On top of the world

Three amigos overlooking the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course.

Three amigos overlooking the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course.

Another perfect weekend riding both days in Utah’s Wasatch State Park, which is pretty much on top of the world. We started out on Saturday by meeting up with a fellow female rider who showed up to the gas station decked out in pink Fox gear. While we filled up on fuel, I noticed another car pull up to the pump next to us and a guy wearing a FMF hat peeled a gas tank from his front seat. Only in Park City do people drive around in cars with dirt bike gas cans, I thought. Come to find out the guy was planning on riding at the same spot later so the threesome became a foursome – the more the merrier, right? ”

Once we pulled up to the campground, I started gearing up while we talked about what kind of trails we wanted to ride. Once the guy from the gas station showed up, it was time to go so we headed up the main road to the first trail, which is a rocky, rutted out mess but all uphill and lots of fun if super sketchy in spots.

After a few miles, the trail ends at an intersection of roads, so we decided to ride another road to the singletrack. Or at least that was the plan. I was starting to hate riding the roads and feeling bad for winding out my motorcycle – she’s not used to it – but if that’s the only way to get where we wanted to go, I had to deal. Usually, any time I’m on my motorcycle is a good time, but with 10 to 20 miles of road ahead, it was starting to get old fast. So, we got to the singletrack, I took off in the lead and rode a few minutes before I realized no one was behind me. I killed the engine and waited…not a sound. No one was coming, which was strange. Turned out, the other female rider went down and her bike was unable to continue. So, we circled back and when I pulled up next to her, I noticed a piece of her clutch cover as well as the water pump cover was missing. “Woah!” I said, more disappointed that we now had to figure out how to get her back to the truck without ruining our day. The other guy took off on his own, while we followed our friend down another road to the nearest trailhead; she coasted the whole way.

We lucked out and ran into a forestry officer who volunteered to give her a ride back to the truck so we wouldn’t have to ride two up since we were dozens of miles away. Then it was time for Jon and I to hit the singletrack, which we did before going back to the truck to check on our friend. We called it a day after that and made plans to ride again tomorrow.

Sunday morning came and we pulled up to the exact same spot only this time the parking lot was pretty much empty – that’s riding in Utah on a Sunday. I was excited to see the guy from yesterday pulling up as we unloaded since he said he knew where to find the best singletrack.

It only took about an hour to get there, riding road after jeep trail and more roads. We ran into traffic at one point when a group of Jeeps were literally crawling through this sweet section of rocks and I wanted to scream: “Get out of the way!” and make them move myself. Patience is not easy when my adrenaline’s pumping and I’m rarring to go tear up some trails only fit for a dirt bike. We passed them with a few choice words and were on our way again when we came up behind a line of side-by-sides and UTVs – even worse! They stopped in the road just talking, and I almost ran into the back of the last one. More words…

We finally reached the singletrack and it was well worth the wait. There’s just something about the woods here – it’s like the Tim McGraw “On Top of the World,” song says:  “Any way you looking, it’s a hell of a view.” It’s hard not to look down and out across the valleys when you’re riding, but you can’t take your eyes off the trail for fear of falling off a cliff you could never return. The other guy lead most of the way at the beginning and stopped to walk a short uphill section before we or I decided as a group that it was too risky to chance it, and if there’s any doubt, don’t do it. Looking back, I know I could have done it and was mad for turning around. I assumed if we had just come up here without walking it first, it wouldn’t be a problem but the longer you wait to do something, the harder it is and I know seeing it beforehand psyched me out. Oh, well.

There was plenty of more trails to conquer and we ended up around 10,000 feet across from Mount Timpanogos “sitting on top of the world.”

“…Holding on to heaven.”

The rest of the day, I managed to baby my rear brakes, which desperately need pads and keep my ass off the ground except once or twice. I remember before one particularly gnarly downhill, the other guy turning to me and saying something like, “You’re going to want to be careful in the next section. It gets pretty rough,” and I wanted to laugh. “We’ll see,” I said, knowing I had been training for trails like this for more than 20 years. Plus riding my 125 was a breeze, and I knew what he meant to say was that he needed to be careful because he was riding a heavy thumper, and I was right behind him every time he turned around.

We rode until the sun set, swapping the lead, twisting throttles and stopping for pictures and/or to chat with other riders on the trail. A moment came later sitting down at dinner to recap our epic ride. That’s when I heard what I’d been waiting for him to say all day, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Well, I’ve ridden with a lot of girls all over place but none of them ride quite like you.”

I must have blushed. “Thank you,” I told him. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

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