Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cartwright Three Summits Loop always delivers

After at least a week of melting conditions, the roads are dry again in the lower elevations surrounding Boise, so I thought it'd be a great chance to ride the Cartwright Three Summits Loop (also known as "the Dump loop") on Saturday afternoon.

It was a partly cloudy day, with temps in the high 30s, so I dressed warm and peeled out on my road bike toward Hill Road. It's easiest from my house in NW Boise to ride up N. 36th Street past Quail Hollow Golf Course to Arrowhead Point and connect to the first summit on Cartwright Road from there.

And then, there's the killer steep hill going up the second summit of Cartwright. It's always a punishing experience going up that 10% grade -- guaranteed to hurt.

At the top of the second summit, tho, you can really let it rip down to Pierce Park Road, bear right and climb over a short hill on brand new pavement to the Dry Creek Valley. It's mostly downhill through here, and you ride by Hidden Springs, turn left on Seamans Gulch Road and climb to the third summit. It's a fairly gradual climb to the Seamans summit, but your legs are a bit taxed by now, so it still hurts.

Once over the top, you zoom by the Ada County Landfill and the Seamans Gulch foothills trailhead, connect to Hill Road and bear left to return to the start.

The loop is about 17.5 miles, 18 from my house. Total vertical gain is 1,598 feet.

The ride is featured in the new Boise Road Cycling Guide, the first-ever road cycling map for 30+ rides in the greater Boise Valley. - SS