Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I'm in LOVE with Utah... Sorry California!

When I left California back in May I fully intended to blog every day (or as much as I possibly could). The idea was to keep a log of the #vanlife as I drove from home to SLC to race to SLC to race...
I can't handle this place. I just can't even describe how these views make me feel :)
Well life has done a great job of getting in the way of that, but I have to say the last week has been so incredibly fantastic that I kinda don't mind the feeling that I never have time to get a bit of work done. From helping one of my all time favorite people get ready for her wedding to riding my bike on absolutely amazing trails with awesome people, it's been good to just live in the moment, soak in the views, thrills and people and to put off the blogging and social media-ing for a bit.

But since I have 20 minutes I want to do my best to recount two of the all time best rides of my life (no joke, I know I say every day is the best day, but these two rides really do rank as among the top 10 ever).

I don't really remember ever being happier to be on a bike in a beautiful place.
After the XC in Vail on Saturday I got my booty back in the van and drove most of the way to Park City, and then finished off the drive Sunday morning so I could go to dirt church with rad Park City folk Karl and Lori. When they asked what type of ride I was interested in I said I wanted to ride all the best trails in Park City, and I'm pretty sure we did just about that.

We started in Summit Park on some local knowledge trails which blew my mind right off the bat, and made our way to Mid-Mountain trail which spans the three main resorts in Park City. So basically everything is incredibly green in the mountains in Utah, and the real 'plants grow in this' dirt under my tires was already enough to make me swoon. Then add in some punchy climbing with beautifully bermed turns and a gentle gradient, intermixed with swoopy fast, tight, thrilling descents and I was head over heals.

What made it extra amazing was following Cyclocross pro Jamie Driscoll and junior racer Connor through the rollercoaster of rolling descents on Mid-Mountain and watching them pump, float and whip it out every chance they got. It was already everything I could ask for in a ride.

From Mid-Mountain trail we headed up Pine Cone towards Wasatch Crest. This portion of the ride hurt as the 4 mile trail takes you to 10,000 ft, and there were some downed trees to climb over, but we were rewarded at the top with the most incredible views of Park City and the Canyons east of Salt Lake City.

There was a bit of traversing the ridge to get to the next incredible trail, but I'm pretty sure I would follow these two anywhere. It's so cool how much I learn just from riding with different people in different places. There was a lot of 'pinch me, I must be dreaming' going on during the ride :)


More views from the crest. 

And then we descended Wasatch Crest to some connector in what was probably the fastest, most thrilling and nerve wracking 20 minutes of my life. It was the perfect combination of screaming fast that makes you simultaneously scared to death and crying with joy. All I had to do was hang on, pump through the turns and dips and lightly feather the brakes and the bike and trail took care of the rest. The traction was basically infinite so pushing into the dips and berms was rewarded with the compression and release of suspension the way it was designed to connect body with trail. I wish I had words to describe the feeling of exhilaration.
So grateful to have gotten the chance to ride with these guys. 
The rest of the ride was more of the same, to the point where I started to plan my permanent move to Park City, and to wrap up the day we hit a jump line called Arcylon (No Lycra backwards) where I went off a rad drop that was a bit scary thanks to coaching and encouragement from Karl.

The hardest thing for me right now is feeling inadequate in describing how incredible this ride was.

Heaven, this is what it looks like to me. 
And today, Tuesday I went on ANOTHER mind blowing good ride with two of the most fluid, talented juniors I have ever met, Sienna and Mila. The trails they took me on were also out of this world good, but I think the best part was following their wheels and watching the dipping, pumping, graceful flow of two absolute natural shredders. I've ridden with a lot of dudes in my day who could learn a thing or two from following these girls! Also at a loss for wards to describe how incredible this experience was.


We rode Flying Dog loop from their house and the hero dirt, the amazing climb complete with tons of stand to pedal obstacles, the flowing bermed swoopy descent, it all felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I'm pretty sure today is what heaven will feel like.

And of course we hit the jump line at the bottom of Flying Dog AND rode Arcylon as well... AND we took a selfie or two.



So that's a bit of what I've been up to. I'm sitting on Taryn's couch shaking my head in disbelief about how good Utah is right now. It's true that seeing places like this in June is maybe not the best picture of what it's like to live here, but I'm having the real strong urges to move here as soon as the bike racing is done.

I can live in a van, right? Down by the river!











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