Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 3 - Big Wednesday

After two days of moderate rides and settling into the swing of living in the thin air of the high mountains, we embarked on an epic ride. We divided the team into three groups to allow riders of different levels and degrees of acclimation to ride at their appropriate level. Two groups of boys went big, while the girls team took a mellower day after having ridden bigger the day before.

I led a group of eight young speedsters on a mission to make it over an 8500 ft. pass called Stanford Rock. The climb up to Stanford is long, steepens at the top and becomes highly technical just as it gets way up there in elevation. After having done this route last year, I knew it would be a challenging climb with a rewarding descent down the Rim Trail. What we didn't expect was so much snow from the late spring storms this year, that the upper third of the climb became a snow hike.

After about 20 min of on and off the bike over bigger and bigger snow drifts, we realized that the route had become completely snowed over. Rather than turn our ride into a hike, we decided to descend back down and add another segment of the Rim Trail to the day's adventure. The descent back down was a blast, as we carried speed through the snow patches, sliding all around.

The second group, led by Steve Cherry did decide to make it over the pass, hiking through the snow to the river-like snow melt descent and deep creek crossings at the bottom. The smiles on their faces after the ride told their story well...

In the meantime, our group of nine picked up the Rim Trail through Page Meadows down to Tahoe City, then continued on the Rim from Tahoe City east, up the grueling, technical climb toward Painted Rock. After the hour-long oxygen-deprived, technical climb, and four hours into our ride, we hit the last fun sections of rolling terrain down through Burton Creek State Park to our doorstep. Looking forward to a rest day on Thursday!

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