After our previous intro of the “RIMBY” concept (Ride In My Backyard), no one better than XPDTN3 Explorer and badass adventurer Steve Graepel to go first for an epic ride, following the Rimby ethos, in his beloved Idaho:
The clock hits a circadian high note not once, but twice a year. While New Years marks the calendar transition from one year to the next, birthdays strike a more personal cord. And since I’m usually in bed well before the cork is popped on December 31, I take stock of the year’s wins and losses in June.
As my name makes the rounds at the AARP D.C. headquarters, I’ve found myself squarely in mid-life. I’m not fast … but I’m not slow. The mind is sharp … but muscle memory is starting to fatigue. I’ve planned my year in the saddle accordingly and earmarked a long weekend in September to tackle my first bikepacking race.
The 400-mile Smoke ‘n’ Fire virtually starts and ends in my neighborhood, matching both my desire to tackle new challenges … and my inclination for laziness.
It’s a good midlife goal, pulling from a life of acquired backcountry skills, paired with some head-down time to focus on a single objective. Something to test the mettle, so to speak. And it calls upon some mad project management skills, balancing work, family with saddle time.
To make the key training milestones, I’ve strategically sprinkled a few long training rides around family vacations. The first of which was a 10-hour stint in the saddle on my birthday to go camping some 130 miles away. Time to train, time to commit, and time to reflect.
I packed the family car the night before, I slipped out of the house under cover of the night, cresting the local ski hill before dawn and rambled down the backside on country roads. Past Garden Valley … past Crouch and over the summit towards Smiths Ferry.
I hit my cruising altitude at 4700′, skirting the town of Cascade and eventually into McCall, where the family would meet me to celebrate the year and camp for the weekend. A true RIMBY… a Ride In My Back Yard.
The saddle yielded time to look over the shoulder of the year. I’ve watched my kids grow more independent and make good choices. And I’ve watched loved ones grow old and face challenging choices. Like a cyclist clipped into the pedals, one leg goes up while the other goes down. Circular, repetitive, emotional and physical, highs and lows, always racing against the clock towards the end of the ride.
Just under 10 hours of moving time, I pulled up to a bar in McCall, ordered an ale and toasted the new year. My family met me shortly after and we celebrated in the cool waters of Payette Lake.
Going into this next year, I’ve resolved to work hard, embrace my family, hug my dog, (maybe fish a little more), and pedal like hell. Because time doesn’t stand still. And at the end of the day, we ultimately only get one ride on this bike.
So make the most of it and keep the legs moving…
Route GPX download: