Cyclists welcome dry pavement, gear up for season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cyclists welcome dry pavement, gear up for season

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

With spring in the air and temperatures likely to hover above 60 degrees this weekend, some cyclists are itching to trade in their two planks for two wheels.

“It’s time to break out those bikes. I think the ski season is over,” said Tammy Lundquist, who plans to ride up Ebbetts Pass this weekend.

The Alta Alpina Cycling Club member expressed the sentiment among riders who are interested in focusing on training for the bike-ride circuit that starts to roll in April. This despite Tahoe experiencing a 2-foot heaping of snow in mid-April last year.

Many riders are gearing up by scheduling their bicycles for mechanical repairs and routine maintenance.

“It’s just starting to take off. It’s just nuts around here,” said David Wieburg, manager of 123 Bikes in Round Hill Square. The bike shop has seen a lot of high-end bicycles come into the shop from athletes preparing to train for rides.

Some are already out on the road.

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Last weekend, triathlete Megan Waskiewicz saw five bike clubs riding in packs on Foothill Road that links Diamond and Jacks valleys.

“The weather has been so nice,” she said. She and her husband, Christian, often choose to do the Diamond Valley-Emigrant Trail loop in the spring because it’s warmer and the road is usually clear.

The duo rides two or three times a week, amounting to 75 miles. They also try to plan an occasional 50-mile ride once a week as they build up endurance for the organized events.

The couple is training for the April 27 Wildflower Century in Chico and May 3 Wine Country Century in Sonoma County. They also plan to stay in their hometown to ride and work America’s Most Beautiful Ride on June 1.

The Meyers residents are also prepping for their biggest endeavor of the season — riding a mountainous section of the Tour de France.

In its 100th year this July, the world-class cycling event has set the stage for cancer survivor and American four-time tour winner Lance Armstrong to complete the historic route.

For those looking for less of a challenge, Lake Tahoe bike clubs have started to plan events.

Tahoe’s own Tour of the Alps — the Death Ride — closes its registration today. As Alta Alpina’s premier cycling event, the grueling ride slated for July 12 sells out every year.

In addition, the Tahoe Regional Advocates for Cycling — another club — will host Bike to Work Week May 12-16, along with a bike trail cleanup day. The date may coincide with South Lake Tahoe’s Earth Day celebration as it did last year.

“I think everyone is ready to take advantage of the warmer weather,” said Bob Kingman, a TRAC member.

Kingman, who helps to implement Tahoe bike improvements through the California Tahoe Conservancy, has scheduled a busy season for the two-wheeled infrastructure in the basin.

Work this summer will resume on the 15th Street bicycle project that connects the major Tahoe Keys route to the Camp Richardson trail along Emerald Bay Road. The remaining 300 feet will cross West and Lukins ways.

More paved bike lanes will also go in on Ski Run Boulevard from Highway 50 to Pioneer Trail.

Also slated for completion is a bike trail connection that runs from Linear Park next to Highway 50. The trail crosses Highway 50 at Park Avenue and leads to Montreal Avenue. The plan eventually entails a route that links riders from the proposed Van Sickle State Park to Meyers, Kingman said.

The fight may be harder for bike improvements across the state because of the $36 billion budget crisis.

Caltrans funding for bike improvements have been cut in Gov. Gray Davis proposal for community-based transportation planning grant programs, the California Bicycle Coalition said.

“We are upset by that,” coalition spokesman Chris Morfas said, adding the organization plans to lobby lawmakers to ensure the funding is maintained.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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