Despite having had a rather full week, including a party the night before, N and I decided to ride the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) from the top of Kingsbury (by Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lodge) to Big Meadow at Luther Pass. It’s approximately 23 miles from point to point, with 3 major passes (Monument, Freel and Armstrong) to climb, two of which are above 9,000 feet. I’ve only done this ride once before, and feeling vaguely macho from two other longer TRT rides, I figured that a relative lack of sleep, wonky gut and excess of red wine the night before wouldn’t really affect me. Yeah.
The first half of the ride went well enough, with cool temps and a nice breeze for the first 9 miles to Star Lake. We arrived at Freel Pass feeling pretty good for riding/pushing our bikes up a sandy trail that topped out at 9,500 feet. Two passes down, one to go! That last pass, Armstrong, is always the killer. No matter how much you know to expect it, and no matter how gentle the climb (and it’s not that gentle, to be honest), it’s still an uphill battle in the heat and high elevation. We collapsed at the top after nearly 5 hours of riding for lunch and a much needed rest. The remainder of the ride was a well-deserved downhill, with banked turns and wildflowers galore and the odd technical doozy that convinced me dismounting was a good thing. Since we were so focused on conserving our energy for the ride itself, we left the camera behind.
Unlike many other rides we do here, this one had quite a bit more hill climbing, which resulted in me being completely useless the rest of the day, lying on the couch and fantasizing about shrimp tacos from Los Mexicanos. Which ended up being even tastier than imagined.