The Ride to Emerald City
A weekend ago I fulfilled a dream I have carried since the age of 14; riding around Lake Tahoe. The dream sprung from many summers spent at a cabin in Tahoe City with family friends. Each year we would all gather and watch the Tour de France. In another lifetime I was a big fan of the infamous yellow rubber band labeled "Livestrong".
Childhood dreams aside, I was so happy to be invited on a birthday voyage around the entire lake, starting and ending at our friend's cabin in Alpine Meadows, which added an extra 16 miles. We opted to ride clockwise so that we would be riding next to the lake the entire time. There were 8 of us, all couples, which I felt made us a great team- the buddy system occurred naturally.
We left the cabin at 6am and would propel onward for the next 6 hours, treating ourselves to several breaks to keep our spirits light. We had lunch at Sprouts Cafe- wowie! If you want the best smoothie you've ever had (perhaps because of what you did to arrive at it's straw-tip) and the most delicious open-faced sandwich, this is your spot! They also have beer on tap, Raddlers, and many vegetarian options. Yeah mama!
Later in Tahoe City we rode past a sign exclaiming "Gelato Here!" and decided we simply could not deny the pastel chalk-art of a pink gelato cone. Affogato gelato style. Enough said.
All and all, the ride was mellower than anticipated. The elevation gain was minimal with only two major climbs, the steeper of the two being Emerald Bay. We referred to it as Emerald City, as we knew it was the climax, once it was over we knew we could make it home just fine. The climb was hard, sure, but the view to the right of me was so rewarding I felt a fluttering sense of joy the entire time (well, mostly). I've noticed that the view of a mountain is always much better when I've climbed it. The rest of the ride was rolling hills and fantastic views of Lake Tahoe with ancient granite rock everywhere in sight.
Perhaps the most dramatic chapter of our ride was when I rode very slowly on the side of the highway so that the rest of the group would catch up to me; little did I know they were comin' in hot! And they did not know how slow I was going, therefore there was a lot of swerving in traffic, shouts, and later apologies.
Similar to most long rides in the heat, the grand finale of our tour could not be anything other than jumping in a river! We were lucky the ride back to the cabin was on a bike path paralleling Squaw Creek. It renewed our spirits and restored our legs enough to climb the hill back to the cabin where there was nothing left to do but grill burgers, drink beer, and be merry.
If you want to know more about the route, or any other tips, please email email@example.com :)