Saturday, September 12th, 2009

MTB: Riding in Tahoe Area for Three Days

My first time riding there. We took Monday off. We stayed with Jeanne, Iztok, and Tim in a condo in S. Lake Tahoe for Saturday and Sunday nights. Hanging out was fun except that Erik's work place had an IT melt down before his trip, so he worked before and after riding every day — poor guy.

Before the trip, I asked for suggestions on MTBR and received many. Below is what I posted after the trip:

We ended up doing nothing as planned. I "blame" it on friends. The hubby and I were to stay with three friends in S. Lake Tahoe on Saturday and Sunday nights. Since all of them are way more experienced than me, I figured I would just drag my poor hubby with me for our proper introduction to Tahoe riding while they do their more advanced stuff. Well, despite having stayed in Placerville on Friday night, they had such a late start on Saturday morning that we caught them having breakfast at Gateway Cafe in Meyers. It all went downhill from there once they convinced us to ride with them.

Saturday: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (loop). We parked at the north end of Saxon Creek Trail and used Upper Truckee Road (mostly parallel to Hwy 89) to Big Meadow for a warm up. It rained a little when we were on the road and stopped before we hit the trail, so it was perfect. I got off my bike occasionally on the climb due to big rocky step ups and also walked a couple of gnarly descent sections. It was really nice to end the ride right at the car. A super fun ride over all.

Sunday: Kingsbury->Spooner->Kingsbury. I would totally have followed your sound advice to start the ride from Spooner, but our friends were not interested in going all the way to Spooner and mainly wanted to work on the section between Kingsbury and the Bench (bike snobs!). So, we started with them, but the hubby and I pushed on when they turned around. I enjoyed the entire trail both ways, but in my hubby's words, the sight after we dropped down to Spooner trailhead was a bit anti-climatic because all you see is a big paved parking lot.

Monday: We met up with another friend in Truckee. She took us on a trail that I could not find any information about online. It's always fun to explore some lesser known local trails and we figured we could always ride HITG on our own some other day. It was a short loop (only around 9 miles), but it was the toughest ride for me on this trip. There is definitely a 2x factor here. The trail is either under deep loose dirt, or loose rocks, or both mixed. Not very steep on the climb (steeper on the descent at sections), but it took a lot of energy out of me just to pedal on the constant moving and shifting surface. The trail was pretty much all ride-able (no big step ups), but I had to get off the bike many times simply because I could not regulate my heart rate any more. I guess the trail is name Animal Trail for a reason. The view at the summit was spectacular.

We had a great time riding with our friends. The hubby thoroughly enjoyed sessioning the technical stuff with the other three, who are obsessed with that stuff. They would work on almost all the technical sections. It's not unusual that they take turns and each makes a dozen attempts at one spot. You have to watch to believe it; it's amazing to watch them trying, and getting, the very tall rocky step-ups (sometimes multiple in a row) that I would have thought humanly impossible. Most of the time though, I would leave them and ride ahead alone to find my own baby projects to work on. It's all about pushing your own limit, isn't it?

That's my first trip to Tahoe. Can't wait to go back!

Some information before I forget (mainly good restaurants):

  • Gateway Cafe in Meyers — good breakfast. Right near Hwy 50 & 89
  • Red Hut in S. Lake Tahoe — three locations including one on Kingsbury Grade and one in town. Both are great for breakfast
  • Brew Pub — Right across street from Lakeland Village where we stayed. Loved their BYOB and the Badass fries.

My pictures are in the gallery.

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