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  1. #1
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    American River Bike Trail Gradient

    Hello all!

    I've been riding the ARBT for about 3 months now. For me the steepest grade of the trail has to be the climb up Hazel Ave when descending from Folsom Lake on the north side of the trail. Once you get to Hazel Ave and try to access the east side of the there are 2 choices, the easy and the hard. Does anyone know what the grade of the hard section is? Its probably less than 200 ft but its a steep climb to the stop of Hazel Ave overpass.

    I've been trying to look online for any information I could find and search the forums but all I could find where elevations. There are posted signs on the trail of grades up to 7 (might be an 8 but don't quite remember) in some short sections, but not in other areas.

  2. #2
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    The grade increases as you get closer to the top. I will have to look back on some of my rides to see if I picked it up, but it is probably closer to 18% for the last 50'

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    If there is a segment on Strava, you can use the segment ID in veloviewer:

    Segment Details for Steep hill to Hazel bridge - VeloViewer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe View Post
    If there is a segment on Strava, you can use the segment ID in veloviewer:

    Segment Details for Steep hill to Hazel bridge - VeloViewer
    Is there a way I can edit start/end points? Never used this before? I need it so that it reads these points instead:

    Hazel Ave.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by VaultGuru View Post
    The grade increases as you get closer to the top. I will have to look back on some of my rides to see if I picked it up, but it is probably closer to 18% for the last 50'
    If that is the case then I've been doing quite well. I've made it just about every time I attempted it except the first time. First time I went the long way because I was new at biking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qhua View Post
    Is there a way I can edit start/end points? Never used this before? I need it so that it reads these points instead:
    The segments are from Strava, so you need to create a segment on that site. You would need an account. I use veloviewer.com as a reference because you can share segments without someone needed to login. Here are two existing segments with that hill:

    Strava Segment | Hazel Hill
    Segment Details for Hazel Hill - VeloViewer

    Strava Segment | Team BEER Circuit Course
    Segment Details for Team BEER Circuit Course - VeloViewer

    That bump looks like a killer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    The challenge with that little rise is that it will be too new to acurately show up in Strava as their reference maps/data won't be current. Also, given the location of that riser (adjacent to and in the middle of a cliff/river cut) there is no guarantee that the location in strava will be accurate either. With all that said, I've gone up it and down it quite a few times and would guess it is 12-15%, will take another look on Thursday and report back.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe View Post
    The segments are from Strava, so you need to create a segment on that site. You would need an account. I use veloviewer.com as a reference because you can share segments without someone needed to login. Here are two existing segments with that hill:

    Strava Segment | Hazel Hill
    Segment Details for Hazel Hill - VeloViewer

    Strava Segment | Team BEER Circuit Course
    Segment Details for Team BEER Circuit Course - VeloViewer

    That bump looks like a killer.
    First one says max grade is 35.9% and the second link says max grade is 17.8% so I'm not sure which is correct. The first one looks awesome. The second one seems like they went down one side and up the other just looping around.

    I'm new to biking. What kind of device do I need to log such info like these?

    And yes the bump is killer since only a few of us have been able to make it to the top. However its so short that I find myself asking for more challenging lengths. My 13 year old daughter had trouble at first and had to go the easy route until I upgraded her to a Giant Avail equipped with 105 and she made it up on her first outing on the bike.

    Will eventually try Mt Diablo but I'm not sure I'm ready for continuous uphill for miles on end yet. I'm not quite at that level of biking yet.

    Thanks a bunch for the info so far!

  9. #9
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qhua View Post
    First one says max grade is 35.9% and the second link says max grade is 17.8% so I'm not sure which is correct. The first one looks awesome. The second one seems like they went down one side and up the other just looping around.

    I'm new to biking. What kind of device do I need to log such info like these?

    And yes the bump is killer since only a few of us have been able to make it to the top. However its so short that I find myself asking for more challenging lengths. My 13 year old daughter had trouble at first and had to go the easy route until I upgraded her to a Giant Avail equipped with 105 and she made it up on her first outing on the bike.

    Will eventually try Mt Diablo but I'm not sure I'm ready for continuous uphill for miles on end yet. I'm not quite at that level of biking yet.

    Thanks a bunch for the info so far!
    At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, a smart phone and the free Strava app is a quick way to start logging rides. From there, you can buy a Garmin (or other brand) GPS that will be a bit more accurate than your smart phone, but costs more $$ (~$120-$500)

    I take it you've explored the ARBT all the way up to Beals Point? If not, it throws a couple of longer hills (~2 miles at 300 feet???) in the mix for you. If you have been all the way up to Beals, you could do repeats of that climb or search out some of the local climbing hills:

    Costco Hill (Iron Point and East Bidwell in Folsom)
    Beatty Hill (Alexandria to the top of Beatty in El Dorado Hills)

    ^both of these are safe (relative to traffic) and will get you about a mile and 300+feet (~8%).

