Some 20,000 years ago, glaciers did a slow motion smackdown through the high country just outside of my central Idaho hometown of Ketchum. They flattened rock that had been driven up over a Pre-Cambrian party of volcanic uplift and 10,000-foot majestic mountain-making. The broad, sharp-walled valleys they left behind hosted some of the first Americans, followed many thousands of years later by a cascade of European settlers, who cut dirt roads to reach into the heart of these sky-kissing basins.
I mention this so you understand the level of preparation that's been in the works here for Rebecca's Private Idaho. You're set to reap the benefits of literally 2.5 billion years of event planning. All you've got to do now is write your name and hit a "submit" button. So easy.
While our ranks are swelling, our lodging options are tending toward the opposite. We're going to strongly suggest you make whatever head-on-the-pillow arrangements you may need to make. We're looking into camping options closer to town, but there are a lot of options in the National Forest outside of town and along the lovely Wood River.
We've taken a good hard look at the feel of the ride as well and decided that, with this level of challenge, we need to roll out the rouge carpet for high-wattage crowd a bit more. We're retooling our rest stops as feed zones so that people can get in and out a bit more readily. We're moving the finish further out of town to more safely accommodate people who are rushing to the finish. Look for a clear demarcation of the end of the neutral start out of town so that people who want to contend can do so as early as possible. And rest assured that those two KOM/QOM timed climbs will still be in place and awaiting your heaving, panting body.
Of course, efforts like this come with prizes and our dear sponsors are sparing no trouble to reward the top three male/female finishers, as well as the top three KOM/QOM winners. For the rest of us, we're cooking up something for everyone finishing the ride under a certain time. We're still thinking about what that prize looks like and what that time limit is, so stay tuned and be prepped to at least go home with a lacquered potato and sore-ass legs.
That truckload of prizes and our partner list is starting to grow but for starters, we want to firmly high-five our new co-presenting sponsors at Specialized Bicycles and PatrÃ³n Tequila. Both of these brands represent the passion for their pursuits that I have for this ride and we're incredibly pleased to have them on board. Specialized is no stranger to our friends in the bike world and their long history in innovating and driving cycling performance is as evident today as it was when they began in 1975. They'll be on-site at RPI with their fleet of CX and MTB bikes and, as we get closer to event day, we'll let you know how you can reserve your own demo. PatrÃ³n's rich history has served them well also, with over 60 sets of expert hands creating each bottle of their artisanal tequilas, from harvesting the 100% Weber Blue Agave to the glassblowers making each bottle. Like RPI, PatrÃ³n is rooted firmly in their home, following their passion to call the world's attention to the corner of the globe they love and honor--the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.
"But Rebecca," you say. "I don't want to race/shave my legs/worry about some rail-thin cat 1 dude breathing down my neck." And that's a fine, wonderful decision to make. This ride will always be about having a great experience in a beautiful setting, regardless of speed or power output. Don't want to race? Take in the views and ride the pace that feels the best for you. Let the zippy people tear ahead and enjoy the wide open gravel they leave behind. You don't even have to ride the nearly 100 miles of our biggest route. We've got plenty of space in our 54-mile Small Fry loop. We just want to make sure that this event speaks to as many people as possible who want to get as much as they can from their time in our beautiful backyard.
So quit reading already. Soak in our latest video below, take a deep (virtual) breath of our high mountain air. Listen to the birds and the crunch of rock under rubber. Commit to a day in the saddle full of gravel and grandeur in my favorite place to ride on the planet.