Riding The Infamous Lemond Loop in Reno/Tahoe

One of the most famous routes in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area is the Lemond Loop. It was a route Lemond regularly trained on.   One of my friends Dan who is in preparation for Ironman Lake Tahoe and a few other races invited me up for the weekend to tag along for this ride since we are both racing at Tahoe in just over a month’s time, although I am racing the 70.3. We got up early Saturday morning for a relatively early departure from Truckee to avoid some of the midday heat in the Nevada desert.  While the loop typically starts in Reno, we started in Truckee.  We rolled out about 8:30 and started off towards the Brockway climb which is on the Ironman Tahoe course.



After descending down to Lake Tahoe we made our way around the Incline Village and crossing over into Nevada we began our long, roughly one hour long climb up Mt. Rose.  Mt. Rose is a Hors Categorie climb (mean hardest categorized climb, above category).  The climb is about 9 miles long at just over 5% gradient.  The view of Lake Tahoe from up on the climb was breathtaking and peaceful.  MtRoseTahoeOverlook

Mt. Rose is the highest year round mountain pass in the Sierras.  It tops out at nearly 9k feet and is just above the treeline.   We made pretty good time, and it was going to be a long 20 or so mile descent down into south Reno.  The air was rather cool at the top of the climb and as we descended, you could feel the air warm up quickly.




After about 45 minutes of descending we made our first pit stop of the day in Galena. I didn’t need much at this point other than some water to fill the bottles and mix up some more Powerbar Perform.  After our quick pit stop we started rolling down highway 431 again across town to start the famous Geiger Climb up to Virginia City.  Geiger is a Category 2 climb that is 7 miles long at 5% gradient. This climb is famous for the battle between Andy Hampsten and Greg Lemond during the Coors Classic.


The Geiger climb is long and exposed to the sun for the entire 7 miles of climbing.  We had some amazing views across the valley of Mt. Rose in the distance from where we came, and some great views of downtown Reno.

Mt. Rose across the valley.
Looking back down the Geiger Grade and downtown Reno in the distance.
Geiger Summit – 3 climbs down, 2 climbs to go

After our climb up Geiger we descended down into Virginia City and kept rolling.  On our way out of Virginia City we came across some wild mustangs.  It was such a treat to see wild horses.


We kept cruising, but now we were in the hot Nevada desert, and we had about 10-15 miles of solid headwind to fight before we got to Carson City which was our next pit stop.  As we rolled into Carson City, my buddy Dan noticed his rear tire was cooked – literally the rubber was toast and the tube was poking through.  We found a bike shop about a mile from the Spooner Pass climb and stopped in.  The guys at Bike Habitat were awesome.  They got us taken care of and directed us back onto our route.

We were back on the road and started heading up Spooner.  This is a long 9 mile Category 1 climb at a 5% gradient again, and one that just happen to have a nice headwind the entire way up.  I think this is where Dan and I were starting to feel the ride setting in.  We were just over 80 miles in and both craving a Coke.  Anyway, we continued to muster our might again the grade and wind.  Finally we reached the summit and had a fantastic descent back down to Lake Tahoe and the inviting cooler temperatures.



We hit lake level and like a horse chasing a carrot I started charging with Dan on my wheel.  We rolled back into King’s Beach and stopped one last time, 100 miles into the ride to enjoy a large ice cold coke before charging back up Brockway on our way back to Truckee.

All in we finished the ride in just a few minutes over 7 hours. The ride was 115 miles with right at 11,000 feet of climbing.  If you ever have a chance I highly recommend doing this ride with some friends.  The vast changes in topography, landscape, climates, and towns is nothing short of epic.  I have done some rides but this was spectacular.

A big shout out to my friend Dan for inviting me along.

StravaFeel free to check out the ride here :



The Hard Charging Meredith Kessler

Written by: Justin A. Green

Meredith Kessler is one of the dominant forces to be reckoned with in the triathlon world.  She is a prolific podium finisher, having won every race she has entered this year besides Oceanside 70.3 where she finished 3rd.  I had the fortune of meeting Meredith this past offseason and have ridden with her on a few occasions. Besides being a phenomenal athlete, she is genuinely one of the nicest people I have the pleasure of knowing.  Meredith has been kind enough to talk with us about her 2014 season thus far and her plans for the future.

Ironman 70.3 St. George
Meredith crushing the bike at Ironman 70.3 St. George

Fit Endurance:  Congratulations on winning Challenge New Albany this past weekend.  Looks like that is your 5th win of the season, quite impressive!  It also appears this was your first race with the Challenge Family of races, and in front of a home town crowd nonetheless.  What did you think about the inaugural Challenge New Albany race and your experience with the race organization?

MBK: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat Justin – I really appreciate it greatly! It was a tremendous experience racing in our home town at the inaugural Challenge New Albany. It was a special day having friends and family, who have never had a chance to witness a triathlon event, cheering on the course for all the athletes and getting wrapped up in the spirit of the day. The race director and Challenge did a fantastic job in bringing multiple distance triathlon racing to Columbus, OH and I am sure they will be there for years to come. They really took care of the pros which makes us all want to come back and the age groupers truly enjoyed themselves which translates into a first class race experience. The Midwest humidity hit me hard as expected yet that is par for the course!

Fit Endurance:  So it looks like you have a bit of a break from racing until 70.3 Worlds in Canada.  How do you plan to prepare for this next block of racing?

Meredith with coach Matt Dixon

MBK: My coach, Matt Dixon, and I always map out the year at the beginning of the season with the past few years placing more of an emphasis of trying to come into the championship races as close to 100% as possible. However, even the best laid plans take detours during the long triathlon season but we have been happy with how the progression has turned out in 2014. Right now, the focus was on recovery from the two most recent races, Vineman and Challenge New Albany, and now we bear down with some hard work at a training camp in Marin county with Purplepatch and Team Every Man Jack – training partners (and great friends) that I’m fortunate to get to train with every week. The goal is to come into Mt. Tremblant with some hard pockets of training under the belt through August with concentration also on nutrition, hydration, recovery and LIFE.

Fit Endurance: You are known for doing a majority of your bike training on the trainer at SHIFT SF where you are an instructor.  Tell us about this approach and how others, maybe time crunched age groupers can make it work for them.

MBK: When I first went with Matt Dixon and Purplepatch nearly a decade ago, I told him that I would do what it takes to get better and reach goals without sacrificing the balance in my life of family, friends, and work. To be able to achieve this, I had to get more efficient in my training, work and life. One of the main factors in this was being able to get my bike training done indoors which (at the time) avoided the 4-6 hour long bike rides outside. It was about quality over quantity which is so important when time is not on your side as it is in everyone’s life. The bottom line is that age groupers need to evaluate their lives every 6 months, figure out what is important to them, eliminate the pain points, and become more efficient so they can maintain that crucial balance.

Meredith and her husband Aaron

Fit Endurance: You recently celebrated your 6 year anniversary, congratulations! How did you meet Aaron, and how has he influenced your racing as you shifted from working on Wall St to racing as a full-time professional triathlete?

MBK: My mom was Aaron’s first grade teacher! I truly think she had him picked out for me way back then! We are high school sweethearts and met when The Columbus Academy shifted from all boys to coed and started dating when he was a junior and I was a freshman. As you can see, we know each other very well, what makes us tick, and what’s important in our lives. He was a three sport athlete in high school and played college baseball at Harvard so we both understand what it takes to participate in athletics at a high level. I am JUST the technician who executes on race day while there is a support team of trusted individuals who are behind the scenes and Aaron is our CEO! Without this network, it would be tough to succeed in triathlon. Aaron has brought stability to the business side of racing which is one of the reasons a lot of professional triathletes have trouble reaching their goals. It took us a long time to lay the foundation to be able to leave a secure finance job and be comfortable moving forward in the professional ranks. He was instrumental in helping us make this happen.

Fit Endurance: If you could give our readers a single tip to make their triathlon journey more enjoyable, what would it be?

MBK: It is vital to look at the race as a celebration of all the dedication one has put into the day. The hard work has been accomplished and if you have put in the proper preparation then you should go into the race with a calm, open and free mind. Muscle memory should take over and one must relish in the moment. You will understandably feel a nervous anticipation before the race. The highs will be high, the lows will be low. Forge ahead , gather your gumption and keep calm and carry on – it will all  come together and be worth it when you sprint down the finishing shoot!

Fit Endurance: Looks like your newest sponsor is Boardman Bikes. What do you like about this fairly new brand to North America? Any other new sponsor news we should know about?


MBK: We take partner relationships very seriously and towards the end of each year, we evaluate all of these relationships and figure out which ones we can improve upon. Once again, professional racing is a business and your coach, support team, and partners are all facets of your business so if one is lagging, you need to make the tough decisions to go elsewhere. We had been speaking with Boardman the past few years because they are recognized as one of the best bikes in the industry with a living legend, Chris Boardman, as the main driver of the company. The stars aligned and we were able to work out a partnership beneficial to us both. In doing so, it is such a luxury to know that we are riding one of the best bikes in the business while being able to showcase the brand to North America.

We are continually on the lookout for new partners who will be beneficial to our racing and business. The goal is to work with companies who are innovative in their niche business, would benefit from working with the triathlon community, are cutting edge in their approach, and to some extent, may not be your traditional sponsors associated with the sport. You have to think outside the box to continue to build your brand and fortify lasting relationships.

Thanks again so much for your time Justin!  I’m wishing you all the best in YOUR training, racing and in your new business – congratulations!


Learn more about Meredith Kessler by visiting her website http://www.meredithkessler.com/