Crawlin' up, flyin' down
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Democratic Peoples' Republic of Berkeley
Bikes: 1967 Paramount, 1982-ish Ron Cooper,1986 De Rosa Professional, 1978 Eisentraut "A," 1961 BianchiCompetizione, 1994 Trek 520, 199? Burley Bossa Nova, early-1970s Cinelli Speciale Corsa
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Most of the road from Camp Richardson to Emerald Bay is gentle to moderate up - as much as 5% or so, mostly less than that. The hardest part of the climb is a mile, maybe a tad longer. It has a short (100-200 yards) pitch of what one book says is about 10%, and that seems about right.
Don't forget,though, that there are really two climbs at Emerald Bay. There's the one you are talking about, then a run down to the parking lot/trailhead for Vikingsholm, followed by another uphill slog followed by another descent to the Meeks Bay area and the bike path. It has been quite a while since I've ridden that stretch, but if memory serves its a mile and a half, give or take (don't take that as gospel, but it's the right order of magnitude) with the pitch on the order of magnitude of, oh, saaaaaay . . . 6% or so. After that, some rollers between Tahoe City and Kings Beach, but otherwise no climbing to speak of until you get to the Nevada side of the Lake.
TIP: Try to do your start/finish somewhere between the 50/89 split in the road (known to the locals as the "Y") and the turnoff to Fallen Leaf Lake. This puts up and over the Emerald Bay portion of the ride early, when the fewest cars are out. This is especially important on summer weekends, as the climb to Emerald Bay is the narrowest, least safe stretch of road, at least on the California side. The Nevada side is either a two-lane state highway that is a tad narrow, but lighter on traffic than the California side, or Highway 50, which is traffic-heavy and multi-lane scariness, but at least is downhill for the most part so you have a fighting chance. All in all, I'd still rather do Hwy 50 downhill in traffic than Emerald Bay uphill in traffic.
TIP #2: Be sure to stock up on food and drink before leaving Incline Village. It will be your last chance to get water and edibles until you get pretty close to Stateline on the southeast shore, you'll be in the sun more than you have been, and from Incline to 50 is somewhat rolly but overall an uphill grind. Be prepared or you'll bonk - not a good idea.
"I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney