One of the more well-known cycling events in the area marks its 10th anniversary this weekend. I spoke with Art Museum of Eastern Idaho executive director Miyai Abe Griggs about the history of HeART of Idaho and what is anticipated this weekend to mark the milestone.
The Medal Stand: HeART of Idaho turns 10
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
What began as an art exhibit and a cycling event with four available courses reaches a milestone this weekend.
The HeART of Idaho Century Ride, an annual fundraiser for the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday. It began in August 2009 as a 25-mile, 50-mile, 62-mile and 100-mile event taking place in conjunction with an exhibit called “Cycles of Sam” at the Art Museum showcasing Idaho Falls resident Sam Bennett’s bicycle collection. It is now the museum’s largest annual fundraiser, raising proceeds exceeding $160,000 to date.
“We thought a cycling event could be a fun thing to tie into the exhibit,” Art Museum of Eastern Idaho executive director Miyai Abe Griggs said Wednesday by phone. “We’ve tried to improve on it every year. None of us here at the art museum were avid cyclists when we first started this. We’ve had a lot of things to learn about this kind of event. Over the years, we’ve had quite a few cyclists who have done it consistently.”
Griggs and other museum employees reached out to local bicycle shops for assistance in organizing the event. One cyclist who has been involved since that first year is Ron Bolduc, who worked at Alpine Cycling before it closed. A cyclist who has completed centuries (100-mile), double centuries (200-mile) events and Logan to Jackson, he helped create the HeART of Idaho courses. The biggest change to the event is that the 50-mile course from the inaugural year is no longer used.
“For the last probably six years, it’s been the same (courses),” Boldoc said Wednesday by phone. “It’s a lot of work working out these routes. I do a lot of cycling in the area. These are all roads that I’ve ridden. It takes a lot of time, but it was a pleasant task.”
A decade of volunteering for the HeART of Idaho will end this weekend for Bolduc, however, as he moves to East Coast next week. Bolduc, whom Griggs described as someone who put his ‘heart and soul’ into the HeART of Idaho, is one of several volunteers who have worked with the event since the beginning. Griggs said the support from local bicycle shops has been invaluable and it has taken “an army of volunteers” to organize an event of this magnitude.
“Course marshals, marking the course, the logistics to make sure 100 miles is supported, it would be impossible for one person to do it,” Griggs said. “That’s really what I’m celebrating in this milestone. One of the things I’ve appreciated the most out of my experience with this event is different people from different walks of life and different interests that are all community minded can do some good in our community. It does support the Art Museum, but it’s also a great community event getting families outside cycling.”
Griggs added that it is not too late for cyclists to register, which can be done at http://www.theartmuseum.org/century.htm
Coming up locally
Two events–the Jail Break 5k and the Joint Jaunt 10k and 5k–take place Saturday in Pocatello. The Joint Jaunt begins at 7:30 a.m. with the 10k walk at OK Ward Park with all other events beginning at 8 a.m. The Jail Break 5k begins at 6 p.m. at the Gold’s Gym parking lot.
The Wolfe Lightning Youth Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday at Riverside Park/Rexburg Rapids in Rexburg. The intermediate division (100-metter swim, 2-mile bike, 1-mile run) begins at 9 a.m. and the beginner division (50-meter swim, 1-mile bike, 0.6-mile run) begins at 10 a.m.