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@ Folsom International Triathlon, Thanks for the Great Race!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big race or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on foot or bike, he’s managing the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.

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Chris crosses the finish line to take First Place.

It’s always a treat to start off the season with a great result. It’s a much greater pleasure, however, to race in perfect conditions, in a great town, supported by an unbelievable race organization and volunteer team. Fortunately for me, I was able to do both this past weekend at the Folsom International Triathlon down in Granite Bay.

This was my first year entering the Folsom race and my first event with Total Body Fitness (TBF), who host the race, and I look forward to coming back next year. Mark and his team did a phenomenal job putting together all of the logistics, coordinating the volunteers, and managing all of the raceday chaos. It’s often lost in all of the speed and excitement of a race like this, but I try to remember that NONE of our sport can exist without the support of all of the guys and girls who put these events on and the volunteers who offer their time and energy on raceday (and, many times, the day before setting up the course and the day after taking down all the pomp and circumstance). I’d like to offer a BIG HIGH-FIVE to everyone who helped make it possible for us to measure ourselves against a great course this past Saturday – thank you!

Waking up at the entirely rational hour of 5:45 on raceday was a pleasant touch – the “late” 8 a.m. start afforded us all a chance to sleep in some ahead of all of the mayhem. I love triathlon, but sometimes the early-up starts are a little much to bear. I understand the rationale behind starting events (especially Iron-distance races) at 6:30 a.m., but that doesn’t change the fact that it was very pleasant to get started at 8 a.m. at Folsom. By then, the sun was out in force, the lake was appealing, and the temps were already rising.

Our swim was extremely well marked, and the start was well controlled. It didn’t take long for racing to begin once the gun went off, and within minutes we were split into more than a few pace-lines and were fighting for position in the water. Unfortunately, I missed the split for the front group and, after a failed bridge effort on my part, I slowed up and made contact with the second group in the water. We worked together to hold a good pace to the last buoy, but at that time myself and another competitor decided to go out on our own and opened up a gap. Our pace wasn’t much faster than our original group’s, but it was enough to get us into T1 (Transition 1) in 3rd and 4th position.

folsom-international-triathlon-racing-gear

The Race Kit

I had been looking forward to this race for a number of reasons, but the bike leg had to have topped my list. Some rollers and punchy climbs dictated the first 2/3 of the course, but the back end of the ride was almost all downhill or negotiably flat. This is a rare occurrence in our sport, and I was excited about the idea of a short and aggressive section on the bike followed by an all-out speedway effort back to the transition area. I knew that if I could put in a hero effort on that first 2/3 of the course and build a lead, I had a chance to stay away on the drag race back to T2. I was able to catch the two athletes ahead of me by mile ten, and put a big dig in on the last few hills of the course to gain some real time. I don’t think I even shifted out of 53×11 from mile 17 to the end of the bike leg, and hit T2 with enough time to feel good about my chances of staying ahead during the run.

The run started out benignly enough, but there were certainly plenty of teeth on the course! Mark and the TBF team couldn’t have done better finding a world-class run course if they tried – every stride was paired with gorgeous views of Folsom Lake and the park around it. That buoyed my spirits and helped me keep the pace high through the turnaround, and I started to catch other racers on their way out as I dug through the second half of the run. After negotiating some serious hills on the way back (I almost considered using my hands to help scale one of the climbs!), I finally saw the finishing chute and the kite marking the line. After two plus hours of racing, I was proud to be able to cross the line first.

I’ve stolen this idea from Scott Jurek, the world’s best ultra marathoner (in my opinion): If I’m able to bring home the win, I try to stay at the finish line and high-five the other competitors as they finish. Everybody is out there suffering, and everyone deserves the same amount of enthusiasm as they cross the line. Moreover, I love sharing the finishing moment with everyone who competes – it’s a rare opportunity to embrace real accomplishment with fellow athletes as they complete such outstanding efforts and realize such great goals.

The beauty of sport is overcoming, as is watching others overcome. That pursuit – the allure of chances to define our best self – is a huge reason I race. I fully believe everyone should measure themselves from time to time; if not against others, against ourselves. Racing provides that opportunity – whether you’re aiming for a course record, a personal best, or a first finish.

Here’s to the season!

folsom-international-triathlon-2014-winning-men

First Place Feels Oh…So…Good!

 

2XU Compression Calf Guards
2XU Compression Calf Guards
MSRP: $44.95

 

Winter 2012-2013 Skiing & Snowboarding Photo Recap

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Since we’re anticipating snow and the winter hype is strong, I thought I’d share some cool shots from last season. Get stoked…unlike most other places on Earth, Tahoe sees sunshine up until just about the time it snows. Sure, our radical weather systems roll through a later than our neighbors in the PNW, but we also avoid those melancholy transitional periods. Here’s to living in Lake Tahoe!

