Saturday, May 30, 2015

Whitefish Road Trip Part 2: Pig Farm

Day 2 in Whitefish, I hung up the road bike and headed out for some dirt riding.  Going to the Sun Road was still fresh in my thoughts, but I had a friend that grew up in Whitefish way back when and she used to always tell me that I needed to go over and ride the Pig Farm Trails.  It has been shelved in the back of my mind for awhile now.  It is rare for me to remember things like that for a long time, but with a name like "Pig Farm" it was pretty hard to forget.  Anyways, we made a plan and drove 20ish minutes to trails.
That is the look of pain on my face, for reasons I will leave you to ponder.  The Pig Farm is a large network of short to medium length trails and were beginner to intermediate in least from what we rode.  We rode maybe a 1/3 of the area.  There really is no comprehensive map for the network.  And the trails are not named or numbered.  Hence, if you go ride there, giver yourself some time and bring your sense of adventure.

We knocked out 7 miles and did several different loops.  Trails were a lot of fun and I would for sure go back.  We were fascinated by the burnt-out, hollow tree.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Whitefish Road Trip Part 1: Going to the Sun

So, we all know it has been a low snow year.  That is good for some things and bad for other things.  One good thing?  Going to the Sun Road in Glacier has been cleared to Logan Pass.  It is currently open to bikers and hikers and closed to all motor traffic.  Going down the other side of the pass, to East Glacier and St. Mary, still has snow on it and is closed to all traffic.  You can get current road status HERE.

It being a long weekend with Memorial Day, seemed like a great time to road trip over and check out the road.  We drove to Avalanche to start our ride, which is about an hour outside of Whitefish.  The climb up to Logan Pass from Avalanche (then end of where you can drive to) is 16 miles with no more than a 6% grade.  The first 6 miles or so along the river are very gradual, and then after things get more serious.  But grade is consistent and it is very nice climb.  Logan Pass sits at just over 6,600, which means you will gain about 3,300 vert.

This is one of the coolest rides I have ever done on my bike.  And I would say it was the best road biking experience I have ever had (that was not good grammar).  The road surface and climbing grade were great.  The views were spectacular.  We got to see some wildlife.  We got to go through a tunnel.  We had beers at 6,600 feet.  We got cooled by glacier showers.  I will not bore you with anymore of my ramblings, check out the link and my pics and make a plan to go ride it yourself.
some packed their skis, i packed beer

parking lot party

pack extra clothes for the descent and changing weather at the top

looking down the other side of the road to St. Mary

you may see these...and bears

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

15' Ride of Silence

Back when we had a Sandpoint Bike Week, the Ride of Silence was one of my favorite events.  It is still happening this year, and happens to be tonight...

When: May 20th at 5:30.
Where: Assemble at Idaho Pour Authority
What: Plan to ride your bike in a slow group pace for about a half hour, all on paved surfaces
Why: To honor those injured or killed while riding their bikes
Important Side Note: You MUST wear a helmet
Important After Note: After the ride, we will end back at IPA where there is a fundraiser going on for Idaho Bike Walk Alliance.  You can hydrate and win some cool raffle stuff.

Thanks to Jim for always taking the time to make this ride happen every year.  There you go, see you tonight.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Empire Trails Ride Report

This Spring there has been a buzz about some new trails in the Spirit Lake area.  Just an FYI for you geographically challenged, that does happen to fall in Idaho, North Idaho even.  It is not very often we have a network of new trails pop up, so I thought we should go check them out.  I would say we took a road trip, but at only 40 minutes away, it was a shorter drive than the trailheads of many of our other "local" rides.

First let's take care of some admin stuff.  These new trails are called the Empire Trails.  They are just a few miles outside of downtown Spirit Lake.  They are on Inland Empire Paper Company property...hence the trail name.  This also means the trails are on private property.  The paper company got together with the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce, formed the Spirit Lake Trails Alliance, and together made a plan to make hiking/biking trails.  Pretty cool.  So, all the propganda materials for the trails say to visit for info, however at the date of this writing, that link does not work.  Your best info source is from the Spirit Lake Chamber website.  There is also a Bike Spirit Lake group FB page, where you can post your selfies and such.  OK, so now you got some info.  Next I will walk you through the steps to get to riding the dirt...

