Ever wonder if the universe was attempting to tell you something? Last Sunday (June 2nd) was America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (AMBBR) – a 72 mile ride around Lake Tahoe. It is a very popular ride and people come from all over the US to ride around the lake. I wanted to do the ride last year and had to find a registration on Craigslist as it was already sold out. Days before the ride, I put Rosie out of commission by attempting to enter the garage with her perched atop my car and bent her front wheel. Since I had paid a good amount for the registration, I made a trip up to Tahoe the day before the ride and was able to sell it for less than regular price, and more than I had paid for it. Score! I surmised the universe was telling me I was not supposed to do the ride last year, and made a pledge to myself that I would register early and do the ride this year.
This year, I registered many months in advance to assure a place as one of the 3,500 riders to enjoy this supported ride around one of California’s greatest treasures. I made a reservation at a South Lake Tahoe timeshare in Zephyr Cove, and planned to arrive 3 nights ahead of the ride to, at least psychologically, acclimate to the higher altitude. My sister Linda and husband Sam were to join me as Linda had never been to Lake Tahoe. I know, hard to believe! Born and raised in California and had never made a trip to Tahoe. When they had to cancel, I called my friend Kathy to see if she wanted to come. Having been in a wheelchair or non weight bearing on crutches for over 21/2 months, she was more than eager to “get outta Dodge!”
Everything was falling into place nicely until I took Rosie (for any new readers, Rosie is my bike) in to the shop to figure out why my shifting was stiff and skipping when I changed gears. It was a sad day when I had to leave her in the shop and she wouldn’t be ready for the Tahoe ride :(. So what was a girl to do? I went home, pulled my Silver Bullet out from retirement, and took her to a shop that could see her right away for a tune-up and safety check. She was my triathlon bike years ago and hadn’t been ridden in years. I had put new tires on her not long ago so that Peter could ride her, and that was about all that had been done in years.
On Thursday afternoon, Kathy and I and Silver Bullet, loaded up and headed to Tahoe for a long weekend. We arrived at Zephyr Cove to check in, only to find out I had no reservation until the next night – Friday to Monday, not Thursday to Sunday as I thought. The question again came up “so what’s a girl to do?”. Even with all the people in town, we were able to get a hotel room at one of the casinos and all was well. The weather was beautiful and I would take Silver Bullet out for a test spin in the morning.
Uh oh! My girl had a flat tire. A new rim liner had been placed to prevent flats as she had a flat from one of the spokes when I took her in. That was easily remedied with a new rim liner, though I found a screw on the ground under her in the condo and didn’t know where it went. I didn’t feel comfortable riding her as I wasn’t sure what was “loose”. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I put out a Facebook plea asking if anyone would lend me their bike for the Sunday Ride. That’s like asking someone to borrow their first born for a day. Almost immediately, I had a response from my friend Melissa offering up her bike, Kermit. And the best part was, she was coming to Tahoe for the day on Saturday and could deliver him to me! Another obstacle overcome.
It turned out that Kermit fit me very well and I could ride him without making any adjustments. What are the chances? Several obstacles had popped up in preparation for this ride, and I began to wonder if my higher power was giving me a message that I wasn’t supposed to ride! However, since there had been a solution for each obstacle that came up, I took that as a good sign, and Sunday morning at 0700 I began the ride!
The day was beautiful! It was sunny and clear with morning temperatures in the low 40’s at the start. For warmth, I opted to wear a bright florescent green wind vest and arm warmers and tolerate the chilly morning, as temperatures were to climb into the upper 70’s. I knew I could shed layers along the way if need be. By the time I was part way up the climb to Emerald Bay, you can see in the picture, I had already pulled my arms warmers down. We started at the Casinos and road counter clockwise around the lake so the Emerald Bay climb was within the first 10 miles. Temperatures were already rising as the sun rose higher in the sky. The entire ride had stunning views of the Sierras and the lake. I wish I had had a video cam on my helmet to show everyone what I saw. I guess any one of you could have driven around the lake that day and seen the same thing. Though somehow, moving at the speed of bicycle, I think I would have appreciated it more 🙂