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Cool contrast in the Northstar terrain park. Unknown flyer.

 

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Dave (TMS Owner) skis off the top of Mt. Shasta. Click the image to read about it.

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Things To Do In Lake Tahoe: The Best Trails and Classic Day Hikes

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

This guest post comes from Lauren Gregg, a professional mountain biker living in North Lake Tahoe. When Lauren’s not working on, or dreaming about mountain bikes, she’s out exploring the trails in the greater Tahoe region. Happy trails, Lauren. We hope your knee heals quickly!

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Lake Tahoe day hikes are a great way to experience the Tahoe area. From quick picnics to half-day or full day adventures, there are many options for people seeking trails with beautiful scenery, picturesque mountain lakes and spectacular views. There are few better ways to spend a Tahoe summer day than with a hike to an alpine lake! The Tahoe region has an endless amount of awesome hiking trails, but here are highlights from some of the best Tahoe hikes that are not to be missed! Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports to pick up a Tahoe Trail Map and any gear you may need before your adventure, making sure you are prepared with means for hydration and nutrition, and that you apply sunscreen and suit up with proper hiking shoes and apparel. Once you are all geared up, enjoy one of these classic Tahoe hikes!


Echo Lakes Hiking Trail

Echo Lakes Trail
This trail offers a beautiful hike with stunning views of alpine mountains and lakes. The trailhead begins at the Echo Lakes Resort and is one of the most popular entry points to Desolation Wilderness. Hikers can follow the trail out and back for a total distance of five miles, or can cut off about 2.5 miles by utilizing the water taxi service ($10 per person, $5 per dog) for a fun and scenic boat ride through the granite basin of Echo Lakes. Both Upper and Lower Echo Lake (which connect at a narrow channel) provide awe-inspiring views and relative solitude as well as great swimming in the summer! If hikers are feeling adventurous, they can continue further into the Desolation Wilderness to Lake Aloha and Rockbound Valley, both popular destinations.

 

Skunk-Harbor-Hiking-Trail

Skunk Harbor
Accessing Skunk Harbor requires a short hike down to a secluded bay on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. Hikers journey 1.5 miles down from the trailhead to the beach at Skunk Harbor where they can explore the remains of the Newell House, a summer home built in 1922. The view of Lake Tahoe from the tiny harbor is the main attraction of this hike, and huge boulders and the remains of an old pier add to the scenery. Skunk Harbor is the perfect place for a summer swim or picnic, especially as a detour during a bike ride on the Flume Trail or around the perimeter of the lake.

 

Five-Lakes-Hiking-Trail

Five Lakes Trail
This easily accessible trail nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness brings hikers through the north side of the Alpine Meadows valleys to the gorgeous Five Lakes Basin. This hike is roughly 4-5 miles out-and-back to the five beautiful lakes between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. This hike is very popular, however the lakes provide many areas of solitude and serenity. Adventurous hikers can continue beyond Five Lakes and into the Granite Chief Wilderness, picking up the Pacific Crest Trail shortly past the lakes.

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Colorado Hut System: 10th Mtn Jackal Hut Backcountry Ski Trip

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

This guest post comes from Josh Whitney, a Boulder, CO-based pro mountain biker, cyclocrosser and lover of all things alpine. Josh occasionally contributes his trip reports, reviews and inspired mountain ramblings from the Rocky Mountain West to Tahoe Mountain Sports. His blog at josh-whitney.com blends bike racing and mountain adventures with musings on his day job in business, technology and sustainability.

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The stoke meter on winter 2013 hit the red zone over the second half of February in Colorado, and has been full gas ever since. (more…)

Splitboarding in Austria: Tirol, Near Schlick – Panoramic & Cashew

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

splitboardingBlog

Investing in a splitboard is way cheaper than a heli-trip!

With the advances in manufacturing processes the market for splitboards has exploded. Splitboarding allows snowboarders the ability to traverse steep, snow-covered terrain that was previously only accessible by skis or snowshoes. With splitboards the only extra equipment required is a pair of collapsable poles which you can stow for the ride down. If you’ve never seen them, a splitboard does exactly what it’s called. A snowboard that splits down the middle and allows the rider to attach skins to use them for uphill climbing. At the summit, the rider then detaches the skins, reassembles the board and rides away clean. Our K2 Panoramic Splitboard in particular is great on steep, fast terrain and varied conditions so it’s ideal for powder as well as Spring corn. As we inch toward Spring conditions in the backcountry get safer and that makes it the perfect time to get out there.

