At Bill and Debby's Happy Hour party Friday night I met several locals who know the local mountain bike trails pretty well. I agreed to meet Mark and Michelle at what they referred to as the "2nd gate" on Oneidas around 9:45 Saturday morning. The "2nd gate" is less than 5 miles from TVC, so is very handy for me. Mark and Michelle live near Zephyr Cove on the Nevada side of the lake, so they had a little bit of a drive, but they arrived just a few minutes after me. There were a few other people who were joining our group ride, but they had not yet arrived at 10, so it was decided that Mark and I, decidedly the slower "climbers" in this pretty young group, would begin the 3+ mile climb to the top of Oneidas expecting Michelle and the others to eventually overtake us. The climb on Oneidas to the top is a paved, single lane road and gains around 2,000' in elevation over the course of the 3+ miles. Included in that elevation gain are grades that consistently range from 10-15%. As we climbed we were passed several times by trucks hauling bikes to the top. The problem with doing this is you have to either ride back to the top after the downhill to get your vehicle, or have a second vehicle at the bottom for the shuttle back to the top. Part of the point of riding for me is the cardio/pulmonary benefit of climbing, and Mark and Michelle feel the same way.
Mark and I took a break at the "Corral Gate" as it is called, waiting for Michelle and the others to catch up....about 5 minutes after we arrived Michelle joined us sans the others.....they had not yet arrived at 10:15 so Michelle started the climb with out them. Ultimately our plan worked, and our group managed to meet up at the bridge on the Armstrong Connector trail where we were joined by Steve, Julie, Heath and Tara for the next portion of our ride.
Originally we were going to continue climbing via the Armstrong Connector, but Mark, Michelle and I decided to head downhill on the "Connector" back to our cars. This is my first significant mountain bike ride since New Year's Day, so I figured to keep my total distance at around 10 miles....the downhill portion of the ride is much longer than the climb as it winds its way back down to the "2nd gate".
As we slowly descended through the forest on this nicely graded single track trail, with just enough technical sections to make it interesting, I found myself lost in the moment just enjoying the flow of the trail and the relative quiet as we glided downhill carving the turns, and overcoming the occasional rocky sections. About half way down we took a break and were surprised to see the other four riders, who we thought were going to continue climbing, catching up to us. We continued on down the trail as a group of 7 spread out over several hundred yards snaking our way to lower elevations.
We reached the cars about 12:30.....it was a perfect first ride for me with the promise of more to come over the 3 months we are here, and that is what spending the summer at Lake Tahoe means......a lot of time to integrate into the local area, and specifically spend a lot of time exploring the local mountain biking trails. Although I am 15-20 years older than everyone in the group I fit in well with their riding style, and look forward to more rides as the summer progresses.
On my way to the meetup point for our ride I drove past the "South Lake Tahoe Flea Market" at the intersection of HWY 50 and Elk Club Drive and thought to return later in the afternoon with TLE to do some browsing. This is a weekly flea market that is held every Saturday and Sunday May through September.
As I surmised TLE was definitely into returning later in the afternoon to check out the flea market, so we headed back over around 2:15 and spent about an hour browsing.....TLE found a few books, and I found a couple of small tools I needed for my collection. We will definitely return here often this summer to find new treasures, which we may not be able to live without. There is an admission fee of $1 per adult, which is certainly a good value.
Saturday was the warmest day we have had since we arrived topping out at 74 degrees, and Saturday night was the first night I have slept with my bedroom window open allowing that wonderful Tahoe aroma find its way into our sleeping quarters.
Thanks for stopping by!
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