Joys of Early Season Mountain Biking and Trail Running

It’s the spring, which normally means slightly warmer temperatures and a whole lot of time skiing the amazing Utah corn snow. Unfortunately with all of this Covid-19 craziness, those activities have been held off. So instead of skis, most of us here in Park City have transitioned to wheels and runs as the south facing hillsides are drying out. With new activities, come new challenges to get into shape for. And how horribly out of shape I realize I am.

Even though I haven’t ridden my bike or really ran since November, it’s crazy to see how much you loose fitness over the winter months. Even with ski touring and XC skiing, none of that fitness translates. A normal hill climb at the start of a trail now exhausts me, and the punchy sections down right stop me in my tracks. This can be a real motivation killer or driver depending on how you look at it. Looking back at my fitness in the fall, I was setting PRs every time I went out. Now my lap times are in the toilet. Knowing how far I have to go is somewhat daunting, but also exciting!

But it’s not all terrible news. As the temps warm up and the weather stays dry, more and more trails slowly start opening up for business. For example, right now, the only thing I’ve been riding has been the Glenwild trails, but week by week, more and more areas will open. Soon all of Round Valley will be dry and ready. Then comes some of the Olympic Park, and soon enough, the entire Wasatch back will be dry and ready to be shredded! That is exciting times, and something to look forward to in this bleak outlook of a future the news is portraying.

With daydreams about dry trails and warm weather constantly swirling in my head, it is not the reality. Reality is this photo below. Yes, I am aware that riding wet trails is a cardinal sin here in Park City. But even on south facing slopes that are 99% dry, there are still some shaded sections that look like this. Luckily, on this trail, this is the only section that looks like this and realistically the only section we are damaging by using. I’m sure trail-builders hate seeing this, but they also must understand. Users, like me, especially in times like this, need to get outside to exercise. And riding a trail that is dry except for one section, is an easy justification for me.

So I embrace this time of year. It’s a time to better myself, travel in the mountains in a different way from the previous season, and simply enjoy my time outside (social distancing responsibly). just remember, it’s early season. Don’t push it too hard, build your fitness slowly, and just enjoy everything you can. This COVID-19 quarantine has allowed me to appreciate even more the local trails I have right here in my town.

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