ETBT … A Weekend of Firsts …

The Emigrant Trails Bike Trek is three day cycling event that raises funds to support clean air, healthy lungs and a tobacco-free tomorrow. The ride was in the Lake Tahoe area this year.

Overall, the ride was a great experience. Wonderful, fun-spirited volunteers. Beautiful scenery. Friendly riders. I wish that I could say that Tahoe had friendly drivers, but, alas … I may never cycle in Tahoe again. These were some of the rudest drivers I have ever encountered. My hope is that ETBT will be in a different location next year!

Fresh, hot breakfast each morning.

Each rest stop had a different theme.


Peppers & Onions

+ Chicken =

Chicken Fajitas!

Warm Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

Post-Ride Beers!

There was no shortage of food, that is certain. Rest stops were well stocked and with some of my favorites – lots and lots of bananas, fig bars, and Honey Stinger gels, bars, waffles.

The ride was a weekend of firsts for me.

First time participating in Breathe California of Sacramento’s Emigrant Trails Bike Trek.

First time riding at altitude …

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay

First time camping & biking together …

Camp Richardson, Lake Tahoe


First time having to bail on an organized ride … I rode very well on Friday, however, on Saturday the altitude got the better of me about 9 miles into the ride. I was very disappointed to have to abandon the climbing part of the ride. Luckily, I found a group of other cyclists who decided not to attempt this particular climb and headed back to camp with them. I ended up splitting off from this group with one of the riders. We got lost in Tahoe on our way back to camp. That was an adventure in and of itself! I ended up with almost 35 miles on Saturday, but it wasn’t nearly the ride I had hoped to accomplish.

First time ever having to SAG … Sunday was the short ride, but it had a difficult climb on a single lane, steep, twisty-turny road. I was doing OK on the climb, but then a car wanted to get past me, so I got off my bike. There was no restarting for me on the hill. So I walked. And I walked a little more. I finally got restarted, but only made it maybe 1/4 mile before it just got too steep and I got off my bike again. The SAG crew offered me a ride, and told me the rest of the hill to the rest stop was at least as steep. So, I gave up. First. Time. Ever. SAG.

Sad. Very sad. So very disappointed in myself that two days in a row I did not meet my goal. Even though I made it up more than half of the climb, I did not make it all the way on my own.

It was the altitude. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

First time ever being the last rider to finish. I was so very thankful that my riding partner stuck with me for the entire ride on Sunday.

The wisdom in this is that I knew when to stop on Saturday before ruining not only my own ride, but my riding partner’s ride.

The wisdom in this is that now I know what it is to feel this disappointment. I now know what it is to be on the receiving end of, “Don’t worry! It happens to everyone! Just have fun.”

The wisdom in this is that now I know it is OK to be disappointed and sad and frustrated and upset with yourself for not meeting your goal.

It really is OK. So the next time I encounter a cyclist who is upset about having to SAG, or having to quit, I’ll probably still say, “Hey! It’s OK to SAG!” I will, however, have a lot more empathy when the cyclist looks at me with that pang of disappointment that says, “Yeah, but it doesn’t happen to me.”

Sometimes you just need to …

Stop and enjoy the view.

… and then …

Jump in a cold lake to cool your muscles after a big ride.





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