No More Excuses: All the info on how to get to Ride Sun Valley and where to stay once you get here.

So we know what you are going to do once you get here; ride, listen to music, ride, drink some Fat Tire, ride and then maybe ride some more. We focus a lot on what is happening throughout the week of Ride Sun Valley, things like events, races, and fun. But just how the heck do you get to this tiny ski town in the middle of Idaho? Read on for more information about planes, trains and automobiles.

The easiest way to get to SV is to fly into local airport, Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. Delta Airlines and Alaska/Horizon Air have numerous flights in every day from hundreds of locations via Salt Lake City. Upon arrival, Hailey is on only a short, 20-minute drive north on Highway 75. Basically, step off the plane and head in the direction of the mountains.  The next best option is flying in on one of Boise Airport’s 60 daily flights. Boise is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Sun Valley so hop in a rental car or try the daily shuttle through Sun Valley Express (www.sunvalleyexpress.com).

Unfortunately for train lovers, trains stopped running through the Valley by 1985, but the 32-miles of train track that spanned from Bellevue to Ketchum was turned into a manicured, useful, and beautiful trail system especially for those who enjoy recreation of the two-wheeled kind. So if you feel like riding to town, “the Bike Path” is definitely a good route.

Now, assuming no one gets lost along the way (we have included the above road map of Idaho just in case), the next step is figuring out where to stay when you get here. If you are looking for a hotel to make home for the week of Ride Sun Valley, the Sun Valley Resort has condos available starting at $149/night (call 800-786-8259 and mention “Mountain Bike Finals” to capitalize on that deal). There are also several hotels in town, including the Best Western Tyrolean located right at the base of River Run. For a complete list of hotels, go to www.visitsunvalley.com.

For the more rugged travelers, there might even still be a few campsites available. There will be fifteen RV hookups available for $30/day, located three miles from River Run at a local RV park. (Call 208-726-2777). Additional RV spots, without hookups, will be available near River Run as well.

For the even more rugged travelers and those without an RV to call home, camping above the River Run parking lot will be available at $25/day. Sites must be reserved so call 208-726-2777 for more beta on reservations, showers, and facilities.

And if you are looking to get out of the fray a little bit during your down time at Ride Sun Valley, there are some pretty incredible campgrounds within driving and riding distance of town. Check out some favorite spots like the North Fork Campground, Wood River Campground, and Trail Creek’s Boundary and Park Creek Campgrounds. For more info on campgrounds, including a complete list, go to http://www.visitsunvalley.com/static/index.cfm?contentID=1111 . And of course, you can find all this information on the Ride Sun Valley website. (www.ridesunvalley.com)

Now you know how to get here and where to stay. There are no more excuses. Get here for Ride Sun Valley and show Idaho what you’ve got.

 

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The Avett Brothers make sweet music in the mountains.

You don’t need much more than a banjo, some good tunes and mountain views to have a good time. So it is a darn good thing that the Ride Sun Valley Festival is bringing all that and more on July 13 when the world-famous, energetic, and wickedly awesome Avett Brothers will be gracing our mountains with their music.

In case you don’t know who they are, you might want to watch this performance from the Grammy’s when they performed with Mumford and Sons and the legendary Bob Dylan. Beware, this video is known to cause chills.

The Avett Brothers are known for their rowdy and infectious stage shows with their music categorized as anything and everything from bluegrass to country and punk to pop, folk rock and even honky-tonk and ragtime. They will bring not only a banjo and good tunes but North Carolina-brothers, Seth on guitar and Scott on the banjo. As well as Bob Crawford on the stand-up bass, Jow Kwon on the cello and Jacob Edwards on drums. There will be absolutely nothing better to do on July 13 but listen, dance, enjoy, party and tap your toes to the sweet sounds of the Avett Brothers.

Ride Sun Valley will bring a week of bike riding, racing, and celebrating so why not kick it off right with one of the best concerts of the summer? A concert that very well might be once-in-a-lifetime. The Sun Valley Pavilion will provide an awesome venue for the show with tickets costing a mere 40 bucks, with limited view lawn tickets only costing $25. (For ticket information go to www.sunvalleycenter.org)  Bring your dance partner and your buddies because the Avett Brothers will definitely be bringing a good time.

Just ask one of their biggest fans, local singer and Avett Brothers aficionado, Caroline.

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Course Sneak Peek #1: The River Run Rocks

Check out the gnarly rock feature at the base of River Run...Will be on the Amateur and Pro Cross-country courses. Wicked.

