Ride Report: Wasatch Crest / Park City IMBA Epic

The hills are alive. A ribbon of bliss on the Wasatch Crest.

The hills are alive. A ribbon of bliss on the Wasatch Crest.

So, I found myself rolling through Park City, Utah – saying hey to my buddy Tony.  He’s a badass singlespeeder and pretty good at drinking beers.  So that’s what we did.  Drink beer and ride singledingle on some super singledingletrack.  Last time I was in town, we hit the Mid-Mountain Trail which was pretty cool.  But I wanted to see some more.  So the Wasatch Crest IMBA Epic was on tap.

Some old mining remnants, early on the Armstrong Trail climb.

Some old mining remnants, early on the Armstrong Trail climb.

I was stoked because you can hit this loop from town = no driving to a trailhead.  Score.  It starts with the Armstrong climb – tough for a warm-up, but a nice, consistent grade makes for good uphill flow.  Before you know it, you’ve gained massive elevation and don’t feel too much worse for the wear.  Boom.  Fab views open up of the town below and of the ski resort across the way.

Taking a break on the Armstrong Trail climb to soak in views of Park City Mountain Resort.

Taking a break on the Armstrong Trail climb to soak in views of Park City Mountain Resort.

Next, you jump on Mid-Mountain Trail for a short jaunt, before heading up to Pine Cone Ridge.  We got pretty lucky as they were preparing to close the trail and do maintenance for a couple days – we just slipped through.  The grade steepens as you pass through gorgeous aspen groves.  It got tough here for my weak legs pushing a 32:17t, but there were many rollers that help generate momentum and give short moments of rest in the fakies section.  Without those rollers, I surely would’ve HAB’d a bunch of that section.

Tony up on the crest!

Tony up on the crest!

Before you know it, you reach the Wasatch Crest.  It’s pretty special up there.  Right away, you’re greeted with sick views of Brighton and Solitude ski areas and you feel like you’re on the spine of a huge dinosaur.  Cottonwood Canyon to one side, Park City to the other.  Ok, enough lookie looing, let’s keep riding!   Tony had to head back and take his daughter to dance camp – so I kept on pedaling.  Double track quickly turns to tacky single and the hills are alive with the sound of music in my head.  More sick views and fast red dirt with wild flowers of every color surround me like the Austin Powers shag-wagon.

Lush for days.

Lush for days.

Wildflowers and views to Solitude and Brighton from the Wasatch Crest Trail.

Wildflowers and views to Solitude and Brighton from the Wasatch Crest Trail.

More squigglies and views that don't suck.

More squigglies and views that don’t suck.

Most of the climbing was done, and the downward slithering had great visibility, so I was able to uncork the beast!   A snap of the fingers later,  and I romped through a different section of the Mid-Mountain Trail before taxing hero dirt into Canyons Resort.  Ambush Trail to Holly’s and boom – pop out at pavement, ride a couple miles back into town, smiles the whole way.

I just couldn't get enough of the gorgeous flowers lining the red dirt trails.

I just couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous flowers lining the red dirt trails.

I should check the gpx file and see exactly what lift this is - but suffice it to say, gorgeous view.

I should check the gpx file and see exactly what lift this is – but suffice it to say, gorgeous view.

My type of ride.  A solid climb, eye candy on the crest, and a fast, engaging descent to finish it off.  An apple ale at Wasatch Brewing solidified the memories and capped off a grand day.  This ride is definitely worthy of IMBA Epic status, and one that I’d do again in a heart beat.

 

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