Yesterday we went on a short hike with friends. I often take visitors up Tunnel Creek Road near the old Ponderosa Ranch because it's close, kid-friendly and scenic. I also like to hike up it because seeing all the mountain bikers gets me psyched to ride.
The trail conditions were very dry. Any moisture from my last visit, which made the climb firmer and more tolerable, was long gone. As we hiked uphill through the deep sand, I could see that some sections would be tough, if not impossible, to climb on a bike. Riders coming downhill were even struggling in places.
After the hike everyone else went to the beach and I opted to go for a short ride. I decided to take the Pugs and see if I could clean the Tunnel Creek climb.
I rolled through town on some of the fun trails and headed for the Ponderosa. As I approached the trail head, a number of riders were waiting for the shuttle to take them back to Tahoe Meadows or Spooner. A number of heads turned along with some whooping and hollering about my bike. The fatbike is still a rare sighting here.
I don't know what to think about the whole shuttle business. Part of me acknowledges that many of these people wouldn't see the beauty of this ride if they had to climb Tunnel Creek themselves, and anyone out riding a bike is a positive thing. Still, that isn't how my brain works. I like to work for anything I get in all aspects of my life. I also think climbing is challenging and fun.
I probably saw about 50 riders combined on my hike and ride, and only three of them were going uphill. Because everyone is shuttling this ride now, they can ride a big bike, and these bikes are tearing the crap out of the trail.
Anyway, no worries, I had the Pugs. I cleaned the entire climb, but it still wasn't easy. I KNOW I couldn't have done it with a regular mountain bike; the sand was incredibly deep in places, and always at the steepest grades.
Now I won't say I was going fast. I spent the majority of my time in my 22x32. (Why on earth did this beast of a bike not come with a 34 or 36?) This bike isn't like a rally car motoring up Pike's Peak. Think rock crawler. Slow and steady, but riding high in the sand.
Time was short so once I made it to the top I turned back.