With Laurel Rathbun + Caroline Mani
Words by Luke Batten, Photographs by Samuel Copeland and Luke Batten
Ride: Fisher Creek Loop, 17.8 miles, 2050 feet of climbing, (Dirt Road) (Fire Road) (single track)
Having grown up in Idaho, one of my favorite places to take friends is the Stanley Basin. From this high mountain prairie surrounded by the Idaho Alps one can access the Sawtooth Mountains and the headwaters of the Salmon River. Hot springs are in abundance for post ride breaks. The base elevation is 6253 feet so it is easy for many rides to top out at 8,000 feet. Caroline Mani and Laurel Rathbun were getting ready for their CX season start at Cross Vegas and were guests for our summer CX camp. They wanted miles and hours on the bike and were averaging two rides a day for 7 days straight. Fisher creek was a great loop to add to their mix as the route starts out on well graded gravel roads to 16% plus inclines on rocky 4 wheel drive jeep roads. At the end of Fisher Creek road, one emerges from burned forest to a 2000 foot descent through patches of a green lush forest on single track. The trail rolls downward and you roll along with it. Though you are more likely to come across mountain bikers on this loop, a CX bike can be just as capable. Highlights of the ride with Laurel and Caroline include a stick fight, puddle jumping and practicing their dismount / remounts due to fallen trees and washed out fire roads. Let it be know that Laurel Rathbun can reach down while riding and grab any stick laying on the road. A skill she honed during USA cycling camps where riders practice picking tennis balls off the tarmac while mounted on the bike. Let it also be known that 2016 silver medalist at CX Worlds, Caroline Mani, trains with the same passion with which she races. This lioness roars up the hardest ascents and the rockiest terrain. Our recommendation for post or pre ride festivities is the Stanley Baking Company and Cafe.