 First, visit Miller's Harvest Foods or the IEP Gate to get a Day Pass (only $2.50 per person per day).  I recommend Miller's as it is right on the way, and you can grab a trail map and some snacks.  OK, now you have your Day Pass, snacks and a map.  Head across Mill Pond on Spirit Lake Road for approx 4 miles and look for small orange sign on right that says Empire Trails Parking (or something similar).  There you will meet the nice man pictured above, or someone in his place, that will verify you have a Day Pass and check you in (there is also a self check in box if it is after hours).
 After all that, you should find yourself on the awesome map board and then hit the trails.
very nice bridges...and water for dogs

Those pics don't really do the views or trails justice.  There are some very nice viewpoints.  Oh, and the trails are great!  We rode all 5 trails in the West Lake out and back, and had just over 7 miles.  You know I like rocks and these trails had a surprising amount of fun rocks to ride.  Great ups and great downs, we logged just under 1K elevation for the day.  Oh, and tight trees, one trail is called Pin Ball for reasons you will discover.  Most all these trails are freshly built and will take some time to burn in.  What is the best way to do that?  Ride them.  So, go do your part.

One last thing, they ask you to patronize local merchants that support the trails, we hit up one, The White Horse Saloon and Hotel, which had a great patio with ice cold pitchers and damn fine gravy fries.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Ride x2

It was Mother's Day, but my mom wasn't in town.  So, I made the best of things.  Me and Fast Eddie went and hit up Bernard Peak.  You will probably get tired of hearing me say this, but people said the trail was in great shape and I thought it was not possible this early in the went to check it out myself.

Weather was great.  Sunny.  In the trees it was a little cool, which was great given the long climb to the top.  I didn't know FE had become somewhat of a vegetation afficiatato.  He pointed out some Dragon's Mouth Orchid (correction) that were blooming all along the trail.  We also saw some huge fungus, or fungi (not sure which is proper).  There was also a patch of Merrells.  Ahh, the things you can see as you slowing grind up the trail.

someone was very, very particular about this mileage marker

five star accommodations at the top
Views?  Damn fine views.  And yes, the trail was totally clear and in amazing shape.  Disturbing how dry the trail is already though.  And the half dozen, or so, creek crossing are hardly creeks anymore.  But rather little mud puddles.  Not a good scene for May.  Anyways, we bombed back down and headed to Evan's Brother Coffee for the CycloFemme de Sandpoint ride.
Great group showed up for the women's cruiser ride.  We headed out to Dover Bay and the group felt that a hydration stop was necessary at Dish.  So, we did and sat out on the lawn in the sun.  Then we all cruiser back to Sandpoint and went to the Neighborhood Pub.  We wound down the ride there as we ate wings, checked beers off our lists and talked about girls and bikes...among other things.  Great Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bike Show & Bike Swap

This is the second installment of informative posts meant to provide you with information about some upcoming local biking events.  First off, you should know that Sandpoint Bike Week is kinda no more.  The Pend Oreille Pedals is no longer heading up Bike Week events like in years past.  Some of the events that happened during Bike Week are still happening at various dates and time headed by various local organizations.  Some events, sadly, will not happen this year.  Got it?

OK, so Bike to School Day (sponsored by LPOSD) already happened on May 6th.  It was a different day that Bike to Work Day (sponsored by Sandpoint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee), which is today, May 8th.

The Classic/Unique Bike Show is still happening on May 16 (sponsored by Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair).  Bike Check in is 9-11am.  The Bike Show and public voting is 12-3pm.  All bikes will be in a manned, fenced and hands free area (yes, your bikes will be attended to).  Prizes for People's Choice and Most Unique (according to public votes).
The Bike Swap (sponsored by the Pend Oreille Pedalers) is also happening on May 16th.  Before you panic, there is plenty of time to do both the Bike Swap and the Bike Show on the same day.  Here is some info on that...
Final event is the Ride of Silence on May 20th.  Meet at City Beach.  Location and time TBD.  More to come on that...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cyclofemme de Sandpoint

Know any women?  Know any women that ride?  Grab them and come ride this Sunday.

More info on Cyclofemme