Waking up to pouring rain and lightning at 5 am is usually not a good thing especially when you are up to race an 80-mile mostly single-track mountain bike race. With the rain poring down, I went through the motions of getting ready for the Park City Point to Point. When we got to the starting area, we where informed that the race was postponed an hour to see what the weather would do. The rain was starting to let up and in true sportsmen way, we took a vote to decide if we should race or push it to Sunday. With the consensus being to race as planned on Saturday, the first leg of the race was eliminated because of the clay-based dirt in that section.
The first hour of the race was a bit sloppy & dicey with small sections of pavement slick from rain and with muddy tires, there were numerous crashes for those that did not heed caution. I was able to stay clear of any crashes or problems. After about an hour, a front group of Alex Grant, Ben Sonntag, and Nick Truitt had put about a minute on the rest of the field. I was in the chase group with Cary Smith and Drew Edsall. After the first aid at mile 28 Cary and myself had dropped the other chasers. I wasn’t feeling great for the first hour or so I was starting to feel good and put a bit of an attack on Cary. I was able to get a gap and kept pushing hard, after another 30 minutes I started to see Nick and quickly reeled him in.
By the top of the ski area I was feeling great and had a good gap on Cary and Nick, I started the super fun decent down to the bottom of Park City and aid station two. About half way down I was just having so much fun that I missed a turn and headed down a super steep service road… A minute later, I thought to myself: “you just missed a turn” but I kept going down… When I got to a lift at the bottom of the road there were no markings so I quickly turned around and started back up the road. What a dumb move, but now I had to get back up and hopefully could make that time up. When I got back to the course Nick and Cary where just going by! I had blown about a 5-minute lead on those guys and would really have to race hard the last 20 something miles.
We all hit the bottom of the ski area together and started the hard climb up to The Canyons, I was still feeling good so I went hard and put a gap on the other two. I knew I was going to have to push hard the whole way because both Nick and Cary are super strong guys so you can’t let up on either of them. I could see Nick below me on some of the switch backs on the climb and could tell he was pushing hard so I really dug deep and gave it all I had till the end. When I did cross the line Nick was having chain issues and was no wear to be found. Cary came in behind me followed by Nick who was pushing and running with his bike for the last couple miles.
After 6 plus hours of racing I had finished in 3rd place, which I was very happy with considering all of the talented riders in the race this year! Alex got his 4 peat and Ben finished in a strong second. The PCPP is one of my favorite races; just the amount of trails in this area is amazing. I will definitely be back next year.