American Beauty

July 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

When writers blarney on about azure blue skies, jewel-like water and achingly beautiful wilderness, they’ve either been to Lake Tahoe, California, or they’re making stuff up. The Ol’ Crank is here driving Jeeps on the fearsome but awesome Rubicon Trail, and I took the opportunity to extend my stay by a day to go and ride.

40km of trail took us two days to complete. Gnarly

40km of trail took us two days to complete. Gnarly


My destination – the Flume Trail. Rated by many as one of the most scenic routes on the planet, it’s part of a wider trail network that also includes the iconic Tahoe Rim Trail. I’d called the local bike rental joint a month or so ago and sorted out a Specialized Stumpy 29er – or so I thought. ‘Laid back’ best describes the approach at the busy little rental shop, so when no record of my call was forthcoming, the guys quickly found me a replacement in XL – as it turns out, the better size for me – and sent me off to the shuttle.

It'll be along eventually...

It’ll be along eventually…


On a breezy day under azure blue skies – and at a lung-lacerating 2000m above sea level – I spent the next five hours taking photos, making videos, grinning like a loon, chatting to other riders young and old, dropping my jaw at the view, running out of food and very nearly water, getting some jellybeans from a stranger to just struggle home and having a fantastic ride on some awesome trails.

How good is this?

How good is this?


The Rim Trail is a more technical affair, with plenty of rocks and sandy bits to keep your dander up.The Flume… well, it’s not hard, but it doesn’t matter. The scenery makes it one of the coolest trails on the planet. The consequences for staring at the jewel-like water of the lake, though, can be dire.

The edges of the Flume Trail are sandy, and if you screw up, this is what awaits you

The edges of the Flume Trail are sandy, and if you screw up, this is what awaits you


It’s given me a taste for the adventure ride again, too, and with the impending relocation of Clan Crank (more about that soon; don’t want to jinx it!), I’m going to get stuck into planning a couple of longer-haul missions as the weather warms up.

On the bomber again soon for the 15-hour haul home. I really hope this isn’t my last trip to Tahoe, but the Jeep guys were talking about Moab for the next event…

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