I just purchased a cyclocross bike in September 2012, and I mostly use it for ‘cross races and winter road riding. I would much prefer to be on my mountain bike, riding all the incredible single-track Park City has to offer. When someone suggested I do the first ever Swiss Miss Century Ride I was skeptical, but since I am always up for a challenge, I signed up. Little did I know that road biking could also be breathtaking.
The Swiss Miss is a women’s only road bike ride with either a 32 mile option, a 64 mile metric century, or the 100 mile version that I participated in. It began and ended at the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah and travelled on many back roads around the Heber and Kamas Valleys. Not only were the views incredible, but the aid stations, course markings, and volunteers were some of the best I have ever seen at any race. The participation wasn’t huge, because this is only the first year the Swiss Miss Century Ride was held, but I encourage all women to put this on their short list of bike rides/races for next year.
Here is a map of the ride:
Luckily, I brought along my personal photographer to capture some shots of this amazing road bike ride. Because he was a guy, he wasn’t allowed into the best (and most painful part) of the course: the brutal climb and fun-filled descent through Wolf Creek Ranch. This is a private development that doesn’t allow public access, but the guys at Slim and Knobby’s Bike Shop down in Heber, who organized the event, were able to get us on the property for the ride. This is the same climb that the Tour of Utah goes up every August, so it was pretty incredible to have the opportunity to ride through here. The climb is about two miles long, with grades approaching 22%, according to the Tour of Utah. I was digging into my mountain bike roots by making my own switch-backs on this steep portion of road. In the end it was totally worth it. Once we approached the summit, the rolling up and down portions of the Wolf Creek Ranch were filled with aspen groves and deer.
The best part of the race was riding down into the Heber Valley and having lunch prepared for us at mile 75. There were many women from all walks of life, and it was great to be able to share a beautiful day riding bikes together. It was a huge accomplishment for me as this was the longest distance I’ve ever ridden on a bike. I’m not going to turn into a road biker anytime soon, but I will definitely do this event again.
Erin McDermott, White Pine Racing powered by jans.com Team Member