Snowbound Tahoe gets ready for the Tour of California (VIDEO)

By Michael Collier

“LAKE TAHOE — Why go to the top of the French Alps to watch a thrilling bike race when you can feel the same thing at the top of the Sierra Nevada?

“On May 15, a pack of the world’s greatest cyclists will tear around the largest alpine lake in the United States. It will be the first mountain start of the Amgen Tour of California, which includes three-time champion Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa.

“To give Bay Bikers’ junkies a feel for the rush of the first stage of the 800-mile, week-long race that ends on Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains, I donned a yellow jersey and rode the 72 miles around Lake Tahoe a month before the pros will go one-and-a-half times around it at twice my speed.

“Hold onto your brake levers. Here is my guide, local cyclist Rick Gunn, as he and I (with an iPhone clipped to my handlebar) descend to Emerald Bay after a 700-foot climb that is one of three King of the Mountain stretches on the Stage 1 route (click on “stage map” and look for the KOM tags).

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