    Once you're comfortable on those, the options are endless in the foothills. Alternatively, you could look into the Cycle Folsom club as they host a number of rides in the greater Sacramento area for all skill levels and abilities. They even host a "learn to ride your bike in a group" class that is every Sunday for about 3 months. The rides are free for club members and if I recall, the club costs all of $5/year.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member metalheart44's Avatar
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    I have never looked at my computer for that short/steep segment that takes you to the west side of the bridge, but I have ridden it a number of times and my guess is that it is in the 15-18% range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hack View Post
    At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, a smart phone and the free Strava app is a quick way to start logging rides. From there, you can buy a Garmin (or other brand) GPS that will be a bit more accurate than your smart phone, but costs more $$ (~$120-$500)

    I take it you've explored the ARBT all the way up to Beals Point? If not, it throws a couple of longer hills (~2 miles at 300 feet???) in the mix for you. If you have been all the way up to Beals, you could do repeats of that climb or search out some of the local climbing hills:

    Costco Hill (Iron Point and East Bidwell in Folsom)
    Beatty Hill (Alexandria to the top of Beatty in El Dorado Hills)

    ^both of these are safe (relative to traffic) and will get you about a mile and 300+feet (~8%).

    Once you're comfortable on those, the options are endless in the foothills. Alternatively, you could look into the Cycle Folsom club as they host a number of rides in the greater Sacramento area for all skill levels and abilities. They even host a "learn to ride your bike in a group" class that is every Sunday for about 3 months. The rides are free for club members and if I recall, the club costs all of $5/year.
    Yes been to the top several times where folsom lake is. And the gradual climb to the top is long but not really steep. Like the hazel ave climb it gets tougher as you get closer to the top. Although i could have sworn i saw a sign that said it was only 1 mile to the lake from the intersection where folsom bike is? Will have to get pictures next time i am there.

    Thanks for the suggestions on the other rides. Will try and see if i can find them with Google and try them out. My other option would be auburn and its hills.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qhua View Post
    Yes been to the top several times where folsom lake is. And the gradual climb to the top is long but not really steep. Like the hazel ave climb it gets tougher as you get closer to the top. Although i could have sworn i saw a sign that said it was only 1 mile to the lake from the intersection where folsom bike is? Will have to get pictures next time i am there.

    Thanks for the suggestions on the other rides. Will try and see if i can find them with Google and try them out. My other option would be auburn and its hills.
    If you're up for adventure, there are endless hills in the greater Auburn area. I listed those two above as they're relatively safe from traffic and easily accessible. From Auburn, you can check out Indian Hill (2 miles at 6%), Ridge Road, Chili Hill, Bald Hill, Lozanos, Mt Vernon, etc. So many to choose from.
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    Quote Originally Posted by qhua View Post
    Although i could have sworn i saw a sign that said it was only 1 mile to the lake from the intersection where folsom bike is?
    You're right. There's a sign that says something like "Lake Access 1 Mile" close to the intersection of the trail and Folsom Dam Road. It's actually a little closer to Beal's Point, beyond the undercrossing, close to the Emergency Phone. I usually do my repeats from the top to the wide spot in the trail where the phone is (makes a nice turn around point).

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    That short steep section that leads back to the bridge hovers between 14%-18% when I look over my rides on Strava. Depending on what bike I have with me I can spin up it in either 34x26 on the compact crank bike or 30x23 or 30x25 on the bike with a triple. I normally ride the ARBT from my enter point around Arden way all the way to the end past the Lake Recreation area where it ends up at a dirt road. Then on the way back I'll add in Folsom Lake Crossing up to Natoma to get in a bit more climbing. At Hazel I don't normally take the trail on the south side. A lot more curves and higher chance of running into others that might be going too fast for conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hack View Post
    At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, a smart phone and the free Strava app is a quick way to start logging rides. From there, you can buy a Garmin (or other brand) GPS that will be a bit more accurate than your smart phone, but costs more $$ (~$120-$500)

    I take it you've explored the ARBT all the way up to Beals Point? If not, it throws a couple of longer hills (~2 miles at 300 feet???) in the mix for you. If you have been all the way up to Beals, you could do repeats of that climb or search out some of the local climbing hills:

    Costco Hill (Iron Point and East Bidwell in Folsom)
    Beatty Hill (Alexandria to the top of Beatty in El Dorado Hills)

    ^both of these are safe (relative to traffic) and will get you about a mile and 300+feet (~8%).