Check out our write-up of the K2 Panoramic Splitboard Package here. Also be sure to view our current sales and promotions on tons of winter gear going on now.

How Locals Have Fun With Low Snow Totals Around North Lake Tahoe

Friday, March 15th, 2013

This guest post comes from Robyn Embry, a local pro downhill racer living in Kings Beach, California, for the past seven years. She can be found climbing rocks and skiing powder when not enjoying life on two wheels; her blog http://therobynator.blogspot.com contains the extended version of this and other adventures, including the fun and tribulations found within a season of mountain bike racing.

biking with ski rack

My favorite mode of transportation no matter the season!

Some years, winter in Tahoe is an endless series of blizzard storm days and bluebird powder days. Other years, like this one, it sometimes becomes a challenge to enjoy winter without endless powder–for those without a proper variety of activities to choose from, at least.

One favorite activity, given that there is still enough snow on the ground, is cross country skiing. This may conjure up images of spandex-clad racers striding down a perfectly groomed trail, but my version doesn’t require a trail pass or aerodynamic clothing. I simply strap my skis to my bike for a short ride to the National Forest above Kings Beach (They don’t groom here much like they do at Royal Gorge – more info below).

sunset from diamond peak

Sunset view, taken from my touring skis.

Braving ungroomed terrain on skinny skis can range from relatively tame, to hilariously entertaining and even slightly terrifying, depending on chosen terrain and snow conditions. For the seasoned alpine or telemark resort skier there’s nothing too difficult – just swallow your pride and make a wedge (“Pizza! Pizza!”) if all else fails. Other variables include the number of snowmobile or posthole tracks that crisscross the woods, and bare spots or manzanita bushes lurking just beneath the snow.

Slightly wider skis and metal edges can give more control, but just about anything goes since it’s all about having fun. The afternoon’s soft corn it is quite pleasant for traveling up and down a variety of slopes, but when the sun starts going down and re-freeze occurs, dodging trees on a 20-degree slope can be very exciting. So watch that sun and make sure there’s plenty of time to get back to the trailhead! Regardless of the skiing conditions, I’ll always come flying down to the road with a huge silly grin and no regrets about spending an afternoon puttering in the woods on skinny skis.

xc ski tahoe area

Getting adventurous in the backyard!

When my mom, an avid Nordic skier, comes into town to visit, she prefers to stay on the groomed trails and likes to visit the Royal Gorge’s expansive and scenic trail system. Two weeks ago she flew down from Washington state, and we were booked for two nights at the Clair Tappaan Lodge up near Soda Springs. They offer close accommodations to the ski area. Having been there several times before, we looked for a loop that we had not done yet, but settled on the Devil’s Peak viewpoint the first day. We had previously done it on a stormy day with no views, and wanted to enjoy it on a clear day. That was a nice mellow intro to striding in the tracks for me this season, and an altitude acclimation day for Mom. The scenery was incredibly beautiful and the track was fun and rolling almost the entire way. Our only mistake was taking the (more…)

Shasta/Lassen Mid-Winter Assault

Friday, February 15th, 2013

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Who: Zach, Mike and Dave

What: Winter roadtrip from Tahoe to Shasta and Lassen Volcanoes

When: February 2013

Gear: The North Face VE25 Tent and Inferno 0- Deg. sleeping bag, Deuter Backpacks and Dynafit Huascuran Skis with Dynafit Bindings

The Tahoe doldrums had set in and we were ready to hit the road. Zach rallied the troops, we jumped in the Subaru and off we went to the North, the zone where the Sierras end and the Cascades begin.

We B-lined it for the Bunny Flat trailhead, which is the highest you can drive on Shasta in the winter months, and found ourselves alone at about 1am. Bust out the tent, sleeping bags, water bottles in the bags (hot water in a bottle + bottle in bottom of sleeping bag = warmth), and we were off to sleep in sub 10-degree temps. At this point, the wind was not nuking but it was blowing steadily. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We woke with a plan to camp on Shasta and summit on Sunday, but from the wind clouds and blowing snow that we woke to, that plan quickly changed to a day assault on the mountain and summit goals were left for another trip. You can see the howling winds in the pics below and bottom right:

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When we returned to the car that day and checked some remote wind meters, we saw crests of about 65 mph at 9,000 ft. Considering we made it to 11,000 ft, we were judging the winds consistently at 40-50 with gusts to 80-100 mph at times. We made it above Lake Helen, dug ourselves a little trench so we could get a little shelter before heading back down. The views and our time up there were beautiful and we were all bummed to have to leave so quickly. The picture below and left is the trench we dug that pretty much filled right back in within minutes of us digging it: Shasta Winter TripSki lookout over Shasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shasta in background

 

 

 

 

 

After a few beers in the parking lot (more…)

Vibram Shoes – Comfortable Enough You Could Outrun A Gazelle

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Stan Powers, from Washington, was kind enough to contribute this review to Tahoe Mountain Sports. Stan swears by his Vibram Five Fingers and hopes to persuade more runners to fall in line.

