OHE August 24, 1998

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 19:31:19 -1000
From: Doug Walker (KAULAROCK@aol.com)
Subject: Re: Tahoe Rim Trail Adventures

On Sunday I et up with the mountain bikers from the Village Ski Loft in Tahoe for a day on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Calling themselves the "Dirt Balls, " this athletic group led me on an exhausting yet exhillerating seven hour trek thru the mountains above Incline Village.

I started my day in Reno (where I have hunkered down - great fly fishing and golfing) by driving south on 395 and picking up the Mt. Rose hiway over the mountains to Incline and Lake Tahoe.

Meeting at the shop, we loaded our bikes and headed back up the Mt. Rose hiway to the Nordic Center where we would begin our trek. (A quick reminder that I'm the guy with the shockless, $300 L.L. Bean bike while my associates are riding decidedly upscale makes and models.)

A quick review of the trail reveals that we will gain and lose 800' in elevation numerous times. It is also a classic Sierra Nevada day with a deep blue sky and a bright sun. It is 51 degrees as we begin the ride.

Unfortunately the cool temperature lasted about 60 seconds into the trek as we seemingly gain the entire 800' in the first five minutes as we maneuvered up to the Rim Trail. At this point it was a pine tree lined, dusty, Forestry Service road.

As we gained altitude and put miles behind us, we began to weave between the many summits with excellent alternating views of Reno/Carson to the east and of course Lake Tahoe to the west.

The ride became more technical (rocks, ledges, sand etc.) the futher we went and in numerous situations we literally had to carry our bikes over rocks to gain the trail on the other side.

At about the half way mark we encountered a 1.3 mile long hill that had me pushing (hiking?) about .3 mile into it. My companions all chugged up the hill. I think at this point they realized it was going to be a long trek with Doug.

However, I managed to catch up to a well rested crew at the top of the hill and we all headed for a peak over looking Lake Tahoe. And what a view it was. A steep cliff of granite below accented the aqua blue of the Lake surrounding Sand Harbor a thousand feet below us.

Continuing on, the now single file trail, we passed several groups of hikers and encountered several technical situations (circumstances in which Doug generally "hikes" his bike). Many switch-backs (each with deep sand at the turn) stymied my decent as the others "raced" to the base of the hills at the Ponderosa Ranch and the peddle back to Incline Village and the Ski Loft.

I was probably still on the lower part of the trail when the group (most of...one guy from the shop had to stay back with me) got back. He later said he didn't mind staying back with me as several of my falls in the sand on the switch backs were funny.Thanks...there were quite a few.

But six dusty, dry, hot hours later, Doug was back at the shop with the "Dirt Balls." (Also...distance travelled...26 point something miles!)


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