Racing the Tahoe Sierra 100 | SierraSun.com

Racing the Tahoe Sierra 100

Frank Spiteri
Spoke 'n' Word

Did you happen to notice all the mountain bike racers in town last weekend? If you did see one, there is a good chance he or she was here for the Tahoe Sierra 100 mountain bike race put on by Global Biorhythm Events.

Starting at Ice Lakes Lodge in Soda Springs, racers wound their way through about 82 miles of diverse trails, climbing about 12,000 feet before arriving at the finish line in Foresthill.

Typically, mountain bike endurance events are raced primarily on fire roads; not the Tahoe Sierra 100. This race had some of the most fast, technical descents and tough climbs Iand#8217;ve encountered. It was by far the most challenging, but also the most fun and rewarding course Iand#8217;ve ever ridden.

Anyone who didnand#8217;t do this race really missed out. Anyone who was able to race, that is. Due to the demanding nature of the event, registration was limited to 200 entrants. In addition, in order to enter, each racer had to qualify by showing proof of completing another endurance mountain bike race with in the past year.

Aside from the challenging terrain, racers are also forced to figure out a good on-the-bike nutrition strategy and deal with temperature swings over their long race day. Fortunately, there were six fully stocked aid stations with lots of volunteers to help refill hydration packs, serve up snacks (even fresh tacos!) and lube chains.

I primarily race road bikes and I have to say, it was very refreshing being a part of an event like the Tahoe Sierra 100. Typically, a road event is very results based, with riders not being happy with themselves unless either they or a teammate places well.

The Tahoe Sierra 100 housed riders with a big range of goals, and even bigger range of ability. There were the handful of riders racing to win or earn themselves a podium spot, and then there were the riders racing with everything they had to make the time cut of 15 hours.

Aren Timmel of Team Chico won the race with a time of 8:18:56, and the last rider rolled in with a time of 14:10:45. Everyone seemed just as excited after crossing the finish line, whether they finished first or last.

There were quite a few Tahoe locals present at the race as well, with teammate Jesse Miller-Smith of the Marc Pro-Strava Racing Team leading the charge with a third-place finish in the Pro Menand#8217;s field and Allie Donovan of Biking for a Better World taking third in the Pro Womenand#8217;s field. Me? I was riding strong battling between second and third all race before making a wrong turn 10 miles from the finish, which ended up being an hour detour. I eventually finished 15th in Pro.

If you have an interest in endurance sports and love to ride your bike, I highly encourage you to get out there and try to qualify for next yearand#8217;s event. Itand#8217;s a great opportunity to see the beautiful countryside from a truly unique perspective.

and#8212; Frank Spiteri is the author of this weekand#8217;s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column, Spoke and#8217;nand#8217; Word. For more information, results and upcoming events, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.