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Tahoe Nugget #86:

"Tour de Nez" Tahoe Bicycle Race
June 23, 2006

I've never been a spectator close to a professional bicycle race. Today I was stunned at the speed. It made for a challenging photographic opportunity.

Cyclists in the 14th Annual Tour de Nez race ripped along a 108-mile course with an average elevation of about 6,000 feet; it's a circuit that includes three challenging assaults over 7,200 feet high Brockway Pass. It's a 36-mile loop that ain't easy. Tough race, done three times. Best of all, they passed through my neighborhood in Carnelian Bay.

An additional challenge to the riders, besides altitude, is the current heat wave here in the West. Sacramento is approaching 108, possibly 110 degrees; western Nevada is flirting with record highs near 105; here in Tahoe afternoon temperatures have flirted with the upper 80s, and it doesn't get much hotter than that. Fortunately, overnight temps here at the lake range in the upper 40s to low 50s.

Promoters dub the Tour de Nez "The Coolest Bike Race in America" and "The coolest cycling adventure in the world." With the heat this week, I don't know if anyone would really call it "cool," but there is more than $35,000 up for grabs. Apparently the de Nez is one of the fastest growing professional cycling races in the United States. I was told by a volunteer that at least five top U.S. cyclists were competing in this one. I was also informed that the sponsorship for this highly-successful annual event originated in Nevada, to celebrate the anniversary of Reno's first coffee house, Deux Gros Nez. I think that this is the first time the race was held in Tahoe.

The festival includes different rides for different abilities, and events that "complement every level of fitness and experience." There are historical rides and scenic tours along the Truckee River, as well a three-day series of competitive handcycling events.

I don't think I can handle any of the serious races, so I'm considering the Clunker Classic: "A one-mile bike race that supports cheating, fighting, drinking and debauchery." I doubt that but I give them credit for trying to have fun.

Photo #1: Main group flashes by. I was totally unprepared for their speed. It was very impressive.
Photo #2: I like this shot. Sorry for the low resolution. Might want to sell it later.
Photo #3: Here's a great picture of my brother Tom doing what he does best, as we rode along the American River Parkway several yeas ago. The 28-mile path starts in Sacramento and and then meanders north along the American River. It's a beautiful ride! I took this photograph by holding a disposable flash camera behind me as I rode along too. Fun stuff!

Nugget #86 A Tour de Nez 1

Nugget #86 B Tahoe bike race 2

Nugget #86 C Tom American R bikes


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