Posts Tagged ‘cycling’
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Summer officially kicks off in North Lake Tahoe Memorial Day Weekend with the 6th Annual Opening Day at the Lake. This four-day special event is Friday, May 25 to Monday, May 28, and will be a slew of celebrations and festivities along the West Shore and the North Tahoe region.
It’s the official launch into the North Tahoe boating and summer season. The first days of summer bring a buzz of excitement and festivities will be sure to capture that. People are eager to get outside and enjoy themselves. Whether it’s on the water, on the beaches or taking part in other seasonal events, it’s a great time of year to explore North Lake Tahoe.
Opening Day at the Lake events include deck opening celebrations at Sunnyside Resort (celebrating its 25th anniversary), West Shore Café & Inn, Chambers Landing Bar & Restaurant and Bridgetender (celebrating its 35th anniversary); the opening of Meeks Bay Resort & Marina; openings and tours of historical Vikingsholm Castle, Sugar Pine Point Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, the Gatekeeper’s Museum and the Tahoe Maritime Museum with its new “Tahoe Twenties” exhibit; as well as the popular Mike Brown Seaplane Splash-In and BBQ at Obexer’s General Store.
Another noteworthy anniversary is Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet, which celebrates 35 years this summer. The restaurant will donate complimentary continental breakfasts for early risers assisting in the West Shore Clean Up Day Friday, May 25 at 8 a.m. Also opening for the season is Swiss Lakewood Restaurant in Homewood, which has graced the West Shore for more than 50 years.
New for Opening Day at the Lake this year are special lake-wide shopping and dining offerings Thursday, May 24 through Thursday, May 31, coordinated by area business associations, including the Incline Village Business Association, North Tahoe Business Association, the West Shore Association, the Tahoe City Downtown Association and the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association.
Memorial Day weekend is also a fantastic time to pedal to and from Opening Day events as North Lake Tahoe’s paved bike trails are open, accessible and cleared of snow.
Where will you be celebrating?
Friday, May 4th, 2012
Lake Tahoe = a premier outdoor biking destination. Duh…
Liquigas-Cannondale, a professional Italian racing team in the UCI ProTour, will call North Lake Tahoe home Saturday, May 5 through Friday, May 11 to train for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, an eight-stage race scheduled for May 13-20 and held throughout the state of California.
Many cyclists got a taste of Lake Tahoe last May while training for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. These professionals had the opportunity to experience the beauty of the area firsthand and its challenging, high-altitude terrain. Although last year’s Tahoe stages of the Amgen Tour of California were cancelled due to an untimely snowstorm, riders have been eager to get back and hit our scenic steeps.
Liquigas-Cannondale will be difficult to miss while training in Lake Tahoe as they’ll be outfitted in their team jerseys and accompanied by support vehicles as they make their way around Lake Tahoe. Visitors to the area may see the professional cyclists along Tahoe’s vertical terrain, such as climbing Highway 267 from Kings Beach to Truckee, Highway 431 from Incline Village to Reno, up historic Old Highway 40 near Donner Lake or maybe via Highway 89 from Truckee to Downieville. The switchbacks of Emerald Bay have also been a popular training ground for other professional cyclists.
Liquigas-Cannondale team members training in Lake Tahoe are Vincenzo Nibali, Mauro Da Dalto, Kristjan Koren, Alessandro Vanotti, Alan Marangoni, Sthefano Agostini, Daniel Oss, Peter Sagan, Paolo Slongo, Dario Mariuzzo, Michele Pallini, Maros Hlad, Simone Schuler, Nazzareno Berto and Matteo Cornacchione.
Monday, October 10th, 2011
It’s leaf peeping season – almost. After a brief snowfall in early October the trails and roads in North Lake Tahoe are just starting to show signs of autumn. Aspens in the area are transforming from a sea of green to a brilliant shade of yellow, making for a stunning contrast against Tahoe’s solid wall of pines and firs. That striking contrasts leads many a hiker, kayaker or cyclist to take pause and soak it all up.
The last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November are when the region’s trees really start to change over. There are a number of great venues for soaking up Tahoe’s fall foliage, but those using your own two feet are by far the most popular.
Locals recommend road cycling, inline skating and running up Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore, which is located three to four miles south of Tahoe City. What makes Blackwood unique is its paved road that takes you from 6,200 feet lake level to Barker Pass at 7,200 feet.
