Lake Tahoe cyclists taking new heights in Sunday’s Tour de Tahoe ride
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — It’s not necessarily the 72-mile distance of this weekend’s Tour de Tahoe bicycle ride that will challenge participants — it’s the altitude.
The clockwise road ride around the lake starts Sunday morning and continues through the late afternoon. More than 4,000 feet of climbing is included in the Tour de Tahoe. Among the ascents is an 800-foot pedal to a rest stop overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction from the North Shore. The ride is geared toward relatively fit recreational cyclists, said event director Curtis Fong.
“What I think is challenging, other than the fact that there are two major climbs, is the altitude,” Fong said.
“It is a challenging ride for riders that live at sea level,” he added.
About 1,800 cyclists are expected to take part in the 13th annual ride. The Tour de Tahoe starts and ends in the parking lot of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe. Other than the actual pedaling, many of the details are handled by the race.
“I think the thing the riders appreciate is that our rides are fully supported,” Fong said.
Food, beverages, mechanical support and medical assistance are provided along the ride. Emerald Bay, Homewood Mountain Resort, Kings Beach and Spooner Junction are among the ride’s rest stops.
“All riders have to do is get on their bikes, pin on their bib, put on their wristband and ride,” Fong said.
Tour de Tahoe grew out of Bike the West’s America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, as demand from cyclists outgrew the number of available spots for the summer ride. With the drop in road traffic following the Labor Day Weekend, it seemed like a natural time to host a second bike ride, Fong said.
The avid cyclist is emphasizing safety and sharing the road this year following concerns from Caltrans regarding bicyclists obeying the rules of the road.
“Share the road means share the road with everyone using the roadway,” Fong said.
“Safety is really the key,” he added.
No road closures are scheduled for the ride. Motorists should be aware of cyclists on the road and plan a little extra time to get to their destinations Sunday, Fong said.
The ride starts at 6:45 a.m., and riders are typically done by 4 or 5 p.m. KRLT 93.9 will have updates on where the bulk of the riders are throughout the day. Some of the updates will be coming from a first-hand perspective.
Comedian, radio host and Lake Tahoe Action columnist Howie Nave will be participating in his first Tour de Tahoe and will be doing call-ins during the ride.
For Nave, the ride represents the final cog in a Tahoe cycling adventure.
“The Tour De Tahoe is actually the culmination of this past year doing all of these bike rides around Tahoe, discovering just about every bike trail out there that the basin has to offer,” Nave said in an email.
Fong said he expects there to be some late registration for the ride available. The late/same-day registration fee is $145.
More information on Sunday’s ride is available at http://www.bikethewest.com.