After heading west for a client project, Leigh Matthews and I recently decided to hit the trails for some mountain biking around the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The incredible topography of the area was a big change for us, coming from the Houston and Chicago offices respectively.
We chose to bike the Flume Trail, a one-way, 14-mile ride at 7000’ to 8000’ feet in elevation. For perspective, the elevation of DMC's Chicago office is at an almost respectable 596 ft. while the Houston office is at a mere 78 ft. After renting bikes from Flume Trail Bike Rentals, we hopped onto a shuttle that dropped us off at the beginning of the trail, in Spooner State Park, just north of Spooner Lake.
Hitting the Trail
The most difficult part of the trail was the first 4.5 miles, where we started at 7000 ft. and climbed some 1,100 ft. in the first hour of biking.
Highs and Icy Cool Lows
The climb worth the effort when we reached the highest point on the trail—Marlette Saddle. We were rewarded with the sight of Marlette Lake, whose icy alpine waters we plunged into to cool off after our near-vertical ascent before embarking on the remainder of our ride.
The Flume Lake Trail is shown in red.
Throughout the ride, we encountered some very steep drops and narrow trails, but the spectacular vistas we encountered were worth it. While challenging, this is the best trail I have ever been on.
It's All "Downhill" From Here
Leigh and I aren't mountain biking experts by any means. I have gone mountain biking a few times, as had Leigh, but he had never done downhill before. We were very grateful that we had great rental bikes (with exceptional brakes and padded seats), as going down would have been a lot more 'exciting' without them. As we continued on, the next ten miles became mostly flat or downhill allowing us to ride on with relative ease.
After 3 hours and 40 minutes, we completed our ride on the north end of Lake Tahoe, near Incline Village. The final section of the trail was quite a rush — a 3 mile 1500’ descent. After our trek through the mountains, we rewarded ourselves with burgers and beers from Tunnel Creek Café, conveniently located at the bike drop-off point.
The bike ride was a great way to blow off some steam and get one hell of a workout in while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some interesting stats from our ride:
- Average heart rate: 153 BPM
- Total Elevation Gain: 2,306 ft.
- Distance: 13.56 miles
- Calories Burned: 2,132 C
Overall it was a great trip. We really enjoyed the physical challenge and opportunity to explore the mountains. We're looking forward to another trip with a bigger group!
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