Head out on this challenging course for the MTB section of the XTERRA Triathalon Nationals.
Once on the bike, racers leave the swim-to-bike transition (T1) and head west towards the Wheeler Canyon
trailhead for the 28K mountain bike section. (Competitor note:
The first 1.5 miles is on Highway 158, a major road. Ride on the shoulder inside the delineators that will be placed to separate racers from traffic. The Utah Department of Transportation has said we cannot ride in the traffic lanes. Stay inside the delineators. We will assess a minimum of a two-minute penalty to riders caught outside of the lane delineators, and should the police handling traffic stop you, your race is done. When pre-riding we encourage you to park and start at Wheeler Canyon
trailhead to avoid the road).
OK, now to the fun part. For those that have raced the USA Championship in either of the last two years, the first 10-miles through the Wheeler Creek Trail are the same. It starts with mild, steady climbs on dirt, rock, and root-ridden mountain trails that climb through the magnificent Wheeler slot canyon. The trail pops out at the Art Nord trailhead where riders cross old Snowbasin road and climb up the Wheeler Creek - East Fork Trail, then drop down into some speedy descents to the Wheeler Creek - Middle Fork Trail, go across old Snowbasin road one more time and connect with the Wheeler Creek Trail. Singletrack dominates this 10-mile stretch and elevation gains from the water at 4,900-feet to about 7,000-feet before a descent on Middle Fork Trail shoots you back down.
The new section starts where the Wheeler Creek Trail meets the Sardine Peak Trail
. Here riders are in for some more climbing that will take them to the ridgeline, rewarding their efforts with spectacular views of Pineview Reservoir to the right, and Snowbasin to the left.
It certainly has that wow factor, especially with the switchbacks that twist and turn through the fall colors, said Andrus. Its a sensory riot.
The new section of the course is so sweet, a constant smooth climb and wide enough to pass, added local age-group phenom Nick Fisher.
More wide-open vistas of Ogden Canyon lay ahead before the downhill onto Maples Trail speeds riders through a meadow filled with wildflowers and back to the bike-to-run transition at the Snowbasin lodge area where spectators will have the chance to see their friends and family coming in.