Spoke and#8216;n Words: From the Sierra Nevada to France, itand#8217;s on | SierraSun.com

Spoke and#8216;n Words: From the Sierra Nevada to France, itand#8217;s on

About 20 local hardcores hit the first ride/race in the Chickadee Underground Series last Sunday. It’s a 52-mile epic link-up of much of the best North Tahoe single-track one can ride, rolling from and returning to Blue Coyote in Truckee. A fantastic outing.

Most got a little lost or had mechanical issues and#8212; or both. That is to be expected. A few had slightly more experience with the route and blazed it. In the end all persevered and ended up back at Blue Coyote for beers and food that never tasted so good.

It was great preparation for Downieville.

The Downieville Downhill takes place in the Downieville/Sierra Buttes area the weekend of July 11. Winners will be able to climb and descend. Reports are the wet spring has the course in fantastic shape. Come to race, stay for the scene, check out the carnage.

Also next Saturday, July 11, is the and#8220;Death Rideand#8221; out of Marklieville, which earns its name from its 130 miles and 15,000 feet of climbing. So road or dirt, you’ve got your choice of epics.

On the larger stage and#8212; make that the largest stage and#8212; the Tour de France starts July 3.

Lance Armstrong makes his return to the most prestigious bike race on the planet. Can the former best stage racer in the world win an unheard of eighth title and#8212; with the world’s current best stage racer, Alberto Contador, on his own team?

This is a great story if nothing else. I say Contador blows his doors off, and, well, he should. Lance is old. Come on! The race airs every day for about a hundred hours on the Versus channel. If you’ve got a DVR, record it and#8212; this is the best way to catch the critical race deciding and#8220;action,and#8221; assuming you have some other semblance of a life and schedule for the month of July.

That being said, kick back and relax for a full four to six hours on a few days and take it in like the French and#8212; as it unfolds. Slow down and take a virtual spin with the peleton through the gorgeous French countryside. You’ll be stoked to get out and ride yourself!

Of course the north shore of Donner Lake has been under construction all spring and summer and a nightmare to ride. But, that has led many to discover the awesome route around the south shore of the lake.

The road dead-ends for cars (not bikes) at the state park, so vehicle traffic is minimal. There are more joggers and bikes than cars. And now, the north shore construction is getting very close to being done. It’s wide and smooth, and a bike path stripe to come!

At least as of July 1, riding clockwise around Donner Lake was awesome. Do it in the morning when the lake is glass and traffic is light and the temps are in between the chill of night and heat of the afternoon. Wave to everyone. Do it alone or with friends, on anything with two wheels.

Wow, that was sweet, let’s do it again.

and#8212; Team rider Andy Scott is the author of this week’s Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing column. Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy. For more information, results and upcoming events, visit http://www.cwcracing.org.

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