Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring road biking season is here! Bike events, great spring rides to inspire your participation

Riding to Swan Falls, Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area 
Riding on Cartwright Road, a hilly country road in the Boise Foothills 
Boise River Greenbelt
A pack of roadies on Hill Road 
City to Farm ... no traffic! 
Hi all,

The cool and sunny spring weather has been fantastic for doing just about anything outdoors ... and the weekend forecast looks great. It's a perfect time to shake the cobwebs off the road bike and get out and ride!

Let's review the roadie bike events coming up this summer, and then I'll suggest some nice spring roadie rides.

Key events coming up ... 
  • Boise Bike Week - Set for the week of May 13-18, Boise Bike Week already has a bunch of activities scheduled on the calendar. Activities include fun rides, kids rides, women's rides, road rides, mountain bike rides, tips on bike maintenance, ride to work day, etc. Thanks to the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance and Boise Weekly for co-sponsoring this fun-filled annual kickoff to the biking season in our communities.  
  • Bob LeBow Blues Cruise - The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is teaming up with Terry Reilly Health Services this year to create a bigger and better Bob LeBow Blue Cruise. The ride will be on Saturday, June 28. There will be courses for all abilities and distances, great aid stations and a big lunch to follow the ride. 
  • Four Summit Challenge - Set for July 26, there's plenty of time to train for the popular Four Summit Challenge in Cascade. The main course follows Warm Lake Road over Big Creek Summit to Warm Lake and then up to the top of Landmark Summit to the end of the paved road, before turning around and cycling back to Cascade. This event is getting bigger and better every year. I'm hoping to do it this year. 
  • Ride Idaho - Scheduled for Aug. 2-9, Ride Idaho will tour the Magic Valley area, including scaling the road to Pomerelle Ski Area, touring the scenic Thousand Springs region, lower Wood River Valley, Carey and Declo. Ride Idaho carries your camping gear and you ride 400 miles in a week with 350 riders to tour parts of Idaho that perhaps you've never seen before, at least not from your bike. 
Here are some spring rides to get your legs in shape (all of these are drawn from the Boise Road Cycling Guide by yours truly, the best and only road-biking map available for roadie rides in SW Idaho):
  • 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. 
  • City to Farm Loop - 16.2 miles; ride time is about 1 hour. Fun tour of the transition zone between the city of Boise and rural agricultural lands in the outskirts of SW Boise, with many ranchettes along the way. Riding surface is mostly flat. Wind will be a factor. Start at Five Mile and Overland Roads. 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 the start. 
  • Country Ride - Feel more ambitious? This one is 35 miles, and 2-plus hours. Start at Cloverdale and Lake Hazel. This one tours the country side in SW Boise and skirts around Kuna before returning to the start. Go south on Cloverdale, right on Poen, right on Swan Falls, left on Kuna Cave, right on Robinson, right on Bennett, straight on King, left on Cloverdale and return to the start. 
  • Cartwright Three Summits Loop - 17.7 miles, 1.5 hours. This is one of my favorite rides cuz it's close to my house. You'll climb and descend 1,591 feet along the way. This one is much more challenging because of the steep hills. Start at the junction of Bogus Basin Road and Hill Road. Climb Bogus Basin to Cartwright, go left and climb Cartwright over the first little hill, and then a second huge wall of a hill, and then ride through the Dry Creek Valley and the Hidden Springs area before climbing over Seaman's Gulch Road to conquer the third summit. Turn left on Hill Road and return to the start. 
  • Hill Road to Eagle or Star - Start at Bogus Basin Road and Hill, or wherever you want to tie into Hill Road, and zip out west to Eagle or Star. It's 40 miles out and back to Star. Wind is a major factor. Ride Hill to Horseshoe Bend Road. Go right, go a mile, then left on Floating Feather. Follow Floating Feather out to Eagle Road, or continue west to Star. Vary your route by going north another mile to Beacon Light. A cool alternative in Eagle: Go north on Eagle Road to the end of the pavement on Willow Creek Road. 
  • Ride to Swan Falls Dam - Start/finish in Kuna. 42 miles, 3+ hours travel time, 1,710 feet of elevation gain/loss. Nice place to ride without much traffic. Take Swan Falls Road south of Kuna (the turn is off of main street in Kuna as you come into town from the west) and go 21 miles to the dam. Besides the hill-climb, the ride features lots of up and down through the giant swells of sagebrush out to the edge of the Snake River canyon. Then you plunge downhill to the dam and grassy picnic area, have your lunch and retrace your tracks back to Kuna. Watch for hawks, eagles and owls. You'll see plenty of ground-squirrels running across the road. 
  • Greenbelt in Municipal Park to Hilltop Summit - 27 miles round-trip. 2.5 hours. 1,214 vertical feet. Take the Greenbelt out to Discovery Park and then jump on Idaho 21 to Hilltop Summit. Wind is always a factor on this ride. But it will work your quads for sure. Nice moderate gradual climb to Hilltop. Watch for deer and elk.     
Be sure to dress in layers and pack a good rain/wind shell. 

Have fun!

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