Tag: featured

RAC ‘Em Up For The New Year! California Alps Forests Projects That Is

THE Alpine County Resource Advisory Committee held its first meeting in November. The “RAC” as it’s referred to, was convened by the Carson Ranger District and it consists of individuals who represent specific interests in the Alpine County area of the California Alps region of the Sierra Nevada.

THOSE specific interests, and those reps when appointed (after being recommended by local USFS personnel) are placed into certain categories, e.g., commercial recreational activities; commercial or recreational fishing groups; regionally or locally recogonized enviromental organizations; Native American tribes, etc., in order to bring broad ranging backgrounds, perspectives and abilities to the Committee.

CATEGORY A includes “Developed Outdoor Recreation, Off-Highway Vehicle Users, or Commercial Recreation Activities” and that’s where I, and hopefully you too, come in.

REPRESENTING hikers, bikers, OHVers and other recreaters — not re-creators 😉 — (ref. Cat. A lingo above) is now my privilege, I’m happy to write, as I am one of the thirteen (13) appointed public members of the RAC. Thanks, Secretary Vilsack!

 The purpose of each RAC is to improve collaborative relationships among the people that use and care for the National Forests and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the SRS Act. 

 Excerpted from United States Forest Service, Secure Rural Schools Advisory Committees, CHARTER 

From The Title II Guide…

THE funds may be used for projects that have broad-based support and with objectives that include:

  • road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration
  • soil productivity improvement
  • forest ecosystem health improvements
  • watershed restoration and maintenance
  • wildlife and fish habitat restoration, maintenance, and improvement
  • noxious and exotic weeds control
  • native species re-establishment
Forest health in the California Alps can benefit from the Alpine Co. RAC.

OUR RAC advises on, and recommends for, projects in Alpine County, in the Eldorado, Stanislaus and Toiyabe National Forests, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to obtain some funding for various projects that benefit these forests within our little county.

Per David Griffith, of the Alpine Biomass Collaborative: “possible project ideas could include such things as trail and trailhead improvements, toilets, campgrounds and campground improvements, new or improved signage etc.”

CURRENTLY there is approximately $200,000.00 available with an possiblity of $15-30k per year after that. Projects must be submitted by February 1, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in order to be considered for this round, which ends in June of 2023 (FY 2022-2023).

Benefitting More Than Just U.S. Forest Service Land

Matt Dickinson, Sierra Zone GIS Specialist for the Carson District, explains it this way: “In the language of the actual law, there is no indication that it is only Forest Service lands. So, [the RAC] should be able to approve projects if they show a benefit to any federal land.”

Criteria for projects in the California Alps related to the Alpine County Resource Advisory Committee.

OUR goal is to get as oodles and oodles of projects submitted so that we have a robust, perpetual list on which to vote. Since the initiative is ongoing projects that don’t get chosen initially can be considered in future years, so why not have as many in our back pockets as we can, right?

Projects Approved How?

HERE’S Matt again…

  • There has to be a quorum of members in order to recommend projects.
  • To move a project forward there would have to be a majority vote of yes within each of the three membership categories.  If any one of the three groups votes no then the project does not move forward, as required by the committee charter.
  • Funding would need to be decided by a simple majority of members.  The options for funding include – fully fund the project; fund only a portion of the project; fund only a portion of the project now, but recommend the remaining funds be approved if additional funding becomes available; or recommend a project for funding above the amount requested if the project has the capacity.
  • Finally, by a majority vote, projects would need to be ranked in order to determine the priority of which projects get funding with the current funds available and which ones would be funded first when more money becomes available.   

OUR next meeting is February 28, 2023 and it’s at that meeting that we will begin the vetting process and vote on projects that have been submitted to date.

HERE are links to the forms you’ll need:

For more information or to submit a project idea contact Brian Peters (RAC Chairperson), bwpeters1@gmail.com, or Matt Dickinson, Matthew.Dickinson@usda.gov, or 775-884-8154. 