 

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National Championship Qualifer: The 2011 Knobby Tires Soldier Mountain Slaughter

One of the final National Championship qualifiers happened this past Saturday at Soldier Mountain. There were some extremely wet knee-deep stream crossings and reports of quite a few tire and chain problems. But almost 100 riders showed up to race in one of the last qualifiers before July’s National Championships.

The 2011 Knobby Tires Series Soldier Mountain Slaughter was a monster of a course. In fact, Ketchum racer and bike celebrity, Don Wiseman was just happy that he finished. (Apparently so were the race officials… his official time says “He finished!”) But for another Ketchum rider, a green home consultant and Maine transplant, the race helped him beef up his skills for the big race.

“This Soldier Race had one of the most difficult high-speed descents I have ever done on a Cross-country course because it had ruts and rock garden that you would hit going really fast,” John told us about the course. The ride itself had a grueling half hour climb at the start, which included the trouble-making  stream crossing but also gorgeous views of the Camas Prairie and the mountains.

John Reuter, a  Cat 1 racer and the only rider in the 19-29 age group at Soldier, finished third overall.  Only two pros; Josh Berry and Ryon Butterfield, beat him to the finish.  And now that he has officially qualified for Nationals and will spend the next month getting into gear, John had a few things to say about the wicked course being put together for Nationals during the Ride Sun Valley Festival.

“Soldier seemed to be very similar terrain to what will be at Nationals because it is going to be a lot of serious uphill since you literally are going to climb halfway up Baldy and then descend. Though, I hear that the downhill at Nationals is going to be super buff and smooth.”

Now, while we know we are stoked about the upcoming Ride Sun Valley and the Cross-country National Championships, what does an actual racer have to say in anticipation of the event. “I don’t know what to expect in terms of the field, it will be fun to see who the competition is. But all in all, I love that we are going to have all these elite bikers in town. It really brings a lot of great energy into Ketchum.”

We couldn’t agree more. July and Ride Sun Valley couldn’t come fast enough. Unless of course, you haven’t qualified. In which case, you better get yourself to Jug Mountain next weekend! (Check out www.spondoro.com for more information about next weekend’s qualifier at McCall’s Jug Mountain.)

John at last year's Crosstoberfest in Sun Valley

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The Sheeptown Fat Tire Rally Returns

Yeah, yeah, so you can race a mountain bike down a mountain at speeds over 50 mph. You can also climb a mountain on your bike faster than most people could drive it. BUT can you ride a mountain bike and carry a hot dog? Then you better head over to the Sheeptown Fat Tire Rally #5 tonight to test your skills at the Hot Dog Hill Climb One Handed WORLD Time Trial Championships.

Yes, that’s right. Sheeptown 2011 is here. According to their official press release, the Sheeptown Fat Tire Rally was the brainchild of a innocuous Tuesday night five years ago, and has now grown to a five-year running tradition and one of the coolest bikes events of the year.

Last night kicked off the event with the Sheeptown Drag Races which put two races against each other in a 50 meter course, towing logs. This definitely wasn’t your grandfather’s drag race. The races started in downtown Hailey and were followed by an epic Powerhouse lamb roast, hosted by a Sheeptown Honcho himself, Billy Olson.

Tonight, the tradition continues with something new, Bike Polo. Teams of eight will face off in twenty minute matches at the Cutters Ranch Park in Hailey starting right after work tonight at 6:00. And if polo isn’t your thing, maybe hot dogs are. You can also compete in the Hot Dog Hill Climb One Handed World Time Trail Championships. This challenge will reward those brave few who can ride up a hill with a hot dog in one hand. These World Champs start at 8:30, so be stretched and ready to roll.

The Sheeptown Rally #5 comes to an end on Saturday with an epically secret, and just plain epic, bike ride. To quote organizers, “Year-to-year this ride fluctuates with the call of the wild and this year is no different. It is a long ride for the strong of leg, weak of mind, yet true of heart.” The ride leaves Hailey’s Powerhouse at 9 am, costumes are encouraged, and they are hoping that the first ever lady will join them this year, to show the boys how it’s done.

Ride Sun Valley is less than a month away, so you better getting those racing legs ready and check out the Sheeptown Rally this weekend.

Photos: Nils Ribi

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Ride Sun Valley 101: All the basics.

