Part 4: California Mountain Unicycle Weekend 2000

THE MUNI RIDE OF THE MILLENIUM!

MUni Weekend 1999 was a great success. How to top a weekend with such a great
variety of trails for everyone, beautiful locations, fun competitions, and
Oceanside riding? You can only try. If not anything else, a state like
California always has more and better scenery. Next year we’re going all out,
and taking you on a trail that boasts one of the most spectacular views
anywhere. Lake Tahoe!

These are the preliminary plans for MUni Weekend 2000. We don’t have the exact
weekend, or all details figured out yet, but hey, we just finished the last one.
It all started with a ride on the Tahoe Flume Trail last weekend.

I realized I wanted to check out that trail as a possible MUni Weekend location.
I’d never been there. Brett Bymaster has, and he’s written it up on his Trail
Page: http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~bymaster/muni/trail_list.html
<http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~bymaster/muni/trail_list.html> But Brett’s idea of
heaven is to ride there, the more altitude the better (to heaven, that is). I
needed some more opinions on what kind of a ride it
is. Also I wanted to see that famous scenery myself! Unfortunately the trails
up around Lake Tahoe are under snow half the year. If we didn’t get up
there before the first snows, we wouldn’t be able to ride it until May or
June, too late for planning a MUni Weekend. So a group of us went up there
on Saturday.

I was joined by Jim Hahn, Ted Howe, Nathan Hoover and Geoff Faraghan. Nathan and
Geoff are mountain climbers, with lots of experience with high altitudes and
also long mountain bike rides. Jim and Ted are more average off roaders, who
take the sensible Novice trails at MUni Weekends. I’m like a sports car; I can
go fast and ride most anything, but my endurance ain’t what it should be and I’m
also not an altitude expert.

Why altitude? Well, in case you didn’t know, Lake Tahoe, which lies on the crook
(bend point) of California’s border with Nevada, is pretty high up. The water
level is around 6300’, more than a mile above sea level. The Flume Trail goes
along the Northeastern shore of the lake, about 1500’ above. That’s nearly 8000
feet with part of the ride higher than that, so you have to consider the effects
of altitude on your ability to ride.

The Flume Trail follows the route of a log flume that was built in the 1870’s
to bring lumber (and water?) to the Carson City and Virginia City area during
the heavy mining there. The old flume is long gone, but there is a pipe under
the trail that you occasionally see. It’s no longer in use either. But due to
its nature, this trail is nearly flat, with a gradual downhill as you ride
south to north.

The easiest way to get to and ride the Flume involves getting up to the trail
from the road, and getting back down. Unfortunately there is no direct access to
the trail. The shortest way to ride it with minimal uphill, is a
13.6 mile ride from Spooner Lake State Park, north to the Flume, and down the
Tunnel Creek Road trail to get you back to the main road. This ride involves
about 600’ of climbing, which doesn’t sound like much but is a lot at that
altitude if you’re not used to it. If you are any kind of a hiker, and are
comfortable with a 14 mile ride at altitude, I highly recommend it even if
you walk the uphill part. I walked about a quarter of it anyway.

We will seek an alternate ride for people who aren’t up to that kind of
mileage, and there will be an Expert ride that involves more climbing and an
even higher view of the lake. But one of the nice things about the Flume Trail
is that it’s not highly technical. Its main drawback is it’s kind of sandy. But
the few technical spots can be walked, and you will be rewarded with most
incredible views of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada mountains up close, and
Marlette Lake as well.

Here’s the plan:

Dates: a weekend in September (Northstar cycling closes Sept. 30) Friday:
Optional ride of the Stevens Trail (see below) Saturday: Northstar-at-Tahoe
resort, similar to 1997 Sunday: The great Flume ride. Where to stay: Kings Beach
and Incline Village are along Tahoe’s north shore, between Northstar and the
Flume, with lots of off-season hotels & motels. We will look for group discounts
and also the possibility of a cabin arrangement. No living room floors available
at the moment. You can also stay in Reno or South Lake Tahoe, which are bigger
places with lots more neon & stuff. Competitions: Bruce Bundy has offered to go
up early, if necessary, to build a Trials course. Northstar will probably be
interested in helping with this, so we’ll do it there. We also may again ride
their dual slalom course, though we may modify the rules to fit our schedule.
Also possibly an uphill race, probably all at Northstar T-shirts: Duh!

Friday Steven’s Trail: This one is also described on Brett’s Trail Page:
http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~bymaster/muni/steven.html
<http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~bymaster/muni/steven.html> This is a nine mile
ride (4.5 each way), with a 1200’ drop followed by the same 1200’ back up. You
are essentially riding down into the North Fork American River Canyon and back.
This trail is very steep in places, very narrow, and with long drop-offs. Not
recommended for beginners (save your energy for Sat. & Sun.)! Also, minor
children must be accompanied by adults to ride with us (same for the Flume).
The canyon view is spectacular, as the trail hugs the side all the way down to
the river.

This trail was originally a toll road, for gold miners working down there to
get to town. Along the way, there is even an old mining tunnel, though it’s
been closed up and doesn’t go in very far. The first time Brett and I rode
this trail, we were surprised to find ourselves riding sections on the way up
that we had walked on the way down. You definitely have more traction when
riding uphill. And there are a few areas on this trail to challenge anybody,
even Kris Holm.

