Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Flume Trail Makes Nat Geo's "Top 100 American Adventures."

National Geographic Magazine has a doozy of a website. If you love travel and do it, or if you love travel and can't do it, their pages and site allow you to really feel as though you are there. They have a segment now that points out their "Best 100 American Adventures." On that list? Mountain biking the Flume Trail in Tahoe. This region also has some amazing road rides, like the ride around Lake Tahoe and up the old two lane road to the summit of Donner Pass.

*Meet Mr. Keseberg. He ate the members of his party who froze to death during the ill-fated Donner Party trip over this mountain. If you get caught in the cold, don't stop...he might still be hungry.

Along that road ride, you can get off and walk amongst ancient petroglyphs that sit below abandoned 19th century gold-rush train tunnels. Mountain biking those tunnels with lights on yield spectacular finds, like subterranean waterfalls and the occasional large mammal (not me, bears).

*Pro endurance racer Timari "Booty" Pruis calls the Tahoe area home, as do many other top ranked pro cyclists.

A quick drive from the Flume Trail will take you to Northstar Ski resort, a mountain bike riders Mecca in the Sierra Nevadas. This area is so full of epic rides for both road and dirt riders, the trip is well worth it. Just up the mountain from Sacramento, or a mind-blowing drive from L.A. via 395 (where you'll pass the entrance to Death Valley, Mono Lake, Gold Rush towns, and the historic Manzanar Japanese internment camp) lies this "complete vacation package" for cyclists of any type or ability. The Nat Geo article is listed below!

*Pro DH racer Charles Libolt taking 8th in the Kamikaze, just down the road from Tahoe.

By Doug Schnitzspahn
Encircling the largest alpine lake in North America, the 165-mile (266-kilometer) Tahoe Rim Trail just may be the singletrack with the greatest view in the United States. More than 80 miles (129 kilometers) of the trail are open to mountain bikes. In fact, the riding here is so sublime that the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) named the 21.8-mile (35-kilometer) section between Tahoe Meadows and Spooner Summit as one of its Epics, an honor bestowed on trails that epitomize the best that mountain biking has to offer.

*Another area pro gravity racer, James Schwanke (dual slalom) is pictured here in blue getting WORKED by Brian Lopes. Sorry Schwanke, had to burn ya!

For good reason: The trail takes in gritty climbs and fast descents with spectacular views of Tahoe to the west and the Nevada desert to the east. Nine miles (14 kilometers) in, you’ll split off onto the adjacent 22-mile (35-kilometer) Flume Trail, which starts at the Spooner Lake campground. Though not officially part of the Rim Trail itself, it’s the signature ride here, and it requires a decent climb and a bit of singletrack to get down. Just remember, it’s tough to keep your eyes on the trail with all those eye-popping views of the lake. One of the best things about the rides on the Rim Trail is that it can be just as much fun for novices as it is for fat-tire vets.

*Nor Cal's Jr. World Cup racer Austin Benge airing it out in Tahoe.

Need to Know: Some sections of the trail are only open to bikes on certain days. Many local bike shops provide shuttles for the point-to-point rides in the Rim Trail. Rent bikes and check in on trail conditions at Flume Trail Mountain Bikes (www.theflumetrail.com). Bike rentals start at $45 a day; shuttles from $15. Read about the trail at www.tahoerimtrail.org.

*Chucky-T. Seventy Miler Per Hour, south of Tahoe in Mammoth. Full tuck.


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