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Bicyclists circle the lake for benefit

Starting and finishing in Zephyr Cove, some 1,800 cyclists circled clockwise around Lake Tahoe on Sunday in the Eighth Annual America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.

For some, the 72-mile trip is too strenuous. They opted for a one-way trip on the Ms. Dixie to Tahoe City to cut the miles in half.

And for the bicycle demigods, the 72 miles is not enough. They take a side trip to Truckee just to make the trip an even 100 miles.



But for others, it’s just the right amount.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Steve Gibbons, of Reno, while he waited at Inspiration Point, at the foot of Emerald Bay, for his riding partners. “The weather is beautiful, it’s just perfect.”




Gibbons said the $40 entry fee for the ride is well worth it.

“You get to eat around the whole thing,” he said. “At the rest stops there’s fruit and drinks and then lunch in King’s Beach. That’s pretty much what your $40 buys you.”

In addition to carbohydrate overload, support vehicles were available to carry riders’ belongings and to pick up the ones who couldn’t make it to the finish line. Bike technicians were on hand to fix any mechanical problems that might have developed along the way.

Gibbons said he carries his own support equipment.

“I carry a spare tube, a pump, tool kit and a patch kit,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to get a flat.”

For Karen Bloom the event was a way to break in her new, shiny road bike.

“I did the ride a few years back and said I’d never do it again,” she said. “And then I got this new bike and had to try it out.”

Bloom said she has been training for the event by riding a stationary bike all winter long.

But a daily grind on a stationary bike doesn’t even minutely resemble the thrill of riding the knife-edge ridge on Highway 89 between Emerald Bay and Cascade Lake.

“I tried not to look over the edge,” she said. “You’re supposed to look where you want to be.”

Bloom said that despite the narrow road and the grueling climb up the switchback, Emerald Bay was her favorite section of the whole ride.

And her least favorite?

“South Lake Tahoe,” she said. “All the traffic and the road – it was really rough.”

Besides being a fun way to spend the day, the event also served as a fund-raiser.

About 750 of the 1,800 riders raised about $2.4 million for the Leukemia Society of America as part of the Team in Training program. Riders for the Leukemia Society of America came from as far away as the New York and Florida to participate.


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