Someone in our family loves to mountain bike Sundance, but it isn’t me.
The Old Pro
Ben is a mountain biking pro. He’s annoyingly successful at almost everything he tries, but he truly is a bona-fide mountain biking champion. It’s one of his favorite pastimes, and one of the main reasons he was eager to move to Utah. As soon as we arrived he started looking for the bike of his dreams, and quickly found it: a shiny, red, Rocky Mountain 1×10 (I knew the name of the bike without even asking him. That’s how long he’s been talking about getting one.) He’s one of those bikers who likes to talk about his bike and look at his bike almost as much as he likes riding it, and I’m, frankly, getting pretty sick of it.
You see, mountain biking has always been one of those activities he does to unwind while I was rom-coms at home. It’s been a good system. He gets to feel adventurous and take business frustrations out on the rocks, and I get to satisfy my Sandra Bullock addiction. We even had a mutual understanding to not talk about these separate activities, since I don’t understand the appeal of riding over dirt and he doesn’t see how fabulous Sandy is.
Breaching the Agreement
Well, I think I accidentally showed too much interest in the sheer amount of times he’s been mountain biking in Utah in the 4 weeks we’ve lived here, because he adamantly insisted that we “ride” together as soon as possible. In preparation for living abroad and all of the once-in-a-lifetime things I hope we’ll experience, I’m trying to break out of my comfort zone. With this goal in mind, I agreed to a morning of mountain biking on the snow-deserted slopes of a nearby ski mountain: Sundance.
Mountain Bike Sundance
We got up early, dropped Whit off with his cousins (yay, family!), and made the 15-minute drive to Sundance (yes, of Sundance Film Festival and Robert Redford fame). I put Imagine Dragon’s most up-beat songs on the stereo in hopes of getting us both revved for the experience. It worked! I’m amazed, though I shouldn’t be anymore, of how well music can influence our moods and behaviors!
Once there, I had to fill out a waiver with my personal information (Ben already had one on file) and pay $20 for a ticket to mountain bike Sundance, including access to the chair lift (On a separate note, the chair lift ride was GORGEOUS. The mountain range is clearly visible as you soar above the tree line, and have three different options to disembark. Truly, it would be worth the $20 life ticket just to pack a lunch and enjoy the view riding up and down for a couple of hours!) Ben knew where to find the chair lift, left our bikes at the lift’s bike rack, and we got on the next free chair while employees carefully packed our bikes on the chairs behind us.
We took Ray’s Lift to stop 1, Midway, after about 15 minutes on the chair lift. After waiting for the employee to pull our bikes off the chair, we rode to the left-hand side, where the beginner course started. Green arrows labeled “Beginner” led us to the Upper Lift Line course, and Ben gave me a quick overview of what to expect and how to ride. Luckily he’s a great teacher, but he admitted that he was trying to tell me what he thought I should know, not considering the instruction I actually needed. Well, the good-but-sparse advice plus the fact that the very start of this “beginner” trail was pretty ungroomed and moderately treacherous led to 2 falls right away. I’d made it all the way out, though, and was determined to at least figure out how to pass the first banking turn! I did, with lots of encouragement from Ben and other riders (how embarassing), and, by our second time taking that trail, I actually led and didn’t fall at all!
Yep, I’m basically a pro.
I have the massive scrapes on one side of my body and the Hawaiian islands-shaped bruises on my other side to prove it.
Mountain biking pros fall and get bruises, don’t they….?
For more information on when and how to mountain bike Sundance check their website here.
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