Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend at Tahoe

The SF Bay Area has so many places to go riding and I have not been to many of them yet. But the trails around Lake Tahoe have always attracted me, for obvious reasons. I found it to be somewhat confusing to place all trail names people on talk about on the map, so for starters, I planned to ride from Spooner Lake both north towards Mt. Rose, as well as south, towards Kingsbury Grade. The Nevada side of the Tahoe Rim Trail and surrounding trails can be ridden as a point to point epic ride providing you have a shuttle car.
I know that distance would be a one day piece of cake for my friend John, an ultra-cyclist and the current GDR record holder, but I was glad he agreed to splitting the ride into two days.

This year of record snowfall, some trails remain closed, but despite warm temperatures, it looked like spring in the high country.

Saturday was an even day, so we headed north from Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake

and climbed the Hobart jeep road to a fantastic vista point from which you can see both Marlette and Lake Tahoe. These two lakes are 2000 vertical feet apart, yet look like a 2D map from that perspective:

 We almost reached the ski lifts at Diamond Peak, but due to my rapidly dwindling aerobic fitness and overall poor adjustment to the altitude, we decided to head back via the Flume trail.

Sunday had to be a shorter day, so we headed south on the TRT starting again at Spooner Lake and crossing Hwy 50 to the trailhead. This was an out and back ride on a singletrack trail, even though several jeep roads in the area allowed for loops. The singletrack was a tough climb for 6.5 miles with some rocky sections at the top.

The trail leveled off but became littered with sharp rocks around the Bench, where we turned back.

The descent down to highway 50 took us less than half the time we needed for the climb, but this was one of the most fun downhills I ever rode. Technical enough to keep you focused but not scary, fast flowing trail with switchbacks. Of course, I inhaled all the dust John kicked up, but that means I rode almost as fast as he did on the downhill.
This was definitely my kind of mountain biking, sunny, warm, dry, great views and good company.

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