Saturday, July 9, 2011


From Boise it was a two and a half hour drive out west to Ketchum & Sun Valley to meet Miles & a few others for a ride.  We left in plenty of time & after leaving the freeway early on, Highway 20 west curved back & forth & up for a while before levelling out & going through yet more cropping land. With lots of what I would deem classic American rural buildings it was a most interesting drive - & being overcast a lot more pleasant than the previous day's.

Turning north we went through a couple more rural towns before getting to Ketchum. We were really surprised to see dozens of Lear jets sitting off the runway at the local airstrip. On the way back we counted over sixty-five - it was quite the juxtaposition with all the rest of what we'd seen of Idaho. Apparently Sun Valley (pretty much adjacent to Ketchum) is quite the ski-resort (first chairlift in the world we are told) & the playground of the rich or famous (Zuckerburg, amongst others, has a place here). With some event on this weekend, the literal jet-set were kicking around - but I didn't see any that I recognised. Making do with the aging Subaru we arrived in town to have a pleasant look around - I managed to regrease my bottom bracket while waiting for the others to arrive.

With the help of Karl (our local friend-of-a-friend-squared) we decided on a loop to ride from town. It was a bit of a road ride out of town & we were all honking along gradually climbing; I couldn't make out why I was slow. Eventually I stopped & readjusted my rear wheel (2.2" tires don't fit so well in my bike's rear triangle) - but I was still feeling a bit slow. We turned off the road onto doubletrack & I was rapidly losing ground - I couldn't work it out. Was it the 2.5 hours' sleep the night before, tired from too much riding, being back at mountain altitude? Whatever it was, I was exhausted, slow & ashamed to be holding everyone up. Finally, my tired little brain realised that my new brake pads had taken it upon themselves to start rubbing on the disc a lot. Eventually I caught up to the waiting group, fixed my brakes & got the wheel spinning freely & we continued up the hill.

As the climb continued to get steeper, I didn't feel so bad as the surface was loose & soon everyone was walking for quite some time (even Don, who I think showed us all how to climb).
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But I was still totalled from all the extra resistance early on & it was as humid as I've felt it in months. We completed the climb (about 600m in 6km) & got in amongst some shadier trees on the saddle to start riding the Eve's Gulch trail down.
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Tired as I, the downhill was fantastic. Pretty twisty, but not all that technical, you could get some speed up between the corners. There was a bit of dust around, which made me a little tentative pushing the front wheel out around corners - but mostly it was a good fun run down. It was great riding with others & being able to chase a back wheel down the trail for a change. Tim, in particular, rode a good pace just back from where I'd be putting myself on the edge of control. We went through an old burn zone, but even that looked nice - just a beautiful day to be out on the trail. Here's Miles disappearing into the trees.
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We had a good plunge down before the trail levelled out & we traversed along Shady Side - another enjoyable piece of singletrack.
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With one last bomb down a single/doubletrack mix we were back on the road heading into town. After cleaning up there were some well deserved pizzas & beers before Valerie & I made the trek back to Boise with a really nice sunset to watch over the foothills.

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