GORC Road Trip - Sun Valley, Idaho : August 2003 Riding High in Idaho

as written/reported by Matt Hayes to the best of his knowledge. Facts might be inaccurate here or there...

The crew Partakers in the quest to bring some STL hi jinx to the high country:
Scott Whitaker, Mike Donais, John Donjoian, Matt Hayes, Doug Smith and Matt Stenberg from St. Louis
Scott Nelson, formerly from St. Louis, now in Park City, Utah.
Doug Wright from Durango, Colorado.
Idaho IMBA rep: Harley Pearson
Former IMBA Trail Care Crew, Rich and Jen Edwards
Saturday August 2, 2003
  • Depart STL, Arrive at Salt Lake.
  • Rent matching white Impala "cop cars" and eat at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake, purported to be the best Mexican food in the city. Met up with Scott Nelson, the guy that used to live in St. Louis and rode the Spot singlespeed. He lives in Park City now. Also met up with Doug Wright from Durango. He used to be from St. Louis, too, and is known to ride the trails topless.
  • House of PainProceed to haul ass and arrive in Ketchum, the small mountain town next to the Sun Valley Ski Resort. Our house rocks, we are not worthy! Estimated at $750,000 and 2,700SQ.
  • Harley, the Idaho IMBA rep, crashes for the night along with two of his comrades. Tomorrow is the Sunday Epic - The Fisher Creek trail system (25?? miles)
  • But before an epic we must, have some drinks at the local dive bar - The Casino. It was fun, we all had our share. Matt Hayes got a bit trashed.
  • Tomorrow would come quickly.
Sunday, August 3rd, 2003 : Fisher Creek Epic
  • Time to show Idahoans what the STL crew is made of.A Rush
  • Drive an hour to the Sawtooth Mountain range and meet at the Fisher Creek trailhead.Trailwhore
  • It starts as a gradual 7-8 mile fireroad climb and then nearly doubles the grade for the last 3/4 mile until we peak. From here it's several miles of downhill bliss. The downhills in Idaho seem to go on forever. They're relatively smooth and very fast, very loose. Sorta rollercoaster like the back part of Greensfelder but much sweeter.
Field of DreamsWe come out into a beautiful high altitude valley. Harley tells us it's being threatened by the Wilderness Act. Over half of this trail would be off-limits, including this mesmerizing field of wildflowers. Over a mile and a half long and half a mile wide, surrounded by mountains, I've never seen anything like it.
After getting through the field, we drop (!) again and pass a swift waterfall. We haven't climbed for over an hour - definitely not St. Louis riding. Harley leads us into second half of the trail and it rides more like Missouri - rocky and semi-technical (a combo of Castlewood and Chubb). Johnny D, GORC pimp extraordinaire, leads into the switchbacks. His front Avid disc locks up a bit, checks it out, starts out - boom, he endos onto his head/face. He's fine but the helmet died. Idaho has taken its first victim - but he's not the last.
Break timeNearing the last hour it begins raining - a cold rain. We hold our own and complete the Sunday Epic intact. 21+ ? miles. A shuttle picks our tired bodies up and drives an hour back to the trailhead. Beer is passed around and it is good.

