A week ago, in the allergist office, the doctor took the stethoscope out of her ears and said: "You are wheezing. Double up on your inhalers for the next three weeks." For some reason, the fall season transition is always the time I feel my allergies worsen. But after many years of living with it, my threshold for self diagnosis has lowered and it took a medical exam to reveal some sub-clinical inflammation and pulmonary obstruction. The long story short: got too busy at work, called for refills on Friday and got an automated message that my meds will be ready for pickup on Tuesday. So I left for South Lake Tahoe on Friday afternoon hypomedicated, but very much looking forward to ride trails that should be in prime shape after Thursday rains. The forecast called for another front bringing rain into the area on Sunday.
But it was so beautiful up here! Cool breeze with occasional strong wind gusts, signalling weather change, excellent visibility and total solitude. My plan was to reach Star Lake and decide if to take a shortcut back down on Cold Creek trail. I rode this trail back in May and knew how technical that downhill was. I secretly hoped to have enough energy left for the Armstrong trail down.
I reached the valley still high on adrenaline, called Marketa to be about an hour late and rode back to where I started on the last, eight mile long trail connectors. At this point, I was out of water, out of glycogen and out of any residual strength in my legs. There was still climbing to be done and I stood up and pushed the pedals, thinking that this was it, I was never ever going to finish this ride on these park like trails. A mile from the hotel room, food, water and warm shower, I hit 42 mph coming down Ski Run Blvd, just before stopping at an intersection with Lake Tahoe Boulevard, with continuous stream of traffic. A mile of street between the trail head and the main road divided the two worlds. This ride was a nicely punishing way to close the riding season at Tahoe.