Sometimes you just need to get away and ride your bike somewhere new.
Someplace you’ve never been.
Somewhere you’ve maybe heard about, but never visited before.
A region you’ve seen in pictures and always longed to see in person.
That was the mindset Caley and I had when we decided to step out of our usual comfort zone, and fly off (with bikes in tow) to the vast expanses of the Idaho countryside. It’s not that our home terrain isn’t worthy — Boulder, Colorado has its reputation as a cycling mecca for good reason — but both of us have lived here for quite a while, and even with road, gravel, and mountain bikes at our disposal, you eventually get to the point where you’ve ridden everything nearby enough times that even the extraordinary starts to feel a little mundane.
It was time to add a little bit of spark to our pedaling again.
Champion endurance mountain-bike racer and four-time Leadville 100 winner Rebecca Rusch started Rebecca’s Private Idaho in 2012, partly as a way to bring the cycling community together, but also as a way to showcase to the world the amazing place she calls home. Only about 3,000 people live year-round in Ketchum, Idaho, but it’s difficult to see why that figure isn’t a lot higher. Ironically, the town’s original name was Leadville when it was founded in 1880.
The surrounding area is even more sparsely populated, and criss-crossed with the sort of idyllic dirt roads you usually only see in postcards. Cattle and horses seem to outnumber people by ten-to-one, and the only things that seem to be in greater abundance are sunshine, blue skies, and roads we hadn’t ridden before.
In other words, it sounded like the recipe for a perfect weekend of riding.
And as it turns out, it was everything we had hoped it would be, and then some.
None of that would have happened had we just stayed home and rode the same roads and trails as usual, though. The total time away was barely two days, and while we came back from the somewhat frantic weekend physically tired, we were also mentally and emotionally recharged, our hearts and heads full from the days’ adventures, and ready to tackle our familiar terrain with renewed vigor and appreciation.
Home may be where the heart is, but the world is big and vast, and there’s no better way to see it than by bicycle.
“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be,” said the late Anthony Bourdain. “The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough — to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
So, then, the question perhaps shouldn’t be, “Where are we going to ride today?”, but rather, “Where are we going to go to ride tomorrow?”