February 25, 2014
Adventure Cycling is excited to announce the release of the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route Maps!
Maps are now available for Adventure Cycling Association’s Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR). The brand-new, two-map set guides cyclists through the breathtaking landscape of central Idaho along a spectacular 518-mile off-pavement route, offering four substantial singletrack options and featuring access to more than 50 hot springs in the Gem State.
The first IHSMBR map section features the main, off-pavement route — a looped route that primarily follows dirt roads for 518 miles, with a few stretches of pavement in the mix. Cyclists planning a trip on the main route need only to have a basic understanding of mountain-bike riding technique. However, cyclists attempting any of the four singletrack options, featured on the second, supplementary map section, should know their own ability and prepare for challenging conditions. Some sections of the singletrack are expert-only riding (or hike-a-biking for those who aren’t experts).
The Singletrack Options Map features 228 miles of singletrack, which is a departure from anything we’ve offered before. Riders who choose to ride any of the four unique singletrack sections should be prepared to face river fordings, unmanicured trails, downed trees, and plenty of hike-a-bikes. This can be daunting to some, but for those seeking a true backcountry experience with epic views, primitive camping, and mountain biking, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Hike-a-biking on the singletrack options
We know you're as excited as we are to get out and ride the IHSMBR this summer. For those who have never bikepacked mountainous singletrack before and are thinking about attempting these sections, Adventure Cycling Cartographer Casey Greene, creator of the route, recommends 5 ways to prepare for the singletrack:
This can include hiking, running, climbing, backcountry skiing, or upper body strength training. The point is to mix it up and get you body used to different scenarios so when it's late in the day and you're faced with a 1000-foot, off-camber hike-a-bike, you’ll be able to make it to your planned destination.
First, figure out the mileage you’re accomplishing on dirt roads in a day. Then, to be safe, cut that mileage in half, or even a third to plan your mileage for these singletrack options. It all depends on the conditions you encounter on the trail — the conditions will dictate how fast you can move. For instance, one week a trail might have tons of downed trees, the next it may be cleared.
Don’t kill yourself out there. If you’re red-lining it up a climb early in the day, you may run out of juice before making it to your destination, which could be a sweet hot spring. Consider hike-a-biking to save some energy, and take lots of breaks if you need to — especially to stop and enjoy the scenery.
It’s pretty simple: The less weight you carry, the easier it is to carry that weight up mountains.
Trail conditions may force you to be out longer than expected. It will ease your mind to bring an extra half-day's worth of snacks.
Rough trails, river fordings, and downed trees are some of the obstacles riders will face
on the singletrack options.
At this point, I hope I haven’t scared everybody away from attempting these singletrack options. They are hard, I’ll give you that, but they also travel through some of the most spectacular country I’ve ever pulled a bike through. Some of the descents are world class, as are some of the hot springs. I could go on and on about an awesome view here, or a good fishing hole there, but at the end of the day, I think it’s best to let everyone pick up some maps and go discover central Idaho for themselves. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Post and photos by Casey Greene
To celebrate the release of our newest mountain-bike route, and our first-ever route featuring singletrack, we'll be giving away two complete IHSMBR mapsets this week. For a chance to win a mapset, simply comment on this blog post. We'll draw two winners at random on Friday. The winners will be contacted via email.
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Facebook/Newsletter: Maps are now available for Adventure Cycling Association’s Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route. The brand-new two-map set guides cyclists through the breathtaking landscape of central Idaho along a spectacular 518-mile off-pavement route, offering four substantial singletrack options, and featuring access to more than 50 hot springs in the Gem State. http://bit.ly/idahohotsprings
BIKEPACKER is written by Casey Greene and Paul Hansbarger, Adventure Cycling staff, guest bloggers, part-time adventure seekers, and gear nerds alike.