Upcoming rides I'm leading:
Saturday, November 19: Three Sisters and Wetlands Park, 36 miles

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New Year's Day at Sunrise Mountain (1/1/2016)

Date: Friday, January 1
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Sunset Station, 1301 W. Sunset Rd. (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 40

Happy New Year! Start your 2016 cycling off with a bang on this scenic and stimulating ride into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

We depart from Sunset Station, just off Hwy. 95, and we'll start with an easy spin over to Clark County Wetlands Park. (If it's cold, watch for the fascinating sight of steam rising from the Las Vegas Wash.) This takes us to Hollywood Blvd., where we'll slowly climb to the east side of North Las Vegas and our first rest stop.

Then, get ready to climb! Lake Mead Blvd. ascends 2.1 miles and gains about 500 feet on its way to the summit of Sunrise Mountain; it's got a couple of mildly steep parts (more like Evil Twins, not like Quadbuster), so you'll quickly forget about any morning chill that might be lingering. After that, get ready for fun: A descent of more than 6 miles (much of it on brand-new pavement with a gloriously smooth, wide shoulder) takes us into the Lake Mead NRA. This tollbooth is often closed on holidays, but if it's open, be prepared to pay a $10 cyclist fee (good for seven consecutive days, so come back later on your own) or show a valid pass. (The America the Beautiful interagency pass is valid, but the Red Rock-only pass is not.)

Take in the scenery as we ride through the recreation area and connect with Northshore Road, which rises and then descends steeply as it crosses Las Vegas Creek. This begins our other big climb of the day: 2.3 miles with an elevation gain of about 450 feet as we leave the recreation area and begin riding Lake Mead Parkway back toward Henderson. Again, a couple of short and mildly attention-getting parts, but nothing stupidly steep. After all, it's New Year's Day!

Our final 10 miles are mostly easy as we ride the smooth bike lane of Lake Mead Parkway back to Warm Springs Road (with a new buffered bike lane most of the way!) and our return to Sunset Station. Presto, you've already bagged 40 miles for 2016!

Ride With GPS reports about 1,900 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks are available inside Sunset Station. Park and meet in the east-side parking lot, off Marks Street near the hotel entrance. Follow the signs for "Meeting Rooms," and look for the black truck with ALC goodies.

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Boulder City (12/12/2015)

Date: Saturday, December 12
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Dec. 13
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 43

Today's ride starts again on the Union Pacific Trail, but today we'll turn off the trail after only about a mile and then gradually climb up Greenway Road into the Paradise Hills area for a little early fun on the rolling hills of this residential area.

Next, we'll pick up the River Mountains Loop Trail and head west up and over Railroad Pass, alongside U.S. 93, and into the outskirts of Boulder City. We'll do a big loop around the city, starting with a long and gradual descent toward the airport and continuing with a gentle climb up Georgia Avenue and over to the Nevada Way historic district and our first rest stop at mile 18.

After that, we'll explore a little more of the city before making our way over to U.S. 93 for a descent of more than 3 miles and about 900 feet into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. If we descend that much, we of course have to climb that much ... but we'll climb much of the way back on the much gentler (and, therefore a little longer) River Mountains Trail. We eventually have to do some of the climb on U.S. 93 (the flood channel doubles as the bike path, so we might use that if it hasn't been raining), and we'll take another rest stop partway up the hill at mile 30.

We'll take Industrial Road to bypass the steepest and highest part of the River Mountains Trail (don't worry, that's coming up on a future ride), and we'll eventually pick up the trail again for the short climb back over Railroad Pass. After that, the final 8 miles of the ride are almost all gently downhill!

Ride With GPS reports about 2,400 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd. just past the parking garage, toward the train tracks.

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Once around St. George (12/5/2015)

Date: Saturday, December 5
Meet time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Ride-out time: 11:30 a.m. MST
Meeting place: Starbucks, 1091 N. Bluff St. (map)
City: St. George, Utah
Rain policy: Rain or ice cancels
Pace: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 42

Today's ride is a simple loop around St. George. But because this is St. George, that means there's a bit of climbing ... and you'll be rewarded with a wide variety of outstanding scenery and generally low-traffic roads.

We begin by heading south toward Bloomington, across the Virgin River, in for a quick and early rest stop at mile 8, and up to River Road. From there, we'll make our way to ride 7 miles of the Southern Parkway, a glorious freeway-type highway that has smooth, wide shoulders and often has more cyclists than motorists. (It's also good low-stress training for the freeway segments of the event in June.) And if skies are clear, you'll be treated to excellent views of Signal Peak, the region's highest mountain at 10,364 feet. (Sorry, no roads go all the way to the top.)

Next, we'll ride northbound through Washington City to our second rest stop at mile 28 near I-15. We'll then head back toward St. George, but we'll take a little detour into the Green Spring residential area along the way for a fun climb and an even more fun descent.

We've saved our pièce de résistance for last! Southern Utah cyclists know Red Hills Parkway well. If you're visiting, you'll be amazed by the views of the red rocks and the desert as we top out at just over 3,200 feet of elevation before our final descent back to our meeting point.

If you're not up for the full 42 miles, there are plenty of ways to make the ride shorter. You don't have to be registered for ALC 2016 to ride ... although we might try to persuade you to think about ALC 2017 if you're not.

Ride With GPS reports about 2,200 feet of climbing for this ride. We meet at a Starbucks, and there's plenty of other food and drink nearby. I've made the meet time purposely late so that: (1) you'll have plenty of time to drive here in the morning if you wish, and (2) we'll hopefully avoid the worst of the autumn morning chill. We're less than two hours of driving time from the Spaghetti Bowl interchange in Las Vegas!

We will not ride if the temperature at meet time is 32 degrees or below.

Important note for Nevada riders: St. George is on Mountain Standard Time, one hour ahead of Las Vegas.

Join us and find out how our rides are different! We obey traffic laws and stop signs, we ride single-file, we don't paceline, we never-ever-EVER pass others on the right, we help one another, and we make sure everyone has a GREAT ride. Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

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Clark County Wetlands Park (11/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, November 21
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Nov. 22
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 36

More than half of today's ride is on paved trails that are part of the excellent cycling infrastructure in the southeast valley. When you think of "paved trail," you might think of flat and easy, but that's not always the case around here!

We start with a few miles of very gentle climbing on the Union Pacific Railroad Trail, which gains about 400 feet of elevation on its way to the edge of Henderson. Then we'll make a quick connection under 515/95/93 to join the River Mountains Trail, and we'll conquer the first three of the Seven Sisters, a series of short but moderately steep hills. After a short ride on Lake Mead Parkway to visit our first rest stop, we'll head into the Lake Las Vegas area, where we'll pick up the Wetlands Park trail, 6 miles of rollercoaster-type hills up and down and around the desert. Then it's back into civilization for our second rest stop, and a bit of riding on Boulder Highway and Gibson Road before we again pick up the Union Pacific trail for our last mile back to the Fiesta.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,400 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd., near the train tracks.

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Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.