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    • The crazy idea, years in the making, of mountain biking the entire 100 miles of Tahoe Rim Trail (all the legal sections) became a reality on a hot mid July day in 2018 . A true roller coaster of a ride with lung-busting climbs followed by gnarly rock gardens and flowy single tracks weaved around the big blue Lake Tahoe. Crashes, broken spokes and leaky tires mixed in with 50 degree temperature swings, thunderstorms and hail made this adventure into an epic ride worthy of a story to be told by the 4 riders out who dared...

    • The night before the adventure we sat down for a final walkthrough. Going over the gear, food, drop and resupply points, and time estimates, made the entire weight of this epic journey real and looming. With only a handful of hours left to sleep we needed to rest before the 3:15 am alarm.

    • The moonless night made for a dark backdrop for a 4 am group shot right before heading out to the trailhead nearby. With headlights mounted on the handlebars and helmets we were set and ready for a short hill climb to the junction of the Tahoe Rim Trail only miles away from Tahoe City.

    • Riding in the dark with only the spot lights illuminating the trail ahead we kicked up the dust at a blistering pace. Full of excitement we soon started the 1 hour Glass Mountain climb at the base of the Tahoe City. Somewhere in the middle of it, we had our first mechanical stop. My rear tire was slowly leaking... Perhaps it was from bouncing around the rocks or just an imperceptable leak, but we didn't want to take any chances of a pinch flat so Dylan jumped in to help and pumped up my tire.

      For a brief moment I had a chance to catch my breath and enjoy the scenery around us. Almost exactly a year ago I was hiking this trail with friends never suspecting that I'll ever get to ride it...

    • After 2 hours of riding we welcomed the warm rays of sun raising through the trees. The first official stop was all too brief, just enough time to get a quick bite of energy bars and stash away the headlights. Still in the low 50s the temperature started to rise quickly and we had to keep moving to cover the most ground before the heat of the day set in.

    • The fun descent on the "Painted Rock" trail soon ended with a stop to fix a mechanical issue. Martin's dropper post lever was missing a bolt that flew away as he hit a small bump on the trail. It was now hanging off the handlebar and had to be fixed before we could continue. We zip tied it back to the bar and kept going.

    • As beatiful as this part of our journey was, many sections of it were hike-a-bike and we had to push our bikes up and sometimes down the trail. Our average speed dropped significantly and we started to worry about our slipping schedule.

    • Four hours into our ride with 6K feet of elevation gain over the 30 miles, we've finally reached the self resupply point at a 7 Eleven store in the Incline Village. Water, snacks and limb stretching ensued for the next 30 minutes. We couldn't wait any longer as the temperature kept rising by the minute and the 1 hour 2K foot long climb up Mt. Rose to the Tahoe Meadows was our next stretch.

    • Being the last one up the grueling one hour climb put a huge dent into my ego and reset my expectations of actually finishing this ride. 5 hours on the saddle added to the misery and the wheels in the head started turning about the possibility of quitting. The thought of 8 more hours and just as much climbing ahead of us was hard to swallow. Riding alongside me, Joel tried to lift my spirits and keep these thoughts away. Thank you, Joel! 😉

    • I finally got a break at the top of Tahoe Meadows with a flowly single track descent surrounded by blooming wildflowers and happy birds. My spirit started to rise again and I even dared to think for a moment that maybe I could actually finish...

    • Parts of the trail opened up to the magnificent views of the blue giant. On a sunny day like ours Lake Tahoe looked incredibly blue. We flew down the trail taking soaking up glimpses of the beautiful lake.

    • As the trail traversed through the rocky boulders, Dylan stopped for a quick shot of Martin. It's hard to come up with a more captivating photo of what mountain biking is about.

    • Soon enough we started to have fun again hitting some berms on a trail and enjoying the single track descents. Watching Dylan and Martin ripping it up on their Specialized Epic bikes made me jealous and I quickly jumped to a conclusion that all I needed to resolve my misery was a new bike. Fortunately, the cell reception was poor and I couldn't just stop and order the bike right there and then. 🤣

    • Seven hours and 45 miles into our ride, we've reached my main attraction: the infamous Flume Trail. The narrow trail almost 4 miles long hugs the ridge with sheer cliff drops to its side. It is almost entirely flat and the views of the lake are nothing short of spectacular. If you squint enough you'll see me riding between the trees in this photo:

    • The big and magnificent blue lake was calling me to get off the bike and take a dip in the beautiful Sand Harbor Beach below. But with a sheer cliff or a 2 hour detour separating us, I had to settle with just enjoying the views.

    • Riding on the Flume Trail is not for a faint of heart. With almost three decades behind the bars of a mountain bike, I still got chills here and there. The narrow two way traffic trail made for many close encounters one of which put the final straw on my back...

