Though we’re being pounded by yet another late winter storm (or early spring, depending on how you read the calendar) in the Sierra, it’s not too early to think about cross training for a popular Tahoe sport—mountain biking.
Rebecca Rusch’s SRAM Gold Rusch Tour
Women cyclists will want to check out Rebecca Rusch’s SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, designed to get women across the country outdoors and on their bicycles. The tour starts at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey on April 14-17, 2011, regarded as the world’s largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. If you pile your girlfriends in the car you can be there in half a day to take advantage of the Ladies Lounge at the Sea Otter Classic. Rusch and other female pros will teach women participants bike wrenching basics, talk race tactics and an opportunity to mingle in the women’s-only lounge. The Ladies Lounge is an opportunity for women to get hands-on experience and pro tips, and a great way to get inspired for the summer season.
Rusch has impressive credentials as the Leadville Trail 100 Women’s Champ and three-time 24 Hour Solo Mountain Biking World Champion, but what is more remarkable is the lengthy list of accomplishments in other sports. These include championships in short track, cyclocross, cross country skiing and endurance racing, not to mention big wall climbing in Yosemite and rough water paddling in Hawaii. A professional athlete, she has a notable list of sponsors as well, including Specialized, Suunto, SRAM and Hydrapak among others—all purveyors of high quality athletic gear. It’s hard to believe one human being could be so successful in so many different disciplines.
When asked who her hero was growing up it wasn’t a famous athlete or X-Game competitor, it was Rush’s high school cross country running coach. Rusch said, “My first formal sports training and athletic motivation came from joining the cross country running team in high school. He was supportive and strict at the same time. He instilled a work ethic, humble attitude and sense of teamwork that is still with me today.” Apparently he created a monster, in the most positive sense, as Rusch took those lessons to heart, mowing down the competition in one sport after another.
Biking around Tahoe
A number of Sierra ski areas open up their terrain to mountain biking in the summer including Northstar, who hosts a number of races during the summer, and Squaw Valley. Outside the ski areas rugged mountain trails abound, from the scenic Flume Trail to high alpine Page Meadows. A free Lake Tahoe Bike Trail Map is available from local bike shops and visitor’s centers, or can be downloaded from the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition.
Local gold rush tour-Tahoe Sierra 100
Who knows? If you get inspired at Rebecca Rusch’s SRAM Gold Rusch Tour and start biking in the lower elevations until the snow melts, by August you might be ready for the Tahoe Sierra 100, a challenging 100 mile ultra endurance mountain bike race that traces the trails of gold and silver miners of 1850’s. The race, which starts on August 13, wends its way through remote, rugged, mountainous terrain. You must qualify by completing an endurance race in 2010 or 2011.
For now, the snow is flying and we’re soaking up as much of this historic winter as we can, but soon vision of spokes will be spinning through our dreams.
To reach Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, where the Sea Otter Classic is held, from Tahoe (about five hours, depending on weather and traffic):
- Take Highway 80 West
- Take 101 South
- Take the Monterey Peninsula exit
- Turn Right on Sanborn and continue on East Blanco
- Turn Left on Monterey Rd/Highway 68, arrive at Laguna Seca Recreation Area