Thursday, June 4, 2015

Idaho biking events create big incentive for training and fitness; End result is FUN!

Steve's ready to put the hammer down at Banner Summit! 
Jeff Gould was one of our workhorses in the LP 200. He put in 89 miles on Saturday. 
Steve Doud was our chief hill-climber in the LP 200. He's an animal!  
Paul Hilding, left, was not smiling soon after he started as he and Jeff got
buffeted by headwinds and rain between Stanley and Smiley Creek. 
The big climb from Warm Lake to Landmark Summit in the 4 Summit Challenge.
Big pack taking off on the Warm Lake Highway in the 4 Summit Challenge 
Hi all,

I'm flying down the Lowman grade on my Specialized road bike on Idaho 21 at 35-40 mph, my eyes are watering from the wind resistance (even with good sunglasses on), but I'm totally focused on my line around every curve, being careful to retain as much speed as possible.

The 20-mile segment from Mores Creek Summit, above Idaho City, to Lowman was one of three legs that I rode in the Lyle Pearson 200 last Saturday. I practiced the section the week before, so I knew I had to hammer as hard as I could on the downhill to keep my speed up to the maximum possible. Plus, it's a blast to go fast!

This section also featured about 1,000 feet of climbing, but at a pretty moderate grade, so I pushed myself as much as possible before the downhill in hopes of not getting passed and holding up my end of the deal in the LP 200 relay race. And you know what, I didn't get passed!

It was my first year in the LP 200. My friend Paul Hilding put a great team together of 50-something guys who like to ride road bikes -- Paul, Jeff Gould, Steve Doud and me. The LP 200 is a race, but it's pretty much a recreational ride with your team-mates and friends, riding at race pace as much as possible. The main reason you train hard for the event is for personal pride. You feel the pressure to do well in your part of the race for the team! Our team's main goal was to reach Ketchum while the BBQ and beer were still flowing.

Everyone on our team was ready for the big day after three months of training. We ended up finishing 46th out of 70 teams -- not bad for a bunch of 50-something average guys -- and we got to Ketchum at 4:30, when the BBQ was in mid-swing, so we reached our goal. Our team name was Low-X, or Low Expectations. Ha!

In the last two years, I've been doing more road rides as a way to boost my fitness and create an incentive for training and fitness. With every week of training, you will get stronger, you might lose some weight (I burned 3,000-5,000 calories on a lot of my training rides), and when it comes to race day, you know you're ready. Then, you can actually have fun!

We are lucky here in the Treasure Valley because there are a bunch of great biking events during the summer season that can create an incentive for training and fitness. Last year, I trained for the Four Summit Challenge in Cascade in late July. This year, by doing the LP 200 in late May, I'm a full two months ahead of training and fitness, compared to where I was last year. Now I'm ready for any century rides that come up, and I'll be stronger for mountain biking. I'm also signed up for Ride Idaho, a grand tour of N. Idaho this year, in August.

Here's a short list of some fun biking events coming up this summer that you might want to consider. Start out with distances that you feel are doable and work up from there:

  • Great Owyhee Ride Against Hunger  - Saturday, June 21. You can sign up to ride a full century, 50 miles or metric century, 62 miles. 
  • Bob LeBow Blue Cruise - Saturday, June 27. They've got something for everyone in this event ... Distances: Full century, 62 miles, 35-mile City Tour, 25-mile Lake Lowell Tour, 10-mile Upper Dam Tour, and 3-mile Greenbelt Tour. I rode the Metric Century last year to tune up for the Four Summit Challenge.   
  • Four Summit Challenge in Cascade - Saturday, July 25. You can ride the full 4 summit ride (75 miles), 3 summits (60 miles), 2 summits (50 miles), 1 summit (30 miles) or an 8.2-mile family fun ride. Again, something for everyone. I loved doing the Four Summit Challenge last year. Good food and snacks at aid stations. Great BBQ at the finish! Most people camp at Lake Cascade.  
  • Ride Idaho - Aug. 15-22. This is a 7-day ride starting and finishing in Coeur d'Alene. Total mileage is 390 miles spread over that time. Think timbered mountains, lakes, beach time, and scenic beauty. My friend Mark Anderson and I are signed up. Can't wait! The week includes a side trip on the Route of the Hiawatha, near Wallace. That's the ride on an old RR grade with multiple trestles and tunnels. It's a hoot! Ride Idaho carries all your gear to each night's camping area and provides all the meals. 
  • Cascade Gravel Grinder - Sept. 12 - This is a gravel road ride for the peeps who like to grind it out on gravel mountain roads. Distances of 35, 57 or 76 miles.    
  • Bogus Basin Hill Climb - I think this is scheduled for Sept. 5th. Practice during the summer and work on improving your time! 
Want more? George's Cycles has a complete schedule of roadie rides and events on their website. Also check with the roadie clubs such as Lactic Acid, St. Luke's/Lost River, Community Bicycle Rides, and more. Here's the Community Bicycle Rides ride calendar, which has more events than I've listed here. 

Speaking of biking events, the Weiser River Trail ride is on Saturday, June 6th. Distances are 28 miles from the northern trailhead near New Meadows to Council. Optional longer ride is 48 miles from New Meadows to Cambridge. Register at

Big thanks for those of you who voted for Jeanne McFall of Boise for the "Extreme Huntress" contest in Texas. Jeanne was one of the top 6 vote-getters and made the finals. She's a former bike racer and triathlete and avid hunter. I think she'll do well!  


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