Anyway, we eventually find the trailhead, and the map that shows us all the trails. Looks nothing like the cycle shop version. Decide to tackle Shadyside, and then perhaps Citizen and Adams loop, and then see how we feel. Is this going to be the promised "velvet tracks with bermed corners"? The short answer is No.
Shadyside was a little steeper, rougher and with half a dozen trees down across the track, less flowing than we expected. We then switched to Citizen, which was a little better, as it crossed the front of the mountain. Once we hit Adams loop the
climbing started. It was very subtle. Only at a few spots did you feel like you were really climbing, and perhaps once or twice we had to get off and push, but we were both puffing, and glad of the two or three rest breaks we gave ourself. At the last break we were passed by two uber fit women, and just past us they both rested as well. Made us feel a little better. Eventually reached the top ridge to meet a group of 7 riders who had come up the "correct way". At least the view was great, although a little more smoke haze than when we left.
The downhill was great. 30mins of sweeping tracks, hairpin turns and narrow tracks. Really glad we had climbed "the wrong way", because this way down was heck a lot more fun than going the "right way". Gotta say, when we reached the trailhead we were both pretty knackered. Four days riding does that to ya. Followed the cycle trail into Ketchum, found Starbucks, which has free wifi, and sat and scoffed a tall smoothie.
Ju was in need of Retail Therapy, so we (she) scoured the racks of sale items in a dozen shops. I sat and watched the world (Ketchum) go past. She did come up with some Keen sandles for me, and we found a pretty good Pizza shop, and a
chocolate Factory shop, so all was not wasted.
By the time we biked up the hill towards our campsite, a thick smoky haze has covered the valley. My eyes are hurting, and we are both coughing. Another fire has started 50miles west of here. The sun is a red ball in the sky, and the hills are disappearing in the haze. Everyone is hoping it all clears up for the Wagon Days Festival that starts tomorrow.