Just in time for biking season (hello lycra!), the GPS mapping website Strava has revealed what they do with all the running and biking data collected by amateur athletes around the world: they make awesome maps. The company has used logs of more than 77 million bike rides and 19 million runs to create an interactive global heat map of where people play outside the most. We decided to take Strava's new toy for a spin in Sun Valley, Idaho, an iconic ski town that also happens to have an award-winning visitor center. To help, we asked Sun Valley local and former Olympic road and mountain bike racer Greg Randolph a.k.a. "Chopper" to provide the inside scoop on what all those brightly lit Strava lines actually mean.
Like other other top-tier bike towns, Sun Valley has some killer bike rides in and around downtown. Strava's interactive map shows just how many Ketchum locals jump on the pedals on a daily basis. We took three screen shots of the Strava maps and had bike guru Chopper break down six classic mountain bike rides and four popular road rides in the Sun Valley region.
1. River Run–Warm Springs: A classic Strava loop and in town lunch hour ride. The route goes from one side of Baldy to the other, rides great either way, and has a rewarding view of town. Overall, a fun, intermediate level loop.
2. Cold Springs-Warm Springs: This loop around Bald Mtn is a great circumnavigation of the ski area with panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. This is more of a weekend or after/before work loop due to its length. Rides best clockwise. This is also a major part of the US Marathon Mountain Bike National Championship course.
3. Adams Gulch: This series of stacked loops just on the edge of town holds some great lunch hour loops and is also the taking off point for some bigger rides in the surrounding trail network. The trails are intermediate to advanced in nature, and expect to find abundant wildflowers and wildlife out in this part of the countryside.
4. Forbidden Fruit: A flow trail found in the woods of the Adam's Gulch zone, riders love to spin laps on this trail, pinning it for Strava several times in a single ride. Rideable on a regular XC bike but more fun on a longer travel bike.
5. Fox Gulch and Chocolate Gulch: Another popular close-to-town loop this intermediate level trail follows the Big Wood River and has several perfect swimming holes for hot summer days.
6. Croy Canyon Trails in Hailey: Some of the only purpose-built mountain bike trails in the area. The Croy Canyon trails offer perfectly shaped tread and radiused turns designed for mountain biking. Mellow grades and fun swoopy layout make this network popular for riders of all levels, all season long.
1. Trail Creek Road: From downtown Ketchum, this road travels east out of Sun Valley and over Trail Creek Pass to eventually reach Mackay, Idaho. Paved for the first 6 miles out of town, bikers can ride road bikes with heavier tires to the top and beyond. As the course for Rebecca's Private Idaho, a gravel road race that debuted in 2013, this route has amazing views. Watch out for traffic and dust, which can make it a bit of a slog.
2. Elkhorn Loop: A paved loop around Dollar Mountain through the village of Elkhorn, this road ride is a great way to increase your mileage or get in some beautiful scenery on perfect pavement.
3. Wood River Bike Trail: The main artery to the valley, the Wood River Trail extends from Bellevue 18 miles north to Sun Valley and Ketchum. A popular ride and commuter route.
4. Highway 75 to Galena: A beautiful stretch of highway, this popular bike ride runs from Ketchum north to Stanley and provides bikers with views of the Boulder Mountains and Sawtooth Mountains. Galena Pass is a manageable pass with good shoulders and a reasonable grade. The Boulder Mountain Tour and Sawtooth Century, two fun rides, use this route in the summer months.
Want to plan a summer trip to check out Sun Valley's famous smooth singletrack? Head over here to get started, and don't forget to Strava.
-With help from Greg Randolph
· Strava's Amazing New Map [Outside]
· Strava Heat Map [Official Site]
· Sun Valley Visitor Center Wins on Design & Serves Coffee Too [Curbed Ski]
· All Sun Valley Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]