Vibram shoesI was actually turned on to Vibram Shoes by my eye doctor who runs in them almost daily. He has run half-marathons and will be doing a marathon in them soon. They seem to come from the philosophy that the native Africans and Australians had to run miles and miles to run down their prey. Gazelles, as well as other animals, tend to overheat when they run too much because they have no means of sweating. It’s amazing, really – these natives have no arch supports or Salomon running shoes! By running on the toes of your feet and letting your them absorb the shock, versus landing with all that impact on your heels, you don’t send the shocks directly up your leg.  This helps to prevent knee and hip pain both now and in the future.

Converting to Vibram Shoes is not easy, but totally worth it! I had some pretty nasty foot pain develop when I first started trail running in my Vibrams, but in time the pain went away. The only thing I must recommend, as you’ve probably heard from others, is to break your finger shoes in slowly. Our foot muscles, tendons and ligaments tend to degenerate over years of non-use. I got a bit too aggressive because the shoes felt so liberating and seemed to provide infinite energy, so I ran further than I likely should have on my third time out. The result – a small fracture in one of the top bones coming from my fourth toe. I stayed away from running for a month or so. That was difficult, but worth it, and I have been more than happy with my new shoes ever since.

I ran my first 10K in them at the ocean in July. It was fun watching all those footprints deep in the sand in front of me, but looking behind me I noticed I hardly left a trail at all. I was able to run a 10K in under one hour comfortably, which was a first for me. I suggest these Vibram shoes to anyone who runs! Why fight what we are naturally made to do?

 

 

 

 

True Love: Trail Running The Sierra

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Guest: Ryan
Running in the Sierra is a treat when it comes to trail running. The awesome views and developed trails are both reasons why I love running here.

My Story:

I wasn’t really a trail runner to begin with, or a runner for that matter,  in fact, I hated running especially on pavement in cities. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I was exposed to trail running. A group of friends and I were finishing up a scramble mission in the Mt Whitney Zone and upon reaching the summit we preceded to run the Mt Whitney Trail. After summiting three peaks and traveling an unknown amount of miles we found our selves with beer and Portal Burgers in hand, a glorious end to a long day in the mountains. After this trail running experience I was hooked.

From that moment on I make it a yearly goal to make it above 14,000 feet. This pilgrimage started my love of trail running and living in Tahoe leaves endless miles of trails to run. The graded trails, especially the more popular trails like the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for example, are graded so much that it can be done riding a mule. Sections of the PCT that run through Desolation Wilderness are some of my favorite. In some cases on the PCT you will encounter large stone stairs, yes a lovely stone staircase in woods. This type of human development is what makes these types of high traffic trails perfect for trail running. Long gradual down hills and up hills, swooping around the contours of the Sierra make up most of the development in the Northern Trails system. While there are many sections that do not fit this description and have much steeper up hill and down hill sections, these are mostly avoidable due to the remoteness of the section of trail.

Everyone I know who runs, has their own little circuit that they run on a regular basis. These circuits are great for a quick run before work, or a beautiful sunset run in the evening, but after running a trail a couple of times I find those circuits to be a little monotonous. A case of tree vision usually sets in and my motivation to run fades. That’s why I like running with a general goal in mind, like running to a summit or lake for example. Setting a goal like this can really help motivate you when on a trail run, especially a longer run. Sometimes I’ll even bring a small fly rod to check out new water and add a little variety to the days run. Catching fish and a work out is a win-win.

A rewarding aspect of trail running is the distance covered, as well as the elevation gain and loss, one experiences when running in the Sierras. I love looking down ridge lines and seeing the trail snake it’s way around the contours of the mountains. Approaching the tops of passes is also exciting, especially if you are unfamiliar with what features lay beyond it. The amount of elevation gain and loss gives a sense of the work put in for those spectacular views. Being able to see the lower elevation start of a run from the high point gives you a sense of the vertical attained, no place makes this more apparent than the Eastern Sierra mountains along the 395 corridor. The amount of vertical relief is astounding down in this section of the Sierra as well.

