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  1. #1
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    Tahoe: the agony and the ecstasy

    In my somewhat limited riding experience Lake Tahoe is still my favorite place to ride. The scenery is spectacular, the weather is always great, and the trails are quite varied. Due to huge amounts of snow the past winter the high country is still just beginning to open up. After an eight month wait I wanted to start with a bang. So Tahoetic accompanied me on the Mt. Rose to Burger Kingsbury ride. Since it was an odd day we started from Mt. Rose quite early to avoid any hikers. There were still quite a few snow drifts into the woods from Tahoe Meadows and my GPS track from last year was quite handy for finding our way through them to the trail. I'm in my best biking shape ever and, due to my 29er bike, my skills are the best ever. Despite the 8,700 ft. elevation, the start was easier than I can ever remember, and I cleared many new obstacles. The weather was perfect, we were moving quite well, and having a great time.

    At 2.5 miles in, on a narrow, but not particularly difficult section, I went right over a granite retaining wall and rolled down a steep bank. I scraped up my entire left forearm, opened a gash in my shin, tweaked both wrists, sprained my left thumb, and<strike> strained a muscle deep in my back</strike> cracked a rib. I'm pretty squeamish and the gash in my shin looked pretty bad, and it was bleeding a good bit. So I asked Tahoetic to bandage it and wrap some duct tape around it. Although there were more than 34 miles to go, after eight months of waiting, I did not want to give up on the ride. So I took some codeine and decided to push on. My left thumb was totally useless for shifting. So I put my 2x10 into the smallest ring and left it there the rest of the ride. Long downhills, requiring a lot of front brake, were quite painful. So I took them much slower than usual. We were both riding as well as ever and I suspect my slow down hilling cost us at least an extra hour. The road rash on my arm burned quite a bit but I was having too much of a good time to let it spoil my ride.

    The first half of the ride on the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) and Flume Trail to Spooner Lake is pretty easy. But the Kingsbury section starts with a a five mile climb from about 6,900 ft. - 8,700 ft. It was certainly difficult, but nothing compared to the past, when my heart felt like it was ready to jump out of my chest. We both rode quite a few sections we had never made before. But as soon as I started breathing hard I began to notice the <strike>strained muscle deep in my back</strike> cracked rib, and it became increasingly painful. Almost any movement to the side, cough, or deep breath gave me a pain deep in my back so sharp that it took my breath away. Using body English on the rocky climbs, big bumps, getting on and off the bike, and even leaning my bike against a tree gave me a sharp pain. Every time we stopped Tahoetic had to hold my bike for me. I probably had hundreds of those sharp pains the last 15 miles. There are scores of cool rock drops on the Kingsbury Trail, but I was a bit cautious and did not ride all of them. My hands and back were so sore I dreaded another fall. But I'm still quite impressed how well I rode, considering the fall.

    There is a new section of the TRT near the end of Kingsbury and we took that for a few miles before heading down to the old Burger King parking lot. That ride down is barely a trail and many small paths meander through thick undergrowth and dense Aspen forests. At about one mile from the finish I tried squeezing between some Aspens and I banged my cut-up shin into one. The pain was so bad I nearly fainted. Blood started dripping from under the duct tape and I began to become quite concerned. Fortunately, there was an urgent care center within a block of the finish and we rushed over there. I got several stitches in my shin, they washed and disinfected all my cuts, x-rayed my hands, and gave me a tetanus shot. By the time we drove back to Mt. Rose to retrieve my vehicle I was feeling pretty poorly and I managed to find a motel at King's Beach. It was a tough night, I barely slept, and my left hand swelled up quite a bit overnight. I want to thank Tahoetic for being so patient on the trail and waiting around at the urgent care center for me. Despite all the problems we still had a faster pace than our previous rides. Taking photos was a bit awkward and painful. I am surprised I took so many. Quite a few more on my biking site.

    Photos here.

    <iframe width='465' height='548' frameborder='0' src='http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/101425739'></iframe>
    Last edited by Wherewolf; 12-13-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    So beautiful. Must ride there one day.

