Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sundance Canyon

Last November I went for a night ride with my friends down Sundance Canyon, I thought that the story was worth telling so I wrote it down. Now that I have a Blog I figured that I would share.

Watch that next corner

Ok Last night was Crazy. Typically we go up the Squaw Peak road which is very steep and windy. Since this road has so many corners your speed ranges from say 20-35 mph and you spend a lot of your time in a semi controlled sideways slide through the corners. Very fun and since you are not going terribly fast it is usually not a big deal if you slide off of the road. Last night was a little different… We went up the Sundance side of the Alpine Loop since they have closed the gate at the bottom of Squaw Peak for the season. We started at Aspen Grove and proceeded down past Sundance to the Provo canyon turnoff. After the first ½ mile it became obvious that we were in for something very different than what we were used to. Comparatively speaking the turns were more sweeping and straight, not the tight switchbacks like you see on Squaw Peak. This road lets you build up more speed than you really thought that you wanted right before it throws a 180 degree switch back that will eat your lunch if you are not ready for it. My first run through this switchback caught me a little off guard. I immediately slid sideways to the outside of the curve and was able to stay a couple of feet from the concrete barrier. In my peripheral vision I could see the spinning lights of three others that were not so lucky narrowly missing me as they bounced off the wall. When the smoke cleared I exited the corner unscathed and in the lead.

Scary Fast

Next comes a couple more switch backs then a section of road about 4 miles long that is gently curving and steep. The speedometer on the chase truck clocked us at a max speed of 45 mph. On plastic wheels I think that was faster than any of us wanted to go but no one was going to be the first to lift and loose a shot at the lead position. Once you lift and loose the draft there is no chance of catching back up to the pack. This section is somewhat Nascar-ish as we diced for position drafting and slingshoting by each other as we built speed. Loosing control and sliding off the road here would not be pretty. As we reached the bottom it was impossible to wipe the smiles of our faces we tossed the bigwheels in the trailer and headed up for another run. In total we made five runs down the mountain.

Run #4

By now we are getting more comfortable with the road and the speeds. We had just started our run and were traveling at about 35 mph, I hardly even noticed the car passing on the opposite side of the road until the cherries started flashing. Yep we got pulled over by the Utah Highway Patrol on our BIGWEELS. Apparently the folks that live around Sundance thought that we were having a little too much fun. The attitude of the Patrol Officer quickly went from annoyance to amusement when he started looking at our bigweels, “You can’t be ridding those on a state highway! We thought that they had a motor, Did you build those yourselves? Do they have brakes?” Our argument was that they were no different than a bicycle and that we were really not doing anything wrong. He stood there for a minute with a confused look on his face, then walked back to his car “Don’t go anywhere this might take a minute”. A couple of minutes later he came back and said “Well I can’t find anything that you guys are doing wrong… You know the speed limit here is 35, I don’t know how fast these things go but just be careful and keep the speed down. You guys are free to go”. We hopped back on our bigwheels as a second Patrol Car comes blazing up. It took a minute for the first officer to calm down the second and explain to him that we were doing nothing wrong and that he was letting us go. That was seriously the highlight of the evening.

When was the last time you got pulled over on your bigwheel and received a warning for speeding?

And in case you were wondering, yes this is a contact sport.Sorry Jeff, I hope that washes out.
Meet me tomorrow night at the base of Squaw Peak, 8:00 sharp.
No... not to make out.

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