Stately Eagle Rock, a popular Tahoe landmark, sits just south of the Blackwood Canyon entrance and is an easy 15-minute hike to the top, offering 180-degree panoramic views of the entire region. The California Tahoe Conservancy recently completed a new trail to the top, which has significantly reduced pollutants into Lake Tahoe.
Located nine miles south of Sand Harbor State Park (just outside of Incline Village), Spooner Lake offers lush meadows and shimmering aspen groves that surround a scenic alpine lake. You’ll find miles of hiking trails, as well as a good starting point if you’re venturing into the backcountry for a backpacking excursion.
Changing fall foliage can also be found on Lake Tahoe’s most popular hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trail – the Tahoe Rim Trail. A 165-mile trail that completely circles Lake Tahoe, this dirt path has eight trailheads making it easy to access. Some favorite spots are Tahoe Meadows on the Mt. Rose Summit (Highway 431), Tahoe City off Fairway Drive behind the town’s commercial core and Barker Pass up Blackwood Canyon, the paved road is open to cars until the snow flies.
Here’s a list of more great hiking trails along Tahoe’s north shore.
In addition to great scenery, you can also peep some Cool Deals on lodging, spas and more here.
Monday, June 13th, 2011
An unusually long winter may have meddled with Tahoe’s legs of the Amgen Tour of California, but cycling events later in the year are sure to dodge those unexpected snow storms. Check out some of the events coming up:
The Lake Tahoe Trail 100K Leadville Qualifier is at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort July 24. Serious mountain bikers will earn one of the 300 coveted starting positions in the 2011 Leadville Trail 100 by riding two 30-mile loops overlooking the Truckee Valley and Lake Tahoe.
Big Blue Adventure has long called Tahoe home with its series of adventure races, triathlons and trail running competitions. Specially for mountain bikers is its Lake Tahoe 4- and 8-Hour Mountain Bike Race June 18 in Tahoe City, where the champion will have made the most laps on a 12-mile course, marked by single track and fire roads.
Cyclists take to the road at the Tahoe Sierra Century Ride September 24, a race starting and finishing in Squaw Valley, which has earned praise for its scenic routes (both 60 and 100-mile available), demanding hill climbs and full-support services.
Get more details about biking in Tahoe, or read about the locals picks for Tahoe cycling.
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
The esteemed Amgen Tour of California recently picked Lake Tahoe for its 2011 Stage 1 and Stage 2 legs. Although cancelled due to a fluke snowstorm, the Tour has successfully introduced the world to what locals have known for years – nothing beats biking in North Lake Tahoe.
Whether you’re tearing it up via a thousand dollar-plus road bike around Lake Tahoe’s scenic 72-mile shoreline, maneuvering the dirt tracks on a steep uphill to Twin Peaks on the West Shore or kicking it along Incline Village’s Lakeshore Drive with your toddler who has just graduated to training wheels, there is a trail especially for you.
For Lance Armstrong wannabes, locals recommend the Rainbow Bridge route.
“Hands down one of the best rides is from Truckee to Cisco Grove,” said Hardy Bullock, the Elijah Bleu’s race team captain. One of Truckee’s newest coffee shops, Elijah Bleu’s is just as serious about cycling as they are about their java.
“The climb along Old Highway 40 is famous for Rainbow Bridge built back in 1926, its spectacular views of Donner Lake and the 1,000-foot-plus climb,” said Bullock.
Named after an old water flume created in Tahoe’s heyday to provide lumber to Virginia City’s burgeoning silver mines, the Flume Trail is now geared for bikes.
“Lake Tahoe’s Flume Trail may be one of the best known mountain biking trails in the world – and for good reason,” said Max Jones, owner of Flume Trail Bikes, who offers guided tours of the trail, a shuttle service as well as rents bikes and nearby backcountry log cabins to bikers and hikers. “It’s a challenging single track with twists and turns offering up some of the best views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada.”
But let’s not forget the kids. Families have long made up the majority of visitors heading to North Lake Tahoe every summer, and the region’s miles of car-free, paved trails makes it easy to enjoy a leisurely ride along the North and West shores.
