Thirty-seven days and counting until sweeping Tahoe vistas and quad-burning climbs – also known as America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride. It’s past time to gear up! On Sunday I decided to ride as far east on the American River Parkway as I could go and then muster the energy to ride back, since I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a similar feeling when biking around Tahoe. The ride went a little something like this:
Mile 3.2: Dang it! I forgot to eat my nine-o’clock snack; I wonder how this is going to go…
Mile 15.1: This isn’t so bad; maybe I’ll make it all the way to Folsom Lake!
Mile 23: Snack time! Folsom Lake is not happening, but I must make it to the Truss Bridge so I can loop around Lake Natoma.
Mile 24.7: How the crank do I get out of Historic Folsom?! If I don’t find the trail in a minute I’m giving up and having a beer at Samuel Horne’s Tavern…
Mile 27.2: Finished off the last of my snacks. I didn’t bring enough calories. I wonder if one of these rowing teams on the lake will give me a ride back to Natomas Dam at least…
Mile 34.5: Yep, it’s official – I’m not going to be able to walk tomorrow.
Mile 39.8: Just rode past a BBQ. I wonder if they’ll notice if I ride through their picnic and nab a burger. Or maybe I’ll see one of those wild turkeys and I can do a flying tackle move off my bike and have Thanksgiving dinner right here on the trail.
Mile 40.53: I’m running on fumes…go on without me. Sigh. Home equals food, must persevere!
Mile 47.8: Stopped to pick up Aspen supplies at pet store. I was hoping for a candy rack so I could inhale two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. No such luck…that frosted dog cookie looks eatable…RESIST! Two miles left! You can make it to people food!
Mile 50.29: Thank you quads for bringing me safely home to my fully stocked refrigerator! Holy bike gears – farthest ride yet!
To get a better idea of what to expect for my Tahoe ride I did a bit of internet research. Most results were for groups doing the 100-mile ride and talked of coaches. Everything would be fine if you listened to your coach. Coach?! And now I’m worried, so I decided to seek out advice from road bike enthusiasts.
SierraDirtSlayer said a coach wasn’t necessary but didn’t sugar coat that the ride was going to be tough! Skwerl, who has done this event, gave me insight on the climbs and descents. “Emerald Bay hits pretty steep and fast. But is not very long. Get comfortable spinning in [the] easiest gear,” to get up the hill without killing your legs. “Spooner is a long grind so get into [an] easier gear,” and keep your heart rate and a manageable level. He also advised to practice starting on a steep hill for when you get cut off by another biker or taking a break on the hill. Then don’t forget about the descents! No riding the breaks or you’ll warp your wheel. Skwerl advised to stay loose, cover your brakes – don’t grab at them, keep space from other riders, look ahead to your path of travel, and use both brakes and once. All duly noted!
It sounds like drivers should expect bikers on the home stretch as late as 5 pm. That gives me 10 hours, including breaks, to pedal 72 miles. I think my goal of avoiding the sag wagon aka bus of shame is attainable.
On my 50-mile ride that lasted a little over four hours I only had 400 calories with me between an energy gel packet and Clif Shot Bloks. Turns out I should be eating 400ish calories per hour! Good thing all the blogs mentioned how well stocked the food stations along the route are. Maybe one will even have a Thanksgiving dinner!
Just keep pedaling,