This is Part 2 of my Point 2 Point preview. Part 1 is here. This section covers the race course from the start, to feed zone 1, approximately 28 miles.
The first 12 miles of the Park City Point 2 Point are in Round Valley. The trail system in Round Valley is rolling, twisty terrain. This isn’t the famous Park City terrain you’ve heard about. The trails are located at the valley floor, and are cut through scrub oak and sage brush. But nevertheless, they are some of the most enjoyable trails in the area. The grin-inducement begins immediately. None of the climbs are huge, but there is climbing.
The best part about starting in Round Valley is that it gives riders a chance to warm-up a little bit before tackling the more demanding miles yet to come. But that doesn’t mean that this section is a stroll in the park. There are grunt climbs, rock gardens and tricky descents to navigate. On top of that, there will be a lot of other riders. Wheel-to-wheel traffic spreads out across the course as 350 riders embark on this 80-mile odyssey. But don’t worry. The first 2 miles are wide, smooth dirt road that will help spread out the field a little bit. In addition, riders will start in waves based on estimated finish times. Don’t panic, and don’t be a jerk. There’s 70+ miles, and all day long, to make those spectacular passes.
One of the most challenging aspects of Round Valley is the view. It’s beautiful. However, nearly every visible ridgeline, canyon, and mountain-top will have to be traversed, climbed, descended, and conquered before the day ends. The entire course is presented in wide-angled morning light. Enjoy the view. But try not to think about the stone-cold reality that the it represents. Just smile, and enjoy the moment.
This section ends with a short stint on a paved bike path. Enjoy it while it lasts, because more rugged climbing is right around the corner.
After an easy 1/2 mile or so on the rail trail, the race turns upward and into some of my favorite trails in Park City. The climbing starts with Skid Row, a series of tight switchbacks that cut through scrub oak, and aspen trees. It’s fast climbing, but is rocky and dusty. Skid Row connects to Lost Prospector, which is a fast flowing circumnavigation above historic downtown Park City. The trail is rocky, and contains some steep climbs, but overall, this is one of the fastest segments of the entire race. However, don’t be fooled. This section contains a lot of false climbing. 1,300 vert in 8 miles is significant. After topping out, riders will descend the Solamere trail, which is very technical. Rock gardens, and tight, dusty, switchbacks lead the field into the Deer Crest neighborhood and to the next segment of trails.
Despite having about 2,500 vertical already in the legs, this is the segment that really starts to feel climby. The climbs are longer. And steeper. But they are wonderful. These trails are brilliant. I love riding them. Despite the elevation gain, the trails are flowy, smooth (mostly) and enjoyable. In many cases you will—like much of the course to this point—be treated to spectacular views of… everything yet to come in the day. But don’t be overwhelmed. The riding in the lower half of Deer Valley is just too amazing to not enjoy. Live in the moment. Ignore the burning legs. Savor the deep pine forests and the perfectly designed switchbacks.
Feed station 1 awaits at Silver Lake Lodge. Refuel. Regroup. And get ready for more climbing, and more perfect singletrack.
The first 28 miles of this race are fantastic. The climbing is enjoyable, if omnipresent. The terrain is varied and scenic. Riding through these areas just after sunrise will be an amazing way to start what promises to be a remarkable day. Spin lightly, eat and drink often, and enjoy the ride.
Up next: Segments 4 and 5. Also known as”The crux.” These sections contain some of the most demanding riding of the entire race. From Feed 1 to Feed 2 is where the Point 2 Point starts to chew riders up and spit them out. Trust me.