90-year-old completes Bogus Basin Hill Climb

Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 20:19:25-04

Finally, some relief from the smoke for residents in the Treasure Valley. It was perfect timing for the dozens of cyclists who embraced the opportunity to be part of a longtime local tradition.

The 16-mile course didn't seem too daunting of a task for Charley French who has always been active. Over the span of his lifetime, he's tried everything from speed skating, surfing and skiing to swimming and biking.

This isn't the first time French has entered into the Bogus Basin Hill Climb either.

"Triathlons and cross country, I still am competitive. I still like to do well," French said. "Here, I just want to get to the top (laughs)."

What you don't know about this athlete is that he celebrated a special birthday this month. The Ketchum resident turned 90-years-old.

Race organizers were sure to have a birthday cake waiting for him at the top of the mountain. That's also where the Music on the Mountain Festival awaited race-goers.

If you think people signed up for this race to roll past the beautiful scenery, think again.

"Anytime you get more than two bike riders, there's a race," said the race director, Mike Cooley.

The tradition began 44 years ago when the owners of George's Cycles first moved to the City of Trees. They wanted to share their passion with the community.

"I think that first year there were about 14 bike riders who went up the hill," Cooley said. "It's just gotten bigger and better every year."

New this year was a 21-mile, dirt course for mountain bikers.

Both races started at the base of Bogus Basin Road with a vertical climb like no other.

French says he does it for the feeling of accomplishment at the top.

"For me, it's a hard workout," he said. "Of course, each year it gets a little longer and I get a little slower."

With both races combined, about 300 cyclists took on Saturday's challenge.

A portion of every entry fee will go toward the creation of new biking trails on the mountain.