“One of our most popular rides for families is along the scenic Truckee River from Tahoe City to Squaw V
alley USA, home of the 1960 Winter Olympic,” said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “A convenient and entertaining lunch spot is River Ranch Lodge, right on the trail, as its outdoor patio overlooks the rafters disembarking from the river. The Olympic Rings at the entrance to Squaw Valley is a great photo opportunity and a nearby park has a fantastic soccer field.”
Tahoe’s guided biking services are also many and give visitors a chance to experience the area’s many and varied trails with professional guides who are also well versed in Lake Tahoe’s history, flora and fauna. Tahoe Adventure Company, based in Tahoe Vista and Truckee, offers one of the best combo excursions.
“Summer in North Lake Tahoe is about the trails and the water,” said Kevin Hickey, owner of Tahoe Adventure Company, who provides a one-day kayaking and mountain biking adventure. “Paddling in the morning along the boulders and hidden beaches of the East Shore and then riding on a downhill dirt trail that same afternoon might be one of the finest ways to experience all the region has to offer.”
Click for more information about North Lake Tahoe cycling and mountain biking, including bike rental companies, biking events, guided operations and a list of trails with descriptions and mileage.
Friday, May 27th, 2011
If you’re heading to Tahoe this summer you’ll want to add these 16 to-dos to your bucket list:
- Try stand up paddle boarding at one of the race series in North Lake Tahoe, including the Quicksilver 2011 Ta-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival August 13-14 in Kings Beach
- Choose from a handful of Fourth of July celebrations, from fireworks on the beach to the multi-day Red, White and Tahoe Blue in Incline Village.
- Bring your blanket and picnic basket for a night lakeside at Sand Harbor State Park, where the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival performs July and August.
- Enjoy viewing antique and classic wooden boats at the 39th Annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance August 12-13 in Carnelian Bay.
- Take in a summer movie on the beach and outdoors at resorts and villages.
- Hit the road on two wheels, pedaling around Lake Tahoe’s 72 miles or heading up historic Old Highway 40 to iconic Rainbow Bridge.
- Experience the dark night skies with Star Tours, astronomy nights at many area ski resorts and on guided kayak tours on the lake.
- Laugh, dance, chill at some of the lake’s best nightlife and comedy acts at the area’s historic casinos in Crystal Bay and Incline Village.
- Listen to music in the mountains at the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, which kicks off with the Blues Traveler July 21.
- Stretch your body and your musical boundaries at the Wanderlust Yoga Retreat and Music Festival July 28-31 at Squaw Valley.
- Groove all summer long with High Notes, North Lake Tahoe’s Summerlong Music Series, featuring free outdoor concerts daily, except Mondays, July and August held at venues throughout the region.
- Try cooking alongside celebrity chefs at the 26th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival, September 9-11, held outdoors at the Village at Northstar.
- Taste the finest in culinary delights at the region’s 2nd Annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, October 2-9, with 60-plus restaurants offering prix-fixe dishes at exceptional value s- $20, $30 or $40 per person.
- Toast the season with winemaker dinners at the notable, lakeside Thunderbird Lodge offering a view like no other; dinners start July 10 with the talented Chef Douglas Dale of Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique.
- Experience the solitude on the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile loop trail that meanders along the peaks and valleys around Lake Tahoe, and to the lake’s crystal, clear waters (with a visibility of 70 feet down) to water ski and sail.
- Take a swing at any of the more than 50 golf courses within a 60-minute drive of North Lake Tahoe.
Get complete details on any of these activities, and secure a Cool Deal in the process.
Monday, May 9th, 2011
What is the Amgen Tour of California?
The Amgen Tour of California is one of the most prestigious professional cycling races in the country and covers 800 miles in 15 days (beginning in Lake Tahoe and ending in Thousand Oaks). It attracts 2 million spectators annually and has a statewide economic impact of $100 million. The local impact is expected to be $5 million over the 10 days of events in Tahoe.
How is Lake Tahoe Taking Part in the Tour?
For the first-time ever, Lake Tahoe is hosting the Stage 1 Start in South Lake Tahoe, Sunday, May 15. The cyclists will ride a lap-and-a-half around the lake and then head over Brockway Summit (Highway 267) to the Stage 1 Finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. The Stage 2 Start takes place the following day, Monday, May 16, at Squaw Valley USA, with riders heading through Truckee before making their way into the Gold Country and the finish in Sacramento.
