Lake Tahoe/Hope Valley/Kingsbury Grade loop (51 miles)
This is a
great ride that I did on Sunday, September 6, 1998. Starting at Stateline, it runs
counter-clockwise over Luther Pass, down into Woodfords (if you head south here you end up
in Markleeville) and then up north through the beautiful Carson Valley and over (ugh!)
Kingsbury Grade (Daggett Pass). I've broken it up into four sections below.
Easy sailing above. Once you get out of the Stateline area, the traffic isn't
going to be very bad, certainly not to any of us living in or near major cities! And
this first part is a nice little warm up, with no real challenges, just a few small
rollers here and there. But keep in mind that Meyers, at the end of this first leg,
is pretty much the end of civilization as well. Bring lots of water!!! The
weather when I rode varied from the low 60s to the upper 80s, and I used a 50 ounce
camelbak plus a large water bottle.
This is your first climb...it's not very steep, but it does go on for a bit. If
you're not used to altitude, you may find yourself a bit more winded than normal...and if
you don't drink enough water, you're going to dehydrate very, very fast (because your
higher breathing rate greatly increases the natural loss of water when you exhale).
The descent is much shorter than the climb, and its wide, sweeping curves allow for very
From the intersection of Highways 88 & 89 starts a very steep descent into
Woodfords. Typically you may end up with a slight headwind here, but even so, very
high speeds are the norm. Please note that if you were to head south at Woodfords
you'd shortly end up in Markleeville, home of the infamous Death Ride. Don't worry,
you'll be feeling quite deathly in a very short time!
At Woodfords, you can continue on 88 for awhile, but a much nicer route is to take
Emigrant Trail and then Fredericksburg Road. This gets you off the main highway and
a bit more intimately introduced to the foothills of this beautiful area.
Highway 206 should be renamed Graveyard Road...they're all over the place! It's
also here that one first gazes upon the massive cuts in the side of the mountain that
define Kingsbury Grade. Actually, you first see it when you "round the
corner" below Woodfords...but it looks so "distant" that you assume you're
looking at something else. But then you get closer, and the truth becomes
clear...you're going to suffer.
Now you're gonna die. 7.7 miles, 3000 feet, all exposed as you climb out of the
Carson Valley. Don't ignore the spectacular views!!! Nice wide road with good
shoulders, it would be wonderful to descend...but not today. At the top the road's
width and quality suddenly deteriorates dramatically, making for a descent that's anything
but fun. In fact, the day I rode it they were preparing to repave 2 miles of it and
it was heavily grooved and pitted...not fun! But it does mark the end of your
climbing, and by this time you'll put up with just about anything. --Mike--
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