Explore Park City on two wheels
May 27, 2016
With mild summers, a lengthy trail system and bike lanes on many busy roads, Park City is becoming a mecca for cyclists of all kinds. Whether a rider wants to cruise downhill on a dirt trail or go for a long ride along a road or paved trail, Summit County has an abundance of options.
As the snow continues to melt and the rain lets up, the Park City trail system will ready itself for another busy summer, but Jay Burke, race director for the Park City Point 2 Point, said there’s already good riding to be found in the area for mountain bikers.
"In the name of helping to spread people out a little bit, one of my favorite new places to sneak away to are the River View trails down on the northeastern side of the Heber Valley," he said. "It’s a relatively new trail complex that the Wasatch Trails Alliance has been working on and it’s awesome. There’s a 25-mile loop down there called the Coyote Loop that I love to do. It’s a quiet ride and you don’t see a ton of people. The nice thing about it is it’s a great option both early and late in the season when we have moisture and cold and mud up here."
While waiting for the trails to dry, road riding in Summit County is also in prime form, according to X-Men Cycling Club (http://www.x-mencyclingteam.com ) Founder Thomas Cooke.
"There’s great riding and, with our trails, a lot of people in Park City are doing both," he said. "We’ve got these great road rides to do while the trails are drying out and then people will switch to their mountain bikes when the trails are in prime form."
The summer schedule is packed with mountain bike races, from the Midweek Mountain Bike events to Burke’s Point 2 Point to the Enduro Cup at Deer Valley, there are competitions available for all skill levels. Burke said the Point 2 Point event, which will be held on Sept. 3, has maintained its popularity as it enters its eighth year.
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"It sold out again as fast as the server could process the registrants," he said. "We had 650 people logged on trying to get 350 spots. People still want to come ride. It’s about the quality of the trails and the Point 2 Point is a testament to that trail system. You ride 75 miles and you’re never on the same trail twice. That’s what gets folks [climbing] over one another to come ride it."
Registration is still open for the SCOTT’s Enduro Cup event at Deer Valley the weekend before the Point 2 Point (Aug. 28) and Burke said he’s excited to see what that event offers. In previous years, it was held at Canyons Village.
"I’ve recently started doing some of the enduro races," Burke said. "I personally am super excited for the stop here at Deer Valley. Rest assured, I’ll find some time to be there racing at Deer Valley. I think it’ll quickly become one of the hot stops on the Enduro Cup schedule. There’s some great terrain at Canyons, too, but it’s fun to mix it up."
The summer road cycling schedule doesn’t have quite as many events, but the Tour de Park City will return on Aug. 20. Cooke said he feels the decline in road cycling races has a lot to do with the cost of hosting a successful race.
"There aren’t a lot of road racing events in Park City," he said. "I’ve been following these conversations online about why that is and I think, for one thing, it’s really hard for promoters to put on a good event and not lose money. Getting permits for an event like that is tough. There have always been police escorts on motorcycles [to clear traffic]. Logistically, that’s a pretty expensive thing to do these days."
The biggest road cycling race of the year is the Tour of Utah, which runs from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 this year. The race passes through Park City on Aug. 6 and Stage 7 ends on Main Street on Aug. 7. Cooke said he enjoys watching Park City natives Tanner and Chris Putt compete.
"It’s great to watch their careers take off and know they used to ride with us," he said. "Their dad, Pat, rides with our [X-Men Cycling] Club. You’re always going to root for the hometown kids. They have a younger brother, Noah, who has also been bitten by the cycling bug. We might see a long stretch of Putt boys riding in the professional ranks. They’re great kids and great athletes."
Even with a decline in races, Cooke said there are plenty of opportunities for enthusiasts to join group rides.
"There’s a Wednesday night group ride that’s been going on for years," he said. "Now it starts out of Mountain Velo in Kimball Junction. We ride out through Trailside and we go out and do a loop in Kamas up and over the Jordanelle. We turn left on Democrat Alley and come back through Brown’s Canyon. We’ve been getting upward of 20 riders every Wednesday. We leave at 5:30 p.m. It’s a pretty fast group, but we always wait and regroup and try to finish the ride together. It’s about a two-hour ride — 35 to 38 miles.
"Strava [a smartphone app] is a great resource for finding routes for great road rides, too. A lot of people do that these days."
For mountain bikers, Burke said he expects the Deer Valley and Park City Mountain trails to be busy this summer. Though he recommends taking advantage of those trails as much as possible, he added that there are still areas in Summit County with less traffic.
"I personally feel like more people should spend more time leaving from the Redstone area," he said. "It’ll take you up through some of the new trails at the Utah Olympic Park. That end of our trail system has so much to offer. A lot of the people who come into town, and even locals, tend to start riding from Park City and hit the old reliable trails. I think the biggest change [over the last few summers] is the amount of use the trails see. Of course, that’s simply due to the fact that the trails we have here are awesome and we have so many of them. We can ride a different variation pretty much every day if we wanted to."
To learn more about the Tour of Utah, visit http://www.tourofutah.com . Details on the Park City Point 2 Point can be found at http://www.thepcpp.com . For more information on the Tour de Park City, visit http://www.tourdeparkcity.com . An Enduro Cup schedule can be found at http://www.endurocupmtb.com . Details about the Midweek Mountain Bike Series are located at http://www.midweekmtb.com . For more on the Tour des Suds, go to http://www.mountaintrails.org . Details on the Intermountain Cup Endurance Series can be found at http://www.intermountaincup.com . To register for the Summit Challenge, visit http://www.discovernac.org .
Summer Cycling Events
Midweek Mountain Bike Round Valley — June 7
Midweek Mountain Bike Heber — June 14
Midweek Mountain Bike Deer Valley — June 21
Intermountain Endurance Cup Wasatch Back — June 25
Tour of Utah — Aug. 1-7
Tour de Park City — Aug. 20
NAC Summit Challenge — Aug. 27
Enduro Cup Deer Valley — Aug. 28
Point 2 Point — Sept. 3
Tour des Suds — Sept. 18
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