My Favorite 2-Hour Challenge Ride

Portneuf Buckskin loop


For the last few years, I have been using a really fun and scenic route over and over again that is also quite popular with many other cyclists in Pocatello.  This route consists of Portneuf Road, Rapid Creek Road, and Buckskin Road, and is some of the most beautiful territory near Pocatello.  Portneuf Road gives you glimpses of the Portneuf River surrounded by trees, farms, and green pastures.  Rapid Creek and Buckskin are a combination of farms and forested areas, and is a lush valley sheltered by the Portneuf Range mountains and other mountains that lay east of Pocatello.  Your eyes never get bored on this ride, due to all the lovely things to see!  Quite a sharp contrast to the rather boring, brown flatlands that surround Highway 91.  On the other hand, the flatlands are a lot easier to cycle on than the hilly and mountainous Portneuf and Buckskin areas.

Several times a year, I do this awesome ride and I give myself a personal challenge to see if I can beat my past times.  I start my cyclometer at Benton street and I stop it at the corner of Pocatello Creek Road and Booth Drive, looping through Inkom, and traversing Portneuf, Rapid Creek, and Buckskin (see map).  My best time has been just under 2 hours, and yesterday’s time was 2 hours and 19 minutes.  I guess I have to shed a bit of my winter weight :-)  Also, hill-climbing is definitely not my forte and this path is rife with hills and some quite steep mountain climbs.  But, hey, it’s good to work on your weaknesses!  Today, my legs have that lovely well-worked feel to them.  ;-)

It is fun to try this path in each direction, taking note of how each section challenges you differently based on when you encounter them during the ride.  The tough section is around the “10” marker you see on the map, which features the steep grades on Buckskin.  Yesterday, I saved this for last and was going 4 mph at times up the steeper parts.  Yeah, can you say fatigued?  I was about ready to die before finally getting to the downhill.

I started on the corner of Benton and Arthur Avenue, cycling southeast along Bannock Highway.  Cycling east on Portneuf Road was a challenge since it is both hilly and I was facing a headwind.  I was feeling pretty good and my endorphins were in full force by the time I cycled through Inkom, and out to sunny Rapid Creek Road (near marker 20) which was nice since I was no longer facing a headwind.  From there, it is a slow climb until you turn left onto Buckskin, and the grade increases from there.  After suffering the steep grade for a grueling 40 minutes or so, you get to enjoy the steep decent into Pocatello.  There are actually some straight parts on the winding road, where I was hurling along at 38 mph for some time!  Loads of fun :-)

Anyway, if you like a scenic ride with lots of different variations, I highly recommend this route!  Enjoy!

3 comments to My Favorite 2-Hour Challenge Ride

  • Brigette

    Wow – that looks like an intense ride… especially in terms of hills. I’ve ridden to Inkom & back many times. I’ve also ridden up Pocatello Creek Rd before (very difficult with the insane hills). I can’t imagine what kind of shape I’d need to be in to do that entire loop in one ride though. Good job! :)

  • Thanks for the comment, Brig! I’m pretty fat for a cyclist (210 lbs last I checked!), but as long as you cycle frequently, you can do some pretty long and hard rides. It’s all about practice, practice, practice. :-D

  • Jared Wilson

    Just happened to see this blog… keep up the good work, it’s nice to hear ideas of where to ride around Pocatello!

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