Have You Ridden Stumpy SG?
When Trails Are Dry It's Time to Ride
Once the trails are dry and the arrow leaf and mules ears are sprouting like crazy, it’s time for a mountain bike ride on the network of trails fanning out from Tahoe XC. The trails reach all the way to Northstar, Truckee and Tahoe City, so the options are as varied and endless as your ability. When a friend told me the new Stumpy SG Trail had opened I decided to give it a try.
The Tahoe XC trail system is well designed for different ability levels. Beginners can ride the Yellow, Green, Purple and Orange Trail loops close to the lodge and get nice views and a few challenges, but nothing too steep or technical. From there, more experienced riders can take on bigger hills like The Great Ski Race trail to the Fiberboard Freeway or the Stumpy SG and Osprey trails.
Always Exploring New Trails
Those who want to go farther can head onto the Tahoe Rim Trail, which provides access to the more challenging Painted Rock and the flowy Lakeview Ridge Trails. In other words, you could ride out from Tahoe XC for several days and find new trails to explore each day.
I rode to the Red Trail, where I went along the sunny side of Antone Meadows to the Red/Gold Trail junction. From there, a bit of climbing brought me to the bottom of Stumpy.
(Check out Tahoe XC’s interactive summer trail map.)
New Stumpy SG Trail, Thanks TAMBA
Over the past few years, the nonprofit organization Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) has been working in the rock and dirt to build Stumpy. It’s a flow trail that takes long, rideable switchbacks up a slope where you used to have to ride up the Platinum Trail, which goes straight up the steep slope. Platinum required getting in the lowest gear, giving it all you got and never stopping because if you did, there was no way you could get started again.
Riding up the new trail was a joy. Long sweeping lines through the forest, crossing Platinum several times to remind me of how much easier this was. The bottom 2/3 of the route was firm smooth dirt, with rocky tread the last 1/3. While it was always steep enough to get your heart and breath rate up, it was very doable and enjoyable for most riders. At the top, I just turned around and came right back down (which of course was even more fun than going up).
Essential for Mental Health
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that trails are not only essential to our mental health, but a precious resource that needs to be protected and enhanced. I applaud the efforts of TAMBA in creating this amazing new trail and many of the other awesome trails we know and love such as Ocelot. If you get the chance to volunteer to build or maintain trails with either TAMPA or the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, take it. You will be rewarded with the satisfaction of a job well done. If trail building sounds like too much for you…that’s okay, you can also volunteer at one of Tahoe XC’s Trail Work Days, to help clean up the trailhead, facility, and prep the grounds for winter grooming. If even that’s too much, all 3 of these organizations are nonprofits that can always use donations.
What Trail Builders Have to Say
When asked about the new Stumpy SG Trail, here’s what TAMBA coordinator John Clausen had to say: “The lower segment of Stumpy Super G (pictured below) illustrates a smoother zone of the trail tread. Since the single track replaced a very fast, steep logging road, the design criteria incorporated a more open, flowing layout with longer radius turns and good site lines. There was also a few fun factor elements built into the trail, similar in motion to what you might find if you were running a super G on skis.”
“It has been a lot of fun to build and rally the number of people who came together to make it happen. We still have a bit of rock work and a little fine-tuning before we call it done, which will take place in June. We’ve received feedback ranging from: “Dude, that trail is dope,” to “So much more flowy and fun than the old road.” TAMBA also received a $500 donation by one individual who was so enthusiastic about the trail!
“Tahoe‘s soils run the gamut, from highly embedded and/or chipped rock, to sandy decomposed granite. Periodically we have zones of real dirt that packs well into a trail. Stumpy’s has a mix between chip rock and pretty smooth soil (if you don’t dig too deep, ha). We tried to make the most of what the topography and geology had to offer.”