Since I live at sea level the first Tahoe ride of the year is always a bit scary. There wasn't much snow at Tahoe this year so the riding has started especially early. Today Tahoetic joined me for a preview of a much bigger ride to come next week. We did the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) from Spooner Summit to Kingsbury and then down Van Sickle, with a short side trip up the TRT. It had barely stopped raining and it was still fairly cool, with cold, howling winds for the first few hours. I consider the start of this ride the toughest I've ever done. We climb right from the parking lot at about 7,000 ft. to nearly 8,8000 ft. in the first five miles. But this is perhaps the first Tahoe ride I've ever done in which the altitude didn't hit me like a ton of bricks at the start. The climb was not as bad as I remember and we reached the top about as fast as ever.
From the top the next seven miles is perhaps the best trail I've ever ridden. It is narrow, rocky, twisty, with many rock drops and stairs, yet on a good day I can get a good flow going. I ride nothing technical in the winter so I was a bit rusty. The last one mile climb to Van Sickle is always really tough, but I was quite surprised when we reached it with much less effort than usual. I was feeling pretty good so we stayed on the TRT for a while until I got a flat tire. The long delay caused me to lose my momentum and after another mile or so of climbing we headed back down Van Sickle. About half way through the ride the weather became perfect and the rain had tamped the trails down very nicely. I can't ever remember finishing a Tahoe ride feeling so fresh. But of course this was one of the shortest rides I've ever done there. I had mentioned I hadn't fallen in quite a while and while lamenting the fact that I was on my backup bike with a non-dropping seat post, I did a spectacular edno. Fortunately I wasn't hurt.
P.S. I suck at switchbacks but today was the best I've ever done.
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Thread: 1st Tahoe ride of the year!
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