Category: Things to do

California Alps Cycling’s Adopt-a-Highway Adventure

So after a bit of fun doing things like filling out applications, getting an encroachment permit, viewing orientation videos, getting our gear and getting sign decals made and installed on the panels,california alps cycling, lets kick some passes asses, sierra cycling and then mounted on the signs, we were official and ready to rock-n-roll!

Last week, we decided (ok, I decided) that we would just do it. It would just take a couple hours and it wasn’t too hot. Wrong!

Our crew consisting of yours truly, my wife (and soigner extraordinaire) and our Club Mother (aka Mom) got out on the road and did some adoptin’.

Okay, before I continue, some context: CAC has the stretch between Turtle Rock Park and Camp Markleeville – mile markers 14 through 17 (North bound), just between Alta Alpina and the Alpine Watershed Group, other good stewards of the area.

That’s our little stretch of heaven, right there, between those arrows.

california alps cycling, lets kick some passes asses, sierra cycling,
Date and time of the mission: Thursday, July 26th, 1000 hours. Launch location: Camp Markleeville pull-out (bottom arrow). Mission finish: Turtle Rock Park and Highway 89 (top arrow)

Two hours…not! How about four?! And it was hot. 95ish or so, but we had to kick some passes’ asses so we gutted it out and collected about five good sized bags of plastic bottles (lots of those little Sutter Home wine bottles and Crystal Geyser water bottles), cigarette butts (really people! still? so not chill – but I guess all litter is so not chill). Oops, there I go. Let me step off the soapbox and continue. A few beer bottles were in the haul. No micro-brews, though. I found that interesting. Quite a few straws, a flip-flop (didn’t find the match), some gloves (various), lots of bits of plastic-mostly from fast food soda lids, an old antifreeze bottle filled with stinky tar and most importantly, an orange 5 gallon “Let’s do this!” bucket that was in great shape (thanks Home Depot!). Authors note: My wife made our house its forever home and so it didn’t go to the landfill. Oh, and only 2 Gu packs and 2 Gu pack “lids” so not bad, cyclists.

All in all a really good day for team California Alps Cycling. Helped the community and generated some good karma, especially with motorists and our fellow locals (based on the “nice honks,” and waves).

Want to join us next time? We’d love to have you. We’ll be hitting the road again in the fall (September we’re thinking). Right around the time our new Castelli schwag comes in. Oh, boy!

Follow this blog and be on the lookout for an announcement. And remember, part of our mission here at California Alps Cycling is to help the communities in which we live, work and ride. We did our part last week.

What are you doing to give back or pay it forward in your community? Let us know by commenting on this post.

Mt. Rose Snowshoe

Well, as our tagline: “Cycling, and more, in the Heart of the Sierra” implies, we don’t just cycle here at “CAC.” There’s so much more to do in the California Alps it would be criminal to focus strictly on cycling.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share this little missive about an outing I had outside of Reno, in the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area, just last Saturday.

My friends Chris and Shyanne Schull, along with another recruit, Sam (the man, of course) and I took off from the parking lot at the Mt. Rose Summit/Tahoe Rim Trailhead about 10:30 a.m. I now know this was a bit late for the distance we had planned to cover as our leader (Chris) gave us approximately 1.5 minutes to wolf down our lunch before we had to head back.

Chris having lunch with Kona and Java - Mt. Rose
Our fearless leader, Chris, eats his lunch under the watchful eyes of Java and Kona

Okay, I digress…

So, off we go with all of our gear and puppies in tow, and head up the trail a bit to put on our snowshoes. That in itself was a bit dicey for this first-timer, let me tell ya! All those straps and shit…While trying to keep my balance. In snowy ice. Or is that icey snow?

Alrighty, then…Shoes on. Check. Pack hoisted. Check. Poles in hand. Check. Oh, wait, gloves. Okay, gloves. Check. And now I have to pee. Pack off. Check. Up the hill to the trees while my companions wait patiently. Check. Download. Check. Gloves and jacket. Check. Pack back on. Check. Now, off we go. Finally!

 

As a lifelong mountain lover, but a city livver (sorry, “liver” just didn’t feel right) I have had many of those “OMFG this is so beautiful moments” but had never experienced ‘shoein’, or skiing or anything that would take me miles into the wilderness on my own two feet. I was really looking forward to this. I was in great shape and had done a lot of hiking and backpacking so I was prepared for what I knew was going to be a hard day “out of the saddle.” Wrong! Not prepared. Not by a long shot. Showshoeing is hard I learned. Some of that was the trail we chose (I whined to Chris a lot. I mean a lot. Sorry, Chris), some of it was technique (or lack thereof) and some of it was just being a greenhorn. In any case, once I got out of my own way (and the trail got easier) I got into the Zen of it all: the rhythm of my breathing, the crunch of the snow, the outrageous blue sky and the crystalline snow (reminded me of the mirrors of my youth if you get my drift). Ooh, good pun!

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One of the benefits of being the lantern rouge – good photos like this. Shyanne, Kona, Java, Chris and Sam ahead of me in the meadow just to the west of Tamarack Peak.

Alright, I’ll put that flashback away and get on with the story. Bullet points:

  • Hard work side-mountaining and cutting trail in showshoes…
  • Harder still when cross-country skiers are swooshing by you at an irritatingly fast clip,
  • and harder still when it goes on for several hours longer than you think.
  • Crap, was that another whine?

What I learned:

  1. Good, waterproof, boots are key.
  2. Snowshoes that are better at shedding snow are better because they don’t form ice-balls under the shoe. When that happens, it makes it really hard to walk.
  3. Snowshoeing takes a lot longer than you think.
  4. You sweat a lot so having good, lightweight, breathable gear makes life a whole lot better when “doin the ‘shoe.”
  5. It’s frickin’ awesome being out (like really far out, man) there, in snow country. It looks so much different.
  6. You’re right, compared to someone like let’s say a snow surveyor, I wasn’t even out there. Still..frickin’ awesome!
  7. Doing something other than cycling, when it’s too cold and icy to be outside so I’d be on the trainer, anyway. Oh, boy!
  8. Did I tell you that it was frickin’ awesome?
Mark snowshoeing in Mt. Rose. Lake Tahoe in the background.
Oh, yeah! What a day! Yours truly heading back to the barn and yup, that’s Lake Tahoe in the background.

Oh, if you want more data that matta, click here and check out my strava activity post.

My lawyer told me I need to tell you this too: Please check to make sure that any trails, roads, hikes etc. that you use are suited to your skill set. CAC is not responsible for any injuries.  Any information provided on this website is subject to change and CAC is not responsible for the accuracy of that information.