America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride '07 -- around Lake Tahoe, CA.

Hi all! this was my first year doing “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride”. Louise and I opted for the mere mortal route of doing the 72 miles around Lake Tahoe. Louise, John Foss and I completed the 72 miles in 9 hours, 30 minutes. The “gods” did the 100 mile option: Nathan, Beau, Grace (recumbent), Mike Scalisi, Irene, Scot cooper, Ryan Woessner, and Bronson (bike).

Tom blackwood, Don, Robert Allen – did you guys get around too? I missed seeing you guys at the end. Hopefully you all made it too!

Boy; what a ride! It really is one of the most beautiful rides around. Hopefully Nathan and Grace got a lot of good pictures, since I took zero.

corbin

Your all gods! Congratulations on a sweet day in the saddle! JFoss, your an animal going the 72 miles, sweet. Looking forward to hearing more and seeing photo’s. Congrats to all.

Awesome ride!!! 5 more people in the century club (Scot was already in), and I think everyone met their goals.

I made the 72

Congratulations! I’m surprised I didn’t see you all day.

Thanks for the props from a guy who likes to ride twice as high in the sky! For me, the “animal” part was riding the first 43 on a dead air seat. Corbin found the leak and we were able to patch it and get it all put back together at the lunch stop. But part of my crotch (not the essential part) still feels like it’s asleep…

Congrats! I feel bad that I barely saw you yesterday. I fully expected you to catch up to me at some point, but I tried to keep up with Nathan, Beau and Scalisi as long as I could (watched them ride away from me at 1st rest stop), then I got connected with Corbin and Louise and kept up a pretty good pace the rest of the way. Glad you made it!

Now back to some nice, short, gnarly MUni rides!

I sorta cheated… I did ride the 72 miles, BUT I rode the Uni all the way to Kings Beach rest area and while resting a sore aching back side My wife and daughter showed up to cheer me on and my road bike just happen to be on the back of her car… So I guess I did 45 miles on the Uni and 27 miles on the road bike. ( These people on two wheels got it way to easy ):wink:

Yup, I made it, although s l o w l y. I’m pretty sure I was last uni to finish, although there were still some bikes behind me. :slight_smile:

My training was not where it needed to be for this ride, and the altitude and first climb up the switchbacks seriously kicked my tail. I fell at that last steep hairpin, then burned a lot of energy trying to re-mount. Rest Stop 1 took a half hour plus just to recover, and by Rest Stop 2 I changed my game plan from worrying about time to just worrying about being able to finish. I was also having trouble with the food, and had to take it pretty slowly versus just slamming down a peanut butter bagel and remounting. I ended up stopping a lot just to rest and try to take in small bits of food and electrolyte. In the end, I had just under 8 hours of pedaling time, but my total time on the course was 13 hours.

I shared a plane ride with Don and his wonderful wife Heather this morning, so I can confirm that he made it also. His flight from Reno to Seattle was followed by an 8 hour drive to northern BC…now THAT’S commitment. There was one other rider I met out on the course who was not with our group…I can’t remember his name, but do remember that he recently had back surgery. We rode together for a bit, then I fell and never caught back up.

This was a couple miles short of a personal best for me on distance, but was by far the toughest ride I’ve done. I am SO impressed with everyone that rode, and the Hundred Milers in particular. Mike Scalisi caught me at my Mile 50, his mile 78…and we started at the same time. After a minute of hi how are you, he cranked back into overdrive and was gone. At my next rest stop, I watched Nathan, Beau, Scott, Irene, and Ryan all power by.

I have a few good shots which I’ll try to post shortly. The gallery seems to be permanently rejecting me, so I’m going to open a smugmug account and post them there.

Thanks to Nathan for posting the notice of this ride, and to all the other riders and their families for making it such a memorable weekend.

Congratulations Tom. That’s a longer ride than I’ve ever done. You’re better than me yet again. :smiley:

What I wrote to my MUT-bound friends:

Irene flew in Friday morning, Beau missed his last class, we picked up Ryan in the afternoon and drove up to Lake Tahoe to stay with my aunt and uncle. Saturday we registered, met the other riders and relaxed, playing disc golf or studying instead of riding. Sunday morning at 4:15am the drunks outside my motel room woke us up with their antics a few minutes before the alarm. Irene/Ryan/Beau had had a hard time getting to sleep with loud drunken card game going on next to their room. By 4:50 we were dressed, packed and eating breakfast. We set out at 5:35am after a group shot including a number of unicyclists doing the 72 mile option.

