Adam Jensen: The Tahoe mountain biking rumors are true
I didn’t necessarily want to take my mountain bike down from the hooks in the garage this weekend, but I kept hearing from friends how good the trails have been.
In a perfect world, I’d leave my bike in a state of suspension until May at least, but I needed to get a little exercise and some fresh air, so I gave it a shot, heading up Lower Cold Creek, at the South Shore, on Sunday.
It’s one of my favorite rides, and it did not disappoint. I saw a couple other people out on the trail, but it was relatively quiet compared to any given Sunday during the summer. The trail was firm but tacky, gripping my treads through a smile-inducing series of high-speed turns. I encountered only a couple spots of loose dirt. The temperature, while not what I would like to see in the middle of winter, was perfect for outdoor activity, hitting that sweet spot between warm enough to want to go outside and cold enough not to overheat. The trail was blocked by a couple of monstrous downed trees about halfway up, which, although kind of annoying to drag a bike through, was an impressive sight to see.
Now, being able to mountain bike at Lake Tahoe in February is unusual. With the phenomenon comes the need for some extra responsibility from mountain bikers so some middle-of-winter fun doesn’t cause headaches throughout the rest of the year.
The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association encourages mountain bikers to stick to dry trails or ride in freezing temps in the early morning or evening to avoid creating ruts that will need to be repaired in the spring. The group also urges people to stay on the trail if they encounter a downed tree or obstacle to minimize the impact from mountain biking.
Tahoe Mountain, Powerline, Lower Cold Creek, Lower Van Sickle, Cedar and Sidewinder are among their recommended South Shore trail rides right now. Flume Trail, on the East Shore, is snowy and icy, but can still be accessed from Tunnel Creek, according to the mountain biking association.
While there is another chance of snow at the end of next week, we’re still playing the waiting game in terms of freshening up the skiing options. I’d rather be on the slopes, no doubt, but I can vouch for the fun to be had on the trails right now if you’re looking to scratch that downhill itch.
Adam Jensen is the editor of Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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