Tour de Tahoe
Team Eagle Brings SNC on Two Wheels
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The 5 a.m. Sunday alarm-fight became worthwhile when the first strand of sun hit the riders’ frozen faces, warming them, and lighting up Lake Tahoe in all its beauty. On Sunday, September 9, the Lake Tahoe Basin was taken over by cyclists engaged in the 14th annual Tour de Tahoe; a 72-mile-long loop around the lake, which displayed its splendor to riders along the shore. Among the 1,800 participants, almost 60 were part of the “Team Eagle,” a team representing Sierra Nevada College. Riders included students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, alpine ski team, friends and fans, captained by President Alan Walker, Rob Holman and SNC First President Ben Solomon—all wearing the colors of SNC on two wheels.
The tour, organized by RideTheWest, started and finished in South Lake Tahoe. It traveled the lake in a clockwise direction that challenged all participants with technical sections, followed by rest stops that refreshed body and mind.
“It’s amazing how a little food and conversation with other riders can lift your spirits back up,” said Kelly Benson, alumnus and Team Eagle rider.
Soon after the start, the loops runs up Highway. 89, with Emerald Bay’s climb being one of the hardest, yet paid off by the beauty of the road that divides two water basins. After riding the entire west shore, the participants got to Kings Beach, where the Eagles found cheer squads and food, under the blue SNC tent.
Another challenge of the Tour is what riders address as “Spooner,” meaning the long, climbing section that goes from Sand Harbor all the way till the junction with Highway. 50.
“Spooner is not cool,” said Rob Holman, who made it to the end after dealing with two flat tires, together with his wife Robin, a current member of the Board of Trustees.
The last but not least challenge was the final stretch to get to South Lake Tahoe after the big downhill of Highway 50, “by that point I had lost all the other Eagle riders and was cruising solo, and, not to mention, sitting on the bike became quite uncomfortable. I was just ready for that taco bar at the end and to catch up with everyone,” said Benson.
The sweat on these climbs made the Tour de Tahoe a memorable experience for the first timer Team Eagle, which by the end of the day turned into a strong, engaged and collaborative team united by the name of SNC Tahoe.
Students, faculty, board members and alumni, met on the road and biked sections together while supporting each other with “a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of spirit and pride,” said Rob Holman.
“In addition to building camaraderie, the inauguration of Team Eagle to ride Tour de Tahoe is intended to raise scholarship money and to heighten awareness of SNC Tahoe in the basin and beyond,” said Walker, who kept up the pace of the Tour blaring music from the speaker installed on his bike.
According to Dean of Students Will Hoida, all these goals were met given Sunday’s success. The Tour de Tahoe, indeed, attracted many riders from not only the area but also a copious number from the Bay Area and Sacramento, as well as riders from around and outside the country. Among them, a Texan competitor stated that “this was easy compared to our trainings at 102 degrees back in Dallas,” while a couple from South Africa finished the race on a tandem bike.
Events like the Tour de Tahoe celebrate sport and its ethic of paid-off hard work, as well as enhance the power of the outdoors in places like Lake Tahoe. Sierra Nevada College is surely not indifferent to these themes.
“We have a culture that promotes adventure and attracts students who embrace challenge, so it’s a natural fit for us to represent ‘SNC Tahoe’ brand at an event like the Tour de Tahoe,” said Marketing Director Jim Scripps. For these reasons, Walker believes that this event will become “a fine tradition at SNC Tahoe.” Walker added that the event was made possible by our sponsors, Bob Solomon and Robert Holman, both of whom did the ride on Sunday.
The success of participants in Team Eagle confirms “the critical role in the cultural landscape of North Lake Tahoe,” said Scripps. Seeing many alumni return is also a significant achievement.
“Now that it is almost two years since I graduated, I know that many of the opportunities I’ve had since graduating are because of my connections and experiences while on campus,” Benson said. “I definitely know that I’ll continue being a part of the SNC family in some capacity for the rest of my life, because you only get one Undergraduate alma mater and why not honor that and make the most out of it?”