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

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Mystery ride to Jean (4/23/2016)

Date: Saturday, April 23
Meet time: 7:00 a.m. Note earlier meet time!
Ride-out time: 7:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Sunset Station, 1301 W. Sunset Rd. (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is April 24
Pace: 3 - medium-brisk pace (12-15mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 60

With only about a half-dozen turns in the space of 60 miles, this is one of our least complicated routes of the entire season, as we head down old U.S. 91 -- roughly parallel to I-15 and with almost no traffic -- to the Gold Strike at Jean, turn around, come back up the old highway, and return to Henderson on St. Rose Parkway. So why the mystery?

The weather is the mystery ... specifically, the wind. If the wind is light, this is a superbly mellow ride with no big hills and a lot of open-road cycling similar to that in the middle days of the event in June. If the wind is stronger and out of the north or south, then half of our day will be challenging and the other half will be quite literally a breeze. And if the wind is strong and out of the east or west, we might be fighting nasty crosswinds for almost the entire day. But no matter how you slice it, the final 20 miles of the day are all gently downhill.

Ride With GPS reports only about 1,900 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) 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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Hoover Dam and Bridge (3/26/2016)

Date: Saturday, March 26
Meet time: 8:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 8:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is March 27
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 54

Get ready for an epic ride all the way into Arizona! From our meeting point on the south edge of Henderson, we'll ride the Union Pacific and River Mountain trails into Boulder City for our first rest stop. After that, the real fun begins. We'll get on Highway 93 and quickly descend almost 1,000 feet (good practice for the morning of Day 6) into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We'll stay on 93 as it becomes a freeway (also good practice for the event) and descends even more to the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, which takes us across the state line into Arizona.

When we reach the first exit in Arizona, we'll leave the freeway, turn around, and head back across the bridge on the wide, smooth shoulder ... and where the throngs of sightseers on the separate walkway will undoubtedly gawk at the sight of bicyclists and might even take a picture of you to show the folks back home.

As if that weren't enough, next we'll descend all the way down to Hoover Dam itself and ride across the top of the dam, just back across the state line into Arizona, before turning around and beginning the moderately steep climb back up to Highway 93 and the entrance to the Lake Mead scenic drive.

But wait, there's more! We'll then ride the River Mountains Trail (no fee for riding the trail) along the edge of Lake Mead and all the way around the recreation area for about 14 miles and up to the Lake Las Vegas area. (This is a more gentle ascent than the steep hill on Highway 93 that we descended earlier in the day.) And after a final rest stop, it's an easy ride (albeit with a bit more traffic) back to the Fiesta.

Ride With GPS reports about a robust 4,200 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.

Important: This ride passes through a mandatory Homeland Security checkpoint on the access road to Hoover Dam. Although ID checks and searches are rare, bring a photo ID and, if you aren't a U.S. citizen, proof of citizenship.

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