Is There a Dedicated Website for the Tour?
For the Lake Tahoe Stages, click here. The site offers events, including Tahoe’s 10-Day Countdown to the race (May 5-16), as well as race information, including a race day parking map and lodging.
Where Are The Best Places to Watch the Race?
The Starts and Finishes will be the most popular venues with expos and festivals surrounding these events, but Lake Tahoe’s commercial cores along the race routes also offer fantastic venues – as well as special viewing parties, parking, shopping, dining – such as South Lake Tahoe, Homewood, Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista, Kings Beach, Crystal Bay, Incline Village and Zephyr Cove for Stage 1, as well as Squaw Valley and Truckee for Stage 2. Course Logs (with times) and details for special viewing parties and venues can be downloaded.
Will Tahoe’s Highways Be Closed for the Tour?
There is a rolling road closure for the peloton, but the highways are only closed for a short period (approximately 20-30 minutes) as the cyclists and support vehicles move through the routes.
Is There An Opportunity to Ride the Race Route?
Absolutely! Cycling enthusiasts can ride the route during the Start at the Top – Lake Tahoe Legends Ride, Saturday, May 14, and explore majority of the first lap of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, while rubbing elbows with cycling legends, including Olympic medalist Bobby Julich. Click to the official website for details and to register: www.TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com.
Can Visitors Walk a Portion of the Official Race Route?
Of course! Amgen’s Breakaway Mile is a walk to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. Those touched by cancer are invited to join this one-mile walk across the Amgen Tour of California finish line at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort Sunday, May 15, prior to the professional riders rolling across the finish. Click to the official website for details and to register.
Is There An Opportunity to See the Teams Up Close?
The Opening Gala and Official Team Introduction is a great way to see the professional cyclists up close. The elegant evening is Friday, May 13 at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in South Lake Tahoe at 6 p.m. Tickets are $300/each with a percentage sold benefitting Breakaway from Cancer. Get details.
Is Lake Tahoe Home to Other Cycling Races?
Lake Tahoe is recognized for several annual biking events, including America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (June); Tour de Tahoe, Tahoe Century Ride, Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Week with its biking events (September); the Death Ride (July); Tour de Nez (July); as well as a handful of mountain biking events, such as the Lake Tahoe Trail 100K Leadville Qualifier (July).
How Can Visitors Do Their Part During the Tour?
Area visitor bureaus and chambers of commerce encourage spectators to abide by the “pack-in pack-out” motto to help keep our national treasure clean, as well as to park in designated lots and bike or walk to key race viewing points.
How Can Visitors Take Part in the Race Day Festivities?
Join the celebration at the South Lake Tahoe Expo Sunday, May 15 and at the finish line at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort with is Lifestyle Festival. The Lifestyle Festival is a focal point for spectators and includes a health & fitness expo, cancer awareness education, family activities and bike safety. The race starts are also popular with spectators, especially autograph alley where the pro cyclists check in with race officials prior to the race.
Is Lake Tahoe Accessible via Car?
Yes! There are no road restrictions for North Lake Tahoe via Interstate 80, Highway 267 or Highway 431. There is a temporary detour off Highway 50 to South Lake Tahoe, beginning May 11. Alternate routes around the closure take travelers through the scenic gold country of El Dorado and Amador counties. Motorists should allow approximately 30 minutes extra travel time (depending on traffic and conditions) during the two-week full closure to reach South Lake Tahoe. The alternate routes available from U.S. Highway 50 are:
· From Sacramento: Exit at Power Inn Road and take State Route 16 east to State Route 49 south, at State Route 88 in Jackson, turn left (east). Take that to State Route 89 and turn left again (north), and follow it back to U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.
· From Placerville: Exit at Missouri Flat Road and take State Route 49 south. Follow it to State Route 88 in Jackson and turn left (east), At State Route 89 turn left (north) and follow it back to U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.
· Get details.
What Is Amgen?
Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science’s promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people’s lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and vital medicines, visit online.
Friday, May 6th, 2011
The most festive venues are going to be the Stage 1 Start in South Lake Tahoe, Stage 1 Finish at Northstar–at-Tahoe Resort (both May 15), and the Stage 2 Start in Squaw Valley USA, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics (May 16).
