Point 2 Point survives wacky weather | ParkRecord.com

Point 2 Point survives wacky weather

When Jay Burke showed up to the finish line at Canyons Resort around 5:45 a.m. Saturday, he said his heart was in his mouth. A spectacular early-morning thunderstorm rolled through Summit County just in time for the annual Park City Point 2 Point mountain-bike endurance race.

"I couldn’t believe what was going on," said Burke, the race founder and director. "I had 350 racers that were chomping at the bit to go race and I had to make a decision whether or not it was 1) safe enough to send them out on the trails and 2) what would this do to our trail system?"

The rain poured, followed by hail, as bolts of lightning lit up the Wasatch Back. For the first time since its inception four years ago, the Point 2 Point didn’t have the luxury of bluebird skies and a warm sun.

The race start had to be moved from Round Valley due to the fact that the trails would have taken a pounding. Instead of the planned 78-mile trek, this year’s Point 2 Point turned out to be roughly 67 miles.

"We got them off an hour late," Burke explained. "We wouldn’t have gotten a single racer out on the trail if we started in Round Valley. They would have sank."

The course markings were hammered by the elements, as wind, rain and mud made it a struggle for riders early in the day, according to Burke. Another storm hit during the race, producing hail. Racers were briefly pulled off the course for safety.

After that, the sun came out and racers were able to continue on their way.

"That was an all-day-long-pit-in-the-stomach," Burke said. "When the sun came out again, we got people to the finish line. We had our fair share of problems throughout the day."

Three-time defending champion Alex Grant completed a four-peat at the Point 2 Point Saturday, finishing in five hours and 50 minutes. Ben Sonntag finished second (5:55:13.7), while Point 2 Point veteran Josh Tostado finished third (6:13:17.2).

In the women’s race, defending champion Amanda Carey was able to wrap up her second consecutive Point 2 Point victory, finishing with a time of 7:16:46.3. KC Holley finished second (7:24:57.3), while Jennifer Smith finished third (7:25:55.7).

Burke said he jokingly took a photo of Grant posing with his fourth-straight Point 2 Point trophy a few days prior to the race. The Salt Lake City resident responded appropriately.

"I whipped something up in the pressure-cooker for him," Burke joked. "He’s a machine. This is his kind of course."

With the fourth Point 2 Point in the books, Burke said he is already praying for no early-morning lightning or hail when the race returns in 2013.

"It was a pretty wild day. I’m glad this year’s over," he said. "As much as I love it, thank God everyone made it home safely. Knocking on wood, there’s no way we could ever get another day like that for the Point 2 Point. It was crazy. Beyond crazy."

For full results of the 2012 Park City Point 2 Point, please see the scoreboard page on B-6.

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