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Archive for July, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail Thru-Hike in 5 Days?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

This week’s Adventure of the Week is brought to you by the amazing Jim Hammerel, who’s about to attempt an epic Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hike on August 3. Tahoe Mountain Sports is supporting his endeavor, which benefits the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, by donating on CrowdRise. You should too!

The 15 lbs Jim's bringing on his thru-hike (not including water).

WHO: Jim Hammerel

WHAT: Thru-hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

WHERE: Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

WHEN: August 3 through 8

GEAR: Icebreaker GT150 Velocity CrewGrand Trunk Nano-7 Ultralight Hammock, Spot GPS Beacon, Solar charger (see below for Jim’s full list)

I ran away from home when I was about six years old, armed with a little backpack filled with toys and a half-dozen slices of Kraft Singles. My rebellion lasted about three hours before I succumbed to boredom. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated with the conflict of man vs. nature, as well as man vs. himself.

This August 3, I plan to test myself physically and mentally, perhaps more than any other time in my life. I’m going to attempt to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail solo, unassisted and unsupported in just five days — from my house. This means no food drops (everything I’ll eat will leave my house with me), no buddy systems, no cheering crowd… just me, my backpack and myself…


Tech Update: Social Media, Contests and Rewards

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The Tahoe Mountain Sports website has been going through a lot of changes for your surfing and shopping pleasure.  Many of the changes were small usability fixes, coding tweaks and other technical nonsense, so I will spare you the geek-speak and jump right to the cool new features we have added recently.

Let’s start off with our social media profiles. You can now follow us on our TMS Facebook profile, as well as our Twitter and Google Buzz. We are using these channels to provide fans and followers the inside scoop on sales, special promotions and contests. We are running a contest on our Facebook page for some cool bike accessories for the rest of July (see this post for details). These links can be found at the footer of every page within the site:

Follow Us: Facebook, Twitter, and Buzz

Follow Us: Facebook, Twitter and Buzz

We have also been working on making it easier than ever to share our blog posts and product pages on Facebook, Google Buzz and Twitter. Every blog post and product now features a Facebook “Like” button, which will make it easy to share links to articles and outdoor gear with your friends:

product page update screencap

new image slider and Facebook "Like" buttons on product pages

In addition to “Like” buttons, we also have buttons that let you Tweet or post a Buzz about any articles on our blog. The Tweet button even shortens the page URLs automatically. These features will soon be available on our product pages as well.

social media buttons

Facebook "Like," Tweet and Google Buzz buttons on our blog

Here’s a little sneak preview of another Facebook application that will give you a free $5 gift card for posting about TMS on your Facebook profile:

Connect to us on Facebook screencap

Coming soon: free gift card for telling your friends about us on Facebook

Once we work out all the kinks, this offer will appear on our homepage. Anybody with a Facebook account can click on the link, write a little recommendation about TMS, and instantly receive a $5 gift card by email to use at checkout.

There are lots of exciting updates in the pipeline for the Tahoe Mountain Sports website, so check back often, join our Facebook Fan Page, follow us on Twitter or Google Buzz, or sign up for our email newsletter to stay in the loop and get the best deals on gear and clothing.

Tech Talk is a Tahoe Mountain Sports monthly blog post by our resident geek, Todd Shimkus.

Staying Alive on the Death Ride

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

For this Adventure of the Week post we hear from Pam Lefrancois of Kings Beach, California. A longtime mountain biker, the road bike newbie only did her first Century, the Tahoe Sierra Century, this past September. Here’s how she survived the infamous Death Ride.

Pam at the top of Monitor Pass, getting ready for her first descent of the day down to Highway 395

WHO: Pam Lefrancois, with Mike Lefrancois and Will Stelter

WHAT: The Death Ride

WHERE: Markleeville, CA

WHEN: July 10, 2010

GEAR: Reef sandals for taking those bike shoes off, Patagonia Lithia Skirt to let things breathe after taking off the “diaper,” Klean Kanteen with cold water waiting in the cooler when we got back to the car, GU Energy Gel and Cytomax drink mixes – to power me through this ride!!


