Today was the first official day of the tour. We left our hotel at Lake Las Vegas and rode on the River Mountain Loop bike trail for a new miles before entering the Lake Mead Recreational area. We rode north of Lake Mead in what this Kansas girl would call mountains. The locals probably called them foothills but it was all uphill. The road just kept going up and up. Every time it looked like the peak was just around the bend, there would be another uphill stretch. It was hard going. I had not been on a bike since last October. It was also very hot compared to the temperatures we’d been having at home. My sweat immediately dried and I didn’t even get the cooling effect from evaporation. I was left with hot, dry, salty skin. As if there wasn’t enough to contend with, there was also a strong headwind to fight.
Finally I reached the top and could see the Las Vegas strip in the distance below. Chan was waiting just over the pass to replenish our water and provide snacks. She said most riders were tired and didn’t want to ride much more than the downhill into North Las Vegas. After she gave me water, she headed down to pick up two riders. I told her I’d ride down and then continue on the route until she came to pick me up. The downhill was awesome and then the route went through some industrial areas and some not so nice neighborhoods of North Las Vegas. I saw a lot of junk cars and furniture sitting in front of houses. I was amused to see a really nice car at a house that was no more than a shack. The car was probably worth three times what the house was. Chan caught up with me and we loaded my bike and I joined Tom and Judy in the van. We continued on the route and picked up everyone else except Roger. Roger was riding his brand new Easy Motion Neo Race bike. It is an electric pedal-assist bike. The rider still has to pedal, but you can set it to help you a little or a lot. It puts more power in your pedal stroke. It allows you to climb hills and go faster with much less effort. Roger looked like he was just out for a ride around the block, not like he’d just rode over a mountain pass. I think I’m going to have to do some research into a pedal assist bike. It would make these rides more enjoyable and less tiring.
We all enjoyed the ride in the van up to the Mt. Charleston Resort. Tomorrow we would get to start our bike route with a 17 mile descent back down the mountain. After dropping us off at the hotel, Joe and Chan went back down to pick up Roger. Up the road a bit from the hotel is the Las Vegas ski area. The ski slopes get an average of 240 inches of snow a year. The summit of the mountain is just over 11,000 feet in elevation. The average temperature on Mt. Charleston in July is 80 degrees……..much more comfortable than the average of 106 in Las Vegas. Instead of wake boarders in the area as we had yesterday, today there were snow boarders and snow skiers in the hotel. Today was the last day of the ski season. We all met for happy hour later and then went to dinner together at the restaurant in the hotel. It was cold enough that I turned on the fake fireplace in my room later.