After a full summer of mountain bike racing, my end-of-season goal was to race the Park City Point to Point (P2P), Jay Burke’s twisted brainchild of a mountain bike race. This 75 mile race, held on Labor Day weekend every year in Park City, Utah, begins in Round Valley, climbs Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and the Canyons, multiple times before ending at the base of Holly’s Trail. In numbers, the P2P is over 90% single-track and includes 12,000 feet of climbing. Yup, that’s a lot of vertical to be gained and lost on trails which are alternately tight, twisty, and/or rough. I was pretty happy to finish without any mechanicals or crashes, and taking the win was icing on the cake.
1st key to Endurance Mountain Bike Races – Support Staff
Two and a half weeks after the fact, the Park City Point to Point is starting to take on a rosier glow. The long, arduous hours on the trail have been reduced to a few glimmering highlights in my memory. Thinking back on the race, I remember very little of the chilly early morning start (7 am!), but can very clearly picture coming into the first feed zone at Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley and hearing friends cheering for me. I rolled straight to the White Pine Touring tent where Jesse Hoffman and Paul Boyle (two all-star bike mechanics) did a once over on my bike. They made sure it would make it the next 50 miles to the finish, while I grabbed bottles and stuffed my face with Honey Stinger waffles to make sure that I could make it that far, too. With a few cheers and a slap on the ass, I was off again.
I briefly went off course at the top of Deer Valley, and realized my mistake when I hit the Guard Rd. There’d be time later to be mad about this mistake, but at that moment I had to focus on backtracking and finding the course again. Although, I should have been more embarrassed than mad, since I got lost on my home trails.
My roommate, coach and friend, Tyler, hit up our three planned feed spots perfectly. No easy feat, this requires a lot of planning, a few maps, and good knowledge of Park City’s roads.
2nd Key to Endurance Mountain Bike Races – Proper Fueling
The leg from Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) to the Canyons was a caffeine and sugar-fueled blur, and before I knew it, I was at the bottom of Holly’s. At least, that’s how I remember it now. I’m pretty sure there was some suffering, second-guessing my lead, and mental lows along the way. Because I often get asked what/how much I eat during an endurance event, here’s my tally for the day:
3 rice cakes (as in cooked rice, smooshed into a ball. so appetizing…)
4 Honey Stinger Lemon Waffles
3 packages Honey Stinger Lime-ade Energy Chews
I get the impression that most people don’t eat this much during mountain bike races, but in a race like the Park City Point 2 Point, which took me over 7 hours to complete, this is what worked for me. My caffeine intake was around 500 mg between the gels and chews, so I was pretty well wired. Don’t ask how long it took for me to fall asleep that night.
3rd Key to Endurance Mountain Bike Races – Community Support
Taking the win was awesome, but it was made sweeter by the fact that it was on my home mountain bike trails. I’m pretty biased, but Park City trails are amazing and the mountain biking community here is equally so. The coolest part about the Park City P2P is the fact that the whole town comes out to volunteer, support and party. The cheering squads along the way made the 75 miles go by quicker, while a few dollar hand-ups from the famous Gilly, Utah’s number one bike race fan and standout heckler, made me smile and netted me a total of $5.
Everyone who started the P2P has a good story to tell about their experience, but one of the best I heard was from my friend Megan from Boulder, CO. Her rear derailleur cable snapped and it looked like her race might be over. At the very least it would have been a long, hard ride to the next aid station to get it replaced. Scott Morrison, a White Pine Racing team member who wasn’t racing but instead volunteering as a course marshal, happened to be right there when Megan ran into trouble. He readily stripped the cable off his own bike and replaced her trashed one. Scott’s only stipulation was that Megan had to make it to the finish line, which she did.
A huge thanks to my team, White Pine Racing powered by JANS.com and Jay Burke for putting on a fantastic mountain bike race and for the generous, equal payout for men and women! Good thing I’m going to Vegas this week…
Evelyn Dong, White Pine Racing powered by JANS.com Team Member