  3. #3
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    Surprisingly less climbing then i had imagined. I've really got to get up there sometime in August.

  4. #4
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    Thanks!

    Great pics and ride report. I'm planning to ride this same route next month - stoked!

  5. #5
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    you had codeine on a mtn bike ride? You get the Mountain Bike Preparedness merit badge, in addition to the Persevering on the Trail merit badge! Beautiful place; did not realize Lake Tahoe is so big.

  6. #6
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    Great shots sir. Thanks for sharing

  7. #7
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    Photos of Tahoe trails are the best.
    Old and slow trumps dead and gone.

  8. #8
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    beautiful country.

  9. #9
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    Great pictures! Looks like that is one place i want to visit and bring the bike! Hope your recovery is fast and I'm glad not everyone on this board is a racer/pro. I certainly can admit that i'm not a fast rider.

  10. #10
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    nice I gotta get to tahoe. holy crap

  11. #11
    Old,slow,still havin fun.
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    Dang Wherewolf, heal up fast!

  12. #12
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    great pics man.. I invested in some 661 pads that cover from above your knee cap all the way down to your socks.. I normally ride them all the time.

  13. #13
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    Great trail shots! On the list.
    .....

  14. #14
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    No Doubt on the "Persevering on the Trail merit badge!"

    Good Job!

    Question -
    I'm assuming the 'water shot' is the west side of Marlett.

    Do the rest of shots show the section from 50 to Kingsbury?

  15. #15
    I just wanna ride my bike
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    Thank you for persevering on your ride to provide us with great photos and riding tales. Hope you heal well!

  16. #16
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    Wait a second..you carry codeine when you ride??

    Sent from my HTC EVO 4G using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    Honeymooned there but didn't go on any rides. Looks as beautiful as ever. Nice shots and props for continuing the ride.

  18. #18
    Really I am that slow
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    Sick!
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    you had codeine on a mtn bike ride?
    Doesn't everybody? I consider that a pack essential item.

    Way to hang in there WW. I'd've done the same. I figure you can heal up later, but there's only so many days you have the opportunity to do a ride like that. Nice job.

    Edit: It sounds like you might've cracked a rib not just pulled a muscle in your back.
    Last edited by KRob; 07-25-2011 at 11:23 AM.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  20. #20
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    Me thinks it was not a good idea to continue on after taking the codeine with the injuries you described. May have be more prudent to head straight for UC.
    Masking the pain with codeine when your body wants to tell you not to do something usually results in more serious aggravation of an injury.
    Sounds like you got away with it though > Glad you finished the ride in one piece.

    Now codeine post ride for the pain,,


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  21. #21
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    Beautiful pictures, but why poach when you could ride legally and not piss anyone off?

  22. #22
    I dig trails!
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    I love your pics and ride reports. Thanks!

    Heal up!

    P

  23. #23
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    Poach what?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottR1 View Post
    Beautiful pictures, but why poach when you could ride legally and not piss anyone off?
    Didn't poach anything and never will

  24. #24
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    Thanks everyone!

    My "back" still hurts, even more, and I can't even take a deep breath. But just got some X-rays to rule out cracked ribs. I had codeine because I am always on codeine for my knees when I ride. I am embarrassed to say that I stopped carrying bandages years ago. The one Tahoetic had was not very good. That's why I suggested the duct tape. Guess I'll put them back in the pack.

  25. #25
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    Awesome! Hope to make it back up there soon.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    Beautiful place; did not realize Lake Tahoe is so big.
    to put into perspective just how big Tahoe is....1,400,000 tons (yes that is 1.4 million tons) of water evaporates from the lake every day!
    Originally Posted by XC62701
    Agreed...make it longer. I want to know death is an option

  27. #27
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    Cracked rib

    Radiologist read my X-rays today and said I have a cracked rib! No riding for at least four weeks.

  28. #28
    Really I am that slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Radiologist read my X-rays today and said I have a cracked rib! No riding for at least four weeks.
    bummer!
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Edit: It sounds like you might've cracked a rib not just pulled a muscle in your back.
    Ding Ding Ding! We have the winner of the Passion Forum On-line Early Diagnosis Merit Badge.

