Off-season: The Perfect time for Mountain Biking in Tahoe
Most mornings, I check the outside temperature as soon as I wake up. I’m a certifiable wimp when it comes to cold weather although I do enjoy outdoor winter sports. The hardest part is bundling up and getting started. Saturday, it was dark and a chilly 22 degrees when I woke up. I tried not to complain since I knew that driving to the trail and setting up the car shuttle would take at least an hour or two. Hopefully by that time, the sun would be out and it would start warming up. We were going mountain biking and it was going to be great!
The ride started at almost 7500 feet but since there was a temperature inversion, it didn’t seem so cold. I quickly remembered that the ride started with a climb and I was excited to be borrowing a smaller and much lighter bike than my usual loaner- the Yeti 575. We pedaled up and up and up as I remembered that mountain biking is awesome. We curved through Heavenly’s Canyons and onto the Tahoe Rim Trail mostly on single-track. The sun was shining and views were awesome.
Just as I was getting in the groove and getting accustomed to the bike, I crashed. Crashing is part of mountain biking, but it’s slightly unnerving as one is bouncing off of rocks almost certain she’s going to tumble down the hillside. I escaped largely unscathed but after that, it seemed like every rock was strategically positioned to send cyclists flying off their bikes. I think the key to mountain biking is doing it more than a couple of times each year.
After a few more miles of riding (and some walking) and a rest stop at Star Lake, we arrived at the start of the downhill. I started off slowly, but quickly found myself speeding up through the pine straw adorned swirly trails- my favorite! The trails were mellow yet super fun and I immediately forgot about my earlier struggles to keep the bike upright and moving forward.
Over 5 hours after we started, my two riding buddies and I pulled into the parking lot with huge grins on our faces. I love the feeling of finishing a mountain bike ride not because the workout is over, but because I always feel totally spent at the end. I had so much fun Saturday that I immediately signed up for a ride on Sunday too. And then the real best part of the day: we went and had tacos and my new favorite Taqueria. Perfect ending to a great day!