Shaun Palmer. Pro Snowboarder.

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Larkspur Hotel Truckee ~ Tahoe

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today was the hardest and most rewarding day of the trip. I know it has only been four days, but I'm fairly confident it will be hard to beat for a good while longer. We climbed all day long, from Auburn at 1500' to Truckee at 6000', over a 7000' pass. It was difficult - extremely difficult - to do almost 9000 feet of total climbing in one day while also covering 75 miles, but I couldn't have asked for a better experience doing it.

The day started at 4:45 AM, with a 5:15 breakfast at Denny's across the street from the hotel. I had a grand slam that was so much food I'm not sure I could have ever finished it, even if it wasn't before 6 AM. Slow and steady was the name of the game today, and it ultimately got us through alright. We averaged only 10 mph, but on the hills all day that is a grueling speed. The weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, clear blue skies all day, light wind from behind. It could not have been any better. The scenery in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is unreal. I had no idea that is what I was getting myself into. Above about 6000' everything is still covered with snow, and below that level there are still huge snow piles in the shade. The mountains have a gorgeous shape, packed not too close, but also not too far from each other. We found the Donner Ski Ranch, level one of a childhood favorite video game of mine, mentioned in the title. It was fun to put those two things together. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is the view of Donner Lake from the top of Donner Pass Road. Riding down that road was unbelievably fun. 

It's not terribly developed out here, so the only road between Auburn and Truckee for about 20 miles is the interstate, I-80. This means we were stuck riding on it for a few hours. Riding on the interstate just isn't fun. There is junk all over the road, vehicles are really noisy at highway speeds, and trucks are plain scary when you're not surrounded by steel and they're blowing past you. To make matters worse, they were repaving the road as we were riding. This meant they shifted the traffic onto the right shoulder, leaving us no option but to ride on the left shoulder next to the lane they were paving. Our trip leader instructed us to do this, as many of the riders who had passed through earlier had been allowed through by the construction workers. At first, it wasn't too bad - we even started to feel like VIPs on the brand new pavement after a street sweeper passed by us and picked up all the loose gravel... but that faded quickly, as we got pulled over by a police officer in the middle of the construction area who told us that he "had hundreds of complaints" about us riding our bikes through the construction area. We had a long discussion, and he eventually realized we were smack in the middle of the construction zone and the interstate, we weren't actually causing any harm, and since he couldn't put our bikes in his cruiser, there was really no other choice than to let us continue riding to our exit

Check out the pictures - today was beautiful, from start to finish.
Added bonus: the hotel is really nice.
Final complaint: the hotel "Mountain Burrito Company" restaurant served me a Bison burrito that was not only terrible going in, but also hasn't managed to improve its standings whatsoever while sitting in my stomach.

Distance: 74.15 mi - 271.36 total
Time: 7:45:40 - 22:13:58 total
Elevation Gain: 8,779 ft - 16,878 total
Av. Speed: 9.6 mph - 12.2 overall
Av. HR: 132 bpm - 132 bpm overall
Calories: 9,374 - 23,693 total
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Micah on

You are awesome. All three of you.

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