  30. #30
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    Wow. Just, wow. I need to get out more.

  31. #31
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    I still can't believe you finished this ride. I told my wife ( who is a Nurse) what happened on our ride. She posted this on her facebook page:

    so get this. my husband and friend did a 40 mile mtn bike ride from Mt Rose to lower Kingsbury. 2 miles in.. his friend fell 4 feet down a concrete wall, spraining both thumbs, fractured a rib, laceration to calf (requiring stitches) wrenched his back and still did flume to spooner, up and over Kingsbury to the bench to lower KB...he is my hero!!
    27 minutes ago.

    She didn't get her facts exactly right but, close enough. Nice riding with you and September is going to be a perfect for Tahoe riding.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Radiologist read my X-rays today and said I have a cracked rib! No riding for at least four weeks.

    What??? You're not supposed to ride with cracked ribs? Oops. I've cracked ribs a couple of times in the past and just keep riding. What you don't want to do is sneeze or try and sit up from lying down.... but you can't stop that now can you?

    Pfffft. Doctors! What do they know?

    Edit: Don't listen to me...... Really.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahoetic View Post
    I still can't believe you finished this ride. I told my wife ( who is a Nurse) what happened on our ride. She posted this on her facebook page:

    so get this. my husband and friend did a 40 mile mtn bike ride from Mt Rose to lower Kingsbury. 2 miles in.. his friend fell 4 feet down a concrete wall, spraining both thumbs, fractured a rib, laceration to calf (requiring stitches) wrenched his back and still did flume to spooner, up and over Kingsbury to the bench to lower KB...he is my hero!!
    27 minutes ago.

    She didn't get her facts exactly right but, close enough. Nice riding with you and September is going to be a perfect for Tahoe riding.
    it was only 37 miles...she was way off....

    amazing story, sorry i missed it. i have to figure out when to come up with steve out of commission for a while..

  34. #34
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    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by cohenfive View Post
    i..she was way off...
    Yes, she forgot to mention I'm a senior citizen with two artificial knees and a spinal cord stimulator implant. I can't believe I didn't pull those wires out!
    Last edited by Wherewolf; 07-27-2011 at 10:20 AM.

  35. #35
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    Beautiful pics!
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Yes, she forgot to mention I'm a senior citizen with two artificial knees and a spinal cord stimulator implant. I can't believe I didn't pull those wires out!
    Your'e androidgenous!

  37. #37
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    Beautiful snaps, man! Gotta get me some of that. Thanks for posting them pixels!
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  38. #38
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    Nice stuff......only been to Tahoe in the winter months for snow sports but got to explore the area on a mountain bike someday , sweet ! TIG.

  39. #39
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    sweet! except the part about the cracked ribs
    60% of the time ......it works all the time

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Radiologist read my X-rays today and said I have a cracked rib! No riding for at least four weeks.
    Hey man, thanks for the pics and write-up under duress. I've been enjoying your posts.

    I OTB'ed last year about this time and broke a rib. I probably took about a month off and was able to ride (lightly) after that. Not much you can do for it, since it hurts on each breath, every time you get up, sit down, etc. I used Ace bandages, but I really don't know how much good that did.
    Best wishes for a quick recovery. You'll be riding again before you know it.

  41. #41
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    Fantastic! My wife and I have to get back to Tahoe.
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    The trail...shall set you free.

  42. #42
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    wow... so beautiful. I gotta get up there

  43. #43
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    You were right!

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    What??? You're not supposed to ride with cracked ribs? Oops. I've cracked ribs a couple of times in the past and just keep riding. What you don't want to do is sneeze or try and sit up from lying down.... but you can't stop that now can you?
    You were right. Got a new camera and had to try it out yesterday.

  44. #44
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    Thanks for posting and heal up soon!
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  45. #45
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    Wow....

    I am seriously planning to get there by the end of summer this year.

    Thanks for this...I am 98% sure I'll make it happen.

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