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Some thoughts on my experience with the IAMC Challenge 2014

by Rick Skinner – 2014 Challenge Silver Tire Level Winner
Originally Published in the IAMC Newsletter, January 2015

While get-togethers, dinners, club rides, education and events are fun, they are not what have kept me in IAMC over the years. The thing that has captured and held my interest in the club is the yearly Challenge. There’s something about the Challenge that gets my pulse racing in anticipation each Spring. Kind of like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I think it’s the anticipation of the possibilities, 45 places to discover each year; that help to keep me focused and enthusiastic about riding. Would I ride and explore without the Challenge? Sure; but not as much.

I’ve had the opportunity to assist in putting the Challenge together the past couple of years. It has increased my appreciation for the effort and work of the club officers to pull the Challenge off. Finding 45 new sites year ager year, that will be fun, interesting and accessible to every club member, can be a “challenge” in itself. Within the first couple of years of the Challenge, most of the favorite sites of the club officers had been visited, so each year it has become harder and harder to come up with interesting places from our “experience bank”. This leads to choosing sites that none of us have visited before or haven’t been to for many years. For me, that is the best part of the Challenge… not knowing exactly what the trail or road will be like. It adds to the adventure for me, but YMMV.

Do I always make it to every site? Nope. Do I and my bike always come back unscathed and unmarred? Nope. But for me, that is what I love about the Challenge. I have seen more of Idaho and surrounding states than I otherwise would have, and by trying to get to some of the more difficult sites, I have been forced to become a better rider. I have spent some Time thinking about my five years of challenges and have come up with a short list; some of my favorite Challenge sites, from each year I’ve participated. Your list will be different and that is ok… Ride your own ride, enjoy your ride…

2010 Jarbidge, Nv: Neat old mining town near the Nv/Id border. You can chose to do this ride on 80 miles of gravel or mostly on Tarmac, great place to visit either way.

2010 Trinity Lookout: A fun ride, and that last corner with it’s stair step ledge has a major pucker factor… views from the lookout are beyond awesome!

2010 Battle Creek Ranch: Waaay out in the Owyhee badlands, nasty muddy jeep trail of a road. I fell down so much I lost count. Total blast of a ride, because I survived it!…

2011 Flint: Hard to get to, but a very well preserved Owyhee Mountain’s mine site

2011 Louie Lake: Ok, now This is the toughest trail I’d ridden… but what a grand ride!

2011 Black Rock Mine: Up to this point, toughest trail I’d ever ridden, well worth the effort!

2012 Metropolis, Nv: Cool old ghost town, tragic tale of water in the West and what happens without it…

2012 Birch Creek Landing: Remote Shangri-la on the Owyhee river, and great camping!

2012 Cinnabar: The best preserved mining town I’ve ever been to, and a beautiful spot, the road out the top to Monumental Summit is outstanding!

2013 Josephus Lake: A beautiful end to a great ride through the Frank Church Wilderness

2013 Sheep Bridge: We’ve all driven right by it a hundred Times… but who knew it was there?

2013 Alvord Playa: On the way to Fields Or., you need a day here just to play!…

2014 Indian Hot Springs on the Bruneau River: The ride in here is epic… but with the right bike and some good friends, one you’ll never forget.

2014 Sheep Falls and Cave Falls: In the Cascade Corner of Yellowstone park on Fall River. Not easy to get to, but worth it… hope you’ve enjoyed the Challenges as much as I have… let’s keep em’ going!!

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