We got on the trail a little before 9:30 a.m. and even though 10 a.m. seems to be the go-to start time for Park City guided MTB rides, we really didn't see that many people out on the trails. There were a bunch of dog walkers at the start - including one wonderfully trained off-leash standard poodle who, when he saw me coming, got off the trail and sat down without his owner telling him - and then just a few MTBers heading up the sagebrush switchbacks of Ramble On while we were going down. What we did have a whole lot of was that wind: gusty and hot, not cooling at all. It was in our faces for the outbound portion of the paved bike path; I had unrealistic hopes that that meant we would have a tailwind for the return. (Spoiler: it was not to be.)
Motoring down Valderoad
Although I had a couple of spastic bike handling moments, I rode pretty well: staying right on H's wheel for the climb up the My Nemesis hill and moving pretty well through the newer section of trail (not quite "flowing" but close-ish), although the middle step of the Staircase was a bit of a struggle. H, of course, looked strong even when his rear wheel spun a bit in the middle of Hammerhead (he needs a new tire, obviously.) When we finished the dirt track, heading back towards town on the paved bike path, I was dismayed - but not surprised, not really - to note that the wind had shifted enough that we had a bit of a headwind, warm and gusty. (Seriously, tailwinds are more elusive than unicorns.) It made us thirsty, pedaling uphill into the wind, so thirsty that we had to drink our post-ride beers in the parking lot, rather than waiting to go to the picnic spot. It's important to stay hydrated, y'all. We drink beer for science.