by Tim Hauserman

A warm late April day after a big winter is a rare opportunity to combine my favorite winter sport with my favorite summer sport: Cross country skiing and road biking. Today, I skied about 20 kilometers at Tahoe Cross Country, then went for a ride from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley along the Truckee River. While usually road biking is faster than nordic skiing, today it was slower…might have been because in cross country skiing, there are no flat tires.

The key to a ski and ride is to not dilly dally and get skiing early. I was on the trail at 7:45 am. While it didn’t freeze hard, the trails had set up nicely and I skied on the Red, Gold and Silver trails at Tahoe XC. The skiing was actually quite fabulous, I’ve been skiing every morning I can of late and continue to be amazed how good it is for late April. But the snow is melting quickly, and it does seem like every day a new trail has to close because massive amounts of water that seem to be flowing everywhere has washed it away.  I finished my ski by about 9:45 and set off to the 64 Acres Parking lot in Tahoe City.

The ride along the Truckee River is especially glorious right now. The river is a wild torrent as the Watermaster who controls the level of Lake Tahoe tries to prevent snow melt from sending the lake above its legal limit. But it is still below the level of the bike trail, and the water looks brisk and clean. The temperatures on my Saturday ride were in the high 60s, which made for a true reminder that spring really has finally sprung.  It’s always a bit strange, however, to ride up to Squaw Valley in your bike shorts and then pass through a throng of skiers and snowboarders heading towards the slopes.

Sounds like a perfect Tahoe sports day right? Well, except for that flat tire that I got on my way out of Squaw Valley.  I love bike riding. I hate changing flats. But It’s all good. I got to practice my less than perfect flat changing skills, and I got a good reminder that it is time to clean that greasy chain. In about a half hour I was back on the road and rolling back to town, completing a true Tahoe springtime biathlon.