Thursday, April 14, 2016

Time to get the road bike ready to ride! Bike events, fun tours coming up this summer!

Paul Hilding climbing to Banner Summit on the LP 200. 
Your truly getting ready to rip downill from Banner Summit to Stanley in the LP 200
Happy riders on the 4 Summit Challenge 
4 Summit Challenge near the top of a steep hill. 
Crossing a bridge across the Clark Fork River in Montana during Ride Idaho. 
Hi all,

My topic this week is about road biking, but before I delve into that, I want to wish all the Race to Robie Creek runners the very best of luck on Saturday as they complete "the toughest half-marathon in the West."

Statesman Outdoors writer Chadd Cripe wrote a nice entry-level piece about trail-running this week that I wanted to share. To me, running on dirt trails in the foothills is so much better than running on the streets of Boise -- you can enjoy the open space reserves as part of your run, see birds and wildlife, enjoy the human scenery, and add punch to your workout by adding hills and vertical gain to the routine.

As a reminder, my hiking and trail-running book, Boise Trail Guide: 90 Hiking and Running Routes Close to Home, offers the only detailed guide to trail-running in the greater Boise area. The routes are all timed out for hiking and running. Start with flat Greenbelt loops and build to easy mountain trails, moderate mountain trails, strenuous mountain trails and epic mountain trails. Pick off the loops one by one and build your endurance over time. Tour the whole Boise Foothills area, and trails close by in the Boise National Forest and the Owyhee Canyonlands. See how many routes you can conquer in one year!

I also wanted to share my trip guides about the Weiser River Trail for VisitIdaho and hiking/fishing/camping at Balanced Rock near Buhl for Southern Idaho Tourism. Both are very worthy destinations. I rode the 83-mile Weiser River Trail on a mountain bike in two days at a fairly leisurely pace.

Now, back to road biking! I've noticed a ton of people out riding their bikes in the foothills, the Greenbelt and the streets of Boise. It's fantastic to live in such a bike-friendly town. I've got the itch to put in some serious miles on my road bike to train for the Lyle Pearson 200 on Saturday, June 4th. This is a 200-mile ride, sponsored by George's Cycles, in which teams of four riders conquer the course in stages from Boise to Idaho City to Lowman, Stanley, Smiley Creek, Galena Summit and then finishing in Ketchum.

I did the ride last year and loved it, so I'm doing it again! It's a good motivator to get in good road riding shape early in the year for other events coming up this summer. Below I'll recommend a couple of road rides from my Boise Road Cycling Guide, the best and only road biking map available in town, to get you in shape. And then I'll list a few clubs that lead group road rides. This is how you can meet new people and find folks who ride at your own pace.

But first, here's a short list of bike events coming up that get me jazzed about road riding:

  • Lemhi Valley Century Ride, June 11, 100 miles or 100 kilometers (62 miles), "pick your poison," they say. Great chance to visit Salmon and hang out with great people. Beautiful course in the Lemhi River Valley, where I have written about multiple fish conservation projects for Life on the Range.  
  • Bob LeBow Blues Cruise has been canceled, I see on their Facebook page.
  • Cascade Four Summits Challenge, July 25. It's 100 miles this year with an out and back along the South Fork of the Salmon River. Will be a gorgeous ride, but it'll be key to train for this one. Lots of verts! 
  • Ride Idaho, Aug. 6-13. This super-fun week-long ride starts in Ketchum this year, traces the Arco Desert over to the Teton Valley, climbs over to Jackson Hole, tours the Jackson Hole Valley and then back over Teton Pass to the finish in Idaho Falls. About 340 riders participated last year. I had a blast and felt stronger every day.  
  • Bogus Basin Hill Climb, Aug. 15th.
See the full calendar of bike racing events and non-competitive events in SW Idaho here.  

Now, to get your legs in shape, here are some spring road rides that I'd recommend:

  • Boise River Greenbelt from Municipal Park to Lucky Peak - 9 miles one-way, 18 miles out and back. About 1 hour travel time. Surface is flat most of the way, with a few short hills here and there. You may have a tailwind going out, but you'll pay for that on the way back. Wind is always a factor. Add the 4-mile climb to Hilltop Summit to add zest to your workout. 
  • City to Farm Loop - 16.2 miles; riding time is about 1 hour. Fun tour of the transition zone between the city of Boise and rural ag lands in the outskirts of SW Boise. Start at Five Mile and Overland. Park in the shopping center. Go south on Five Mile, right on Lake Hazel, left on Cloverdale, right on Columbia, left on Eagle, right on Hubbard, right on Locust Grove, right on Lake Hazel, left on Five Mile and return to start. All of the streets out there are 1 mile apart. 
  • Cartwright Three Summits Loop - 17.7 miles, 1.5 hours. This is a hill-climbers special. You'll climb and descend 1,591 feet along the way. Plus it's close to home. Start at the junction of Bogus Basin Road and Hill Road. Climb Bogus to Cartwright, go left and climb Cartwright over the first little hill, and then a second huge wall of a hill, and then a shorter one to drop into the Dry Creek Valley and the Hidden Springs area. Follow Dry Creek Road to Hidden Springs, go left on Seaman's Gulch Road and climb one more summit before dropping down to Hill Road. Go left and return to the start.  
As for road biking clubs, I'd recommend the following: 
  • Community Bicycle Rides - Low-key friendly group that average riders wouldn't feel intimidated about joining. They ride several days a week. Here's their ride calendar. Over time, they crank up the mileage and get you ready for half centuries, full centuries and events like Ride Idaho.
  • Lactic Acid Cycling -  Well-organized club with weekly rides for men and women of different abilities. Nice jerseys too! 
  • Boise Byrds - Youth cycling development club. If you'd like to get your kids involved in mountain biking or road biking with excellent leadership, sign them up for the Byrds. 
  • See more riding clubs and racing clubs on the Southwest Idaho Cycling Association web page.
Before you ride, make sure that your bike is in good running condition. Take a spin around your neighborhood and check to see that your tires are full of air and that your gears and brakes work correctly. If not, correct the situation or take it to a bike shop for a full tune. That's always worth the money in my book to keep the bike running smooth. 

May the eternal tailwinds always be at your back ... 
-SS

2 comments:

David Lingle said...

Hey Steve,
Thanks for the road ride write up. I noticed the SWICA calendar you linked is from 2015.

The Lemhi Valley Century Ride is June 11 this year. Not June 20.

Thanks!

Steve Stuebner said...

Thanks for that David! I'll fix the link to the calendar. Best, Steve