop round from here to Pilot Hill and the regular stomping grounds of Salmon Falls Road and some more undulating terrain before returning to El Dorado Hills.

Check out the route on Strava HERE.

EDH loop map

Saint Helena Lake Berryessa Loop - 54 miles/3,600ft - difficulty 4/10

While the Foothills continue to get cooler, wine country remains remarkably pleasant all through the fall and winter. This rewarding loop offers spectacular views and relatively easy terrain all the way around; making for a worthwhile day trip.

Start by climbing out of the Napa Valley to the shores of Lake Berryessa. From here you’ll skirt the lake’s western flank for 10 miles before heading back over the hills toward Saint Helena.

Ink Grade marker

The climb up Ink Grade Road is a highlight of the region and the Alps-style mileage markers certainly make this quiet little climb a highlight of the ride. Your reward at the top is a fast and flowing descent back into Saint Helena for a well-earned glass of local vino. 

Check out the route on Strava HERE.

Lake Berryessa map

Gold Hills Figure of Eight - 85 miles/8,300ft - difficulty 7/10

If you want to be the person who knows all of the obscure roads in the middle of nowhere when it comes to planning out summer club rides, then this is the route for you. Plus, it’s unrelentingly undulating - perfect for building the stamina needed for epic summer gran fondos or road races.

Gold Hills Climb

After snaking your way up to Newcastle, the roads cease to be flat for much of the rest of the route. As a positive, the vast majority of the roads are quiet and you may even have a little bit of gravel thrown in for good measure!  

One notable feature is the twisting descent down Baxter Grade Road at around the 60-mile mark. This awesome road weaves its way through dense forest before spitting you back out into farmland and the long descent back to Folsom for a coffee and a cake at the Folsom Grind.

Check out the route on Strava HERE.

Two Rivers Loop - 100 miles/1,800ft - Difficulty 6/10

Pancake-flat, this route is purely about mileage and enjoying some quiet roads. After starting at Folsom Bike, head all the way down the bike trail to Sacramento. From there you’ll join up onto the Garden Highway and remain on it all the way up to where the 99 crosses the Feather River.

This is certainly a route where wind direction matters. Around 60 miles of the loop is on very exposed and flat roads that are dead straight so a constant headwind can make for an even more arduous ride. All of the climbing (if you can call it that) occurs right at the end of the ride as you head through Rocklin and back to Granite Bay.

Two Rivers

Overall this one of the flattest routes of this distance that you’ll find. Don’t think that that will make it easy though. Strong winds can make this ride very tough indeed.

Check out the route on Strava HERE.

Two Rivers Map


Got a local training ride that you love? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram, or Strava


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