America's Most Beatiful Bike Ride
This weekend was America's Most Beautiful Bike, a century ride around Lake Tahoe, it also a national event for Team In Training with over 1800 participants and 8.5 million dollars raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I joined the TNT cycle team, halfway through their training season to participate in this event. I had only managed to make a few rides with team before the event but had the chance to meet some great people.
I arrived on Saturday afternoon and joined my teammates for a quick shake down ride. I then went to TNT Pasta Party to carbo-load before the event, we heard stories from an Honoree's and a run down of what to expect out on the roads the next day. I got back to my hotel room early to prepare, as I laid out all my gear for morning I realized a critical component of gear was missing! Yes, I had forgotten my Pink socks :-0 Despite this I decided to go ahead with ride :-)
Sunday morning I woke up at 4:30am, and by 5:45am I was with the team and ready to roll. The day started out very cold, around 45F, I hadn't really dressed for the temperature and visions of my fingers dropping off during the first ten miles of the ride. As we reached Emerald Bay, things started warm-up and this is where the ride really began. I had been staying with my pace line but once we hit the climb up to Inspirational Point I started my attack on the hill and left the group.
The climb up to Inspiration Point was good and having the road closed to traffic made it a lot easier, it was followed by a nice fast descent of course slowing down for the road works, where the other lane is not just closed but missing. Seeing Emerald Bay is certainly one of the highlights of the course. As got to the other side of the bay there were people cheering on the riders as they went by. From there onwards it is a decent towards Tahoe city. There are some great views of the Lake at this point as the road is right along the shoreline.
I reached the out and back to Truckee, the first 4-5 miles are on cycle path which can be dangerous with a lot of riders about, luckily I was on my own a I managed to pass a small group of riders ahead me without a problem. The road out there is a little rough and felt like it went on forever due to some head wind, but I managed to keep a good pace and was the first rider to reach the Truckee rest stop. I stopped for a couple minutes and refueled,
then headed back towards the lake. I started to see the riders behind me as they past on the other side of the road, some of the first were the rest of my team who were not too far behind. As I entered the cycle path again things started to become a little dicey as there were now hundreds of people heading towards me. All I could hear was the words "Biker up" was people then did there best ride single file, luckily I only had to swerve once. Back on the main road again and going through Tahoe City I knew it wouldn't be long before I reached the lunch stop and King's Beach. I started to pass the riders who were doing the 72mile option that stays around the lake. I nearly 15 minutes for lunch and even posed for photo :-)
Back on the road I past a few more of the 72mile riders and continue on into Nevada and Incline Village, beyond there is one of the most scenic parts of the ride. The water was blue and the sky was clear, the long climb up to Spooner Lake had rewarding views along the way. As the climb peaked I was starting to feel the heat, although still very pleasant.
From the top of Spooner Lake it was a straight descent with a couple rolling hills to finish. The final rollers were tougher then they looked, but with couple miles left I could see hotel which marked the finish up ahead and powered through to the end. As I reached the finish line things were very quite with only a few people about and no other cyclists. I checked in at the Team In Training tent, on first inspection they did not recognize me as TNT participant as I was not in the national TNT gear sported by everyone else. Next they asked me with I had actually cycled 100 miles, I looked at my GPS and Cycle computer both confirmed the distance and I said "Yes, of course". They then said "Well your the first one back" :-) With an average speed of 19.2mph I had completed my Century Ride.
It was just coming on 11:30am, so I headed back out the course to find my teammates, I had said I start and finish with them but might not be there in the middle. At about 9 miles back out on the course I caught up with them, I joined back on the pace line and rode the final 9 miles back with them, coming through the finish line was just as good the second time :-)
A big thanks to Matt and the other cycle team coaches, who made be part of the team despite my rouge ways ;-)
(Also thanks to Andy Miner who took some
of the great photos of the lake on this entry)
America's Most Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):
Full 120 mile route elevation profile and details: