Some buddies and I went to Downieville, CA in September, 2016 to ride the supreme downhill trails and have fun. We rented a place in Truckee and made the drive out to the trailhead every morning.
On day 3 of the trip, we decided to do some riding near Donner Lake. We started at the Billie Mack Road parking area (just a dirt lot) and headed up the Wendin Way Access Trail towards Donner Lake Rim. It was a hot and brutal climb. We then headed West on the trail towards Crest Valley Road, where we intended to do an Andesite Peak loop and ride back to the truck.
After what seemed like a few hours of climbing, I decided to peel off and fetch the truck to drive it up and meet the others. It was quicker than the ride back down, and it allowed the rest of the group to climb unencumbered by my diminished abilities.
I dropped down the ragged canyon and found myself in the parking lot of Boreal Ski Resort. I looked around and asked a few folks, checked the internet, and finally asked my Brother to look up on his computer back home to see if there was any kind of obscure trail system that could safely get me back to where we started at Billie Mack Road. Alas, there was not. The only way to get there was to ride I-80 East and exit at the aforementioned road.
So I donned my helmet cam and jumped on the ramp. The first mile or so was slower, since I had to do a small bit of climbing and the descent hadn’t started yet. Once I got into the rhythm of the road, I was able to coast slong and almost equaled the cars in speed. I topped out at almost 50 mph! With the mountains on my left and Donner Lake coming into view on the right, I was having a great time on a beautiful day.
The ride was short, but surprisingly stable. My bike never got any shakes or shimmies. I could tuck down low and keep my gravity center closer to the ground. This helped with stability and aerodynamics.
Believe me – if that ride felt even remotely dangerous, I would not have been riding this fast. I was in complete control the whole time and only opened up the throttle when I knew there were no obstacles in the road and when I had a safe stopping distance if there was.
Kids, don’t try this at home.