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Wheel Power

From Olympic cyclists and world-class mountain bikers to those who defy gravity on skateboards and dirt bikes, Idaho is full of wheel pioneers.

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3. Chase Gouley has the best wife in the world. She lets him ride his motorcycle whenever he wants.

Okay, probably not whenever he wants, but close. Jessie understands her husband’s passion for riding his dirt bike—that sometimes he just needs to get out there on one of the Valley’s many dirt tracks and endless trails (many of which Chase helped build) and just ride.

Chase was born and raised in the Wood River Valley. After returning from college in Montana with a landscape architecture degree and marrying his schoolteacher wife, he has continued to make the Valley his home. A skilled Cat-driver with an obvious eye for landscape and building, Chase’s day job is working for Burks Excavation in Bellevue. But his real obsession is dirt biking, and he has even started designing and building dirt bike tracks around southern Idaho as a result.

A well-spoken and obviously hard-working guy, Chase will tell you a lot about his dreams for the future of dirt biking, both on the single track trails and at the Valley’s few tracks. A board member of the Idaho Mountain Dirt Riders Association (IMDRA), Chase says, “Most of my time is spent at the tracks, but the trails we have around here really are world-class, especially the ones put in by the motocross guys.” He continues to rave about the qualities of trails in the area. “The Greenhorn trails are pretty amazing because out there in the timber, you can just loop and they somehow seem to go on forever.”

While our community obviously has an abundance of great trail-riding, Chase is quick to point out that the three local tracks are pretty impressive, though not perfect. “Our three tracks, Stanton’s Crossing located south of Bellevue, out Ohio Gulch at the ‘dump,’ and the 40-year-old track out Croy Canyon, are great but each has their issues. None of them are as well-maintained as you might see in California, but I try to groom every now and then. And when it rains, each of these tracks is like heaven to local riders,” he says. Now this ambitious rider wants to help create a fourth track that takes things to the next level. Chase says while the local tracks are great, “we need the real thing.” He asks, “There is so much offered in this community, why not capitalize on it even more?”   

 Chase has long held a dream to have a state-of-the-art home track. He hopes for a place where the facilities are well-maintained and safe, a place he hopes to someday take his kids. And it appears this goal is finally becoming a reality.

Chase and the IMDRA are working to help create a brand new track on former farmland just outside of Carey. A serendipitous meeting with another Idaho rider at a race in Bozeman has led to the non-profit club working with the owner to develop and, ultimately, help manage a modern commercial track. Chase says that by the fall of 2012 IMDRA and riders in this community should have an incredible new track to call home and to possibly even host some races.

This means a lot to this lifetime local. “I basically learned to ride on the 100 acres my parents lived on, though they said I had to get good grades before I could get a bike of my own,” he recalls of learning to ride. “When I did, my dad finally bought me a bike, an ancient thing from ’81 or something, which he brought home under a pile of tractor pieces and farming equipment. From then on, I was hooked.”

Two decades later, Chase is definitely still hooked. Returning after helping to design and build a track in Blackfoot, he lights up when talking about the new Carey track. It’s a good thing his wife is so understanding; it’s easy to picture their future kids following him to the track someday. -Katie Matteson




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