SO, spread the word! Share a link to this post on your social media. Part of an organization that could benefit from a project or projects? Let your leadership know. Know someone or some group that fits the bill? Give ’em a heads up.

THANKS and have a great 2023! Let’s start it off with a big bang for our CA Alps forests.

Submit your project ideas today!

Going Tubeless In The California Alps – Lessons Learned

IN my bike riding lifetime I, like you I suspect, have done a few tubeless set ups. For me those have been on my mountain bike and later on, my gravel bike.

I just upgraded my eMTB to tubeless – this after a flat on my way home from a ride.

GOING tubeless on a road bike, though, is much less common (at least in my “mere mortal” circles). Sew-ups or glue-ons? I’ve never been at that level. My nephew Ryan went tubeless on his road steed several years ago, but that lad has always been an early- adopter/over-achiever. I’ve known few others that have done so, yet I’ve heard for years that the ride can be life-changing. Okay, maybe not life-changing but certainly ride-changing.

I’LL let you know once I get out and ride it. Sadly, right after I set things up I went under the knife (under the water perhaps would be more apropos – my procedure was by robotic aquablation after all) for a prostate upgrade and now that I can ride, the roads have been too slick with ice and snow. 🙁

THERE is a tremendous amount of information out there on how to upgrade to tubeless so I’m not going to go into a step-by-step in this post.

Instead, I’ll focus on a few things I’ve learned as a tubeless-runner. Our friends over at Tempo Cyclist, by the way, posted something up on the subject last month. It’s certainly worth a gander, and you’ll enjoy the Tasmanian vibe. I know I did.

AS for my tips, read on!

Get the Right Tape and Stems (And Tires)

I bought the necessary rim tape (went with Mavic’s 25mm UST Tape) for my Aeolus wheel set, as well as the tubeless stems (Trek’s VLV BNT TLR in 67mm). As for tires…I’m running Continental 5000s TRs (it’s a fairly new tire) in 28mm.

You’ll likely need to do a bit of measuring (with a metric ruler or tape) to get the correct wheel depth, which for me was a bit challenging because of that deep-dish wheelset.

TIP: If you’re still not sure, get a small selection of sizes and return what you don’t need. That’s what I did. With Competitive Cyclist, where I get 99% of my stuff, returns are simple and usually free. And if you, like me, go through materiel like mad, you can even get your own gearhead!

FOR the eMTB, by the way, I ended up going with Reserve’s RSV AM Rim Tape in a 34mm width. Tires? I’m a Conti devotee, and based on the mixed, but mostly loose, terrain here in the Sierra I chose the Argotal 29″ (x 2.40), and for stems Stan’s 35mm Universal Valve. Standard wheels on that bike…

For Sealant It’s Got To Be Stan’s

Stan's Race Sealant is our sealant of choice here in the California Alps

AND I go with Stan’s Race Sealant.

IT’S better, I’ve found, than the standard Stan’s (lasts longer and is designed for “extreme conditions”) BUT it does not allow for injection of the sealant via the valve stem.

IT will clog so you’ll need to add it by “un-beading” the tire. Trust me on this as I’ve tried forcing it in with that injector I used in the past for the standard sealant, and it didn’t go well.

No Compressor? Use C02 Cartridges

THIS was a tip from my “brudda from anudda mudda” Toph. Getting that bead to seat the first time can be challenging so if you don’t have a compressor, rather than pump like a madman (done that and had some success) use a C02 cartridge to seat the tire (the pop is unmistakable) and then inflate with your usual unit.

Can’t Ride It Right Away?

IT’S important that you coat the tires well so the sealant can work into all those nooks and crannies. Mmmm, Thomas’. 😋

BEST practice = go for a ride. If you can’t do that, though, do what I did.

SET the bike on the ground or floor upside down. Crank the pedals to get that rear wheel going and hit that front real with your hand (roulette anyone?) to get it moving. I set my bikes up while I was doing some chores around the chalet and then, every time I walked by, I gave those tires a spin.

