By David Ward
Let the climbing begin. You saw the excellent, detailed Spectator’s Guide in the July 2017 issue of cycling utah/cycling west. This year’s Tour of Utah challenges more than 120 international professional cyclists with over 36,000 feet of climbing in one short week. I am really stoked about this year’s venues. Without re-plowing ground covered in the Spectator’s Guide, let me hit a few of the highlights I am excited about.
Stage 1 begins the Tour with a long slog up Logan Canyon, around Bear Lake and then back to Logan. The section that will really hurt their legs is the return climb, after looping around Bear Lake, from Garden City to the top of Logan Canyon. I have done this several times, and it is a leg-burner. This is certain to be where the main and final attacks come, and will be a great place to take in a part of this day’s stage.
An individual time trial up Big Cottonwood Canyon for Stage 3 will tax the legs of each racer. Beginning at the Donut Falls Trailhead, it will climb 6 miles, finally ending at the Brighton Ski Resort. Just before the finish is a short, steep pitch that will burn the quads as each racer finishes his ride. This short section is where one should be to take in the finale to this stage.
Stage 6, the Tour’s Queen Stage, is a parcours beginning in Soldier Hollow near Heber City, traces its route around Deer Creek Reservoir and part way down Provo Canyon to the turn off to Sundance Ski Resort. From there, it climbs past Sundance and over the top of the Alpine Loop before dropping back down to the valley floor where it winds its way to the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon for the final 6 mile climb to the Snowbird Ski Resort. Assuming there are still two or more riders battling for the overall title, this is where the race will be decided. The final attacks should come in the Seven Sisters section, the final steep pitch just before Tanner’s Flat.
And for good, fast and technical racing, and excellent spectating, nothing beats Stage 7's circuit race looping 6.8 miles through Salt Lake City. Watch the racers suffer up the steep incline on North State Street to the Utah State Capitol, or watch the racers fly, and the officials’ and support vehicles screech, around the turns at Reservoir Park. Or do both.
Thrilling racing, coupled with the Harmon’s Healthy Living Expo and University of Utah Kids Sprint to the Finish Line featured on each stage, make for a complete week of spectator excitement at and participation in this year’s Tour of Utah. Pick your stages, and be there for a fun and exciting time.
Look for updates and photos daily on cyclingutah.com too!