The first stop of the trip, Ketchum Idaho....Ketchum...really...seems like an unusual name but I have no room to talk, I grew up in at town named Hickman. Okay then....let's rock n roll! With my judgment aside I eagerly drove to this unknown place so damn excited cause I was gonna be a guest coach at Rebecca Rusch’s Wheel Girls. Wheel Girls is a Sun Valley based weekly mountain bike club for girls in 7th-12th grade. Girls learn to ride in a non-competitive setting that encourages team spirit, cooperation and friendship. Girls learn technique, trail etiquette, nutrition, bike maintenance and more while being coached by local female mtbing experts, this includes pro athlete Rebecca Rusch herself. Sounds pretty rad, right??? All in this little hidden place in Idaho.
Before I hit the town I came across Hailey (that’s a better name) and I was taken by surprise. This super tiny town, maybe village, has public bikes!!!! It was as if I was transported to a bike haven but this was just the start of it. As I passed through Hailey there were road signs saying beware of cyclists, share the road and shit you not EVERYONE had a bike rack on their car. Hot DAMN!!
Ahhh struck I pulled into Ketchum. There were bikes shops, bike rentals, a local pump track and yes, hold on to your panties, a downhill bike park….I felt as if I was hit with a bit of heavenly fairy dust. Where am I? Where has this place been all my (4 years of bike) life!! It had the feel of a ski town in Colorado, like Breckenridge or Vail and it is a ski town in the winter but there was something more to the air here, a little less designer label and a little more community.
Once I found the pump track, where I the clinic/camp was taking place that day, I took a moment to take this place in. Bout that time Colleen, Rebecca’s business manager, rolled up.
It’s time to coach!!
I helped set up, meet the other super rad coaches and then the ladies. We broke up into two groups : bike positioning and pump track. These girls kicked ass, I had a blast giving little pointers but mainly just cheering them on while they killed it. The afternoon ended with a tire changing contest and otter pops. I gotta say I’m damn envious these girls have this great opportunity and I was even more honored to take part in it.
While still on my colorful Thunderskulls & Sunshine cloud I realized I needed a place to sleep for the night. Colleen gave me a heads up on a campsite about 20 or so miles from town, Galena Lodge. I was told I must check it out.…it’s absolutely amazing. When a local says you much see or do something you, then you must. I was sold. Once arriving at the lodge I was a bit lost, of course. I came across a couple of mountain bikers who gave me directions to a great site and told me to set up camp then go ride!! Man, I luv this place!!! I drove to this little meadow, which led around to a creek with NO ONE around. A few ATV’s drove by, okay, two but that was it. Total solitude.
After a peaceful night sleep, India and I awoke to a hike then off to town. We met Colleen for coffee to chat about business, bikes, adventures and Ketchum. She took me and India to the local bike shop, Sturtevants, where India meet Wilson, the bike shop dog. We wondered around town a bit more then said our goodbyes, it was time for us to leave. I was sad and didn't want to go. I felt like pouting, throwing a temper tantrum but I was my own keeper and wasn't in the mood to hear my evil 5 year old self. But I didn’t have enough time to really explore or ride. I felt bonded to this strangely amazing place. This town hit me and I finally got the name, once you arrive they ketchum...they ketchum good and they ketchum hard. As I drove away my heart swelled just a bit and I thought to myself "yeah...that's a badass name!"
Big thank you to Rebecca, Colleen, The Wheel Girl Coaches and especially to the Wheel Girls….keep kicking ass!!!
Sooooo…a few of you have been asking how you can help. People are reaching out and wanting to buy me ice or a night at a campsite. Thank you!! If you would like to help out you can send your ducats through:
PayPal : caseofthenomads (at) gmail (dot) com or Venmo : @kclshep
-A bag of ice is $2.00
-Indian Meal from Trader Joe’s $4.00
-Night of Camping $10.00
-India’s Dog food for the week $10
-Tank of Gas for Jones $40
I’ll be sure to give you a super charged damn rad shout out on my blog/social media. Thanks Y’all for helping support me on my adventure!! I am floored by how helping even strangers are to a girl, her dog, bike and jones!! Makes this one humble and grateful!!!
And if you would like to send me an old fashioned letter or postcard please do:
PO Box 2234
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
I would love to hear from you!! Or an email….reach out to me…if you live in a place I MUST see let me know about it. I love seeking out hidden gems!!! Thanks so much for reading and I hope to see you on the road!!
Thanks for reading!!!