The Death Ride: 129 miles, 5 passes, 15,000 feet of climbing. I’d been hearing about this epic road bike ride ever since I moved to Tahoe 13 years ago, but I was a mountain biker. A few years ago it was time to remodel our house so we bought road bikes for “quick” rides in between pounding nails, to commute to work and for early-season riding before the trails melted out. It took me a couple years before I was able to embrace things like spandex and bright colored jerseys, but after snagging my mountain bike shorts on the saddle while racing down Brockway Summit and realizing that those bright clothes are to help drivers see you, I learned the value of the “roadie” clothing.

In December, my husband announced that he and his friend were going to do the Death Ride. I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon, too. In the weeks and months leading up to the ride, people looked at me like I was crazy when I said that was my goal for the year. Sarcastic comments like, “The Death Ride, now THAT sounds like a lot of FUN,” were typical replies.

Spring training consisted of travel, to Chico, Auburn, Nevada City, Reno, Carson City, Sacramento and San Franciso, since winter wouldn’t stop here in Tahoe. We weren’t training for a race; the Death Ride is “just” a ride, so my goal with training was to work towards being back to the car less than 12 hours after I left it, including all my stops.

On Friday July 9, it was finally time, and we headed to Markleeville…


5 Under $50: Bike Accessories

Monday, July 19th, 2010

We know you love a deal… here’s a look at what we’re rockin’ for under $50. This motley crew of bike accessories was inspired by our current Pimp My Bike Giveaway. We’re taking Facebook submissions through July 31, so don’t miss the chance to score some free gear. The clock is ticking; post a picture of your bike on our Facebook wall today!

1) Deuter Ultrabike Kids Backpack, $49.95

When it comes to an all-in-one kids pack, this beauty gets our vote. A specially sized hydration reservoir holds 1 liter of water for little ones on the go, and the pack’s back ventilation system and mesh shoulder straps don’t make the journey a sweaty one.

2) Sherpani Pasea Small Bike Saddle Bag, $19.95

Two-wheeled fashionistas can be functional, too, thanks to this bike saddle bag that carries tubes, tools and other accessories beneath your bike seat. We love the bright colors… looks great on old cruisers, like my own clunker classic, Honker, a Schwinn from the 1980s.

3) Incredibell Brass Bike Bells, $10.95

No bike would be complete without a little bling and ring. We love dinging these brass bells along the Truckee River bike trail out of Tahoe City. With the river now open for rafting, you’re gonna need this to keep the rafters the *bleep* outta your way.


Gear Review: Nemo, Neo and Platypus

Friday, July 16th, 2010

When my initial plans for a recent weekend were thrown out the window, I immediately began calling friends to see who was available for an overnighter in Tahoe National Forest. After getting a couple on the trip roster, I began asking Dave (TMS owner) for demo gear. “Toys, I need all the toys you’ve got!” I ended up taking four pieces of gear (Nemo Losi tent, Therm-a-Rest Neo Air sleeping pad, Platypus Cleanstream Gravity Water Filter and Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 backpack) out to one of my favorite lakes, Downey Lake near Emigrant Gap, to get the lowdown on how they worked, take some photos and have some fun. All tasks accomplished:

NEMO LOSI: The staff at Nemo Equipment must have been thinking of me when they came up with the Losi. This tent has won acclaim from Backpacker, Outside and Men’s Journal. As soon as you unroll the storage sack, you are going to think, “oh, I like this already.” I know I did. Finally someone did something innovative about the traditional tent storage sacks; Nemo decided to create a roll-up sack — not unlike a roll-up climbing gear bag — with pockets for the poles, stakes, tent and fly. Unroll it and it keeps the parts out of the mud and sand…


Last turns of the 2010 ski season: Mt. Shasta, July 2

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Welcome to our newfangled Adventure of the Week series. From here on out, each Wednesday we’ll take a walk (or hike, bike, ski, surf, climb) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Former Tahoe Mountain Sports staffer extraordinaire Nathaniel bats first in our line-up:

WHAT: Backcountry skiing on Mt. Shasta

WHEN: Friday July 2, 2010


Even with the 4th of July weekend coming up I wasn’t ready for the 09/10 ski season to be over. This time of year in California you can go hunt patches around Tahoe, deal with long, melted-out approaches on the Eastside, or you can go hit one of the premier backcountry ski peaks in the whole U.S., Northern California’s Mt. Shasta.

