Summer Guide '10 -- Road Cycling, Events, Weekly Rides
Photography: Mark Maziarz
Criss-crossed by more than 400 miles of single-track trail, Park City might not seem the likeliest candidate for a thriving road cycling scene. After all, the town is widely considered northern Utah’s mountain biking mecca. But in an area overflowing with über-athletes, Parkites have diversified, finding room in their garages and storage sheds for skinny and nubby tires alike. As Doug DePaulo of local cycle shop ColeSport explains, “Road biking is an outdoor workout I can do on my lunch break without getting covered in mud.”
Ride out Old Ranch Road any balmy spring, summer or fall day, and you’re likely to encounter throngs of spandex-clad road cyclists, otherwise known as roadies. Drivers in the area typically give cyclists a wide berth along most roads in Park City, Snyderville and surrounding areas. Signs along Highways 224 and 248—Park City’s entry corridor and back door, respectively—alert visitors that they are entering a bike-friendly community. Local bike shops host weekly group rides as well as criterion races. And you’d be hard pressed to find a weekend in the summer without a road cycling event.
Attitudes toward Park City’s burgeoning road cycling community weren’t always so positive. Shoulders along popular bike routes such as Browns Canyon and Highway 248 were, until recently, nonexistent—and many drivers in the area were more accustomed to looking out for cows than cyclists. “It was pretty typical for drivers to heckle us or even throw bottles,” says Thomas Cooke, a longtime local cyclist, “Now, I think Park City is a great example of how cars and cyclists can indeed coexist.”
Summit County’s shift from road rage to roadie friendly is due in large part to the Mountain Trails Foundation. When Carol Potter, Mountain Trails’ former executive director, came on board with the organization in 2004, much of the work to maintain access to backcountry trails in and around Park City was done. “Promoting road biking awareness and access was simply the next step,” Potter says.
Mountain Trails began its paved trail advocacy with an effort to install Share the Road signage and widen the shoulder in Browns Canyon. Soon a group of concerned parents from Park Meadows joined the cause, pushing for sidewalks and bike lanes in the once predominantly second-home neighborhood. Today, Mountain Trails’ list of “asphalt advocacy” successes includes ongoing paving of the popular Rail Trail; the addition of bike lanes, sidewalks and a mixed-used tunnel in the congested Bonanza Drive area (scheduled for completion this summer); and publication of a map of popular road cycling routes, available at bike shops throughout the area.
For Parkites like Pete Barquin, a cyclist who’s called Park City home since 1993, the mutual benefits of road and mountain biking are clear. “Often you can ride the roads weeks or even months before the trails are dry,” he says. And where the highly technical mountain biking in the area can be daunting to novices, Barquin adds, “road cycling is something people of different levels can do together.” So get out and put the rubber to the road.
Skinny Tire Central
ColeSport’s Weekly No-Drop Ride Join riders of all abilities for an easy-paced, 15-to-22-mile ride around Park City and environs. 435.649.5663
ColeSport’s Royal Street Thursday Night Hill Climb This is a fast-paced, United States Cycling Federation–sanctioned criterion race. 435.649.5663
Up and Over 100, BCC SuperSeries #5 Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City to Summit County via I-80, Kamas, Browns Canyon and back. bccutah.org or 801.641.4020
Chalk Creek 100, BCC SuperSeries #7 Park City to Browns Canyon, Coalville, Chalk Creek self-supported, or 50-mile option from Coalville. bccutah.org or 801.641.4020
Felt Tour de Park City Fully supported road rides starting and finishing at Park City. Rides include 50-, 100- and 170-mile tour options and a 170-mile race option. tourdeparkcity.com or 435.671.5053
BearPa Challenge Charity Cycling Tour Bear Lake to Park City to benefit Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. thinkoutsidecc.org or 801.292.9146
Tour of Utah 1,000 Warriors Ride 98 miles, 14,778 vertical feet, Park City Mountain Resort to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort. tourofutah.com or 801.571.3100
Summit Challenge to benefit the National Ability Center 15-, 50- and 100-mile options. discovernac.org
Park City Endurance Festival 20k, 40k and 50-mile tour options. endurancefestival.com or 866.8.ECO.FUN or 208.233.3798