Onwards and Even Further Upwards
Mileage - 67 miles
Total Climb - 4,750 ft
Weather - Cool, showers, with strong wind gusts and hail at the top of Mount Rose
As we left behind Truckee, past the 50/50 Brewery that we had eaten dinner the night before, there were some concerns about the cold and rain that seemed to be chasing our riders that morning. The usual path through the bike trail that starts opposite Squaw Valley (home to the 1960 Winter Olympics) and runs down Highway 89 was flooded about 2 miles in due to the river being very high, which prompted a more direct route straight down 89 and then onto 28. The cyclists pushed ahead, though, now braving wind in addition to the cold temperatures as they entered the area around Lake Tahoe, which, besides being beautiful, is also the deepest alpine lake in the world, and the second deepest lake in the United States.
Much to our group’s dismay, the roadside sign that informs one they are entering Nevada seems to have been destroyed during the winter because of excess snow, according to a Tahoe area fire marshal. Although it would have been nice to get a picture with the sign, the scenery was jaw-dropping, as we passed by stilted homes and waterside recreation areas. This would quickly change, however, as they hit the traffic circle and made the turn to climb Mount Rose.
Beautiful homes and hamlets like Brockway turned into evergreens and snow as they ascended, with most of our riders making a stop around halfway at the scenic overlook which gave a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe, of which you could still only see about half of, even with the help of added altitude. As our cyclists soldiered on, the wind intensified, they reached a false summit which turned into an alpine meadow, and they slowly reached the summit at 8,911 feet of elevation. The summit itself was covered in snow, hailing at times, and experiencing gusts of wind up to 50 mph. Needless to say, the group did not stay at the mountaintop SAG stop for very long on advisement of the ride leaders, mostly due to risk of exposure due to the low temperature as well as the uncertainty of the possibility of even more wind.
The descent from Mount Rose is winding and steep, with some riders describing it as white knuckle, and others describing it ‘hand-numbing’, which would make sense with the combination of cold and wind they experienced both at the top and on the way down. As they reached the bottom, the gusts turned into a tailwind which pushed them right along, the temperature became more mild, and they approached Sparks via 395 and going east of Reno. Today was very challenging for all our riders, and our staff as well, but everyone made it in without major incident. Tomorrow we enter the High Desert on our way to Lovelock, hopefully without the sweltering, arid heat that normally accompanies a transit through the 40 Mile Desert.