Biking Around Lake Tahoe

An activity that has been on Karen’s and my bucket list for a while now is bicycling around Lake Tahoe.  This year, it finally made it to the top of the list.  We booked a room at Basecamp in South Lake Tahoe, and at a bright and early time embarked on a 73 mile ride with roughly 3700 feet of elevation gain.

The sunrise weather was brisk – 33 degrees and still.  The previous afternoon and evening had seen an unseasonably cold storm roll through the area.  Evidence of its uncharacteristically cold temperature was that the morning found a solid few inches of accumulated snow on the peaks, and dustings as low as Emerald Bay.

Having bundled up with just about every piece of our cycling clothing, Karen and I set out.  We made the climb up past Emerald Bay without incident.  This climb was Karen’s largest worry.  The road at this point is very narrow and includes several tight uphill turns.  The cars that typically drive this section of road are not necessarily bike friendly.  Due to our early departure, however, we encountered very few cars.  The views were wonderful and the watching the sun rise above the mountain ridges from the top of Emerald Bay was quite a nice sight.

Our path up the west side of the lake was without incident.  We took our time and stopped on occasion to enjoy the scenery.  We took brunch at Tahoe City.  Here our path began to overlap with the Ironman Tahoe race course.  The racers were inspiring to watch.  These competitors jumped into a lake in 33 degree weather, only to get out and fly around the mountains at 20+ miles per hour on bikes, then run a marathon.

Having made it around to Sand Harbor on the Nevada side of the lake, we took a stop for lunch and some stretching.  Then, it was off for the last climb down the east side of the lake before descending into South Lake Tahoe and our car.  This descent, as many of you may know, took place on a 4 lane highway without a shoulder or bike lane.  It was time to “sack-up,” shall we say, and take on the traffic. So, down we went, taking up the right-hand lane.  Through a tunnel and we popped out in South Lake.

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