JoAnn and I took up cycling about a year or so ago. Though we are both avid hikers (going so far as to have a hike-in wedding), a painfully arthritic knee has made it difficult for JoAnn to hike the way she used to. So we took up cycling as a alternative.
Our friends Julie and Jane Ann talked us into participating in “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,” a complete curcumnavigation of Lake Tahoe, taking place on June 7th. 72 miles total, with 2000+’ of climbing. This is a big challenge, and we’ve been training for it!
For Memorial Day weekend, we decided to go up to the family cabin in Mineral, just a few miles outside of the park. We did a couple of training rides while we were there.
On Saturday we rode from Mineral, east on highway 36, then north from the highway 89 junction into the park. Gorgeous views of the high peaks in the park, and there was a bit of snow on the ground as we got higher. There was some good steady climbing here, and a excellent workout.
We stopped at the new Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitors center to have our picnic lunch and check out the exhibits.
This is a great visitors center, and well worth a visit. Then a speedy downhill back to Mineral.
After getting back to the cabin, and relaxing a little bit, I decided I had some energy left, and went for another ride. This time I decided to do a loop up hwy 172… up over Mineral Summit, through Mill Creek, and back up highway 36 over Morgan Summit.
Well… Morgan Summit is quite steep, with a long 3.8 mile climb at 7% grade. A excellent workout, but I was knackered by the time I got back to Mineral. A yummy taco dinner made up for all the hard work!
On Sunday morning, JoAnn and I decided to head back up to the park again. We drove up to Morgan Summit and cycled back into the park again. After we got back to Morgan Summit, we decided to reverse the loop ride I’d done on Saturday… heading down from Morgan Summit and looping back on highway 172. Highway 172 is a great road for cycling. Scenic and almost no automotive traffic.
The climbing was a good challenge, but not as steep as doing it counter-clockwise! JoAnn did very well… she kept going slow and steady with no rest stops, and we made it back feeling strong and confident.
We’re both very excited and a little nervous about the Tahoe ride in two weeks. But I think this weekend increased our fitness level, and has given us the confidence to make it happen!
p.s. The more I do this, the more admiration I have for those professional cyclists. Watching the guys in the Giro, it just amazes me how they can ride 150+ miles, then climb up a mountain. Incredible athletes.