South Lake Tahoe to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort via West Shore
The first option is following the peloton from the start (10:30 a.m.) in South Lake Tahoe as it makes its way west through the commercial core and onto Emerald Bay Road (between 11:09 a.m. – 11:16 a.m.) on the West Shore, then into Tahoe City (11:49 a.m. – 12:03 p.m.) and Kings Beach (12:11 p.m. – 12:29 p.m.). From Kings Beach, the riders will continue on Highway 28 to the East Shore, while spectators will turn north onto Highway 267 (Brockway Summit) and head to the finish line (3:12 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
South Lake Tahoe to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort via East Shore
The second possibility has spectators taking in the start in South Lake Tahoe and experiencing the festivities at Lake Tahoe Expo at the Horizon Casino Resort after the riders have left. Spectators are then advised to head onto Highway 50, heading to the East Shore and catching the riders in Crystal Bay (12:15 p.m. – 12:34 p.m.) or Incline Village (between 12:21 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.), before making the turn north onto Highway 267 and getting to the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort for the finish (3:12 p.m. – 4 p.m.).
Lake Tahoe’s Best Climbs – Kings of the Mountain
According to the region’s cycling gurus, some of the best spots are on a steep climb or at
the bottom of a precipitous descent.
1) Iconic Emerald Bay is one of Lake Tahoe’s most photographed areas and a fantastic spot to watch the racers, predicted to top the summit between 11:09 a.m. and 11:16 a.m. This is the first of three Kings of the Mountain race finishes for Stage 1. Parking here, on the West Shore, is tight with only two parking lots available: Eagle Falls Trail Head and Vikingsholm Visitors Center. Spectators’ best bet is to get there early.
2) Spooner Summit on the northeast corner of the lake, where Highways 50 and 28 intersect. It’s also where the cyclists will make the long and steady ascent to an elevation of 7,150 feet around 12:50 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. This is the second King of the Mountain finish. There are three parking lots here: Spooner Lake State Park, Snow Park and the Tahoe Rim Trail Access Road.
3) Brockway Summit on Highway 267 to 7,000 feet and is the last King of the Mountain finish, which is expected to take place between 3:03 p.m. and 3:52 p.m. Per the California Highway Patrol, Brockway Summit (Highway 267) will close 20 to 30 minutes before the race passes. Spectators who are interested in viewing the finish should be over the summit before the racers come through. Parking is extremely limited with just a few pull out stops and hiking trails parking.
And for those that just can’t get enough “carnage” during Stage 1, the descent of Emerald Bay on the West Shore has riders reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour into the flats of Homewood (11:30 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.). The Spooner Summit descent has cyclists going even faster – 45 miles per hour – as they descend back toward the lake to the tunnel at Cave Rock. After cresting Brockway Summit, the lead group will plunge down a rapid descent into a hard left turn onto Northstar Drive (3:09 p.m. – 4 p.m.), where both sprinters and climbers will setup for a high-speed blast to the finish line at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort (3:12 p.m. – 4:03 p.m.).
4) As part of the Stage 2 route from Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento, May 16, the 1,000-foot climb up Old Highway 40 to scenic Rainbow Bridge (10:55 a.m. – 11:02 a.m.) offers spectacular views along with close ups of the riders. However, there is only one parking lot at this summit.
The Stage 2 Start at the Village at Squaw Valley (10:15 a.m.), under the Olympic Rings, might be a better option, especially as racers make a celebratory one-and-a-half laps around the village before departing onto Squaw Valley Road. Spectators can see cyclists fine tune their bikes before checking in with race officials, and after the start they can enjoy leisurely meals at nearby cafes and restaurants.
Other Ideal Viewing Venues – Special Viewing Parties
Lake Tahoe’s commercial cores are perfect for viewing the Stage 1 peloton as many are hosting special viewing parties, such as South Lake Tahoe’s MontBleu Resort, Casino & Spa, the official start of the race (10:30 a.m.), as well as Heavenly Village and Embassy Suites; Ski Run Blvd. (10:39 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.) the “Y,” where 89 and 50 intersect, a BMX Demo will be taking place showcasing Olympic medalists (10:47 p.m. – 10:50 a.m.); Homewood Moountain Ski Resort on the West Shore (11:45 a.m.); Tahoe Tree Company, just outside of Tahoe City on the West Shore (11:49 a.m. – 12:03 p.m.); Heritage Plaza in downtown Tahoe City; Tahoe Vista State Recreation Area in Tahoe Vista; Blue Onion Café and the Old Brockway Golf Course in Kings Beach (12:11 p.m. – 12:29 p.m.); the historic Crystal Bay casino corridor (12:15 p.m. – 12:34 p.m.); Incline Village on the North Shore (12:21 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.) with a party at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe; and Zephyr Cove on the East Shore (1:30 p.m.).