Running in the Sierra is also a bit of a game. There is a saying in the Sierra “If you don’t like the weather wait an hour.” This couldn’t be truer during the later summer and fall months in the Sierra. Thunderclouds can build rapidly and cause a down pour when, in the first half of the day, the sun was shining. These types of weather changes give a natural time clock for your run. Trying to bag a peak? Better make sure you beat the thunderclouds there first! Racing thunderstorms can be  fun, or terrifying, in the High Sierra especially above tree line. In most cases you can see the storms coming, but if your unlucky they can build in no time and really catch you by surprise.  Finding yourself above tree line during such events would fall under the terrifying category, but running just bellow tree line can be quite fun. Personally, I love running in the rain, the thunder and lighting shows can be spectacular!

What ever your motivation is to trail run, take it and run with it!

 

Salomon XR Sensibelt
Salomon XR Sensibelt
MSRP: $39.95
Gu Energy Gel
Gu Energy Gel
MSRP: $89.95


TMS and Boreas Introduce The Pack Tester Adventure Team!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Boreas Gear is an exciting new outdoor equipment company that states that “The best gear is neither complicated nor expensive yet as versatile as the person using it.” The undercurrent here is that Boreas has figured out the secret formula for such gear, or, at least, is working hard to find that formula.  How does a new company find the secret ingredients that it needs to be the best? It partners with Tahoe Mountain Sports to put together a pack testing adventure team! This team will be responsible for testing and providing real world feedback on the stylish backpacks. Who are the lucky seven  that have been chosen for the pack testing team, you ask? Let’s meet them, shall we?

Introducing The TMS/Boreas Pack Tester Adventure Team!

 

Name:  Ted Teske

Pack Testing: Buttermilk 55

“My job requires that I travel to some fairly remote and inhospitable locations. I’m always looking for gear that can keep me organized, dry in the field and stand up to the “not so gently” rigors of modern travel. Boreas packs interest me with their flexible  sleek designs that seem to hide the rugged construction under their well thought out features and aesthetics. We’ll see!”

 

 

Name: Andy Pattison

Pack Testing: Buttermilk 55

“I spend at least 2-4 weeks on the trails every year. As a result, I have become picky about packs and gear. This is why I am very excited to be a pack tester for the Boreas Buttermilk 55 and why I’m looking forward to checking it out during the second half of my honeymoon this fall.”

 

 

Name: Michael Detwiler

Pack Testing:  Repack 15

“I own a few Dakine packs and they have treated me well over the years. I’m interested in testing out a different brand to see what more modern-designs and different manufacturers have to offer. When I’m on my bike the Dakine packs seem to flop around a bit, I’m hoping the Boreas pack fits a bit more snug.”

 

 

Name: Adam Tirella

Pack Testing:  Lost Coast 60

“As someone who works at a job involving the outdoors, being able to play around with new gear is one of my favorite perks. I especially like the opportunities I get to try and support new brands that are pushing the envelope as far as form and function goes. I know firsthand, Boreas is one of those companies!”

 

 

Name: Anne Greenwood

Pack Testing: Lost Coast 60 Women’s

“I am working on completing the Tahoe Rim Trail this summer.  I have been solo backpacking and find my Gregory Pack to be like hoisting a bag of bricks onto my back. I am really looking to lighten up so I can move faster and not feel so broken after three-four days. I did get my pack down from 49 lbs (ouch!) to 28lbs, and I think the Boreas pack will get me down to 22….a very reasonable load! I may actually be able to bring a stove!”

 

 

 

 

Name: Sandy Jean Borden

Pack Testing: Lost Coast 60 Women’s

“I’m a gear junkie! I’m always critiquing and analyzing gear this is why I’m excited about this opportunity to share my experience with a Boreas Pack. Practicality, durability, comfort and unique features will be what I will be checking out and reporting on!”

 

 

Name: Mike Rommel

Pack Testing: Lost Coast 60

“The reason I would like to test Boreas Packs is that the pack looks innovative in design, contour and light in weight. I will be testing the pack on a full day high alpine, multi-pitch climb in the Palisades at Temple Crag. I look forward to the pack being comfortable with its ergonomic design.”

 

For the next month, these courageous testers will be embarking on grand adventures with their Boreas packs, giving them the ultimate “real world” challenge. Will these packs hold up against the vigors of our  outdoor adventure test team, or will  Boreas  actually wear out our mighty seven? Regardless of the outcome, this test can only make the world of outdoor adventure, a lot stronger.  Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of the Boreas/TMS Pack Challenge!

See Previous Post “Gear Testers Wanted: Boreas Backpacks”

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