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July 30, 2009

Donner Lake

Filed under: Riding and racing — mtbguru @ 7:54 am

While a ‘spectator’ of the 2009 Donner Lake Triathlon, I took some time off to explore part of the Donner Lake Rim trail: the Negro Canyon trailhead right off the I-80 exit connects with a gradual singletrack climb to the well-marked DLRT. In recent years a lot of work has been done on the DRLT – the little sibling of the TRT – and the results are fabulous; great job by the volunteers that were round up by the Truckee Donner Land Trust. The western section, near the PCT and Hole in the Ground trail is a beautiful technical gem, featuring lots of fun involving granite boulders. Summit Lake and the surroundings are gorgeous, offering great views on Andesite and Castle Peaks, Donner Lake deep in the valley, Sugarbowl, etc.
I didn’t have the time to venture much further – though the siren call of HitG was loud – so I turned around and put on Grandaddy’s ‘Crystal Lake’ for a fast descent back to Donner during which I enjoyed that rare moment in the zone where you lose track of time and self, where there’s only focus and exhilaration (and some well-placed rocks to wipe you out, but that’s another matter).

The crystal lake it only laughs
It knows you’re just a modern man
It’s shining like the chandelier
Shining somewhere far away from here

Donner Lake

Donner Lake Rim trail

Summit Lake

July 15, 2009


Filed under: Riding and racing — mtbguru @ 7:54 am

Another event taking place this past weekend I failed to mention in the previous post was the Livestrong challenge ride in San Jose – with a course that went truly through my backyard. And I probably would have joined this one, if it wasn’t for the fact that we were doing our own Armstrong challenge, a couple hundred miles to the east.

Armstrong Pass trail, leading to Armstrong Pass on the Tahoe Rim Trail has gotten a bit of a makeover, it seems. Something felt odd, quite different from the last time we rode it, a few years back. A quick comparison of the tracks (red: the old trail, blue: the new) on the map and indeed, the re-route is obvious. 

Armstrong Reroute

And this time, we descended it. The good news is that it’s quite a descent: flowy and with enough technical features to keep it highly entertaining. The better news is called ‘the Armstrong Connector’. Instead of having to take the road back to town or to upper Corral, you can now enjoy a 100% off road descent – and a fantastic one at that – into town. If you add the section from the top of the TRT near Freel Peak, I believe you’re looking at the longest uninterrupted all singletrack descent into the Tahoe basin (~3500ft in about 10 miles). And that’s how it felt! Besides Corral, you now have a few new (to us) options as well:

Corral etc

Looks like some great trail work has been done.

Now where was the ‘challenge’? Well, to get to the goodies, we had to do a mini-Punisher, starting from Heavenly at the Daggett pass, climbing up the TRT to Star Lake and beyond, into the thin air at 9700ft. We skipped the 1 mile hike up to Freel Peak, which probably wasn’t a bad thing, since at the bottom of Corral we rode into a bit of an afternoon thunderstorm. Needless to say, by the time we found shelter we were already soaked to the bone. And when we did find shelter, the rain had stopped. So I went on straight up Kingsbury to pick up the car, located ~1400ft above us. It was an unpleasant wet climb on busy pavement to wrap up a great ride. Tom was even eager for more – but then he had taken on Starbucks rather than Kingsbury Grade).


Say hi to that last patch of snow on the TRT!

July 14, 2009

Summer update

Filed under: General MTBGuru stuff — mtbguru @ 7:37 am

This past weekend, there was a perfect storm of familiar cycling events in my backyard taking place: the Downieville Classic, the Death Ride, the Cascade Cream Puff, the San Francisco triathlon (ok this involves some swimming and running as well), all on the same day. Meanwhile, the Breck Epic hardly ended, the last Tour Divide racers are wrapping up their incredible adventure and of course there is a certain race going on in France. It must be summer!

All this action was inspiring enough for me to kick the blog out of its lethargic comatose state, so be prepared for some new and good stuff!

Some housekeeping info: the canyonfever domain has been temporarily retired until I find a better purpose for it, and announcements and updates related to the more nuts and bolts stuff of MTBGuru.com will be posted using our brand spanking new Twitter account. Follow us there to keep posted on what’s up with the site. All this means I’ll be posting here more about riding, yay!