Along the Stage 2 route, a fantastic viewing spot is the Truckee “mousehole” (10:37 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.), the site of the King of the Mousehole Sprint, where Highway 89 crosses under the Union Pacific Railroad through a narrow 25-foot wide concrete arch structure, as well as along Donner Pass Road (10:38 a.m. – 10:42 a.m.).
All of these areas offer up parking lots (on a first-come, first-serve basis), dining options, shopping and bike rental companies for those that are geared up to ride. Many are also hosting festivities surrounding the 2011 Amgen tour of California, including family activities and bike expos. For a list of local businesses offering activities, where to park (a Google map), lodging packages and special events, visit www.TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.
Times for the Amgen Tour of California race are approximate, based on average speeds of the peloton and are subject to change. To ensure ideal viewing of the race, plan ahead for traffic delays. The visitor bureaus encourage spectators to abide by the “pack-in pack-out” motto to help keep our national treasure clean, as well as bike or walk to key race viewing points. For real time updates during the race, visit www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
For a complete calendar of Tahoe’s 10-Day Countown, events leading up to the race (May 5-14), as well as activities during Stage 1 (May 15) and Stage 2 (May 16), click to www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com.
For best viewing points, where to catch the riders up close, a complete list of events and lodging accommodations, click to www.TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For details about the Tour and information about volunteering, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
Friday, April 15th, 2011
Lake Tahoe has long been a training ground for some of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders, but its mountains have also provided professional cyclists with challenging terrain to better prepare themselves for the country’s most prestigious races, including the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.
Amid the parka-wearing, ski-toting residents and visitors, Lake Tahoe is home to an avid group of competitive cyclists who train year-round, both indoors and out. The go-to place for cyclists to improve athletic performance, especially during the winter months, is Performance JM in Truckee, owned by Olympic gold and silver medalist Julia Mancuso.
“Our cycling instructors are all competitive road racers, triathletes or mountain bike racers, who specifically work with Olympic athletes, professionals, as well as aspiring athletes,” said Fitness Director Chris Cloyd.
Cyclists here have the advantage of training at altitude, 6,200 feet, which helps provide endurance athletes with a training advantage. The facility is equipped with all the latest technological advances to take athletes to that next level of competition.
To get riders in the saddle and out on the open road among the region’s renowned alpine lakes and forested setting, Lake Tahoe’s cycling gurus have a long list of the best routes that get the nod from the professionals.
According to Gary Bell, owner of Sierra Ski and Cycle Works in South Lake Tahoe, anyone who rides a bike should take to the 72-mile course around Tahoe’s lakeshore, part of the race’s Stage 1, at least once in a lifetime.
As recently as last summer, local cyclists reported sightings of American professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer, a three-time winner of the Amgen Tour of California, training along the lake’s picturesque West Shore.
Paco Lindsay of Paco’s Truckee Bike and Ski in Truckee recommends adding an additional leg to the Lake Tahoe-lake loop.
“Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore is a fantastic add-on to the around-Tahoe excursion,” said Lindsay. “The turn off is three miles south of Tahoe City at Kaspian Campground. The road is paved and winds all the way up to Barker Pass, gaining approximately 1,300 feet in elevation from lake level.”
But Leipheimer isn’t the first professional cyclist to train Lake Tahoe, nor will he be the last. According to Rich Staley, owner of Great Basin Bicycles in Reno, Nevada, Greg LeMond, three-time Tour of France winner and Reno native, included Tahoe as part of his rigorous training regime.
“LeMond would ride from Washoe to Virginia City to Carson City (Nevada), then up Highway 50 to Spooner Summit (7,200 feet), onto Mount Rose along Highway 431 (8,260 feet) and back to his house in Washoe.”
According to Staley, this loop is also one of the most popular rides in the area.
