This Sunday, I will saddle up my mountain bike for a nearly 54-mile ride on some of the most scenic and brutal gravel road in Idaho. The event is an annual one called Rebecca’s Private Idaho, and it takes riders over an epic and grueling mountain course.
Of course, because I am just getting into endurance cycling, I will be doing the course known as the “Small Fry.” My goal next year will be to do the larger “Big Potato” a nearly 100-mile course that gains 6500 total feet of vertical.
Why do I love it so much? I love the challenge that the hills (and the altitude) present. I love the comradery of the rider community. I love the quiet of being on a bike and hearing nothing but the wind and the gravel under your tires.
So what do the courses look like? The Small Fry goes up, down a steep grade, over some rolling gravel, and back over the top and back to town. Here’s a look at a practice ride of the course over time.
The Big Potato is a different story, covering about 93 miles, it continues to roll through the countryside after the Small Fry turnaround, rolling through the famed Copper Basin before heading back down to Ketchum and the finish line.
By all accounts, the after party is to die for, and I for one can’t wait to find out. Hopefully, I won’t get the coveted last place trophy.
This year, I will be riding my 2013 Jamis Exile, although I have stepped things up a bit with lighter, tubeless rims, a lighter and more comfortable saddle, and some new pedals from George’s Cycles in Boise. Next year, I will be on a KTM Cyclecross, thanks to my selection as a KTM Ambassador. I just was not in time to get my ride by this weekend.
I’ll be clipping in and fueling up with water, GU snacks at the aid stations, bananas, and RX Bars along the way.
There are three aid stations, and I will be recording my ride using Strava, so I will post results as soon as I am able to sit in my office chair next week, hopefully sometime late Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on the action, and follow the fun of the Welcome Party, the starting line, and the race with the hash tags #RPIGravel and #GravelLessTraveled.
I’ll be Tweeting on Unbound Northwest, and you might even catch me in a Twitter live video or Facebook live video this weekend.
Look for a post-race experience post next week. Let’s roll! Wish me luck!
Also published on Medium.