Tahoe Trail 100 experiences / advice

I’m doing the Tahoe Trail 100 this weekend for the first time. I’m trying to get a better corral position for Leadville next month.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice on the course, pacing, things to watch out for, etc.

I’m 3.5 w/kg and 195 lbs; thinking of just pacing around 70% FTP. If I have anything left in the tank toward the end, maybe I can open up. I think I’d be happy with sub 6. I’ve finished Leadville in 11 h with something left in me, and I was in worse shape than I am now.

Any advice would be appreciated. Also, if anyone could send me a gpx file for the course, that would be handy! Might try to do some best bike split wizardry.

Copy-pasta from a post I made over on another forum:

Start + first half of first climb: you’ll roll on the pavement down and then up into the resort. Pace here will naturally be fast due to all of the other riders adrenaline. Once you roll through the resort you’ll start to head upward on doubletrack that will increase in gradient as you get to the mid mountain station. Depending on your position, there will be a section that many riders won’t have the gearing to get up which will cause a cascade of dabs. If you see someone dab in the last section, just hop off the bike and start hiking. You’ll probably be faster than those around you and save a bit of energy.

Second half of first climb: after you get onto the pavement at mid-mountain, you’ll transfer over onto the second set of the climb which is more fireroad that will wind up towards the top. Steady pace here is good, don’t bother trying to go too hard since it’s early in the race.

First descent and rolling terrain: You’ll start with a singletrack descent (Knick Knack?) that is pretty fun but short, followed by a short climb and then a wide fireroad descent that is mostly straight all of the way down. It will be dusty so you may want to give the rider in front a bit of room. Not much to worry about here but stay on your toes since there tend to be flats in this section with the rocks and high speed. After the descent, you’ll be in a rolling section of climbs that will make its way through a few different areas including a section that has what looks like “giant strange cabbage”. This is a good time to stay on the gas coming out of the descent and get your legs warmed up. Try and avoid getting stuck behind a slow rider at the end of the fireroad, and if you happen to find someone who is a big diesel guy, you’ll benefit a bit from the draft since this is a higher speed section.

Second climb: the road will narrow as you go through the cabbage and turn into singletrack that narrows even more and starts to turn upward. This climb will get increasingly steep as you get towards the top and most people will be in the granny through a pretty chunky section of climb. If you get thrown off your rhythm here, it’s tough to get going, so keep the gas on but avoid too many hard efforts.

Top of the climb: you’ll get dumped out onto the road and there will be an aid station to get water/food. I usually refuel at this one on lap one and lap two.

Paved road descent that will swing around and shoot you back up again

Third climb: wide fireroad. Not much to say here. Nothing to worry about and plenty of places to pass.

Singletrack descent: you’ll swing around to the (left?) and there will be a section of faster sweeping switchbacks which will eventually dump you out onto a fireroad. It can be a bit steep at times and will narrow and expand a few times with a few washed out sections that you might need to unclip a foot just to have a bit of insurance. Be wary of riders stopped on the singletrack here with mechanicals.

Deer creek climb: Probably the worse climb on the course. Steep, loose, lots of people walking, exposed. Meter your efforts here but try and get out of this section as quickly as you can. You’ll have several false summits before you well and truly start to descend down a very long fireroad descent.

Long fireroad descent: if you have a draft here, use it. Watch out when you get to a thing that looks like a bridge, because there are always loose rocks that have a tendency to toss people or cause a flat.

Long last climb: You are almost done with the lap, but this climb sucks. The first half is more shaded, but steeper. There is an aid station before you get onto the second half, which I usually stop here on the second lap. The second half of the climb isn’t as bad, but you are in the sun and exposed.

Descent: fun singletrack descent through the bike park. Have fun!

You’ll end up on the road, loop back towards the resort along the side and then head back towards the first double track climb, where you can access the drop bags.

My fueling strategy:
3 bottles, 2 on bike 1 in jersey for the first lap, stopping at the aid station on the pavement. Second lap, i’ll stop on the pavement and on the mid-way aid station.

Roughly a 3500-4000kj/calorie effort for a 70-75kg rider.

Strava segment of the lap: Tahoe Trail 2018 lap | Strava Ride Segment in Truckee, California

I’d pace for about 6RPE on the climbs and 4-5RPE on the rolling.


Thanks man. Aspen 2.25 on 25 internal or 2.4 on 29 internal?

Either is fine. Whatever you are more comfortable with.

I’ve got a GPX from the last time I did it in 2018. Message me your email and I will send it.

In the description by @stevemz the second climb might be slightly different now. The steep part of the old climb was sort of a double track that went directly up the fall line. It is still there so they might still use it.

OTOH, there is a newly constructed single track that is a much easier grade with a few climbing turns that meanders back and forth, crossing the old trail several times. It’s called Up Stumpy SG (or Stumpy DH if going down) on Strava and it might be used instead. It won’t make much difference for most people beyond it’s a little easier climb.


Pre-rode one lap of the course this last weekend. The hardest things for me were the somewhat frequent loose dirt on the climbs and the heat.

The second half felt a lot more exposed- my garmin showed an avg temp of 94F with a peak of 109F. I had a camelbak with 2 liters of water + electrolytes as well was 2 bottles of Maurten 320 and it didn’t feel like enough. My buddy had 3 liters of water and 1 bottle, which he thought was just enough. For reference, I’m 180 lbs and my buddy is 135 lbs.

I’m also about 3w/kg and rode a 30 in the front and 42 in the back. Although doable, I think I’m going with a 28 in the front to make it a little easier.

Lastly, some fire road descents will be dusty so be aware of that.


I weighed myself last night and I was 200.3 lbs :grimacing:.

Last time I did this race I’m pretty sure I was 182 lbs :smiley:.


Are you doing it tomorrow?

And IIRC that was the one I entrusted you to deliver beers for Chad :beer: while celebrating my sister-in-laws 50th bday and getting our party shutdown by hotel mgmt :metal:

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