Complete success at that!
In short - a pretty damn great day.
5:00am came early (when doesn't it?) and 1 by 1 we rolled into breakfast. Folks kept checkin' weather.com as they shoveled in the eggs, taters, bacon, toast oatmeal etc but no matter how often someone checked it sorta stayed 36-frickin' degrees.
6:30 - kitted up in arm and knee warmers, vest, full gloves I gathered up a group and we went across the street to the start line. The choice of attire spanned the range from full shoe covers and balaclavas to a few hardy locals dressed for the anticipated (and hours away) 74 degrees.
Off we roll - in the first wave. The route went right down HWY 50-the same way we've been driving pretty much everyday to this great lil ' burrito joint - and across the state line and into the "cooler" part of South Lake Tahoe. (IE the California side). 5-6 miles through town and then we took a right to follow the shore of the lake. By now faster riders from the next wave were blowin' past us (a precurser to the entire day!) and things got crowded. I found myself (surprise!) @ the back w/ 82 year old Barbara and the 2 of us quickly fell off the pace. Tim St Clair caught us a short time later and for a while she had the entire National Coaching Staff as her personal wingmen. She called it a day @ the base of the 1st big climb (mile 9.5) and climbed into a sag wagon, leaving TSC and I to try and catch our riders up the steepest climb of the day. a few miles later it was obvious that it wasn't gonna happen so Berger jumped us forward 'til we saw some JDRF folks to ride with. Thus we were deprived of riding the steepest portion of the course, but I might try to get out there in the next 2 days and remedy that. Some MAJOR switchbacks to be sure! I hooked up w/ Jenny-from-LA, who I've ridden w/ in Whitefish and Sonoma.
We finished the climb, enjoyed the 2 mile descent and rolled into Breakpoint 2. Found more JDRF riders there - scooped 'em up and enjoyed the flat-out gorgeous North end of the lake.
I bid 'em farewell when we reached the dock where the ferry came in - we had 10-15 riders on it and Tim and I wanted to make sure they weren't behind us. Waited there for a bit, he showed up w/ Lauren-from San Fran and we started up the other big climb of the day, a Jubilee pass-esque romp up to Spooner Junction, the high point of the ride @ 7044'. From there a mostly downhill (yes, I mean that) 16 mile ride into the finish awaited.
I rode in w/ Lauren and a couple women from Tex that I remember from previous years. (Too bad I can't remember their names!) We came in around 4pm, about 5 minutes ahead of Tim ridin' sweep w/ Coach Keith and our last rider.
Dinner was great - after a pretty low-key Friday night TSC and I split up the mic duties and managed to rev 'em up a bit. David Nestveld did a great job presenting the 2 (!!!) Spirit jerseys and....well......I think we achieved both BikeFace and goosebumps!
As I said - we're 3 for 3! And I gotta tell ya - it feels damn good!
So - should we consider this Ride? Well...the answer is yes and no. Here are a few thoughts:
Yes - a fabulous route. Imagine the best of Whitefish and Asheville turned to 11! The nearly constant views of the lake, the cool little towns (all way cali!) the weather - all awesome!
No - LOTS of traffic! I mean lots. The route is mostly on tight and sometimes twisty 2 lanes, with or without guardrails. The locals were described as "cyclist friendly and accustomed to sharing the road" but.......not all of 'em got that memo it would seem! Lotsa cyclist traffic too, w/ a total of 1800+ riders. Not many of 'em have heard of the concept of "on your left" neither, based on the evidence. The other issue (for me at least) has been this shabby, 2nd rate old casino as Ride HQ and chief lodging. Now - obviously if I'm on record as hating Vegas then S. Tahoe's Vegas-wannabe nature ain't gonna thrill me. Based on the feedback I bet they change the venue.
Maybe - the limited route selection. There is only a 36 and 73 mile option and given that it's a loop ride the only way to cut it short is via a sag wagon.
Now - there's also the whole "It's Not Just Our Ride" thing, but that might hafta be another post 'cuz your ol' buddy MC is hittin' the wall HARD and is gonna call it a day. A great day, but a day nonetheless.
2 more days of hard work remain. As of noon tomorrow Jeremy, Did and I will be it. Gonna be lonely!
See you next weekend I hope! Look for details of the Saturday Team Ride soon!
Love you guys, you rock!
Monday, September 13, 2010