Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sign up for the Boise Trails Challenge! Ride all of the Boise R2R trails in 30 days!

Nick Smith riding near the Boise Ridge - He's ridden all the R2R Trails in a month 3 years in a row ...

Nick Smith and a friend out riding the trails. 
Hi all,

Have you heard about the Boise Trails Challenge? 

I heard about it off-hand in a few casual conversations, and then I saw it on Facebook the other day. The idea is to ride 158 miles, covering 83 trails and 193 trail segments, including nearly all of the Ridge to Rivers trails, in one month. It's a friendly race against the clock. Hook up your Strava device to the Boise Trails Challenge, pay a modest registration fee, and join the fun, all brought to you by

This year the event is being held from June 21-July 21, so you have a little time to get plugged in! Three-hundred mountain bikers are signed up already! I think the event is open to runners and hikers, too.

Boise realtor Nick Smith, 40, has done it three years in a row, two of them before it became a real event. "My brother and I thought it'd be cool to ride all of the trails as fast as possible in a month," Smith says.

Last year, he did all of the trails in 18 days over 16 rides, covering 281 miles and more than 50,000 vertical feet. Wow! Who needs to go to Moab when you can absolutely work your body riding the rich variety of trails and landscapes right here at home! Smith hit all the trails while balancing his work life and raising three kids.

Apparently, some absolute hard-core competitive racers knocked out the course in several days. Can you imagine?

"I love mountain biking -- it's my favorite thing to do," he says. "I think we're spoiled with the quality of trails that we have in Boise."

What kind of rides have you been doing, lately? Riding Sidewinder-Fat Tire every time you ride? Corrals Loop? Watchman? Let's face it, a lot of people are stuck in a rut, and they're not necessary trying anything new ...

"How many of Boise’s amazing trails have you tried? The Boise Trails Challenge is an annual month-long challenge to complete as many of Boise’s trails as you can during a single month. You’ll discover new favorite trails, break out of your routine, test your endurance, and compete for prizes!"

I see this as a great way to celebrate our trails ... people can sign up, even if they don't think they can do every ride as an incentive to just see what you're capable of!

Smith thinks that strong intermediate riders could do it. He's got a buddy who has mountain biked for for only two years, and he completed the Boise Trails Challenge in 30 days.

The cool thing about participating in the challenge is that the Strava app will sync with the interactive trail map on the web site, and it'll track your progress, and keep you informed as to what trails you have left to cover. After each trail is ridden, the trail segment will fill with a different color than the interactive map to show you're done that one.

I asked Smith about his strategy. He recommends sitting down with a hard copy of the Ridge to Rivers map, and plan out your rides to try to be efficient and avoid duplication. "I sat down and planned when and where I was going to ride," he says.

He tried to vary his rides between super-challenging long hard climbs and easier trails with less climbing. This was Day #1 for him: a 45-mile ride, starting in Camelsback, up Hulls to the motorcycle parking area, down Trail #1 to Bob's, then up Highlands Trail to Corrals, then up Hard Guy to Sheep Camp to Dry Creek, then up Sweet Connie to Eastside, part of Around the Mountain Trail and down the ridge road back to Boise ... I might have missed a few things in there, but man, that's one heck of a day's ride!

"It's a fun way to explore Boise," Smith says. "I just want to improve on my time from last year. I'm competing pretty much against myself."

Prizes: All participants will receive wool Boise Trails socks ($18 retail value), and finishers and winners will get even more stuff, and there are random prizes and drawings, too.

I highly recommend the Boise Trails Challenge! I personally would like to try it, and even if you don't want to try to do all the trails in a month, set your own goal and try to cover all 158 miles at your own pace. Just to knock out all the trails in one summer season would be impressive as well!

Sometimes it takes a big goal to improve your fitness, get stronger, maybe lose some weight, and earn it the hard way by taking on the mountain! The mountains don't care, I notice, how fast you go or how you're feeling that day. They are the great equalizer!
- SS 

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