It was cold but we knew it would warm up fast. The first and hardest climb comes at 15km and felt easy this year - I even had Beau in sight at the top! The rest stops at 22km, 42km, 74km, 112km (lunch) and 139km were awesomely stocked with lots of great foods and drinks. This made the ride a LOT easier than otherwise. We stopped often but briefly. Mike was generally at the front until near the end where he relearned the hard way that you need to raise the seat if you shorten the cranks! Beau, Mike, Ryan and I did the ride on 125mm cranks. Scot Cooper also did the ride with us (his second 100 mile in a day ride), and he used 152mm cranks. Irene, 140mm? Grace was awesome as bike support, taking photos and carrying spares and generally encouraging us. Bronson rode his lightest bike and finished in 6 hours.

The funny thing about this ride is that these guys http://www.teamintraining.org/ have pretty much taken it over. I don’t know the numbers, but of the 3000 riders, it seemed like 2800 or so were wearing the purple and green jerseys and most of those were beginners. It was somewhat scary at times and annoying often. Imagine a 50 person paceline passing you with each person screaming “On your left, Car back, Hole”, etc etc in the most strident voice possible. Then there is a slight uphill and a chorus of “Slowing, slowing, slowing” and you pull ahead of each of the 50 riders. Repeat on the next downhill. On the long uphill to Spooner Summit, from km 131 to 139, Beau somehow got inspired and increased to “ridiculous speed”. It was comical watching how fast he passed the bikers. I couldn’t quite keep up but still not a single bike passed me while I passed maybe 80. Beau must’ve passed 100 or more.

By the end, we all felt amazingly good. I asked Beau if he could do another 50km and he thought a little and said that he could. I could’ve done some more but maybe not 50km more. Now, a day later, I feel no soreness, and hardly even that “used” feeling So I think we are ready.

For the 100 milers:

Start: 5:35am
Finish: 4:55pm - 5:35pm (11:20 to 12:00 total time)
Riding time: 9:37 (Nathan/Beau)
Climbing: 833m
Start/finish altitude: 1890m Max altitude 2134m
Photos: http://nhoover.smugmug.com/gallery/2955744 (includes links to GPS info)

If anyone has a photo or two (or a motionbased entry) they’d like me to include, just send it over.

—Nathan

The other 72 miler was Dave from Aptos. He is new to long distance cycling and recovering from back surgery. It was awesome to see him make the whole distance!

I’m really glad to hear you made it too, Robert. I think that means that every unicyclist who started, successfully completed his/her intended route (-1 point to Robert for adding the training wheel after doing the hard part of the ride). That’s awesome.

—Nathan

I guess I have another year to try and pick up the pace a bit, All of you didn’t even slow down on the hills, you must be immortal.
Even after adding the training wheel at mile 45 I still came in about 15minutes behind Corbin, Louis, & John Foss according to my wife & daughter who were at the finish line waiting.
I have to say the ride was great.

That looks epic! You’re all animals.

JL

I really have problems with that Team In Training thing; it’s basically getting people to extort money from their friends for their own personal training program, under the guise of providing extremely inefficient funding to worthy-sounding charities. When someone hits me up for Team In Training money, I tell them I’ll donate directly to the charity instead.

Congratulations to all of you for the awesome achievements! I love Tahoe, but wouldn’t even think about doing the training necessary for such an epic ride. Maybe next year I’ll come up to cheer you on!

The nice thing about the Team in Training people was the ego boost from passing them all on the uphills. It sure was funny hearing “on your left” 20 times in a row when a line would pass us on the downhills. I enjoyed giving that back to them on the climbs.

Team in Traning might be an inefficient way of raising money, but it motivates people to raise funds who might not otherwise be involved in charity. If the ratio is similar to the California Coast Classic, only about 1/2 of the money donated actually makes it to the charity. Still, its questionable that people would be willing to donate anything if they weren’t harassed by a friend or co-worker who is involved in one of these programs.

Next year, you should be plenty trained up to ride Tahoe :wink:

Hooray Team Canada!

Both my wife, Heather, and I made it around beautiful Lake Tahoe, she on a b*ke, I on my 36er. And just to prove it, here’s a pic at the finish line.

Nathan mentioned that Teams in Training were a big part of this ride (about 80%, or 2400 riders), but he did not mention that it was a fundraiser for Leukemia research. And boy, did they fundraise! Each rider was required to come up with a minimum of $3000 for the cause, and one club (I think it was New York) had to raise a minimum of $4500. And when I say “minimum”, I really mean “minimum”. If you didn’t reach your goal, the difference came off your Visa! One person raised $50,000, and a few others raised in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. My hat is off to those folks - they were the true heroes on this ride!

As Beau found out, it was a blast passing all the b*ikers on the uphill sections - they were totally amazed and very encouraging, especially when they saw the Canadian flags on our helmets. But then they passed us as they raced down the other side (one guy said he hit 47 mph), only to be passed by us again on the next uphill.

Unlike Nathan, I’m hobbling around a bit today. I cramped up twice on the uphill sections, and I think I’m paying for it now. But the pain was worth it, especially after having met such a wonderful group of unicyclists. I hope to see you all again next year in Nova Scotia at the “Ride the Lobster” race.

