I started mountain biking back in 1989 when a good friend invited me to go riding with him at Chino Hills State Park. After just one ride I fell in love with this relatively new sport, and continued on riding every Saturday, and sometimes during the week for years. This was back in the days before mountain bikes had any suspension....front, or rear. All the bikes were ridged frames with ridged forks. It was very hard on the body, especially the elbows, wrists and shoulders.....all that vibration being transferred via the ridged frame as you rode downhill hour after hour took a toll.....each Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I had "tennis elbow" in both elbows. With the advent of full suspension bikes in the early 90's everything changed. I bought my first full suspension mountain bike in 1994....a used 1992 Proflex 752.....overnight I could ride for hours and hours and just be tired at the end.
Me and the Proflex circa 1996
I remember reading an article about the "Flume Trail" at Lake Tahoe in the early 90's and wanting to ride that trail......that dream finally came true Saturday. My new friends, Mark and Michelle, invited me to ride part of the "Flume Trail"......why part? Well, part is still under snow......we rode the part not presently under snow.
The bikes are unloaded and we are ready to ride
To get to the portion of the Flume Trail we were going to ride you have to do a 4 mile climb up to Marlette Lake.......once again the grades ranged from 6% to over 15%......one 1/2 mile stretch was 13-15%....I had to stop 3 times to get my breath.....Michelle on the other hand "cleaned" this section without any breaks. Mark and I did not.
Once at Marlette Lake we took a break and ate a snack, then continued following the trail around the lake to the beginning of the Flume Trail.......before you get there though you must traverse this section of trail that is under water most of the time......
Water crossing at Marlette Lake
Then we hit the Flume Trail........as TLE and I often remark when something is way beyond beautiful we call it "ooogly" (ugly) in a joking way.....like saying something that is cool is "bad". The views this day were beyond "ooogly"!
This trail is not for the faint of heart, and many less experienced riders will walk sections like this, because the fall offs have very high consequences.....at this point the trail is around 1300-1500 feet above the surface of Lake Tahoe and a lot of it seems to be straight down.
Yes, I did ride that!
We took numerous breaks in the ride to "oooh and ahhh" at the views.....Michelle rode behind me and Mark in front most of the way.
Moi and Michelle
This trail is not for the faint of heart
The famous Thunderbird Lodge
My favorite picture of the day.....Sand Harbor
We stopped often along the trail to take in the view and for me to take pictures. While you are riding along this trail your focus 99.9% of the time is on the trail in front of you for obvious reasons. Until we were almost back to the parking lot at Spooner Lake I had no idea how far we had ridden.....my Garmin Edge 205 tells the tale.....20.17 miles ridden in 3 hours and 30 minutes of total riding time....all together we were out for over 5 hours for this epic ride....2,324 calories incinerated.
Back home I examine the stats
Of course, an epic ride like this deserves an epic stop at Sam's Place Bar & Grill to share a pitcher, or two of Lagunitas IPA chased with a plate of 10 mini tacos, and finished off with bacon cheeseburgers.....yeah, we were all hungry!
For those who may be wondering, TLE is not into mountain biking, but as you know from reading this blog, she loves to hike and ride road bikes. Since I was gone until after 5 pm she had the place all to herself. As you know we pretty much spend 24/7 together in this nomadic lifestyle, and that is a good thing, because we really like each other a lot, but everyone, even friends and lovers, needs a break once in a while, right?
In keeping with Clarke and TLE parlance it was truly an "ooogly" day......
Thanks for stopping by!
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