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Roll into spring classics

The Boise area has great trails to ride — or aspire to ride BY ROGER PHILLIPS © 2014 Idaho Statesman

Call them classic rides, epic trails, or whatever you want, they’re what every mountain biker wants to experience. We have lots of amazing riding among the 140-plus miles of trails in the Foothills and adjacent areas. Chances are good you’ve ridden some of them, but chances are also good there are some you haven’t. So what makes a classic? It’s subjective, of course because riders have their own favorites. One rider may find bliss on a butterysmooth trail while another may groove on a tooth-rattling technical trail. Here are five showcase trails (or routes that include multiple trails). These are rides you would take friends from out of town on to show them the special place in which we live and play. They’re also trails budding riders should aspire to because they are fun and rewarding, but they aren’t Greenbelt cruises. You will be challenged, so get in shape before you tackle them. Be prepared for long climbs and descents, steep sections, and rocky, sandy or challenging terrain. Depending on the time of year, you can also add dusty and washboarded to that list. That’s not to scare you off, just to let you know what you’re getting yourself into. With mountain biking season coming into its prime, here are some rides to add to your to-do list.


Dan Kouba, of Star, rides on Red Fox Trail, one of several trails between Lower Hulls Gulch and Camel’s Back Park.

This ride is also kind of a microcosm of the Foothills. As you ascend up Bogus Basin Road, you pass the Simplot house and new development as homes are carved into the Foothills. As you reach the trail head, the namesake corrals are still there, and you may even come across a band of sheep, showing the Foothills’ ranching roots. Keep climbing and you reach the high point of the trail, which gives you sweeping views of the Treasure Valley. Take a moment and soak it all in. You’ve earned the view. Then comes an exciting downhill ride. The popularity of this trail is evident by ruts, loose soil, washboards and dust, depending CORRALS TO HULLS on the time of year. Keep your What: This may be the original speed in check and your bike unclassic mountain bike trail in the der control because there are likeFoothills. It’s about a 10-mile loop ly to be hikers and uphill traffic. depending on how you go. At the end of Lower Hulls Why it’s cool: It’s a great ride be- Gulch, you have several choices of cause you can gain most of your trails. There’s no wrong answer, elevation on pavement, but still and you can end your ride anyget some intense climbs in the dirt where between Crestline Road with lots of rocky, tight, steep, and Highland View Road (if you technical singletrack. detour on Bob’s Trail), or descend It’s a good workout, but not on various trails back to Camel’s punishingly difficult. Back Park.

Where: From Camel’s Back Park, hit Bogus Basin Road and ride about 2 miles to the Corrals trail head on the right. Take Corrals Trail to Lower Hulls Gulch and back to Camel’s Back. Spring is the best time to hit it, because it gets hot, dusty and washboarded by summer.


What: You will be mostly on singletrack in the Avimor trail system with a little bit of pavement and gravel between trails. It’s about a 10-mile intermediate level ride. Why it’s cool: This ride feels different than many trails in the Ridge to Rivers trail system because most of it was built and maintained by Southwest Idaho Mountain Bike Association on Avimor’s land. First thing you will notice as you climb the Broken Horn/Fisher Lane trail is that you have to See CLASSICS, O3

BLAZING TRAILS SWIMBA’s work benefits mountain bikers. O4

Can you say instant classic? I’m betting it will be.

Young riders learn cycling for fun, fitness and competition B.Y.R.D.S has involved 700 youths in cycling and many have won championships. BY PETE ZIMOWSKY © 2014 Idaho Statesman

A group of nine cyclists rounded a turn off Americana Boulevard onto the Boise Greenbelt with the precision of an elite racing team. The road cyclists were inches from each other and moved in formation like a swarm of bees. They are members of B.Y.R.D.S. (Boise Young Rider Development Squad), a nonprofit Treasure Valley organization founded in 2002 that’s dedicated to supporting local boys and girls. “It’s a fun group to be with when you’re riding,” said Will Barta, a Boise High School senior, who has been with B.Y.R.D.S. since he was 11 years old. He led the group on a recent ride. Through his training with the group, Barta has grown from a novice cyclist to a member of the U.S. Junior National World Team where he has competed in Europe, to which he will soon return. When he was 11, he participated in the Bogus Basin Hill Climb

with the group and rode to the top in 2 hours. Last August, he won the race in 54 minutes. “It took me a while,” said Barta of his journey from novice to top competitor. “I raced four years before getting up on the podium.” He said B.Y.R.D.S helped him grow in cycling, and he credits his success to the group’s founder and coach, Douglas Tobin. Tobin started the program after seeing young cyclists attend local training rides on one or two occasions and not show up again. He wanted to provide a consistent program for youths to learn about competitive and non-competitive cycling. Youths also learn about trail and road etiquette and about equipment and safety. They train during structured weekly rides. You may see them on Boise’s streets and trails in orange, yellow and black cycling clothes with the initials B.Y.R.D.S. The group’s success doesn’t go unnoticed. It was recognized this month as a “Center of Excellence” by USA Cycling, the governing body for cycling in the United States. It’s the second time the group has received the award. “We notice kids in the B.Y.R.D.S. program gain a lot of



Will Barta, left, and senior coach Douglas Tobin, right, lead the group. confidence and independence by learning to cycle in an organized format,” Tobin said. “Additionally, we notice that the kids develop strong relations with their peers and work together to take on new challenges, whether it be riding longer distances, or more technical terrain, riding and exploring new places, as well as setting goals to improve their abilities.” Competitive riders in the

B.Y.R.D.S. program have earned 20 national championship titles, multiple international awards and titles, and several have represented the United States as a member of the USA National Team, including World Championships. Members have gone on to college and continued to race for their school, or for fitness. “We have several that have competed at the national and in-

What: The B.Y.R.D.S. conducts weekly rides for youth of all levels of ability from ages 6 to 18. The rides are on Monday and Thursday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings through spring and summer. Fees: Check the B.Y.R.D.S. website. There are annual fees for both competitive and noncompetitive participants. It’s a nonprofit, and no one is turned away for inability to pay. Contributions and sponsorships from local individuals and businesses help support the riders and their families with the purchase of equipment, clothing and travel. ternational level and several now compete at the pro and top amateur level,” Tobin said. Besides learning a lifetime sport, youths in B.Y.R.D.S. also develop an appreciation for other outdoor activities, such as skiing, hiking and camping.


Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445

0410 outdoors bike issue  
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