DonO

Got to mention to JC that one of the teams had cans of Guinness on their helmets, in little foam rubber cupholders! Most of the various Team in Training chapters had stuff on their helmets to help identify their locations. My favorite were the ones with the little rubber chickens. As they rode, the little heads and legs constantly bobbled around.

Finally Jacquie and I got to try disc golf! Fun! But a more accurate name might be “throwing discs as hard as you can at trees.” At least that’s what it looks like when you play in the woods. :slight_smile: We’re thinking of buying our own discs and visiting our local courses.

You guys will continue to inspire me, but I didn’t make the whole climb this time. I had to stop at the “Photographer - 100 meters” sign, but I finished the climb after that. My last sight of Nathan, Beau and Mike was at the Emerald Bay rest stop. After that I was with Irene and Ryan for a while. I had an extended stay at the Meeks Bay rest stop to take apart my seat. Talk about riding with the seat too low, how about having no air in your seat! Somehow that didn’t affect my knees. Perhaps it was the overdose of glucosamine I had taken for the previous two days…

I imagine it was worse riding with the century group, especially on the narrow bike path. The "on your left"s seemed a bit like overkill, but after a while I realized that on the downhills there were lots of different bike speeds as well, with super-fast bikes alerting the “normal” ones while they alerted us. Unfortunately I have to admit not having the pleasure of passing as many bikes, though I did get past quite a few on that long Spooner climb. Louise kept dropping Corbin and me on the climbs, though Corbin would fly way ahead of us on the descents. Louise had longer cranks, and Corbin couldn’t modulate his brake due to a broken seat handle.

And to their credit those TNT people are the best booster/motivators I’ve ever seen! I haven’t been on many organized bike rides, but this one has by far the most people rooting from the sides of the road, ringing cowbells and cheering. And I had no idea of the finish area excitement and noise! It made me feel like I’d just won a major bike race! All that positive energy, from the people along the sides and the bikers, made a big difference in keeping me going.

Wow. I could have keep going further as well, though I’m glad I was done. And I’m still not inspired to try 100 miles next year! :slight_smile:

Now on Tuesday, the tops of my legs are a little sore, and part of my crotch is still numb. but somehow my quads and calves seem fine! Thanks for posting the photos. Mine are still in the camera…

Corbin, Louise and I finished in about 9:25. It would have been a little quicker if I hadn’t had to take my seat apart at two of the rest stops, and I am thankful to them for waiting for me, and Corbin for finding the leak and patching my seat tube. That seat had been built by Chris Reeder, and I’d never taken it apart before!

We ate lunch with Bronson at the Kings Beach stop. We were on mile 43 and he was on 71 I guess. Whew!

If I didn’t slow down, how come I was all by myself? That climb’s a killer. There are other long climbs along the ride, but the first one is the steepest (and most scenic). It sure ended any feelings of being cold though!

Learning experiences for someone relatively new to long rides:

  • Train with long rides. Lots of short rides isn’t the same thing (though it’s better than nothing)
  • Train on hills if you can!
  • To keep going, you have to keep eating (and drinking) at every rest stop!
  • Glucosamine for the joints. I always got sore knees on the long rides I did in the past, but not this time. The stuff works wonders!
  • Use your brake on the descents. I didn’t use mine enough last year, and I think it toasted my knees in the first 20 miles.
  • You will get sunburned through the little holes in your helmet. That was a first for me as well. Apply sunscreen more than once when you’re more than a mile above sea level! Even if you do have hair on the front of your head, other areas will be affected.
  • Did I say keep eating?
  • Power Gel, or similar glue-like substances may not taste good, but they really work
  • If it’s a supported ride, like this one, you don’t need to carry 3 litres of water, a banana, several food bars, cheese sticks, pop tarts, etc. It’s all at the rest stops! Except the pop tarts.
  • Remember to enjoy the ride, or what’s the point?

Top five most common comments heard:

  1. That’s amazing (or similar)
  2. How do you do that?
  3. Are you going all the way on those things?
  4. You guys rock!

And the number one most common thing heard:

  1. On your left!

Not heard often enough (by me):
“I just got passed by a unicycle again!”

A little info on Team in Training, I rode this year for Team in Training and if you compare them with the majority of charities they are one of the best for funds actually going to research and not into some CEO’s pocket ( like the United way) as for people hitting up all their friends for donations, there are tasteful ways and tackful ways, I never pushed anyone to donate all I did was let people know what I was doing and the rest was up to them.
All the p[articipants with Team in Training raised $8.5 million dollars for Leukemia & Lymphoma research for this ride.

My favorite, after about 50 miles:

“It kills me that the unicycles are still ahead of us!”

Truly amazing ride you guys and gals. I’m reading every word of your post-ride discussion. Keep it coming.

You’re totally inspiring me for my Whiteface climb in a week and a half.