At the bottom, weather permitting, adventurous riders can take a dip in
the American River. It’s not real warm in September, but not too cold
either. There’s a swimming hole where you can jump 20’ or so off a rock
into a deep spot.

Riders interested in the Stevens ride may be invited to stay at my house the
night before, and after the ride we’ll all head up to our accommodations at the
Tahoe area.

Saturday Northstar: Northstar at Tahoe is a ski resort, with lifts, over a
hundred miles of trail, and even dual suspension bike rentals if you don’t feel
up to all the pedaling. Most of the riding is downhill, which is enough of a
workout at that altitude and over that terrain. There will be group rides on
easy, medium and hard trails. Or you can take a trail map and go your own way.
Lunch will probably be part of the package.

Our Trials competition might be at the bottom of the mountain where everyone can
see, or up near the second lift, by the dual slalom course and the obstacles we
rode on last time. Those might be included. There will probably be an optional
“sicko’s” ride up the mountain, if someone’s willing to lead
it. I recommend saving your energy for Sunday and riding up to Snow Valley Peak
or something.

Sunday Flume: We will probably just do that ride. It sapped me pretty well the
other day, and we’ll already be depleted from Saturday. This will allow us to
take our time, enjoy the scenery, and have a picnic lunch halfway. Of course
you’ll have to carry your own picnic. There are absolutely no services along
the trail.

How does all of that sound? It seems a fitting way to welcome in the new
millennium. Let’s go up near the top of the world, look down on spectacular
scenery, and just have a great time together.

Comments?

Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone reply to jfoss@unicycling.com
http://www.unicycling.com

“I’m okay, I crash like that a lot.” - Dan Heaton

RE: Part 4: California Mountain Unicycle Weekend 2000

Joe Stoltzfus wrote:

> Hey John, it sounds great. Lake Tahoe is drivable from Idaho, and we
> frequently ride at 6000 feet. The fourteen mile trail sounds scary so we will
> have to try some fourteen mile rides that are close to a road first.

That’s what the smart riders will do. The scenery is worth the extra effort of a
few training rides (pictures to follow)!

> We shall probably be looking for a campground.

Let me know what you find if you do your own research. I’m not a camper, but I
would like to provide that information for people who are.

> If time permits I could no doubt bring a skilsaw, and an electric chain saw
> and some drill motors to help with the trials setup. I have about two hundred
> and fifty feet of cord. I have no desire to haul any beams or ties all the way
> from Idaho.

Can’t blame ya. First we have to talk to the folks at Northstar to make sure
it’s okay. I think they’ll love the idea. But building the course will probably
have to take place in advance, a day or even a week before the convention. Bruce
will be able to coordinate with you if there’s a possibility of collaboration.
Northstar probably has lots of stuff we can use to build a course, especially if
we base it on the “toys” they had near their dual slalom course in '97. This
means we’d have to do it up there and not down in the village, so we’ll see what
the Northstar folks have to say first.

> Stay on Top (to borrow a phrase)

Don’t worry, I borrowed it from USA founder Bill Jenack!

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone (reply to jfoss@unicycling.com)
http://www.unicycling.com

“I’m okay, I crash like that a lot.”

  • Dan Heaton

Re: Part 4: California Mountain Unicycle Weekend 2000

Hey John, it sounds great. Lake Tahoe is drivable from Idaho, and we frequently
ride at 6000 feet. The fourteen mile trail sounds scary so we will have to try
some fourteen mile rides that are close to a road first.

We shall probably be looking for a campground.

If time permits I could no doubt bring a skilsaw, and an electric chain saw
and some drill motors to help with the trials setup. I have about two hundred
and fifty feet of cord. I have no desire to haul any beams or ties all the way
from Idaho.

Stay on Top (to borrow a prase) Joe Stoltzfus

Re: Part 4: California Mountain Unicycle Weekend 2000

Joe, 2 years ago when Muni weekend was at Northstar for a day, we camped at the
campground right near the Truckee airport. Very nice place, about 1 mile from
Northstar, 2 miles from food etc in Truckee. I believe the name is “Martis Creek
Lake Campground” - check your map, or I can email you one if you want.

We noticed the sign to it last weekend when we passed on the way to the Flume
Trail. Of course there are lots of other campgrounds in the area too, and they
are generally uncrowded after Labor Day.

—Nathan

Unicycle17 <unicycle17@aol.com> wrote in message
news:19991028152300.29697.00001582@ng-fy1.aol.com
> Hey John, it sounds great. Lake Tahoe is drivable from Idaho, and we
> frequently ride at 6000 feet. The fourteen mile trail sounds scary so we
will
> have to try some fourteen mile rides that are close to a road first.
>
> We shall probably be looking for a campground.
>
> If time permits I could no doubt bring a skilsaw, and an electric chain
saw and
> some drill motors to help with the trials setup. I have about two hundred
and
> fifty feet of cord. I have no desire to haul any beams or ties all the
way
> from Idaho.
>
> Stay on Top (to borrow a prase) Joe Stoltzfus