May 28th, 2014 | Written by Linda | No Comments

Amateur mountain biking is a great way to combine beautiful scenery and fresh air with adrenaline-pumping activity. Why not combine a popular mountain bike race and a much-needed lake vacation? We provide suggestions for an unforgettable vacation. And, even if you don’t want to compete, you can still be an enthusiastic race observer.

Serpent Lake at Cuyuna Lakes
photo © Amy Meredith

Minnesota showcases the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival each summer, scheduled for June 13th and 14th, 2014. Some of this year’s events include Miner’s Mountain Cross Country Race, the Kids Tour De Park Races, and the Miner’s Gamble Poker Ride. The Cuyuna Lakes are a series of natural and mine-pit lakes surrounded by the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. Allowed to return to nature once mining was ended, the lakes have evolved into scenic fishing and nature ponds surrounded by walking trails and bike paths. One small campground within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area fills up quickly, but there are plenty of other lodging options within the surrounding area, including other campgrounds. Nearby, the Brainerd Lakes area is full of natural lakes large and small, well known as vacation destinations for hundreds of thousands of summer residents and visitors. The Brainerd Lakes provide great fishing, plenty of swimming beaches, boating, water sports, guest cabins and resorts.

Mountain Biking at Lake Tahoe
photo © dhReno

Lake Tahoe, the quintessential four-season lake, is one of North America’s largest and deepest lakes. Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a favorite of mountain bikers, and the community is actively working toward creating a series of connecting bike trails to circle the 122,000-acre lake. The 2014 Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Race is scheduled for Saturday, June 21st. Participants can choose either the 4-Hour or the 8-Hour race. Another well-known race held here each year is the Tahoe Trail 100K, a 33-mile loop on Tahoe’s northwestern shore. The 2014 race is scheduled for Saturday, July 19th. Tucked within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is renowned for its incredible beauty and diverse recreational offerings both on and off the water. Come explore both the California and Nevada sides of the lake by water, car, bike, or on foot.

Chillin' at Big Bear Lake
photo © Konrad Summers

This year, the California State XC and Endurance Championships will be held on Sunday, July 20th at Big Bear Lake, a popular southern California getaway about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. This US Cup Pro Series race is just one of a full season of mountain bike races taking place in Big Bear: the Big Bear Shootout #1 will be held May 31st, another Pro Series Big Bear Shootout will occur June 28th, and the Big Bear Grizzly 100 Endurance race is scheduled for July 26th. Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake is a favored weekend getaway year round. Twenty-two miles of shoreline and 2,900 acres of water offer hiking, horseback riding, water sports, ATV routes, fishing, camping, and plenty of resort lodgings near the scenic reservoir. The town of Big Bear acts as vacation headquarters for eclectic shopping and dining, while several ski resorts near the lake offer some of California’s best winter skiing. Come soak up the sun and play in the water, making sure to save some time in the leisure schedule to watch the Endurance Championship race.

Reflections at Mammoth Lakes
photo © Frank Kovalchek

The Kamakazi Bike Games are scheduled at Mammoth Lakes, California for September 18-21, 2014. Located in the High Sierras, the Mammoth Lakes area is well-known as a winter ski resort destination, but it has also developed into a prime mountain biking venue in summer with a growing network of trails and events. The Kamakazi Bike Games offer age-appropriate events for everyone, from children to adults. The Kamakazi-styled races for experienced adults feature extreme speed down steep slopes, cycle-trick races and adrenalin-pumping thrill events for those so inclined. Others choosing a more leisurely pace can bike a quiet trail through the Inyo National Forest or head for some of the famous small lakes in the area such as Lake George, Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Horseshoe Lake or the connected Twin Lakes. The lakes offer swimming, fishing, camping and plenty of small, unique shops featuring crafts by local artisans.

So, pack up the mountain bike (or rent one at your destination) and enjoy some wind in your hair and water between your toes. Mountain biking around the lake will make for one of your most memorable vacations ever.

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