Last year I rode alone. This year, I convinced my friend Dan to join me. We rented a cabin for the weekend, less than a mile from the start/finish line, and spent Saturday relaxing with our partners and friends. The weather could not have been better. Unlike last year which started out in a foggy mist and became only mostly cloudy, this year was sunny and beautiful. The temperature was around 70 degrees, and the view all around the lake to the snow-capped peaks beyond was awe inspiring.
We woke up at 6:15a, and were out the door by 6:45. We’d made the first major climb of the day by 8:21. By 10:15a, we were headed north from the lake up the Truckee River bikepath, which is one of the best parts of the ride. At 1p we stopped for lunch at King’s Beach, 70 miles in – both Dan and I thought that lunch should have been a bit closer to the midpoint, at say Tahoe City, 10 miles earlier. By 2:30p we were starting the final climb up to Spooner Junction, and just before 5:30p, we were one of the last few across the finish line.
Readying myself for this ride was much easier than last year. Knowing that you’ve done it once goes a long way towards being able to do it again. That and the Oakland Hills are great for training. I had no doubts that I would finish the ride this year.
It’s hard to say if there was a favorite moment of the day. The beauty was constant. The thrill of the several downhill runs was palpable. Riding as I enjoy doing, without hands, always brings me a sense of peace, of flying, of riding on the back of a horse. In fact, as I passed some support staff early in the ride, Dan informed me that they had been surprised and excited by my riding technique. I have always wondered if such conversations might be had behind my speeding back, but I could never know, so it was great to finally get that confirmation.
All-in-all, I can see why this ride is so popular and deserving of its ‘Most Beautiful‘ moniker. I will certainly do this ride again. But now, I will enjoy shorter and easier rides for a few weeks.