As the dog days of summer dry the lowland trails, much of last winter's snow still lingers further up in the hills. When such conditions present themselves, some of us mountain bikers are inspired to step out of our comfort zone (or perhaps further into it?) and tackle wacky adventures in the mountains. Here is a laid back account of such a multi-sport outing from Barry Wicks and the Kona Adventure Team.
Slipping into my running shoes, I grab my tepid cup of coffee and head out the door. My van waits patiently, loaded the night before with enough ski, mountain bike and photography gear, despite its size, to overflow into the sparse seating area. I hop in and turn the key. Nothing happens.
The previous two days had been spent racing the Carson City Off-Road, the third and final stop in the Epic Rides Triple Crown $100,000 MTB series
. A downtown criterium on Friday night, followed by a 50-mile backcountry race under the hot, Sunday sun had softened our legs, but could not dampen our enthusiasm for the adventure we had planned for the following day.
After futzing around trying to jump-start the van, I finally swapped my house battery into the engine compartment, fired the beast up, and we were underway to our starting point at Tunnel Creek Café in North Lake Tahoe.
I conceived this trip, which we dubbed "The Big MTB-Ski Adventure" during one of the epic snow fall events this past winter. The Tahoe area received 175% of its normal snow fall from November through April, and that snow was not going anywhere anytime soon. With the high mountain trails buried under the crush of white, I figured we might as well use the abundance to our advantage, and do a multimodal assault from the shores of Lake Tahoe up to the summit of Mount Rose and back.
As the sun set on another spectacular journey, we dove into Lake Tahoe, washing the day's grit and sweat off our bodies, and cementing our journey to the top and back in a single push.
In the immortal words of the Epic Rides series, we had had a "good day on the bike", traveled outside of our comfort zone, and enjoyed every minute of it. Some notes on packing skis on bikes:
• Protect your frame with padding, ski edges are sharp and can cut into carbon etc.
• Use all the Voile straps you own plus about 10 more to make sure everything is as tight as possible.
• Avoid hooking your ski boots on trees/rocks/other people.
• We had our skins installed on the skis while riding, which seemed like a good idea, but they ended up getting extremely dirty from tire roost and it took me two hours to clean them up afterward. Better to keep them in the pack.
• Bring lots of snacks.
• Don’t poke your eye out.Adventure Team Members:
Barry Wicks, @wicknasty
Kris Sneddon, @krissneddon
Spencer Paxson, @slaxsonMTB
Cory Wallace, @wallacesworld
Patrick Means (photographer), @patrick_means