You never know where a ULI networking event will take you. Lake Tahoe, anyone?
On Sunday, June 4th, I had the privilege of biking around Lake Tahoe with fellow ULI member David Chavez, VP at Transwestern. The 72-mile ride climbed 4,027 feet over its winding course and is billed by the organizers as “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.”
They might be right. Starting at South Lake Tahoe, the ride wound its way clockwise around the lake, up steep switchbacks at Emerald Bay, down into Tahoe City, around past Kings Beach, and over Spooner Summit, the highest point in the course (elevation 7,146 feet) before descending back into South Lake Tahoe once more. The weather was phenomenal, the views were stunning, and, from the time we rolled through the starting gate at 6 am until the time we crossed the finish line around 12:45 pm, the excitement was palpable.
But what does any of this have to do with ULI?
Everything, actually. David and I connected last year at a ULI SF Boardroom After Dark event featuring Eden Housing President Linda Mandolini. Linda is an enthusiastic cyclist, and as we discovered over the course of that night’s dinner, so were four or five of the dozen or so people around the table. After meeting at Boardroom After Dark, David and I formed a cycling team and set our sights on circumnavigating Lake Tahoe. We trained over the next nine months by biking together in the Oakland Hills, and it wasn’t without its challenges. We overcame bronchitis, back aches, and migraines, but, thanks to David’s four prior experiences with the ride, we had a strong sense of what was necessary to get our muscles and our minds in shape. When the moment of truth came, the value of all those hills and switchbacks and weeks of tough rides in Oakland was mightily apparent. Even at 6000 to 7000 feet above sea level, we conquered the hills with strength to spare.
On a personal level, I’m proud of by our biking achievement. Professionally, of course, the story of our ride around Lake Tahoe is also a strong endorsement for the value and importance of networking. Over the course of training with David, I not only expanded my skills and limits as a cyclist, but I also had the chance to learn from his real estate expertise as we rolled through our favorite routes in the Bay Area.
The moral of the story? Sign up for this year’s Boardroom after Dark series, because you can never tell where these excellent events will lead you, and the adventure just might be worth it.
And if you’re a cyclist, get in touch with David and me, because how cool would it be to have a ULI SF cycling team?
This year’s Boardroom After Dark program is sold out. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email Cali Sleppin.
Sarah Sieloff is the Executive Director of the Oakland-based Center for Creative Land Recycling, a national non-profit. She was recognized as the 2016 Chamberlin Young Leader in the Nonprofit Sector for ULI SF. Cycling enthusiasts can reach her at email@example.com.