Monday, August 4th, 2003 : Up, and Up and Up and Damn! Up!?
This ride starts on the road and ends on the road. Today we will do 33 miles. Ketchum has a sweet bike path network for miles along its roads - we ride 10+ miles before we turn up the gulch to our trailhead. We climb for about an 45 minutes on tarmac and then head up onto scrub mountains. Tons of suns today, no shade, heavy sunscreen recommended.
This climb is brutal. Everyone is feeling it. Mike Donais who had broken his collarbone 6 weeks prior was carrying himself quite well despite the circumstances. We climbed 9+ miles continuous (maybe more - I forget). Up and Up, steeper and steeper, it's not letting up. John Donjoian begins pulling away from both Matt's and leads to the top.
Room with a viewThe downhill on this run is fast and somewhat sketchy. Loose and gravelly from motocrossers we haul ass through switchbacks and whoops. It's so dusty there's mud in my mouth and I can't see the ground where my tires are headed. I'm using up way too much karma on this ride.
We run into a herd of sheep in the middle of nowhere! Hundreds of sheep are clogging the trail and the hispanic farmer doesn't seem to care. He tells us to just push forward and they'll get out of the way. We parted the great sea of sheep and continued onward downhill.
Again John goes down. He was out front so no one saw it. He said it happened too quick when his pedal hit a rock. Nothing serious, we finish out the trail by crossing the gulch creek over 10 times. The trail ends at the warm springs. The frigid creek has two natural warm water springs that people chill out in. Doug Wright is a water nut (sea otter?) and doesn't want to leave.
Doug Smith, Matt n Matt and John head out on the road back. We draft a semi and keep a 23-26 mile pace all the way back to the house. What a way to end a killer ride.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2003 : Bike Death or Death Ride?
Today the crew splits up. Scott, Mike, Doug Smith head out to do an easier loop without so much climbing. Turns out that their ride is just as tough as the other ride that Matt, John, Doug Wright and Matt Stenberg go on. They are doing Chocolate Gulch. The ride is awesome until we climb switchback after switchback. We meet an original mountain biker out there still on his rigid steel hardtail. He's 50 something and keeping pace with us.
Stenberg begins pulling away from Matt, Doug and Pimp Daddy. Hayes says hell no and kicks his Giant NRS into 2-1 mode and catches up. At the top the view is incredible.
Matt notices his Rockshit Duke is leaking oil like an old tanker. Oh well, at least it still bounces.
We end the ride with a fast and swoopy stretch along scrub brush hill sides. Speeds close to 30mph are achieve and brakes are beginning to smell. Life is good.
Not again!The crew meets up at the pad and swaps stories. Turns out Scott put the hurt on the Ellsworth by pulling a JRA (just riding along) and cracks, no strike that - completely separates, his seat tube. The bike is dead. Time to rent a Kona Dawg. Scott likes it so much that he buys it! Time to drain the keg Mike Donais purchased for us. He's alright in my book.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2003 : Fisher Creek Revisited
Scott Nelson meets up with us and we tackle the other half of Fisher creek. He is riding Spot the single-minded singlespeed. He is a monster and climbs the whole 7 mile ascent. Matt Hayes reaches the top in 54 minutes, the best time. He climbs without dabbing the whole thing. He had a score to settle with that mountain.
Haulin'We re ride the rollercoaster downhill, faster this time. Faster, faster. No one crashes. Now we ride the new section and climb again. Scott is leading us on the uno gear. Matt's fork is still crying like a little beyatch.
Awesome ride, one of the best of the week. The keg must die today. Not a problem with GORC.
Tonight we party. The goal - get Stenberg trashed - at The Casino.
Mission accomplished after he begins craving food and seeking out fast food Jack in the Box in a town with NO fast food joints. The vodka makes him slightly scary to me. Very solemn, gotta watch the quiet ones. Matt Hayes again has too many Long Island Teas. The Casino treats us well. Good night.

Thursday, August 7th, 2003 : Gotta do your own Thang
The crew splits up again. John, Matt H, Scott N and Doug W decide to ride the pain train and do a 26-30 miler to end on the week of epics.
Bad place to standMike, Scott W, Doug S, and Matt S all decide to try downhilling on Bald Mountain.
Sidenote: Weird ass trip - Everyone has similar first names except for John and Mike -
Scott Nelson, Scott Whitaker

BlurMatt Stenberg, Matt Hayes
Doug Smith, Doug Wright

John Donjoian
Mike Donais
Weird stuff. Anyway, the downhill according to Scott W is "f'kin incredible" and he ranks it as one of the best rides all week.
FreakshowMeanwhile, the pain train is climbing and then walking double black diamond uphills. Holy shizzle, we end up walking the gulch for about 2 hours until we reach the summit. The last 100 feet is straight up the fall line, probably 25-30 degrees. But it's a postcard view! We ride to the base and are all feeling it. We stop for a crash junk food lunch at a lone gas station supposedly where Marilyn Monroe filmed "Bus Stop"
Six hours later we're finished. Finished in all aspects of the word.
Tonight we party. Again. The Roosevelt bar has good jammin' rap and dance mixes. Free beer for an hour. Good enough for GORC.

Friday, August 8th, 2003 : Quickie Downhill
We need to prep our bikes for shipping and prepare to leave at the crack of dawn. It's Doug Smith's 30th birthday so we gotta celebrate. Everyone is completely shattered from the daily epics. But someone spreads the word of just one more downhill on Bald Mountain. We didn't come all the way up here to blow a day without riding, right? Hell no!
Actually it's uphill hereWe pay our $15 for the ski lift up. An hour later we're heading down the 9 mile downhill. The run condensed:
First couple of miles are on side slope of mountain with lots of exposure. 25+ mph.
Scott gets a flat, then this spare shreds while pumping it up.
Ride more and get into the forest. Dusty!
Matt H gets a flat.
Ride uphill on the downhill, ironic, but it doesn't last too long.
John D gets a flat. The sharp rock is brutal.
Switchbacks catch a few off guard and then we find the flow.
The ride ends almost in back of our house. Takes about 45 minutes to do - give or take a flat.
Time to prep the bikes. Riding time is over.
John, Doug and Scott head out to celebrate Doug's birthday. The rest of us are destroyed from the week of heavenly riding.

Saturday, August 9th, 2003 - Homeward Bound
Not the Chubb . . . or BerrymanWe leave around 5 am to head back to Salt Lake. I know I'm gonna miss Ketchum. We get on the plane and come home.
145+ miles
The end as I remember it...

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