Last Friday, my friend Todd organized a ride on the Tahoe Rim Trail out of the Tahoe Meadows near Mount Rose. This is one of my favorite rides, so I jumped at the chance to go. The 30 mile loop we rode has fantastic views, fast smooth singletrack, and many challenges along the way to test your skills.
We met up at the Mount Rose Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead around 9:00 AM, and rode south towards Tunnel Creek. Scott J got to try out his new Stump Jumper’s suspension along the way. We all had fun climbing and jumping off the rocks.
The first 9 miles to Tunnel Creek crosses back and forth along the ridge, giving you views of Washoe Valley on the East side, and Lake Tahoe on the West side.
Jon’s tube decided to die seconds after the picture below was taken. Pinch Flat! We swapped the tube rather quickly, but then I “thought” I saw something wrong with his brakes. I pulled one of the pads out, only to discover that there was nothing wrong, that they were just Avid Brakes…not the Hayes I’m used to looking at. We spent the next 20 minutes or so trying to reassemble Jon’s brakes, and got to meet many friendly people that passed us. At least we stopped near a pretty view! Jon forgot to bring his own tube, so Scott made an easy $40. It’s amazing what price you can command on such commodities when you’re in the middle of nowhere!
After reaching Tunnel Creek, we continued along the Tahoe Rim Trail. This section of the trail switchbacks up for a few miles to reach Marlette Peak. We ran into our friends Mike and Kathy along the climb, and chatted with them for a while. They were doing a loop in the opposite direction.
After a bit of a climb, we broke through the trees and made the final ascent to Marlette Peak. When I get my first glimpse of Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe below, an overwhelming feeling comes over me. I’m not a religious person, but this place is about as spiritual as it gets for me. Marlette Peak is a wonderful place for lunch, so that’s just what we did. Ate and basked in the greatness.
After a nice break atop Marlette Peak, we began the fun descent down to Marlette Lake. The singletrack is fast, smooth, twisty, and goes in and out of the woods. Almost makes you want to pedal back up and do it again! We kept going though as there were many miles ahead of us. We got onto Marlette Lake Road, and made the final descent to the lake through the Aspens.
We pedaled around the south end of Marlette Lake, and then over to the dam where the Flume Trail starts. We met a couple at the dam, and the girl had lost a cleat bolt on her brand new shoes. Doh! Don’t forget the lock-tite folks! This may be a good item to keep in the tool bag come to think of it. It weighs next to nothing, and may save the day!
There was a lot of traffic on the Flume Trail for a Friday! Can’t imagine what it must be like on the weekend. We took advantage of the frequent stops to snap some photos. The lake was glass smooth in some spots, and it looked like the boats were just floating in space!
We made it back to the Tunnel Creek crossroads, and took an extended break. We had a good chat with another group of riders that had done our loop the opposite direction. We both argued that our direction was much better. After refueling, we began our 9.5 mile trek back to Tahoe Meadows. Early into this final leg, we ran into Mike and Kathy again. They had a long ride ahead of them too.
It was now the afternoon, and going the opposite direction with different light made the trail all new. It is also deceiving how much elevation you lose on the way in. It feels like nothing but climbing on the way out! One by one we started to run out of water. A couple of the guys even uttered the dreaded “Death March” phrase.
We finally made it back to Tahoe meadows around 5:00 PM, tired and thirsty. There was just one final ascent, and we decided to do it on the road to get it over quickly. The next drink of water was back in Reno, as there is no running water at the Tahoe Meadows trailhead. We all eyeballed a high school cross country team bus back at the top. Had there been an ice chest, we would have raided it. I think a small water filtration system might be good for these long summer rides. We were all loaded to capacity with water, but still ran out.
We were all pretty quiet on the drive home. I had to look in the back seat occasionally to see if Scott J was even still in the truck with us. The next 24 hours would be spent refueling and rehydrating. I slept good that night!
As always, more pictures of the ride can be found over on the Bike Carson Flickr page HERE.