Utah 2005 Day 1 – Park City-Mid Mountain Trail

Well. It’s Fall again in Vancouver. We can stay, ride in the rain and wait for ski season to start or drive to Utah to get in some year end dry riding and some REAL Fall Colours! The answer is clear. Off we go to UUUUTTAH…..

We start our trip by decamping at our friend, Gary Ayton’s place in Salt Lake City. He tells us that fall colours are going off in Park City. Unfortunately for us sea – level dwellers that means starting our ride at about 6500 ft and climbing well above that.

Where’s the oxygen asks Sharon as she goes up the first set of switchbacks on Spiro

Park City sits at ~6500feet and climbs to 10,000 Feet at the Wasatch Crest. Most of the trails are between 6500 feet and 8000 feet. A good way to climatize to altitude!

Since the Olympics a new ski area – The Canyons – was built! This led to MORE Trails being built on that ski area! This allows for some epic loops! The one we did today was the Mid Mountain Trail. An IMBA epic was held on these trail when they were opened. The trails were built using real estate developers contributions to a trail fund; an unexpected side-benefit of monster house; row housing and rampant golf-course development.

Here we are climbing up Iron Mountain. As on our last trip; Brian Berg joins us on our Utah travels – this time accompanied by Audrey – his wife.

Across Park City Ski Resort we ride. – Scroll across!

Fall colours in Park City looking down the valley and across the ski hill runs brings stunning colours. Mind-blowing scenery. – Scroll Across to see the Pano!

It’s hard to get a continuous ride for me as I have to stop to take it all in.

Between the Golden Aspens and Pink Scrub Oak we were in our kaleidoscope dreams!

Gary leads us down the yellow halls of the Mid – Mountain trail nattily attired in his Brian Head 100 FINISHER jersey showing that he completed a 100 mile epic race in Brian Head Utah under a designated cut-off time. Needless to say, none of us try to get ahead of him or match his pace; he has home turf advantage, is used to altitude and also, is the only one who knows the way.

Brian and Audrey kindly wore clothes which stood out against the colours.

Sharon carves a turn on the trails. A word on the trails; they are not technical but are a buff, smooth as a baby’s bottom; fast goodness to ride.

As we come to a point in the Mid Mountain Trail where we swing over to the Canyons Resort, Gary is pointing to the top of Canyons Ski Resort and one end of the Wasatch Crest Trail. That is our goal for today.

Unfortunately we were turned back by construction and had to settle with riding through the aspens at a mere 8500foot elevation. After realizing that we covered a quarter of the planned ride in 3 hours, you can see why I’m smiling.

Brian doesn’t seem to mind too much as he finds serenity in the aspens.

More aspen contemplation by Gary

The trail swings over all three ski resorts of the Canyons, Park City and Deer Valley. We backtrack and find the sign that says that the trail was closed to traffic that day (DOH!) and head over to the Deer Valley section. Its a fast rip.

Brian and Audrey cruise the singletrack so fast they generate twins.

Our final descent took us down John’s Trail. An aspen rooty, twisty turny trail that kept you on your toes!

I had an impossible time trying to keep track of Gary on this section.

Fortunately we had to make lots of stops to marvel at the colours!

Sharon plays in the red leaves. When I first saw this tunnel of red – I screeched to a halt not able to believe my eyes. The camera does not do justice to the light here.

Since we didn’t do our big epic today we had to return tomorrow to ride up to the Wasatch Crest! The total ride today was 47.7km; ascending 970m. Not a lot of climbing but a lot of it at altitude.

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