Thursday, April 29, 2021

Just when you're feeling cocky on the bike, try these 5 tough climbs to test your legs and lungs!

Stueby's Death March with Chris and Quinn (after they've caught their breath)

Hi all, 

We're all loving the spring hiking, running and riding conditions right now, with wildflowers bursting with color in the lower portion of the Boise foothills and the head-high bitterbrush blooming and casting an ever-sweet aroma all around the trails. 

I've been trying to ride several times a week on my mountain bike, weather permitting, and I've been feeling pretty comfortable with mid-foothills rides lately. So today, I thought I'd crank it up a notch and do the upper part of Stueby's Death March (from Mountain Biking in Boise) from the Fat Tire Traverse junction over to Trail #4. 

My original plan was to ride Crestline-Sidewinder-Fat Tire-Trail #5 loop, approaching from the Military Reserve side, so starting the ride with that nasty little connector trail that climbs from Military Reserve to Crestline. I felt good on the climb to Sidewinder and the cross-mountain cruise on Fat Tire Traverse over to the Trail #5 ridge, so I turned left and decided to go for it! 

This is how you really feel after that gut-buster climb.

For those unfamiliar, Stueby's Death March typically started in Military Reserve and you climb the super-steep Trail #5 from the bottom. But it's nicer to approach from Sidewinder and Fat Tire Traverse. Bless you if you can clean that first, nasty Trail #5 hill. Anyway, to complete the Death March, you continue climbing Trail #5 above the Fat Tire jct., clean a couple of reasonable hills, and bear left at the jct. with Fimrite's Trail #6. Now you're going to climb 300 yards on a gravely slippery rocky sandy trail over to Trail #4. It's hard enough that it's quite steep, and then slippery to boot! Gotta stay on your line while you're gasping for air! 

Today, I managed to clean that baby without spinning out or falling off my line. It was a gorgeous day, and I was feeling strong and focused. So that was my little victory for the day. And then the payoff is a fun swishy downhill on Trail #4 back to Sidewinder, and then pick your way down from there. Fast and fun! I took Trail #4 down to Crestline and cruised on the Freeway back to the Military Reserve connector trail, and finished out my loop ride in about two hours total. 

The ride features about 2,000 feet of vertical gain. About 12+ miles the way I rode it today. 

Stueby's Death March map

 Some other challenging rides in the Boise Foothills that will test your legs and lungs include: 

  • Climbing Hard Guy to the Boise Ridge Road
  • Scaling the south side of Table Rock (junior training hill)
  • Ride up Hulls from Camelsback to the motorcycle parking lot, ride over to Bob's and climb Corral's backwards, finishing out on Corrals and Highlands Trail.
  • Homestead Trail over to Trail #11 and back to Council Springs trailhead 
  • Highlands-Corrals-Scott's-8th Street then down on Trail #4 or down Hard Guy, Shingle or Dry Creek

If you'd like to see more classics out of my library, my last version of Mountain Biking in Boise is available via ebook on

Cool jumble of granite rocks in the eastern Boise Foothills near Trail #11

Remember to follow the new trail regulations in the Boise Foothills, featuring one-way trails. It's all detailed on the Ridge to Rivers web site.

No comments: