Destinations – Bike Intelligencer http://bikeintelligencer.com All bike, all the time Wed, 11 Nov 2015 18:11:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 102563645 Sun Valley Chosen for Mountain Bike Nationals http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/09/sun-valley-chosen-for-mountain-bike-nationals/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/09/sun-valley-chosen-for-mountain-bike-nationals/#respond Thu, 09 Sep 2010 16:11:37 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4414 USA Cycling agrees, Sun Valley rules!

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The higher you climb Boundary Creek, the further your jaw drops.

For the past decade, Sun Valley has been the preferred site of annual Team Mojo multi-day mountain biking epics. (See our most recent series, “Real Mountain Biking, in Real Mountains.”)

Now comes word that Ketchum and Sun Valley will host the 2011 and 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Biking National Championships, spanning the very same five days in late July that Team Mojo habitually picks for its “national hardships.” We would much appreciate a finders’ fee! (Or maybe free tickets?)

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GalbraithMt.com’s New Smart Phone App http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraithmt-coms-new-smart-phone-app/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraithmt-coms-new-smart-phone-app/#comments Mon, 30 Aug 2010 08:40:34 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4330 No more getting lost on Galbraith with Mongo's new app.

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As much as we love riding on Galbraith, let’s face it: Most of the time we’re lost.

If you don’t ride it often or hook up with locals, you’re in a world of hurt when it comes to finding your way around Galby’s maze of mostly unsigned trails. You’d better be carrying a map — or better yet, a phone with GalbraithMt.com’s new smart-phone app.

The Guru of Galbraith, Mongo (aka Bruce Brown), has just published his comprehensive, up-to-the-moment map set of the big mountain in smart-phone form. On a three-hour Saturday ride it saved our bacon time and again as we went a-wandering around Galbraith.

No more bike wandering on Galby.

As you can see from the route recorded on our iPhone’s GPS app, Motion X, we had to backtrack a number of times after going off on a trail and getting lost (the little pointies shooting off the perimeter are the turnarounds).


With the GalbraithMt.com set (available from its Web site), we simply pulled out the iPhone from our backpack, checked our bearings, and were ready to keep rolling.

Even if you’re an experienced Galby rider, you’ll find GalbraithMt.com’s set a useful tool. New trails keep popping up all the time, and Bruce is dedicated to updating his maps on an as-needed basis.

Check it out! Galby’s even more fun if you know where you are riding at any given time.

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Galbraith Mountain: Riding Unemployment Line http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraith-mountain-riding-unemployment-line/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraith-mountain-riding-unemployment-line/#respond Sun, 15 Aug 2010 08:41:55 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4195 Mongo set us up for a primo day of riding on Bellingham's Galbraith Mountain.

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Our longtime friend Bruce Brown aka Mongo, the Guru of Galbraith and progenitor of one of the Web’s leading mtb sites, the inimitable GalbraithMt.com, hooked us up with himself and a couple of super strong locals, Steve and Mark, the three of whom meted out fearsome punishment to this city wuss all over the mountain.

Lead-in ramp to Unemployment Line.

Bruce’s facile documentation makes me look like a real mountain biker — although as he notes in the cedar stump jump, I almost manage to take him out even as I try to avoid hitting a fresher stump right in my flight pattern. Bruce survived to tell the tale, and we all had a great time capping off Tour de Galby with Eric Brown’s fantastic new Unemployment Line and Atomic Dog (which is shaping into arguably Galbraith’s best in Bruce’s opinion, me seconding).

iPhone app Motion X GPS caught it all.

It was a great day, which we caught on our iPhone with Motion X GPS. I love this $2.99 app but it’s not without caveats, which we’ll explore in a forthcoming review. For now the word is, hit Galbraith asap. The trails are buff (Unemployment has berms the size Maverick waves) and you can spend all day riding switchbacks without ever knowing exactly where you are, let alone repeating yourself.

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Sun Valley 2010: Real Mountain Biking, in Real Mountains http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/sun-valley-2010-real-mountain-biking-in-real-mountains/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/sun-valley-2010-real-mountain-biking-in-real-mountains/#respond Sun, 08 Aug 2010 14:55:20 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4057 Trust us, this is as good as it gets.

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The keyboard feels funny.

For 10 days Team Mojo took to the road, exploring Idaho’s far-flung trails in Sun Valley, Stanley, and the all but undocumented panhandle hard by the Canadian border. We left the MacBook behind. The iPhone was almost always out of range. We seldom had Wi-Fi. Our fingers were for gripping the bars, not typing. We did 9-mile climbs and 18-mile downhills. We did forest-carpeted singletrack, we bucked boulders and roots, jumped in alpine lakes, cruised charred sticks of timber burns and grunted up 10,000-foot-high ridges. We crossed raging creeks nearly to our waists, handing our bikes to one another as we tried to maintain footing on mossy rocks we could not see. We got black and blue from crashes, brown from mud, green from meadows and red from when Jim accidentally set the soft fleshy underside of his forearm on a Magura rotor after a screaming 4-mile descent in 92-degree temps.

We got up, ate, rode, ate, rode some more, showered, ate, went to bed. Day after day. In broiling sun, in crackling lightning, in booming thunderclaps, in sodden drizzle. We abused our carbon Ibis Mojos, our Ergon packs and our Sidi shoes — to say nothing of our sunburned shoulders, abraded legs and bludgeoned feet. We were in heaven even when we felt like hell. Distance in miles: About 150. Accumulated elevation gain in feet: Around 25,000. Happiness in cackles: Long into the night.

We chose well. Somewhat belatedly, Idaho is coming into its own as a mountain biking destination. We’ve been riding around Sun Valley since the mid-1990s, abetted early by faxed notes from Seattle mountain biking scribe John Zilly, who drew maps by hand of trails around town and wrote the first mountain-bike guides (no longer available) to the area. In an age of boundless hype, the Idaho Sawtooth region has always struck us as vastly under-appreciated. The endless cross-country trails, gobsmacking views of the Sawtooths and White Clouds, and the spot-on climate have brought us back time and again. [Even as we explored new routes this time we posted “classic” past adventures on BikeIntelligencer.]

John Zilly, circa 1995

Because it lacked mountain bike parks with lifts and downhill runs, Sun Valley missed the freeride revolution. You don’t read about it in the glossy magazines, or even places like PinkBike. But for diversity of riding otherwise, and natural challenges unmatchable by human-crafted features, Sun Valley remains a favorite playground for real mountain bikers, riding real mountains.

And things are changing. A go-anywhere shuttle service has popped up, the pink-van Mountain Fairy Shuttle, that will take your gang around Sun Valley and its more rugged sister, Stanley, for reasonable fees. There’s talk of putting in bike lift service and DH trails in Sun Valley’s legendary ski areas. The Chamber of Commerce is getting the message that biking is the summer equivalent of skiing in terms of tourist promotion and dollars.

There’s debate among the locals who don’t want another Whistler. Neither do we. On the other hand, this is a region that every mountain biker, even the ones who get their verts sitting still, deserves to experience.

For now, you’ll find a minimum of coddling in the Sun Valley region. Give yourself a couple of days to adjust to the altitude and you can make it as challenging as you like, from rollicking cruises along powdery singletrack in the woods to monster hike-a-bikes across scree-laden alligator-back ridges in the outback. Trust us, Sun Valley is as good as it gets.

The series:

Day 1: The girl with the duct-tape band-aid. Curly’s Loop and Baker Lake.

Day 2: Imperial Gulch-Greenhorn Gulch, Cow Crick the hard way, and whatever happened to Tecate?

Day 3:
Return to Boundary Creek, or Sartorial Splendor Defined.

Day 4: Big Boulder/Little Boulder and All the In-Between Boulders too.

Day 5: Sun Valley Departure, Bonners Ferry Here We Come!

Day 6: Long Canyon: It’s all about the trail.

Day 7: On the 7th Day He Rested. We, however …

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Bullet Dodged, Devils Gulch Trails Have Reopened http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/bullet-dodged-devils-gulch-trails-may-soon-reopen/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/bullet-dodged-devils-gulch-trails-may-soon-reopen/#respond Fri, 06 Aug 2010 15:47:20 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4038 Devils Gulch and Mission Ridge trails were spared from lightning fires.

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[UPDATE: As of today (Friday Aug. 6) the trails have reopened, according to Leavenworth station.]

Closed by lightning fires since last week, the popular Devils Gulch/Mission Ridge mountain bike trails may reopen as soon as today, the Forest Service’s Leavenworth office says.

The fire is “100 percent lined,” or fully under control, the office told Bike Intelligencer.

No trails were damaged by the fire. But closures went into effect for the safety of public, as fire personnel kept active in the area.

Devils Gulch is one of the oldest, and best-known, mountain biking trails in the state of Washington. The figure-8 loop combining Gulch with Mission Ridge is a favorite for spectacular views and challenging terrain.

Devils Gulch fire: 37 acres, but no trails affected


The fire looked to be on a ridge adjacent to Mission. Shiggy and the gang are on the case on MTBR.com.

We’ll keep checking and report back any updates, but it looks like we dodged a bullet on this one.

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Galbraith Mountain’s New Unemployment Line http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraith-mountains-new-unemployment-line/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/08/galbraith-mountains-new-unemployment-line/#respond Sun, 01 Aug 2010 06:41:16 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=4092 Galbraith Mountain has some tasty new bits to sample.

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One of our favorite NW trailbuilders, Eric Brown, talks about the rad new lines going in at Galby.

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Kachess Ridge Mountain Biking: Back on top http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/07/kachess-ridge-mountain-biking-back-on-top/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/07/kachess-ridge-mountain-biking-back-on-top/#respond Mon, 19 Jul 2010 19:33:20 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=3880 After a few years out of the running, we once again inaugurate Kachess Ridge.

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Back in the day we prided ourselves on being the first of the season over Kachess Ridge. To us it was an annual rite of passage, marking the inaugural of a new season of mountain biking.

In recent years, though, “breaking in” the Ridge became more of a competition, and we typically lost out to a Cle Elum local. We didn’t mind, figuring we held the career record overall — and hey, more power to the younger gen. Kachess is no slacker of a ride and we were happy the trail was getting used by the chairlift set.

Kachess: Steeper and deeper than it looks...


So when Jim and I headed up yesterday to Kachess, we weren’t counting on nabbing this year’s crown. Yet from all indications, we were the first to ride the entire loop (no shuttle!). We could find only one or two tire marks throughout the ride, and on the crucial snowy sections there was no indication of riders having gone through ahead of us.

From what we found, we weren’t surprised. There was still deep snow on Kachess’ infamous saddle, and the upper meadow is a muck fest. Creek crossings were high and some sections badly need brushing. The whole trail is in condition that we would generously classify as “unmaintained.”

For this late in the year, it’s the wettest we’ve seen on Kachess. The snow field was especially dicey because the saddle is so vertical at that point. By the final creek crossing our feet were soaked.

Kachess Ridge: Feet wet, but grins intact


Not that we were complaining. The plus side was mid-70s temps (half my backpack bladder was full at the end of the ride) and a trail surface that, despite being pitted out by erosion and flooding, was dustless and grippy. The rerouting around the avalanche has tempered nicely, and the lower switchbacks are in better-than-expected shape. Even the run-in down to the trailhead has escaped butchering from the 4-wheelers so far.

On the long downhill we were reminded once again why we love cross-country the best. Kachess is about as technical as a high-country ride gets (no structures or artificial “enhancements” but lots of dinosaur teeth and talus, drops, roots, stream crossings and gnarly steeps), offering plenty of challenges straight from Mother Nature. You have the added benefits of solitude, silence, scenery and conditioning — no chair lifts, and we always do the long ride up sans shuttle. It’s a great 3-to-4 hour workout less than 90 minutes from Seattle, our only regret being that it isn’t a bit longer.

At any rate, the trail is clear and waiting. Head on up and say hi to our tracks!

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Dry Trails This Weekend? http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/06/dry-trails-this-weekend/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/06/dry-trails-this-weekend/#respond Fri, 25 Jun 2010 15:15:17 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=3589 Grand Ridge is looking primo, with Tiger Mountain coming along as well.

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The Northwest’s spate of dry weather (Seattle hit 75 this week for the first time since last September!) seems to be having an impact on Grand Ridge. The south side trails are in great shape — even the creek crossing on the switchbacks up from I-90 is no longer under water (you can skate across the rocks).

On top, stuff is damp but not puddled. Someone has done some nice sweeping just before the road, right after the clearing with the cedar planing.

On the other side of the road and the southern drop towards Duthie, it’s a bit dicier. Puddles here and there, mostly avoidable, although trail widening is occurring. The bog is still the bog.

All in all, though, a better experience than in recent rain-besotted weeks.

Still pig slop on Preston River, er, Railroad Trail


Tiger Mountain isn’t faring quite as well. Iverson is in pretty good shape, although its worst in recent memory as heavy riding has been going on despite the wet. The new bridge down below is doing the job, but there’s major work to be done in a soft pocket right after the bridge. And the upper bridge has lost its challenging little step-up, although the rocky-rooty left turn after the bridge is still a nice, and frustrating, test.

The roads are completely dry, though. Preston is improving marginally but still a mud fest compared to Grand Ridge and Iverson. If you take it slow you can minimize the splatter. But who likes taking Preston slow?

For now we’re sticking with out-and-backs on Iverson and Northwest Timber Trail. And hoping the sunshine continues as predicted.

Have a great weekend out there!

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News Cycle: Bicycle news never stops rolling http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/05/news-cycle-bicycle-news-never-stops-rolling/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/05/news-cycle-bicycle-news-never-stops-rolling/#respond Wed, 05 May 2010 20:58:58 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=2948 A quick turnaround from the Washington DNR means the popular Iverson trail will re-open.

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Great work by the DNR: Iverson Trail on Tiger Mountain is expected to re-open by Friday!

More letters needed to support a separated bikeway on San Francisco’s busy, congested but wonderful Market Street.

Cheap therapy: Get your life back in balance, ride a bicycle, lose 100 pounds, feel good about yourself!

On Saturday you can help spruce up one of the best freeride trail networks in the Bay Area, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, and get to hang with the great Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz gang.

I’m not sure there is a debate here, really. But SF Streetsblog examines the pros and cons of balance bikes and training wheels. We’re squarely in the former’s camp.

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May 22: Set the day aside! http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/05/may-22-set-the-day-aside/ http://bikeintelligencer.com/2010/05/may-22-set-the-day-aside/#respond Wed, 05 May 2010 02:34:07 +0000 http://bikeintelligencer.com/?p=2929 May 21 may be Bike to Work Day, but May 22 is bike to dirt day!

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May 22 is shaping up as a busy day, what with the big Duthie Hill party and dedication with King County Executive Dow Constantine and then later, in Bellingham, a showing of “Follow Me,” the rad new film from Anthill Productions.

Follow Me – the Teaser from Anthill Films on Vimeo.

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