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America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride

Posted by Ted on Jun 8, 2010 in Biking

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

While branding anything ‘most‘ is certainly marketing hyperbole, last weekend’s supported ride around Lake Tahoe was spectacular. Organized by bikethewest.com, this was the 19th annual event with over 3300 riders, over half of which were part of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, including a friend of mine.

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.

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A roundabout way to the gym

Posted by Ted on May 22, 2010 in Biking

In two weeks I’ll be biking a century around Lake Tahoe again, this time with a partner in crime and a support crew of a number of our friends.

lafayette

(Click image for full route map)

Having only done 45 miles during training thusfar, I was determined yesterday to up that number and so I combined not only the Tunnel/Skyline/Pinehurst and San Leandro Bay loops, but I added on a new spur out along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, coming in at just over 55 miles for the day. Predictably, the Oakland side of the hills were mostly cloudy, while the Moraga side was mostly sunny. While short, the trail wound through rolling hills and people’s backyards, birds flew overhead, and squirrels ran across the path.

The day before we’d had a hard workout at the gym and my legs were already sore when I headed out, but still I managed the 55 miles and could have done 20 more. On a better day, as I hope two weeks from now to be, I’m sure that the 100 miles will be hard but surmountable. When I reached the gym via my roundabout way, the hot tub was a much welcome reward, as the hot tub at our weekend vacation rental will surely be.

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Lake Tahoe

Posted by Ted on Jun 11, 2009 in Biking

It’s been a busy week at work, so I haven’t had the time to write about the awesome weekend we had in Lake Tahoe! We were there because I was participating in “America’s Most Beautiful Bicycle Ride”. I expect there are plenty of places where one could have the best ride, but it was indeed pretty awesome. My training consisted of maybe half a dozen rides up into and over the Oakland hills. That and the comfort in knowing that I have already done as much as 125 miles, so a century is totally doable. I’m glad that I’ve had some hill training, because there’s a big ascent at the beginning and at the very end. I didn’t have to walk my bike at any point, and I was nowhere near the last out of over 3000 riders.

While I wasn’t nervous about my ability, I was anxious about the weather. All week I’d been keeping an eye on the forecast, and even as late as Saturday night it was raining. However, Sunday came and it was beautiful. A brisk slightly foggy morning broke into a gorgeous mostly sunny afternoon. There were so many wonderful moments throughout the day. I looked across Emerald Bay as the morning sun rose across the Lake. I sped down hundreds of feet at 35 mph taking up an entire lane of fresh smooth blacktop.

I rode down a bike path snaking next to the Truckee River in both directions, fully enjoying being able to ride sitting up without hands, which always makes me feel like I’m on a horse. I stopped beside the babbling brook for a few moments, looking across to moss-covered trees. I biked past azure coves in the deep blue lake, framed by snow-capped peaks. For a few magical moments, maybe 15 seconds, I was flying beside a hawk. Chipmunks scurried, birds chirped, and bicycle teams chattered. And at the very top of Spooner Junction, the last big hill before an almost 800 foot drop in elevation, there was my love smiling at me beside the road. I stopped and we embraced and shared in the pride and beauty of the day.

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