THIS approach worked very well for the road bike (less volume so easier to coat) but it didn’t go so well on the front eMTB tire so I ended up taking Bessie out for a short spin (just a couple miles). That did the trick.

Have a Backup Plan

HERE’S the rub…Going tubeless typically means no, or extraordinarily fewer, flats. BUT not always. So carry a tube (or two for those epic rides) just in case and also get yourself one of those 2 oz. bottles of Stan’s to tote in your jersey, pack or saddle bag.

SO there you have what I hope will be some helpful suggestions to help you take your ride to the next level.

Looking through a bike wheel at some golden aspens in Markleeville.

TAKE your time, put your patience hat on (as a mechanic once told me), and you’ll be a professional tubeless-tire-installer in no time.

IF you have any issues though, feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to help.

OTHERWISE, enjoy the ride!

Sightseeing From Your Pain Cave – And a Shared Experience

RECENTLY, Mrs. California Alps Cycling has taken a shine to my KICKR and the Fulgaz account connected thereto, and has been doing some sightseeing in preparation for this year’s Tour de France.

WHILE she’s been jumping on the trainer here and there for a few weeks, it hasn’t been until recently that she has really become aware of a benefit of riding in the pain cave she hadn’t paid attention to before: sightseeing!

SURE we get to see some amazing scenery here where we ride (as I suspect you do too), as witnessed by the image at the top of this post, but to be able to ride inside and not just watch sports, or cooking shows, or your avatar, or all of those avatars in front of you for that matter, is a game-changer.

INSTEAD, you get some fascinating glimpses of other parts of the world, and the people in them going about their daily lives.

Rode this one the other day as a cool down. After a harder, longer ride on Zwift.
Later that day, at my recommendation, Mrs. CAC road part of it.

FOR my wife, it’s been an almost transcendent experience.

SHE now looks forward to getting on the bike and checking out a new locale. It also has given her renewed motivation; some days she saves the ride for later and then resumes it the next day so she can get farther into the course or conquer that little roller that she didn’t have the poop to conquer the previous day.

FOR me, though, it’s always been about the workouts. As you know, I’ve spent countless hours on the trainer, in that pain-cave, either on Zwift or Fulgaz, getting my groove on.

Icicles outside? Riding inside!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the scenery, whether it be real or virtual, and the air guitar sessions are pretty righteous, but until until my wife started sharing her perspective (e.g. the interesting buidlings, the pretty flowers, the people walking nearby), I’d never thought of it as a way to sightsee.

THAT shared experience is perhaps that best ROI, though. We’ve been enjoying recounting our adventures with each other. She doesn’t glaze over quite so easily when I start talking watts and rollers and I have a renewed sense of appreciation of my surroundings, albeit virtual ones, and even find myself craning my neck to see things on the screen I wouldn’t normally notice.

I’VE even caught myself waving to the locals and other cyclists!

Next Steps?

WE’RE going to get my “other-half” and fellow tourist her own Fulgaz account and she’s already talking about budgeting for her own trainer so we don’t have to switch bikes so often.

EVEN better, we’ll be able to ride some of the routes together! Fulgaz does have a group ride option!

Kudos for us at the end of that Pingvallavatn ride.

SO, if someone you know needs a little incentive, or you just want to share more of what you love, maybe you need to show them some love and go on a little day trip together somewhere in France, or Africa, or Australia.

YOU choose!

Thinking of Riding Around Lake Tahoe? Here’s What You Should Know

IT’S been just over a year since I originally “penned” this post about riding around Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful lakes, and landscapes, in the world. If it’s not on your bucket list, it should be.

ESPECIALLY now, perhaps. Tourism-based communities, like So. Lake Tahoe, and Markleeville, and Kirkwood and many, many others affected by wildfires, would certainly appreciate your patronage, and you’ve got a bit more time before the snow flies. So take advantage, get some Tahoe time in, after you check out our tips, of course. Be sure to stop by Markleeville too. The aspens are popping and the riding on, or to Monitor Pass, or Ebbett’s Pass, is amazing right now.

