Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Best Ride Ever

The view of Lake Tahoe from the trail behind our hotel.
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to ride. The temperatures started in the mid 40's for our 6:30 a.m. start and by the time most of us finished around 3:30 p.m. the temp was in the mid-70's. The sky was dotted with soft, fluffy clouds. And the views were incredible. After the Emerald Bay rest stop we had a little more climbing to do and then had a descent all the way back down to lake level. Lots of us had downhill speeds of over 40 miles per hour. At least one of our team mates went over 50 MPH. After that exhilarating downhill it was a mostly flat ride until the second rest stop. The weather was warming up so we all started shedding our outer layers. The jackets, arm warmers and leg warmers of the starting line were removed, replaced by the warm sun and steady pace. Our team stayed together pretty well on the flat stretches and, just like at home, got split up on the hills.

Mary climbing toward the Emerald Bay switchbacks.

The lunch stop was glorious. It was right on a beach with views of the surrounding mountains. There were sandwiches, chips, fruit and snacks to eat. JDRF medical guy Brock was there giving out mini-massages. It was hard to leave, especially knowing that there was a significant climb right after lunch. We got most of our team together and headed up the hill.

King's Beach, the JDRF Tour de Tahoe lunch stop.

Team West Michigan reassembled and ready for the second half of the ride.

The second half of the ride is most notable for the climb up to Spooner Junction. It's a 1000 foot climb in about 5 miles. This is the highest point on the route, topping out at 7,044 feet. This was one of the more difficult parts of the ride but made us appreciate all the hills we had been climbing during our training. Everyone on the team did a great job getting up the hills. Actually, everyone on our team did a great job all day long. We could really see the benefits of spending the last several months training together and getting to know each other. When it was all over the JDRF Tour de Tahoe raised over $500,000 for diabetes research. Over $50,000 of that came from the West Michigan team. While the ride was great the main reason we are there is to raise money to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. After this weekend we a half a million steps closer to that cure.

Team Scheidel at the finish line. Safe, sound and smiling.

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