Ride Sun Valley is definitely upon us. If you haven’t noticed, bikes of the two-wheeled variety have been out in FULL FORCE in the last two weeks and it’s hard not to think that it is in preparation for next month’s RIDE SUN VALLEY Festival. It could very well be the sun that has brought out tons of anxious mountain bikers and road riders but because we are so stoked about the July’s Mountain Biking festivities, we’ll say it must be because of the event.

While the Ride Sun Valley event doesn’t actually start until July 11, we are here to get you excited, prepped and educated on the entire festival. You’ll know where to watch the races, what concerts to check out, where to eat, where to ride and maybe even what bikes the athletes are riding. So read on for more answers, and check back here early and often, as we will be updating this blog with more info about the Avett Brothers, racers, race locations and more. We are here to get you stoked for RIDE SUN VALLEY.

What exactly is Ride Sun Valley?

Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival is a week-long festival celebrating mountain biking and mountain bike culture in the Wood River Valley and beyond. The festival will be featuring music, free local rides, a pump track state championship, a Fat Tire-sponsored criterium, and the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships.

What are the USA Cycling MTB Cross Country National Championships?

For the first time EVER, the Cross Country Mountain Biking National Champs will be held at their very own venue. Hundreds of riders, who have all prequalified to race, will converge on Sun Valley to race for glory.

This year’s USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships will be held at Beech Mountain, North Carolina and the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships will be held in Bend Oregon. In the past, these events were merged as one, hosted in places like Mammoth Mountain and Colorado’s Sol Vista Basin. In fact, Sun Valley isn’t even new to the game of National Championship Mountain Biking. The NORBA (the National Off-Road Bicycle Association) hosted their National Championships here back in 1988.

Riders must pre-qualify at USA Cycling-sanctioned races and will then be able to compete in different categories, which include Amateur Cross-country, Pro Cross-country, the Super Downhill, and Short Track cross-country. There will also be the Fat Tire Criterium and the Idaho Pump Track State Championship. (See www.ridesunvalley.com or www.usacycling.org for more information about races.)

Where will the races be held?

Sun Valley Company has been working closely with USA Cycling to create courses that are unique, challenging and characteristic of the world class terrain that the area has to offer. Check back here for more info about the courses including the best places to watch.

What other events are happening?

Famous for their beer and their support of two-wheeling, Fat Tire is also sponsoring a criterium, right smack in the middle of downtown Ketchum. There will be the world famous, get-you-out-of-your-seat-and-DANCE Avett Brothers concert as well as an invasion of British music featuring Brits “Thunder” and “The Union”. You can also check out the Expo at River Run featuring cycling vendors from around the world, local guided rides sponsored by Smith Optics, and film and photo fest at local bar, Whiskey Jacques.

Whether you are competing, or just checking it all out, Ride Sun Valley has something for everyone. Be there or be square.

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New Ride Sun Valley Festival Includes US Mountain Bike Nationals | Cyclingnews.com

New Ride Sun Valley Festival Includes US Mountain Bike Nationals | Cyclingnews.com.

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It’s Official, The Ride Sun Valley Blog Has Dropped

Like the guy in the sky on the header of this blog, the bits and bytes, the ones and zeros of the interweb information dissemination are dropping like bombs in a quiet park.  This is the Ride Sun Valley Blog.  Why are you here?

Assuming it was not latent curiousity as to what the word “BLOG” actually meant (after all it is 2011 and this stupid word is well on its way to Webster’s); it must be you were

This is me, the author. This is my kid, the poor abused young mountain biker. There's hell to pay when you don't perform.

looking for the more human side of the Ride Sun Valley web experience.  You know the reason you read a blog, to feel like there is someone out there that gets what you are thinking and tells you a story in a language you understand.

To that end, straight up,  I will begin by saying that the winter has been long this year, but spring is here blooming onions and tossing rainbows, in fact I believe I may have hit a unicorn on the bike path this morning.

We have spent the better part of the winter organizing this event which is going to be the coolest national championships ever.  Truly, the coolest ever.  From organized, free shuttle rides, to the Avett Brothers opening the week, to incredible race courses, I can say from a fair bit of experience that Ride Sun Valley will be the coolest national championship event that has happened since back in the day when the Tomes, the Captain, Bobke, and HB were duking it out.

Stay tuned to this blog as we will be posting updates to courses, events, and giving you insight into the happenings here for the week of your stay.  Our recommendation:  plan to come early or stay after the event.  The riding here is ridiculous, vast, and super fun.  The town has a lot to offer and you will be sad to leave.  In fact, we have a pretty decent track record of people who have just stuck around.

 

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