The home stretch. At last. The only thing between feed station 2 and eternal glory is 22 miles and 3,600 vertical. Oh. Snap.
After the grueling (and awesome) riding above Park City Mountain Resort, the feed station at the base of the mountain will be a small slice of heaven. Leaving that point is difficult, because above the feed zone is a steep series of switchbacks knows simply as Spiro. The Spiro Trail is magnificent. Smooth and wide, it climbs through the aspen trees and into the depths of Thayne’s Canyon. Up and up. With 60+ miles, and 6+ hours, in the legs, this climb is one of the day’s most challenging. But it’s the last of the routes long, sustained ascents. It’s not the end of the climbing. But it is the end of climbing for 40+ minutes at a time.
The top of this climb is marked by a right-hand turn onto the famed Mid-Mountain Trail. A newly redesigned section of the Mid-Mountain Trail will be included on the route for 2011. It will be rough, rocky, and soft. But after descending the rough, tight switchbacks from last year’s re-route, the trail turns smooth and wide, and amazing. The great riding continues all the way to the final mile of the race. After coming down one of the best descents in the entire region, riders will be treated to one final 600ft climb, a punch in the gut to be sure. But it’s relatively short, not terribly steep, and best of all… it really is the last climb of the Park City Point 2 Point. The race finishes with a rugged descent into the Canyons Resort, where bratwurst, and a hero’s welcome, await.
Leaving the feed station at PCMR is the point of no return. There is no bailout. No shortcut to the finish. And turning back (against race traffic) isn’t really a great option. Once riders attain the Mid-Mountain Trail, finishing the race is (very nearly, and barring any catastrophic disaster) a forgone conclusion. In other words, regardless of how wiped or tired or delusional you are feeling at PCMR, get back on that bike and finish! The miles are difficult at times, but there are also sections of pure bliss. In fact, it’s quite alright to enjoy the riding in this section. It’s fun! Really.
About 8 miles from the finish line there will be a water station with Coke, electrolytes, and probably some cookies. In both 2009 and 2010, the Coke at this spot was nothing less than mana from heaven. A godsend. A miracle. Let the prospect of a fizzy, cold, Coke pull you up the Spiro Trail. And after that Coke fills your body with sugary energy, let the thought of freshly grilled bratwurst (and maybe some chocolate milk!) urge you toward a strong, authoritative finish.
Congratulations. You’ve done it. You are a Park City Point 2 Point finisher.