Its a big and intimidating mountain, and I was glad to go with Shane, a very experienced backcountry skier who has summited Shasta over a dozen times. Our route was the Hotlum-Wintun ridge, a very aesthetic 7,000 vertical foot route on east side of the mountain…


Nana’s Pacific Crest Trail Adventure – Big Bear to Kennedy Meadows

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I’m back with my report for the next segment of my Pacific Crest Trail hike.

When I last left off, I was in Big Bear, in the mountains of San Bernardino County.  I made a major change in my equipment there. I found the Deuter pack was just not that comfortable. After endless tweaking and fiddling, I was just not able to come up with a combination of adjustments that worked for me. So, I switched to my trusty Osprey Ariel 65, a veteran of many previous trips. Right away, I was able to shoulder a bigger load and remain comfortable all day.

Upon leaving Big Bear, the trail wound through a burn area before heading into an area called Deep Creek Canyon. This canyon winds on for miles but the highlight is a series of hot springs pools that make a great spot for a tired hiker to take a soak!

Deep Creek Hot Springs...

The next day, I headed north towards Silverwood Lake. Along the way, I crossed California State Route 173. There I was treated to a little trail magic in the form of fresh Root Beer Floats! Marlene, an aspiring PCT thru hiker, was parked along the road where the trail crossed in her van and was dishing out the goodies to hikers as they passed by.  Several of us took advantage of this act of kindness and took a break from the day to enjoy the treat!

A bit further up the trail I was in for another treat — a bobcat right in the middle of the trail!



Sales Rep Sample Sale

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I’m always hunting for a good deal… I’ve bought a mountain bike in the dead of winter, a snowboard in summer. That’s why I’m particularly stoked for the upcoming Sales Rep Sample Sale in our back parking lot on Saturday July 17.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., some of our favorite sales reps are clearing out their inventories so you’ll not only find amazing prices on summer gear like camping equipment and clothing, but winter will be represented, too: Nordic gear from Salomon, merino wool layers from Icebreaker and more. Your deal of the summer awaits… don’t miss it! Stop by for some great deals on these other brands as well: Isis, Skirt Sports, Sherpani, Jetboil, Mountain Hardwear and Granite Gear.

Pimp My Bike Giveaway

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Burning Man is just around the corner, and with all these sunny skies begging for two-wheeled adventures, we know some of you have bikes in need of a little flair and functionality. That’s why we’re giving away a bike basket, horn and spoke lights to one lucky ride that we deem most in need. Simply post a photo or video of your down-and-out cruiser to the Tahoe Mountain Sports Facebook wall by midnight on August 1, with a few words on why your bike needs a makeover.

Can’t wait until August? Check out our selection of bike gear today.

Special thanks to Honker the bike for his superb modeling skills. And give me a break on the makeshift speech bubble… I’m new at Photoshop!

Run to the Beach Recap

Monday, July 5th, 2010

“Holy crap this race was nutty,” wrote Reno resident and frequent Tahoe adventure racer Elaine V. on her Daily Mile update. Thanks to her Garmin Forerunner stats, I was kept in the loop on her Fourth of July Run to the Beach 10k performance, despite being 15 or so miles away on the West Shore. Here’s a look at the 10k race profile she posted on Twitter. Check out that elevation hike starting just before mile 2, ack!

Not only was there runner road kill on the start’s single track, but once battling intense up- and downhill sections, competitors had an uphill, loose sand route to the Kings Beach finish. Tahoe Mountain Sports owner-extraordinaire David Polivy was at the finish line snapping some shots. Congrats to all the winners (2010 race results should be posted online soon), and check Big Blue Adventure’s upcoming events to test your mettle.

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