by Curtis Fong The Guy from Tahoe
Wow! Where did the Cycling season Go? This past September was chock full of events that included the 8th Annual TAMBA Rose to Toads, the Mammoth Gran Fondo, the 16th Annual Tour de Tahoe; the Silver State 508; the Stetina Sierra Prospect Ride; Edible Pedal and OATBRAN. And on top of all that, Reno-Sparks hosted INTERBIKE!
Tour de Tahoe — Bike Big Blue: from poised and ready to ride to big smiles at the Finish Line
The 16th Annual Tour de Tahoe – Bike Big Blue event on September 9 attracted 1300 participants and another estimated 3000 guests to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe for the ride around the lake. All riders enjoyed a picture-perfect weather day around Big Blue.
There was only one mishap, near the finish, where a rider hit some sand or a rock on the roadway and went down. We were fortunate to have the CalStar helicopter on hand at the Finish Line. The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District EMT Vehicle was on the scene in a matter of seconds and the man was transported to Reno by CalStar.
September 23-29, was the 27th Annual OATBRAN – One Awesome Tour Bike Ride Across Nevada
Twenty-two participants from as far as Clearwater, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and New Westminster Province, BC Canada, met our ten man crew at Montbleu Casino Resort at Stateline for a Welcome Dinner, orientation and introductions. There were also seven members from Project HERO HUB City Reno who joined the first day’s ride from Lake Tahoe to Fallon (two will make the entire ride).
This is an account of the first half of the ride, from Lake Tahoe to Bean Flat east of Austin
Monday, September 24: Ride Day #1: “A Taste of Nevada”
Lake Tahoe to Fallon, NV: 91 Miles
After Breakfast and loading up all the gear and Sag Wagons, everyone was excited to hit the road for the first day ride over Spooner Summit, down to Carson City and east on Hwy 50.
Tuesday, September 25: Ride Day #2: “The Longest Day”
Fallon to Austin: 113 Miles
This was the day that everyone wanted to get through, being the longest mileage and the most vertical climbing up to 5700 vertical feet. All riders had to be on the roadway before the sun came up so breakfast was at 5:15 am. The first Rest Stop was at Sand Mountain. There was a haze or fog over the salt flats that created an eerie feeling as the riders headed east. Up and over Sand Springs Pass and through the Fallon Naval Air Station bombing range and over Drum Summit to Old Middlegate Station for the second Rest Stop.
The Oatbran Lunch Buffet features whole grain breads, bagels or rice cakes, assorted cold cuts, assorted cheeses, fresh sliced tomatoes & avocados, sprouts, pickles, salad mix w/dressings, potato or macaroni salad, PB&J, fresh fruit including melons, oranges & grapes, potato chips, corn chips & salsa, Gu Energy Gel, fig bars, and other bars… candy, too with jelly bellies and red whips, cold soft drinks and energy drink mix.
There was road construction and paving on US 50 from New Pass Summit all the way to Austin, so we decided to have the tour ride east on Hwy 722 (Old Hwy 50) into the Desatoya Range up over Carroll Summit, down into Smith Creek Valley, and up and over Railroad Pass to the Reese River Valley rejoining Hwy 50 just west of Austin. This is a beautiful route with climbs and very little traffic. We positioned our Lunch Stop at a Cow Camp just east of Carroll Summit, placed two more Rest Stops at the top of Railroad Pass and at the Junction of Highway 722 and US 50, just before the final ascent into Austin.
Riders made it Austin with accommodations at the Lincoln Motel, Cozy Mountain Motel, the Pony Canyon Motel and Union Street B&B. We enjoyed a fine dinner at Austin’s Community Center — the infamous “Cow in a Can” slow cooked Tri-Tip with Baked Potato.
Later in the evening a number of the riders and crew let down with some fun at the International Hotel bar and then crawled up the street to the Silver State Bar & Café.
Wednesday, September 26: Ride Day #3: “A Re(Dis)Covery Day-I Think”
70 miles from Austin to Eureka:
I am accustomed to getting up before the sun comes up and driving forward at least 20 miles to inspect the roadway and get an idea of anything may be on it to present a safety issue, like fresh overnight road kill, cattle or the possibility of an overturned vehicle or accident that may be blocking the roadway . . . and check the wind weather before the riders head out at 8 am.
I drove over Austin Summit / Bob Scott Summit down to the Big Smoky Valley and all was clear and was warming up to 45F and no winds. When I returned to Austin the riders were having breakfast at the Toiyabe Café and getting ready to be on the Loneliest Road by 8 am.
After all riders were on the roadway and picking up the luggage and paying at the motels, the Tour headed up and over Austin Summit, where Roger Rabbit, an aspen grove was turning its fall colors. Up over Bob Scott Summit and nice descent down to the Big Smoky Valley where the first Rest Stop was set up and junction of Highway 376.
I know this area well as I have a place ten miles south of this junction in Gillman Springs. My summer haven to get away with my dogs to chillax, fish and mountain bike. Love it out here!
The next Rest Stop on the route was at the top of Hickison Summit just west of the Hickison Petroglyphs and Lunch Stop at the Rest Area in Bean Flat.
This location marks the half way point of the 27th Annual OATBRAN Bike Tour and I invite you to stay tuned for my November NevadaGram article as Nevada transitions from Bicycling to Skiing and winter sports activities. I will complete the story of this year’s OATBRAN Tour and update you with what’s new at our Nevada ski resorts.
The Aspens are turning, there’s a coolness in the air and days are getting shorter. The first storm of the year is imminent; winter will soon be upon us. So, hope we have an Indian Summer to enjoy a few more weeks of getting outside, riding bikes and enjoying more adventures in Nevada.
INTERBIKE activities opened the weekend of September 15-16 with demos and rides out of Northstar, including the start of the Stetina Sierra Prospect ride, with the Expo in the Reno Sparks Convention Center on September 18-20. Lots of excitement with all the bicycle industry players attending from traditional road and mountain bikes, to all the accessories, including components, wheels, tires, lube, clothing, etc. Some of the Major Bicycle brands were not represented; usually when INTERBIKE moves to a new location, some wait out the first year to see how it goes before committing to display.
Most of the excitement that I observed was with the EBike industry. This faction of the bicycle industry is growing and bringing former bicyclists back into the fold. including myself.
EBikes, or Electric Assist Bicycles was of great focus at INTERBIKE with special presentations and many manufacturers are producing a variety of commuter bikes, cruiser bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes. most with electric pedal assist technology and no throttles. There was also the Italian Bicycle Industry, the Chinese Bicycle Industry and the Taiwan Bicycle Industry well represented.
I ran into good friend, Glen Plake from extreme skiing fame who is also an endurance bicyclists and has participated in the Silver State 508 in the past years. he told me that he did not have time to train for Silver State 508 this year as he was just returning from Georgia and filming 13 more episodes of “Truck Night in America”.
Assessing the number of retail shop participants and the halls filled with manufactures and suppliers, I think INTERBIKE was a success and a good start for the future as I believe it will be in Reno for the next several years.
One other ride that is coming up on October 13, in eastern Nevada is Park to Park Pedal Extreme. along Hwy 93, starting at Kershaw-Ryan State Park. They have a 40-mile, 60-mile and 100-mile course that pedals through 4 state parks to Caliente, Pioche, Cathedral Gorge in Panaca, Spring Valley and Echo Canyon ending with a Dutch Oven Fest back at Kershaw-Ryan State Park.