Friday, May 8, 2015

first mtb ride of the season

One thing the record low snow has meant: no downtime between skiing and hiking/biking.  Whereas last year we had a weekend or two between seasonal activities, this year the weather was agreeable enough and Round Valley's trails were bone-dry the weekend after Alta closed.  So we lurched out of bed Sunday morning, still sore from the steep ascent/descent in Burch Hollow (quads and calves mostly, but also my shins (?!?) for some reason), and began the process of assembling our MTB gear (shoes, shorts, socks, helmets, gloves, backpacks, etc.).  I was a little leery of this first ride.  Not because I didn't know the terrain - which I do, fairly well at this point - but because not only was it our first MTB ride of the season but because of my non-recovery from our hike the day before.  Our regular Round Valley route has some distance to it and some fairly substantial climbs; I just wasn't sure my sore and tired legs could do it.

The skies were partly cloudy with light winds, warm but not too warm, and great weather for riding.  We saw a couple of chipmunks and a potgut on the bike path out of Park City and the marshes on either side of the path were full of red-winged blackbirds and yellow-headed blackbirds; later on we would have to pause on the trail to let a couple of adult sandhill cranes go by.  We didn't encounter too many folks out on the trails: lots of dog-walkers but not too many other MTBers, not at first.  I was cautious on the bike, especially in the rocky downhill sections, but I felt like I was remembering most of my skills.  I managed to clip in and climb the hill we call My Nemesis with no problem (that was the area I was first concerned about); H easily rode to the top of Hammerhead/Pladsen Hill; and I managed to ride all but four of the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks going up Rambler - much better than I had expected to do.  Although I was pretty slow descending the other side of Rambler, I felt good enough to take on the "new" section of trail, forgoing the bike path back to the Silver Queen trailhead.  My legs did give out halfway up the Staircase hills but I decided to count it a win anyway.

Not falling off the bridges: always a plus

We cruised back into the city limits on the rails-to-trails bike path, getting back to the truck just as the weather changed, dark clouds building up over the valley.  By the time we were loaded up and heading back to SLC, rain was spattering down and it looked like the trails at Round Valley were getting a soaking.  Good timing and a good first ride of the season.

Ride stats:  21.72 miles, 1 hour 55 minutes, average speed 11.3 m.p.h., H's top speed 24.4 m.p.h.

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