Another classic training ride incorporates a Lake Tahoe icon – Rainbow Bridge.
“Hands down one of the best rides is from Truckee to Cisco Grove (California),” said Hardy Bullock, the Elijah Bleu’s race team captain. One of Truckee’s newest coffee shops, Elijah Bleu’s is just as serious about cycling as they are about their java.
“The climb along Old Highway 40 is famous for Rainbow Bridge built back in 1926, its spectacular views of Donner Lake and the 1,000-foot + climb,” said Bullock. It’s also part of the Stage 2 route for the Amgen Tour of California.
Dean Schaecher, another of Lake Tahoe’s avid cyclists and owner of The Pour House, a Truckee-based hip wine shop and tasting bar, agrees.
“This is a classic training route that all the racers use as a benchmark of their fitness,” said Schaecher. “They can quote you their best time on the course on any given year. There are many great rides in Lake Tahoe, but Donner is THE one.”
Bullock also recommends Martis Peak on Highway 267, an out-and-back from Truckee, as an ideal route. It also happens to be his own personal favorite, and is the toughest ride his team trains on. The professional cyclists competing in the Amgen Tour of California will also hit Brockway Summit, but will be coming from Kings Beach, California, the last significant hill climb before the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe.
“The ride is approximately 40 miles roundtrip, with the first 10 miles flat across Truckee’s Martis Valley then moving into a steep 10-mile climb to Brockway Summit, at approximately 7,200 feet” said Bullock.
Cycling enthusiasts new to the area or those that enjoy the camaraderie of riding in a group can also take to the road in the Start at the Top – Lake Tahoe Legends Ride.
The ride, part of Lake Tahoe’s 10-Day Countdown and held just prior to the kick-off of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. It explores the majority of the first lap of Stage 1, and gives riders a chance to rub elbows with cycling legends, such as Bobby Julich, Sky ProCycling Race Coach and 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist.
Whatever training ride undertaken, recreational or competitive, the pros tend to end the day at one of Lake Tahoe’s many watering holes with the traditional Tahoe cycling, post-ride beverage of choice: beer, of course.
Find the best viewing points, where to catch the riders up close, a complete list of events and lodging accommodations online. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For details about the Tour and information about volunteering, visit online.
Friday, March 25th, 2011
From spandex to black tie: set your sights on some of the world’s top cyclists for an elegant evening celebrating the overall start of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the largest cycling event in North America. Wine, dine and mingle during the Opening Gala and Official Team Introduction, Friday, May 13 at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa’s Theater in South Lake Tahoe.
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California features 19 elite teams, including:
- UCI (International Cycling Union) ProTeams: Sky ProCycling (GBR); Rabobank Cycling Team (NED); Team Garmin-Cervélo (USA); HTC-Highroad (USA); Team RadioShack (USA); Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA); Saxo Bank Sungard (DEN); Leopard Trek (LUX); BMC Racing Team (USA)
- UCI Professional Continental Teams: Team NetApp (GER); Team Type 1-sanofi aventis (USA); Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (CAN); UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)
- UCI Continental Teams: Movistar Team (COL); Jamis-Sutter Home (USA); Kelly Benefit Strategies – Optum Health (USA); Bissell Pro Cycling (USA); Jelly Belly p/b Kenda (USA) and Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder (USA)
As the Overall Start City for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, Lake Tahoe will host an elegant evening featuring the introduction of all the participating teams and cyclists. Upon arrival at 6 p.m., piano music will be playing as guests mingle and bid on silent auction items, including signed team jerseys, sports memorabilia and attractive Lake Tahoe vacation packages. At 7 p.m. the main event begins with a four-course dinner featuring an entrée of Filet Mignon with a Red Wine Demi-Glace, Gorgonzola & Pine Nut Crusted Chilean Sea Bass, Roasted Shallot Mashed Potatoes and Blistered Asparagus. The event will be emceed by the race’s broadcast team who will introduce the teams and riders during dinner.
A percentage of each ticket sold will benefit Breakaway from Cancer®, an initiative dedicated to empowering patients with education, resources and hope. Breakaway from Cancer® represents a partnership between Amgen and its nonprofit partners: Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community (formerly The Wellness Community), Patient Advocate Foundation and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.
Individual Gala tickets are $300 and a table for 10 people is $2,500. Get more information and purchase tickets.