A note from Grizzly: I have managed to somehow point Backcountrytimes.com to this blog. I’ve tried a few things to remedy the situation, but to no avail. If any of you have any experience hosting two domains under one GoDaddy account, feel free to contact me. In the meantime I apologize if you were looking for Backcountrytimes.com and ended up here. I am hoping to have everything fixed soon.
I was thinking about the Wednesday night race series I used to do back in 2001. The races were at the Provo Canyon race course, and were by most standards not all that competitive. A few overly fast riders, or rather families–namely the Gillespies and Gibsons–would dominate while the rest of the field would fight over the leftovers. The group that rode those races was rather small and predictable. It was there that I learned how to race, and also there that I claimed my first ‘victory’, although the races were so informal that using a word like ‘victory’ is, perhaps a bit of an aggrandizement. But nonetheless.
As 100 of us lined up last night at Sundance Resort, Dennis Potter, one of the old school Wednesday warriors, pointed out the contrast in what was before us, and the races of yesteryear. The level of competition today is a hundredfold what it was back then. And it’s for the better. Today the race series rotates between Sundance Resort and Solider Hollow. There are number plates, pull tags, course markings, and an overall points series. I have to believe that because of the Wednesday Night Worlds that the racing in Utah is stronger, healthier, and the racers themselves the same. It is remarkable what a mid-week throwdown can do for ones overall fitness and ability.
Most of the old school group from those Provo Canyon days are still racing. And most all of them are faster than they ever were back then. And I think about how far everyone has come, the miles and the trails and the crashes we have all gone through. The ups and the downs. So, while the series itself has changed signifigantly, there are certain elements that have stayed the same. For one, the Gillespies and the Gibsons still dominate, although they have stiff challengers these days. But further, the atmosphere, the commradierie, and of course the racing itself is still as fun, and as worthwhile, as it ever has been. The friends that I met at those first races are still friends today. And still, after all these years and after all these races I find myself doing everything I can to beat them to the finish line Wednesday after Wednesday.
Sundance Weekly Series, July 2006.