BE sure, though, to check our AQI before you come up since the smoke has somewhat unpredictable.

SO read on, and yes, I’ll still send you (except you, ‘Toph, as you won it last year) a t-shirt!

Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in North America, and is the second deepest lake in the United States. The lake is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and about 72 miles around, with an average depth of 1000 feet! It’s one big ‘ol lake and last Friday one of my riding buddies and I tackled it by bike in the counter-clockwise direction.

The first person, by the way, to name the deepest lake in the U.S. by commenting on our Facebook page, will receive a CA Alps Cycling t-shirt.

Never having ridden around the lake before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes I had driven it by car but I never really thought about what it would be like by bike, other than amazingly beautiful and scenic.

Well, as Gomer Pyle would have said: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

Image courtesy of imgflip.com

While it was a beautiful day and the lake seemed a deeper blue than normal, as did the sky (perhaps due to the lack of smoke we had become used to over the last several weeks) it was quite the eye-opener to actually ride it.

Here’s What I Learned

  • There ain’t a whole lot of room on the shoulder(s). In fact in some sections of road there ain’t any!
  • Many sections of road are in a state of disrepair with some nasty bits of asphalt (or lack thereof) ready to surprise you. Yeah, our roads in CA could use some work, I know that. Still…
  • There’s more traffic than I expected. I was thinking it wouldn’t be too bad on a Friday, during the late morning into the afternoon, but I was wrong.
  • Can you say tourists? This was somewhat of a “doh!” moment certainly and I mention it in order to point out that tourists are doing their job – gawking. They are not looking out for cyclists and in some instances I noticed they weren’t even looking out for themselves.
  • Okay, you’re right…it’s not just tourists that don’t pay attention.
  • There are a huge amount of hiking trails to be found in and around and that generates more traffic and more pedestrians.
  • Many people park on the side of the road either for convenience or due to necessity and that means cyclists need to BOLO for doors!

Take a look at this ~8 minute video to get a sense of what I’m “talking” about. This clip starts just after D.L. Bliss State Park and ends just past Emerald Bay. You can catch a glimpse of Fannette Island and I should also mention that there is some “blue language” (hey, that’s appropriate!) about 2/3 of the way through the clip. Color commentary…

A little glimpse into what you’ll experience when you do the Lake.

Some Other Tidbits

  • We road it counter-clockwise as I mentioned early on in this post. Why? We thought it safer; you’re on the mountain side not on the lake side (there are some steep drop-offs) so if something goes amiss you won’t have to try and rappel (or get help rappelling) back up.
  • Plan on somewhere around four (4) hours to complete the loop. Sure, some will be faster and some will be slower. We took the slow-boat approach and so it took us about 4.5 hours.
  • There is about 4000′ of climbing over the course of the approximately 72 miles of riding. Mostly rollers but there are a couple decent climbs – one from D.L. Bliss State Park towards Emerald Bay (some of this section can be seen on the above video clip) and another from Cave Rock up to the Highway 50/28 intersection.
  • There are hosted event options (next year) such as America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride and Tour de Tahoe. Check out Bike the West for those.
  • There are a lot of good grinds around the lake. We stopped at Sonney’s BBQ Shack near Emerald Bay and had the most AMAZING turkey clubs we’ve EVER HAD. I kid you not.

So as I told my family and some friends post-ride, you have to be on your game to do this ride. Unless you stop for the sights I suggest you keep your eye on the ball as there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for boo-boos.

My lawyer would want me to tell you that California Alps Cycling IS NOT responsible for anything that might occur if you decide to ride it yourself. You assume all risk and should realize that cycling, especially in high-traffic areas, is inherently dangerous.

So, with that said, if you do decide to partake in one of the most scenic, and high-on-most-cyclist’s-bucket-lists, rides in the world, be wary, have fun, stop for some grub and take some time to look around (off the bike).

I’ll BOLO for your report!