September 20, 2019 was a typical fall Friday for Clint – chock full of obligations and appointments. As a father of three and a busy professional, his calendar appeared as it typically does: mornings dedicated to my family, the day stacked with back-to-back appointments in different locations, and a soccer game in the evening. But somewhere before that last commitment of the day sat a slim, magical, empty block of time. Ninety minutes of freedom. The Block of Hope.Through the years, Clint’s desire for outdoor exploration had grown with all the madness. Pairing that with a desire to stay physically fit and healthy, mountain biking had become his go-to activity. So with that “block of hope” identified and tentatively reserved on this Friday, he threw his bike and gear in the car in the morning. But of course, as they usually do, his meetings wrapped up later than planned, triggering an anxious debate in his mind throughout the day. Which one?
Which one is he going to sacrifice today? His health and maintaining a sense of adventure? Or being there for the soccer game?
He leaned toward canceling the bike ride he’d been looking so forward to, but just as Clint was about to pull the plug on it altogether, he made a last minute negotiation.
WHAT DID YOU DECIDE?
I decided I would go for it and keep the entire ordeal — changing, riding, loading up, and leaving — to just under 75 minutes. No matter what. After all, missing my kid’s soccer games is an unacceptable outcome. I can ride bikes for a long time, I figure. They’ll only play soccer for so many years. With a new plan in place I rushed to throw on my gear and hop on my bike.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Eager to test the true accessibility of the community we are building; I started my ride at the “Coming Soon” sign at the entrance to the ColdStream community.
Within a couple hundred yards, I found myself enjoying a single track that ran along the road dividing the project and Donner State Memorial Park. To my surprise and extreme joy, from that point forward, I ended up enjoying single track for about 95 percent of my ride. Of course, the mountain bike trail system around Lake Tahoe is virtually endless but the possibility of fun, manageable, yet challenging single track right out of one’s front door is a new kind of exciting.
From Cold Stream Canyon, I took a connector trail under the train tracks and over to Jackass Ridge, which is a loop full of berms, jumps, and rock features.
DID YOU PASS ANYONE ALONG THE WAY?
Yeah I did. It was fun to see others enjoying the variety of other activities all around. Campers at Donner Lake, a couple of teenagers fishing. Cold Creek, an off-road Bronco navigating Old Emigrant Trail Road, and my personal favorite, a father and son duo on mountain bikes working their way around the same loop.
With a watchful eye, Dad was trailing his son, who attacked the trail with a huge smile on his face. “As he should,” I told myself — the Jackass Trail is maintained by Truckee Trails, making it an amazing experience and the favorite of many.
Still intent on making it to my daughter’s soccer game — 50-minute drive ahead of me and all — I was pushing it pretty hard. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I’d enjoyed the entire ride in just over an hour, still leaving plenty of time to load up, hit the road, and cheer on my daughter.
DID YOU HAVE AN “AH-HA” MOMENT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
During the drive, I couldn’t help but reflect on how amazing the experience had been. I’d packed in a full day of work followed by an outdoor adventure many will travel thousands of miles for, and all of it with enough time to drive 50 minutes and watch my daughter play soccer by 6:30, leaving me feeling accomplished, grateful, and dreaming of more.
Imagining how many more adventures and experiences we will have as a family as the ColdStream Community comes to life is one of my new favorite past times.
It gave my block of hope a whole new meaning.