This past Sunday marked Park City’s 33rd annual Tour des Suds, a 7-mile mountain bike race put on by the Mountain Trails Foundation. While this event is timed and the course itself is grueling, 2,700 feet of elevation gain from downtown Park City to the top of Guardsman Pass that is nearly all singletrack, the nature of this bike race is fun and festive. Competitors traditionally don costumes and are offered a choice of whiskey or beer (or both) at the Endurance Cycle Service feed station ¾ of the way up.
A brief rain shower graced Park City on Sunday morning, but by the time we rolled up Main Street, conditions were clear and perfect. Cool temps and pristine trails were on the menu for the morning.
The race crowd consisted of everyone from parents towing kids in trailers and trail-a-bikes to mountain bike racers gunning for a PR. A large contingent of the Park City High School mountain bike team turned out for the event, since they had a weekend off from high school competition.
Costumes Recommended but Not Required
My costume was one of the less creative as I pulled it together the morning of the race. I wore a ski onesie with a vintage Nordic waterbelt/fanny pack, but tutus were the fashion statement of the day. Charlie Sturgis, Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, had one of the best costumes as the mythical poop fairy with dog poop bags adorning his tutu. A creative group of riding buddies dressed up as the crew from the Wizard of Oz, including the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow.
It’s All About the Biking Community
Matthew Turner of the Park City High School Mountain Bike Team was the fastest to the top with a time of 47:40 and I managed to eek out the women’s win in 48:52. The real story is that 190 racers, mostly Park City locals rallied on primo Park City trails and had a good time doing so. Sturgis was impressed with the turnout, and commended the racers by stating, “I am constantly amazed at how passionate Park City is about their beloved outdoor recreation and their willingness to show to show up on a rainy day to participate in one of the oldest races in the area.”
There’s no shuttle service down (why would you want one?) so as racers finished, groups of friends met up and rode various trails back down to the Town Lift Plaza for the beer, BBQ and after-party. My White Pine Racing powered by jans.com teammate, Michael Burton, and I hit up Team Big Bear, Little Chief, Speed Bag and Sweeney’s as our route down. The trails were dialed after last week’s rain, and the descent was the perfect reward.
Thanks to the Mountain Trails Foundation for a great event, to The Bridge, who provided an awesome post-race BBQ, and to Backcountry.com, Kuhl, Black Diamond, and Helly Hansen, and Pearl Izumi for offering a great selection of prizes!
Evelyn Dong, content writer