    Once you're comfortable on those, the options are endless in the foothills. Alternatively, you could look into the Cycle Folsom club as they host a number of rides in the greater Sacramento area for all skill levels and abilities. They even host a "learn to ride your bike in a group" class that is every Sunday for about 3 months. The rides are free for club members and if I recall, the club costs all of $5/year.
    So I did a Google for Costco hill and its pretty obvious where you start... at Costco. But where does it technically end? At Empire Ranch RD or keep going until it loops back around?

    Same for Beatty Hill? Stop on Powers Dr or keep going?

    Will most likely try these two this weekend!

  16. #16
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qhua View Post
    So I did a Google for Costco hill and its pretty obvious where you start... at Costco. But where does it technically end? At Empire Ranch RD or keep going until it loops back around?

    Same for Beatty Hill? Stop on Powers Dr or keep going?

    Will most likely try these two this weekend!
    Costco starts more or less around Costco. There is a little bit climbing from East Bidwell, but nothing too serious.

    Generally most folks roll Costco into part of their ride and the routes vary greatly. Let's say you park at Whole Foods (just below Costco), you can ride up Costco hill, descend the backside down Empire Ranch, then up Beatty (allllll the way up), down Montrose and back up, down Wilson, etc.

    Here are a couple of routes used frequently by Cycle Folsom for their Tuesday climbing route. You can alter accordingly, but the routes both include a couple decent steep pitches. The clockwise route with the climb up Ridgeview includes a couple steep climbs that can break your spirit

    2011 Tues climbing - counterclockwise - A bike ride in Folsom, CA

    2011 Tues climbing - clockwise - A bike ride in Folsom, CA

    For the most part these are on safer roads, but if you venture onto El Dorado Hills Blvd or Green Valley, just be wary as traffic speeds there are higher than the rest of the roads.

    Lastly, Beatty this time of year is HOT with minimal shade and is usually sheltered from the wind. There is a park at the base, so make sure you have water.
    Last edited by hack; 06-24-14 at 12:18 PM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    As a follow up, you could also just do hill repeats on either if you really want to suffer. For these Costco basically ends just before Carpenter Hill Rd (really the first place you can turn around) and Beatty ends at Powers. If you go all the way up Beatty, there is a slight decline after Powers before it kicks back up again (Beatty to Katie a right on Powers then left on Glen Ridge to Ridgeview Park).

    Every January 1 there is a 2 hour hill repeat challenge on Beatty (up to Powers). A Jr set the "record" this year with 17 repeats. http://www.strava.com/activities/103295898
    Last edited by hack; 06-24-14 at 12:20 PM.
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  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    10xCostco is one of my go-to training sessions. I will try to vary the trips up: small gear, big gear, standing, sitting, etc.

    Here's another possibility. Bike Ride Profile | Hills of Folsom and EDH near Folsom | Times and Records | Strava
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  19. #19
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    10xCostco is one of my go-to training sessions. I will try to vary the trips up: small gear, big gear, standing, sitting, etc.

    Here's another possibility. Bike Ride Profile | Hills of Folsom and EDH near Folsom | Times and Records | Strava
    Fun route and plenty-o-climbing in there. I generally try to avoid white rock and prarie city (I drive on those roads and see how others drive )
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  20. #20
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    In my zanier moments, I calculate out average grades. Here are a few of my favorites. Start and stop points may be different than yours, so the numbers may vary.
    grade=((rise'/(5280'*distance in miles)))
    Iowa Hill (South Side) 13.07%
    Prospector Grade 9.79%
    Chili Hill 9.43%
    Chamisal Pass 9.21%
    Wilson I 8.93%
    Beatty 8.90%
    Serrano I 8.75%
    Cothrin Ranch 8.36%
    Clementine 7.22%
    Serrano II 7.11%
    Iowa Hill (North Side) 7.10%
    Baxter Grade 6.82%
    Costco 6.82%
    Barker Pass 5.61%
    Old Foresthill 5.36%
    Salmon Falls 5.22%
    French Creek 3.91%
    White Mountain
    River to Schulman Grove Turnoff 5.56%
    Climb start to turnoff 6.18%
    Turnoff to Schulman Grove 5.27%
    River to Schulman Grove 5.58%
    Climb Start to Schulman Grove 5.72%

  21. #21
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    Average grades are interesting, but they don't tell the story of the climb. You really need a profile map with different sections of grades highlighted. For example, while the average grade of Chili may be 9.43% (thanks Clay), the steepest section is around 17%.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Maybe Beatty just psyches me out, but it really feels so much harder than 8.9%.
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    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    Beatty does have a short section of 16%. 8.9% is average from stop sign line at the bottom to the stop sign line at the top.

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