Thursday, March 8, 2012

Warm weekend should be perfect for road biking in Boise; 5 rides to get you started

Serious riders on Hill Road

The Boise River Greenbelt ... lovely place to ride.

City to Farm loop skirts Kuna in SW Boise. This is Cloverdale.

Beautiful Ten Mile Valley ... between Cloverdale and Pleasant Valley Road

S. Cole has pretty much ZERO traffic, south of Ten Mile ...

Classic ranchette in the sticks outside of Boise
Hi all,

With the weather warming up this weekend into the low 60s, it's going to be a great weekend for just about anything, including spring skiing.

A lot of folks will want to go biking, and I'm promoting some cool road rides to get your cycling legs in shape again. Mountain biking in the foothills is tempting ... I saw a lot of riders out last Monday walking my dog. But hey folks, there are a number of wet and muddy spots on the north slopes of trails that won't dry out for a while. Please give the foothills trails a break and go road biking instead.

Check the Ridge to Rivers web site for the latest details. Their motto right now is "Know Before You Go." A voluntary closure is in effect for these specific trails after 10:30 a.m.

Here's an incentive to get psyched about road biking this spring. How about training for the BLUECRUISE of Idaho? It's sponsored by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, among others, and they have distances for any ability -- 15 miles, 30, 50 and 100. I'm hoping to do the century ride. The ride occurs on Saturday, June 23. Proceeds always go to a good cause.

Here's a mix of road biking suggestions for this weekend and beyond from my Boise Road Cycling Guide:
  • Start out nice and easy - take the Greenbelt out to Discovery Park from Municipal Park near Idaho Fish and Game's Nature Center. It's 9 miles one-way, 18 miles out and back. If that seems too far, try going from Municipal Park to Eckert Road by Lucky 13, and loop back via Barber Park and ParkCenter. That one is 10 miles total.
  • Spin it on Hill Road - Saw a ton of riders on Hill Road last Sunday as I was coming back from McCall in the late afternoon. Hill Road has a good shoulder, and you can ride as far as you want, going west. From Boise, you can ride west to Eagle, or keep going to Star for those who have riding all winter. It's 40 miles out and back to Star. Wind will be a factor.
  • City to Farm Loop - This is a cool ride starting at Overland & Five Mile and exploring Boise's agricultural roots, golf courses and subdivisions in Southwest Boise. This one is 16.2 miles and takes about an hour. You go south on Five Mile to Lake Hazel, turn right and go to Cloverdale, go south on Cloverdale to Columbia, right on Columbia for one mile, then south on Eagle to Hubbard, right on Hubbard for one mile, right on Locust Grove for two miles to Lake Hazel, go right and cut over to Five Mile, and go north on Five Mile to the start/finish.
  • City to Farm modified - I rode a 25-mile version of City to Farm yesterday from the same starting point. The great thing about riding in this area is that there is almost NO TRAFFIC. I took Five Mile south to Lake Hazel, turned right on Lake Hazel for one mile to Cloverdale, then left on Hubbard to Ten Mile, and rode that beautiful open valley to South Cole. Then I went south on Cole to Kuna-Mora, right on Kuna-Mora to Cloverdale, and retraced my tracks back to the start/finish. The NW wind was a real bear yesterday for the way back, but I don't think it's going to be that windy this weekend.
  • Cartwright - Three Summits Loop - Once you've worked in your legs (and butt) on the flats, it's time to climb. This loop is about 18 miles and takes about 1.5 hours at a recreational pace. It's also fondly called the "Dump Loop," because it goes by the Ada County landfill. It features several in-your-face steep climbs on Cartwright. It's easier to ride clockwise, than counterclockwise. Start at Hill and Bogus Basin Road. Go west on Hill to Seaman's Gulch. Go right and climb Seaman's Gulch past the landfill over to Hidden Springs. Turn right on Dry Creek Road and enjoy a spin through that valley and then climb the first big hill on Cartwright to Pierce Park. Go left and climb the next hill (short but kind of steep), and then enjoy a really fast downhill past the Owyhee Motorcycle Park. Gear down for the last hill to the initial Cartwright summit, and zoom down past the LDS church to Bogus Basin Road, turn right to the start/finish.
Here are a couple of bonus rides (which I've videoed) for consideration:
  • Lake Lowell Loop - 26 miles. It's a pretty easy ride with no significant hills (380 feet of verticle climbing the whole ride), and you circumnavigate Lake Lowell and enjoy the bird life. Start and finish at the Lake Lowell Boat Ramp. See the Boise Road Cycling Guide for directions.
  • Big Freezeout - Little Freezeout Loop. This one is about 40 miles, and it involves more than 1,000 feet of climbing/descending, but none of the hills are steep, just kind of rounded. Starts and finishes in Star. Because of the heavy commuter traffic on Idaho 16, I'd only do this one on a Saturday or Sunday. Beautiful tour of the Emmett Valley.
A quick word about the Boise Road Cycling Guide if you haven't seen it. It's a full color, two-sided foldout map with Olympian Kristin Armstrong on the cover. The map features more than 30 rides in the Boise Valley. It's waterproof and tear-proof. It costs $12.50, and it's available at nearly all of the cycling stores in town, and it's available on my web site, www.stevestuebner. It's the only road biking map available for the Boise area.

Have a good ride!
- SS

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