Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time to dust off the road bike and go for a spin in the countryside around Boise

Cartwright Road ... excellent hill-climbing adventure (courtesy Lactic Acid)
The Greenbelt is a good place to warm up ... 

Out in the hinterlands in SW Boise, there isn't much traffic ...
good place to avoid cars and trucks.
The Cartwright 3 Summits loop starts  by Bogus Basin Road,
heading east you climb over 3 summits, pass by Hidden Springs and the landfill, and
return to the start on Hill Road. Pierce Park is an early bail-out option as needed. 
Several options here for Greenbelt riders, going from Municipal Park
to Discovery Park and back, or doing a Boise River - Federal Way loop ... 
Hi all,

It's the first weekend of March, and Saturday is supposed to be a gorgeous day, with temperatures in the high 50s. It's a perfect time to dust off the road bike and go for a nice long ride!

For my tip of week, I'm recommending a mix of road rides to get your cycling legs in shape. Mountain biking in the foothills is tempting, but many of the trails are muddy and not suitable for biking, hiking or running right now. Check the Ridge to Rivers web site for the latest details. 

Why ride?

  • It's a great workout. 
  • It's a rush. With skinny tires, road bikes zoom down the road really fast. 
  • Pause and feel the warm sunshine on your face. It feels wonderful. 
  • Get a few friends together and make it a social outing. 
Here's an incentive to get psyched about road biking this spring. How about training for the BLUE CRUISE 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 50-miler or the century ride. The ride occurs on Saturday, June 22.

The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health will give back to the community with proceeds from the BLUE CRUISE by working with the Boise Bicycle Project, Boise Parks & Recreation and ProHelmet to give away 125 bikes and helmets to kids in need who are 12 and under. That's another reason to participate! 

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 been 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, Cloverdale south to Hubbard, 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 on Saturday. 
  • 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 (with video) 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, It's the only road biking map available for the Boise area.

Have a great ride!
- SS

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