Event Preview: The Summit Challenge is a Beautiful Ride with Opportunities for All Riders

The Summit Challenge is host to several veteran's groups. Photo by Claire Wiley of Eclectic Brew Productions.
The Summit Challenge is host to several veteran’s groups. Photo by Claire Wiley of Eclectic Brew Productions.

By Dave Iltis

July 21, 2015 – The Summit Challenge, a century ride, will be held in Park City on August 22, 2015. The ride, in its 8th year, is a benefit for the National Ability Center, a non-profit dedicated to providing outdoor opportunities for people of all abilities and their families including those with neuromuscular, orthopedic, spinal cord, cognitive and developmental disabilities, and visual and hearing impairments.

We caught up with event promoters Chris Magerl and Julia Rametta.

Cycling Utah: Tell us about the course for the Summit Challenge. What are the course options? What are the highlights during and after the ride?

Summit Challenge: We have three routes to help fit a wide variety of riders’ idea of a challenge.

The 102-mile route travels across some of the best paved climbs of Summit and Wasatch counties, and features 6,800 feet of vertical. This route includes one very short, very steep climb into Wolf Creek Ranch–the steepest 1-mile segment of the Tour of Utah.

The 52-mile route winds around Park City and the Snyderville Basin before heading out toward the Kamas Valley and some very easy, quiet roads. But, there are some big climbs here, too, including a return through Browns Canyon.

The 18-mile route features many paved bike paths, bike lanes and designated bike routes in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, including the Union Pacific Trail and the Silver Quinn Trail. This route is family-friendly, lets you sleep in a bit longer, and still features two fully-stocked aid stations and a great post-ride party at the National Ability Center ranch.

Known for its beautiful route, great service at the aid stations, and meticulous course marking, the Summit Challenge also fully supported by roving sag vehicles. And when you get back to the ranch, there will be food, beverages and DJs to help you celebrate.

CU: This year, the ride goes through Wolf Creek Ranch. Tell us more!

SC: Not every day you can ride through Wolf Creek Ranch. Riders will pedal and coast along its gorgeous 12-mile paved road that winds along at 8,000 feet. In fact, you might not otherwise ever have the chance. Wolf Creek Ranch is a private 14,000 acre community nestled between the Uintas and the Wasatch. The only other bike ride that will go through there this year is the Tour of Utah, and it is pretty hard to get a spot for that ride.

The views of Timpanogos and the Heber Valley while pedaling along the ridge are outstanding! But you have to earn them. From the Wolf Creek Ranch gate to the plateau is only 2.2 miles, but one of those miles is a 12.3 percent pitch. For the pros last year, it took an average of 8.5 minutes to go one mile! We will have a shuttle option for those who find the climb just a bit too challenging. Come see how you compare with the pros, who will ride this climb one week before the Summit Challenge.

CU: What opportunities does the Summit Challenge have for those with disabilities? Are cycles available for use?

SC: The Summit Challenge is a fully-supported ride that accommodates all ages and abilities. We can provide adaptive cycles, buddy riders, guides for someone with a visual impairment or just about anything else that someone might require to ride in this event. We do have adaptive cycles available for rent as well. Additionally, cyclists with a disability ride at no cost and generally make up about one fifth of our field of riders!

The ride provides opportunities for all abilities. Photo by Jan Drake
The ride provides opportunities for all abilities. Photo by Jan Drake

CU: Tell us about the NAC. What programs do you have for those who have disabilities that would like to cycle.

SC: The National Ability Center offers a wide variety of adaptive recreation programs both seasonally and year-round. Activities include alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horseback riding, hippotherapy, indoor rock climbing, swimming, archery, sled hockey, cycling, water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and challenge course activities.

Specific to cycling, the National Ability Center offers individual, one-on-one lessons that teach cycling skills and encourages people to be comfortable on a bike. We have a wide variety of adaptive equipment available. This year, we also started an adaptive mountain bike and off-road hand cycle program. Summer sessions are currently in session and fall sessions will begin in September. Call 435-649-3991 or visit www.discovernac.org to sign up!

CU: Will any veteran’s groups be riding this year?

SC: Thirty percent of the population the National Ability Center serves are military veterans and their families. The Summit Challenge offers a great opportunity for veterans to get out and recreate together. This year will also be the 5th year that the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride will take part in the event. We are excited to have them back to the ranch and to ride with them in August.

CU: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

SC: We will have a great party happening at the National Ability Center after the ride. Have your friends and family come out to celebrate your ride with food, music and activities. A one-mile Discovery Loop is also available for kids and those wanting a shorter intro ride. Register for everything at www.summitchallenge100.org.

Event Details:

August 22 — Summit Challenge, Park City, UT, Riders of all ages and abilities will hit the pavement for a 102, 52, or 18-mile road ride event in support of the National Ability Center’s mission. All three fully-supported routes of this event follow paved roads in and around the beautiful Park City mountainside. This exciting event promises to serve up a challenge for a wide range of cycling levels and abilities. And don’t forget – all Summit Challenge riders who have a disability can register and ride for free!, Julia Rametta, 435-649-3991, [email protected], Whitney Thompson, 435-649-3991, w[email protected], summitchallenge100.org, discovernac.org


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