When H and our recent house guests took the scenic chairlift ride at Sundance a couple weeks ago, H checked out the MTB trails and decided that we could do them. You have to pay to ride at the resort: $12 for trails only ("riding uphill") plus one scenic chairlift ride or $20 for all the lift rides/bike descents you want. Since neither of us is all that keen on clattering downhill, riding our brakes with all our weight on our wrists, we opted for the first option. When asked about the easier trails, the guy at the ticket window suggested that we take Archie's Loop, around Scott's Pond, through Switchback Alley to Sunny Side Way. Perfect!
First, however, was a climb from the base lodge up to the upper parking lot to pick up the Boneyard Trail, which meant that I was hyperventilating and my legs were shaking even before we got off the pavement. When we got on the dirt - narrow single track, mostly dirt but studded with some rocks - I was dismayed to see that the downhill side fell away very steeply. I tend to ride with my left foot unclipped on uphill single track because I go so slowly that I often start to tip over and have to put my foot down. Unfortunately, the way the trail was running, my left foot was on the downhill side so if I were to put my foot down, I'd be over the edge. I got a little tense. I got even more tense when I came up to H who had stopped on a corner by some orange "caution" signs; the signs were there because of the actual cliff that the trail was atop. Exciting!
There was no way I was riding that
I must admit that I had to hike-a-bike for a good portion of our ride: along the cliffy parts of Archie's Loop and all the way up Switchback Alley - which H amazingly rode all the way up, except for this one corner that was decked over with pallets to stave off erosion. If the trail had not been carved into the side of such a steep hill, I believe I could have ridden most of it, but I was so nervous about falling over the edge that I just didn't dare.
Sunny Side Way was a wide dirt access road (yay!), and then we wound our way down Upper Lift Line, another switchback-filled trail. By the time we got back to the base, I was exhausted, mostly from nerves but also from pushing my bike up all the hills. I was dismayed to learn that we'd only been riding for an hour (it seemed so much longer than that!) but I just couldn't ride up any more hills. H was a really good sport about it, even though I know he could have ridden more, and said that the cliffy bits had made him nervous too.
Some of the scenery along
We changed into dry and less dusty clothes and got sandwiches at the deli. Most resort food is a rip-off but my BLT was so good - chewy ciabatta bread, red leaf lettuce, pesto mayonnaise and bacon stacked at least an inch high - and only $6.50. Seriously, I have never seen so much bacon on a BLT ever. Nicely done, Sundance deli. After our sandwiches, we put our PBRs in our backpacks to take our scenic chairlift ride, and is Sundance ever scenic with Timpanogos looming above, and smaller, forested peaks all around. (I really want to go skiing there - it looks like such fun.) As we sat in the sun, drinking our beers and pointing out the trails we'd just ridden over (or, in my case, trudged up), the day's earlier tension faded until it was just another great day in Utah.