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.
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:
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!