Stage 6, the Queen stage of the Tour of Utah, where races are won and spirits are broken. I mean, look at that up there: 11,165 feet of climbing. Those riders who have never ridden the Tour of Utah may have thought that the earlier stages were tough but really, the last two stages are truly unbelievable. Leaving Snowbasin and descending Trappers Loop, the riders wound their way through Morgan County into Summit County, through Midway and up to Guardsman Pass. After cresting the ridge, they descended Big Cottonwood Canyon, took a hard left onto Wasatch Boulevard to climb up to the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon, then the grueling climb up to the finish at Snowbird.
Rain delay selfie
Knowing that Little Cottonwood Canyon would be closed -to traffic at 1 p.m., we got our exercise in early: me doing my 3.25 mile run and H doing a 46 mile road ride. We both enjoyed the cool morning temperatures, something we haven't gotten to experience of late with the recent hot spell. We were packed up and out the door a little after noon. The crowds were just beginning to gather on the roadside as we drove up; Tanners Flat seemed a little subdued, likely due to the police presence (which we gathered was there to keep the fans from interfering with the riders) but there also seemed to be more corporate tents, squeezing out the individual spectators.
Talansky and Atapuma charging to the finish
We parked the truck, grabbed the cooler and headed up to the festivities, first strolling through the vendors before snagging a spot at the fence, near the Jumbotron so we could watch the race in progress. Starting at 2:30 p.m., the winds picked up and the skies darkened; there was lightning in the area and the event organizers shooed all the spectators up to the Snowbird lodge. No sooner had we gotten up there than the clouds let loose and it just poured rain, thunder crashing all around. People stood in clusters, either watching the live stream of the race on their phones or just watching the weather. After about forty minutes, the storm cell moved on. The rain let up and as the crowd meandered back to the race course, the sun came out; by the time we'd gotten back to our spots, the road was steaming and it was as hot as if the storm had never come.
L to R: podium girl, A. Costa, Taylor Eisenhart, A. Talansky,
K. Reijnen, Ben King, podium girl
From where we were standing, we could see the riders coming down to final 500 meters. It was neck and neck for the stage win - Andrew Talansky and Darwin Atapuma had been riding together the whole way up - but in the last couple hundred meters, Talansky had some kick and dropped Atapuma just enough to take the stage. He had also surged ahead of Lachlan Morton enough to take the yellow jersey, meaning that the last stage of the Tour of Utah was actually going to make a difference as to who wins the whole Tour. Stage podium: Andrew Talansky; Darwin Atapuma (Columbia, BMC): Adrien Costa (USA, Axeon - and only eighteen years old!).