Tahoe century

On Sunday, June 5, I rode in the Tahoe century “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.” It’s a loop around Lake Tahoe, with a quick run out to Truckee and back.

I had registered as a rider, and not fund-raising like Chris’s Team in Training group. But I was still able to ride with Chris’s team after all. They didn’t turn me away like a dog trying to join the wolf-pack. There were twelve people in the group, who rode at different speeds.

We had very good weather for the ride on Sunday. The forecast had warned of temperatures as low as 34 degrees in the morning, or maybe thunderstorms in the afternoon. Fortunately, it was not that cold, although we had very strong winds. The scenery was spectacular around the lake. Anytime I got tired I just looked at the mountains and the lake, and it cheered me right up.

We left at 7:15am, and kept together as a group for the first 30 miles or so. Then we split into a fast group and a slow group. I rode with the fast group, along with Chris, Steve (the coach), Robert (his insane biker friend), Mica (she did Tahoe last year), and Ross (another strong rider). We got caught in heavy bike traffic a couple of times, then were able to get out of traffic and open up the pace. I led the group for part of that time, blocking wind while they rode behind me. Coach Steve kept telling me to slow down the pace, although I didn’t think I was going that fast.

We stopped only briefly at some of the rest stops (which were very crowded). I ate bananas with peanut butter, bagels with peanut butter, even tried a potato with peanut butter. After the 60 mile stop, we didn’t even bother stopping any more. I grabbed peanut butter sandwiches from support people as we rode past at 15mph, or munched on power bars while riding.

After 65 miles, Chris & I decided we were tired of waiting for the others, and we put the hammer down. I powered down the rest of the route, with Chris following behind me. We hit some tough hills at 80 miles, and I slowed a couple of times to let Chris catch up. I enjoyed passing riders from Texas or Ohio, who had no chance to train on hills. We hit some really strong headwinds in the last 25 miles, but I felt great. I could have ridden another 50 miles, as long as they kept feeding me peanut butter.

We pulled into the finish line behind a casino in South Lake Tahoe, where hundreds of people were cheering. Then we waited 20 minutes for Mica and Steve, and an hour and a half for the rest of the people on the team. Waiting for them was the coldest part of the ride!

Chris and I finished the 100 mile ride in 6:01 ride time, 6:45 elapsed time, avg 16.2 mph.

Later we sat in the hot tub at the hotel, then went to the victory party at Caesar’s Palace. Steve called me “hammer-head” for the pace I had kept. It was good fun, and everyone was very happy to have finished.