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July 30, 2007

Around Lake Tahoe – the hard way

Filed under: Riding and racing — mtbguru @ 6:24 am


Tahoe

This weekend I went up to Tahoe with a plan: circumnavigate the entire lake by bike, on trails, as much as possible.
Bikes are only allowed on parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) and some sections on paved road would be unavoidable.

I’d try to do it solo and unsupported (except for Starbucks breaks), in a day-and-a-half, and I wanted to camp out in the wilderness so I’d need to lug quite some stuff along. My original route proved to be a bit over-ambitious, but I did manage to close the loop, as the below map attests! (didn’t have much choice, actually…)

It was tough but a great and rewarding experience – only noticeable really after it was done ;) . Read the full report, download the GPS track or check out many more photos on the trip page.

Highlights are too many to summarize here – ‘gorgeous singletrack with equally gorgeous views all the way’ would probably do it. A truly memorable trip, and if you take some more time than I did, you could add the Stanford loop, the Mount Rose section of the TRT as well as the Punisher to Big Meadows and Christmas Valley towards the end, to make it an all-encompassing best-of-Tahoe trip: over 100 miles, good for two or three days of epic riding.

July 22, 2007

Demo day

Filed under: Riding and racing — mtbguru @ 10:28 pm

Soquel Demonstration Forest, aka Demo Forest, is definitely one of our favorite local riding spots. Though it does take some determination to get there these days: it’s located in a remote spot in the Santa Cruz mountains and to to drive to the traditional starting point (coming from San Jose) one needs to negotiate a section of road which has almost completely been wiped out by a landslide – because of this, a part of Highland road is officially ‘closed’, though no one pays much attention to this fact. One of these days the road will probably disappear completely – just think that the probability that it happens while you’re on it can be considered to be pretty small, unless you’d be hauling a semi truck over it or so. Another concern is the occurrence of car break-ins at the parking spot, in particular on weekdays, when there aren’t much people around.

No problems whatsoever this Saturday though – only bliss and happy faces. The fantastic singletrack (Ridge! Braille! etc) was responsible for this but also the excellent folks of Trailhead Cyclery in San Jose who put up another one of their great ‘Demo at Demo’ events. Riders who showed up were able to test ride Yeti’s, Intense, Ibis and Specialized rigs. I took the occasion to give the Intense 5.5 29er a spin, a pretty sweet ride indeed.

A bike shop that goes through such efforts (hauling all that stuff into the middle of nowhere and staffing it the whole day) to please the local bike enthusiasts can only be recommended – thanks again THC!

On the photo below, some Demo candy of yesterday… more on the trip page!


Demo log ride

July 13, 2007

Death Ride, Downieville Classic

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 7:47 am

A busy weekend is coming up here in Northern California: the Tour of the California Alps, aka the Death Ride, is starting tomorrow morning early in Markleeville. A bit later and a hundred miles from it the Downieville Classic mountain bike race will be on. Two great events to look forward to.

Last year’s Death Ride course (same as this year’s) is shown below. Check out the trip page for GPS or KML data of the ride!

July 9, 2007

Tour time

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 10:28 pm

It came a couple of weeks early for the National Holiday (July 21), and a couple days early for the Flemish Holiday (July 11), but the Tour de France today ended up being a Belgian party: Steegmans and Boonen 1 and 2, in a stage finishing in Gent (where yours truly was born).

Thanks to Versus (the former Outdoor Life Network) the Tour can be watched on TV here in California – at a safe distance from the crappy weather Northern Europe seems to be enduring now. And as usual, excellent blog coverage and link collections can be found on Ken Conley’s spare cycles.

July 3, 2007

Summer’s here

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 5:52 pm

Summer’s really here now and lots of great outdoor events are taking place or are on the agenda.

For instance, the Great Divide Race – the world’s longest non-stop mountain bike race – is currently ongoing. The premise is simple but brutal: the start is at the Canadian/US border, the finish at the US/Mexican border and in between are countless miles of dirt to be ridden, following a route snaking along the Continental Divide in the center of the Rocky Mountains. The first one to arrive wins – there are no stages, and in good mountain bike race tradition, the participants have to basically be entirely self-supported. An ‘armchair analysis’ of the event this year can be read on Dave Harris’ blog, an endurance mountain bike racer, who also has published a whole bunch of other very interesting articles on his site.

Or, how about the Climb to Kaiser race, a grueling 250km road bike race starting in Fresno in California’s Central Valley with as ‘highlight’ the ascent of Kaiser Pass in the Sierra’s at 9200ft – this took place last weekend and you can read a report on Matt Turgeon’s site.

Of course, other continents have their share of challenging events too: the Transalp mountain bike stage race in the European Alps and the Cristalp come to mind. And the upcoming Tour de Jotunheimen in Norway (430km) looks like an epic adventure of mind-altering proportion.

As for yours truly, I’m considering signing up for the E100 (tagline ‘mind over mountains’), but I’m not sure whether my mind will be up for that…


Cham

(Photo: col de Posettes in Chamonix)