      Up ahead a novice rider on the heavy side rolled toward me on what looked like a rental mountain bike. As we got close he tried to give the right of way by going slighly up the side of the trail and away from the cliff side I was riding. Unfortunately he couldn't control the bike and as we crossed paths he fell right on top of me taking me and my bike down the cliff. We only tumbled a few feet from the trail as a big boulder caught my leg and stopped the awkward fall. Both shaken and a bit scratched up (at least I was) we slowly climbed up with Joel's help. After dusting off and exchanging words on what the hell just happened the rider quickly blamed me for the encounter and rode away as quickly as he could. Joel, who was riding behind me and witnessed the entire thing couldn't believe that the rider blamed me for causing him to fall on top of me. It made no sense.

      I brushed off a mix of dirt and pine needles from my legs and looked over the bike. Just a few minor scratches on the leg and elbow, the bike was fine. We had to keep moving. But I was now fully convinced to call it a day at the next meetup point only a few miles up ahead.

    • Joel captured another scenic shot as I rode towards the shade of the rocks. It was already noon and the temperature kept rising past the 70s and into the 80s.

    • The Flume Trail took us down to Marlette Lake where we regrouped with Dylan and Martin. I couldn't believe how energetic they looked given how much I struggled. I told them about my encounter and that I was going to finish my ride at the next meet up point at Spooner Lake only 6 miles away. So we decided to take the photo together against the backdrop of the Lake Marlette.

    • The single track became a wide fireroad with a half mile climb and 6 mile descent to the Spooner Lake. The tires kicked up a dust cloud and being the last one in the pack I got a good taste of dry dirt. Joel was just ahead of me on a hardtail yet I couldn't catch him even on my fancy full suspension Niner Jet 9 RDO.

    • At last we've reached the Spooner Lake campground, our major resupply stop where our friend was already waiting for us for some time. She brought us delicious burritos, cold drinks, water and plenty of sunscreen and chamois cream.

    • A bitter-sweet moment of throwing in the towel (aka racking up the bike) as I've wished a safe journey to Joel, Dylan and Martin who rode on for another 45 miles with 7K feet of climbing in the heat of the day. After 7 hours on the saddle, 56 Miles and over 7K of climbing I was done with my ride.

      To be honest, I wasn't ready for this adventure and had a pile of excuses... The weekend prior I was racing at June Lake 70.3 (Half Ironman) triathlon and had races scheduled for the following two weekends both 70.3 triathlons: Donner Lake 70.3 and Santa Rosa 70.3. So I didn't want to burn any last matches.

    • We were sad to lose Vilen at Spooner after he essentially got jumped by an uber Clydesdale rider.  On top of that, if I were racing Half Ironmans on the weekends before and after, I wouldn’t be going past 8 hours either. 

      It was now almost 1 pm and we had been going for nearly 9 hours including breaks, some of the rest kind and some of mechanical kind.  After scarfing down real food, cokes, those
      Starbucks doubleshot coffee and protein cans, and anything else we could find to keep us charged up, we lubed the chains and set out on the Bench section from Spooner Summit to Kingsbury Grade. 

      This section is about 14 miles of sweet singletrack, but starts with a nearly 2,000 ft partially shaded climb.  By now it was really heating up and some sections had no breeze.  The sweat was dripping constantly off the helmet onto the bike, and somehow I found the right head angle to keep it out of my eyes and sunglasses. We all suffered a bit, but reaching the top made it all worth it, where we had an amazing view of Lake Tahoe.

      From here it was fun and flowy riding down to Kingsbury.  But it was not without incident.  Dylan broke a spoke and wrapped it around an adjacent spoke as a crutch to the next aid point.  My water bottle cage came loose and I managed to cross thread it in a rush to tighten it back on.  We were against the clock, about an hour behind our ideal low estimate ride time, so we kept it moving.

    • Although riding from Spooner Lake to Kingsbury Grade took us just 2 hours, it seemed much longer.  We were starting to feel the time and distance. We actually beat our aid crew there due to bad traffic.  The plan was for a quick eat/drink/lube/sunscreen session, but 20 minutes later we were just finishing the reparations. 

      This next section was the longest and would require 3+ liters of water each, but would we need lights? Naw, we thought, it’s only 3:30 pm and this section took 4 hours last time.  Of course, that was the only ride that day.  And there were no thunderheads.

      At the start of the climb near the creek, we saw a bobcat catch a rabbit right in front of us. This was really cool to see and put us in a good mood for the initial hot and at times steep climb to the intersection with the Van Sickle trail.

    • From here, Martin took the lead and set a strong and consistent pace up the long series of grinding climbs, just as he had been doing all day long. By now I was really feeling the magnitude of this ride and my stomach was not happy.  I could still eat now and again, but the nausea limited my pace.

    • The climb to Monument Pass seemed longer than ever. Dismounts for technical sections came every few minutes.  Some sections looked rideable but I was too tired to attempt them and risk falling onto boulders.  This was a blessing in disguise in that the portages allowed us to stand up and stretch the legs.  At this point I was so saddle sore that any chance to get off the bike was much appreciated.