Category Archives: Mountain Biking

Wheeler Canyon -> Green Pond Trail

I guess after having made it as far up as I could go at SnowBasin, the only logical thing to do next was to start lower and try to get to the top, to do that you start at the Wheeler Canyon trailhead right next to the Pineview Reservoir dam. Wheeler Canyon is a wide trail, and is a lot of fun to come down riding over all the rock outcroppings on the trail. Only problem is horse crap, as usual with forest service trails. Anyway I was feeling like I could climb about 3000 vertical feet or more, but to do that I would’ve had to start a couple hours earlier. To get to the Needles Lodge from Wheeler Canyon would be 4300 vertical feet, just for reference. I only made it to the top of the Green Pond Loop Trail 20 minutes before the sun set. Around that point in time I pulled the sweetest move — my front tire found some rodents underground burrow, and since the rain had softened the ground, my tire dropped straight down about 4 inches, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except my front tire had a big rock in front of it that I was going to ride over. The sweet part is what happened next, I just endo’d, yup, right over the top. Since I was going up a small hill at the time it was a slow, graceful endo. That’s not the best part though; I endo’d right into a nice stretch of mud, and I had an impressive bloody dent in my lower leg! It just doesn’t get better than that, being all covered in mud looking like you went to war on your ride, with the wounds to prove it. Since I didn’t have much time to get down off the mountain I took the Old Snowbasin Highway back to the Art Nord trailhead (max speed, 39 MPH on the highway), and went from there to the Wheeler Creek trailhead.

All in all, 2,384 ft climbed over 14.3 miles

SnowBasin — All the way to the top

After weeks & weeks of climbing the mountain I finally climbed all the way to the top. I wasn’t planning on going all the way, but once I saw the Needles lodge, I knew I’d be very disappointed if I didn’t get there. For this ride I took the Needles Trail from the parking lot at the base. Once I was into the middle section of the mountain I took the Diamond Trail up to the Philpot Trail where I eventually rejoined the Needles trail. I excruciatingly made my way from there up the final ascents to the lodge. I parked my butt at the lodge for about 20 minutes, just chilling before I headed back down. For the trip down I took the Porcupine Trail, effectively covering most of the mountain. It took 3 1/2 hours to do all this, and the sun had set by the time I made it back to the parking lot.

Earlier in the day I was at the Outdoor Retailer Show’s Open Air Demo Day at Willard Bay. While there I came upon a glove manufacturer who let me borrow a pair of biking gloves to test out on a ride. I don’t know if they realized that I meant a real ride, but dangit, that’s what it was. So these gloves showed a lot of promise, but seriously fell short. The first thing I noticed was a massive seam between the thumb and the forefinger that dug into flesh whenever I gripped the handlebars. Everything else was good for a couple miles, and then my pinkies started to complain from the seams around those fingers. I kept going & then I started feeling my skin being rubbed raw from excess material bunching at the base of my fingers. Near the top I noticed one of the design elements on the glove had started peeling away. When I looked at the gloves on the top I noticed that the padding which was prominently raised on the palm was almost as flat as the rest of the glove. Between the seams, the bunching fabric & lack of padding my hands were complaining the whole way down. When I took the gloves off my palms were on the verge of being all pruney from lack of ventilation for the palms. One last thing, the terry wipe pad on the glove was teeny tiny for a guy whose sweat glands act like sprinklers. I was wishing I had my regular pair of gloves in my bag. They’re a 10 year old pair of Specialized gloves, mostly leather, no padding at all which are still as functional as the day I bought them. Thanks Specialized.

All in all it was 2600 ft of elevation climbed and 12.5 miles.

SnowBasin — Green Pond/Last Chance Loops

Snowbasin is becoming a welcome retreat this summer with the heat that the valley’s have been having. The increased electric bill for keeping my place cool is proof enough of that. It’s totally worth the 30 minute drive up there (40 minutes if someone drives the canyon at 25 mph). I’ve been going up 3-4 times a week, though I certainly don’t post about every time. The Porcupine Trail is by far my favorite trail up there, downhill at least. It has some sweet jumps and some good amounts of trail that aren’t encumbered with switchbacks. Towards the top there’s a large rock that’s right next to the trail that you can ride up on and jump off a 2 foot drop back onto the trail. It’s an open invitation for some tacos — with my bike at least.

As of Saturday I’ve ridden every foot of trail on the mountain. My top 3 trails are Porcupine — downhill, Green Pond Loop — clockwise, and Last Chance Loop — counter-clockwise. You can come up with some pretty creative combinations with all the trails up there, and that can give you some good opportunities for some more uphill in your ride if that’s what you’re after. I’m still not a fan of the development of the switchbacks. Like I’ve said before, the majority of them are really tight, and you come up on them without warning. They’re also covered with a deep layer of fine dirt that resembles talcum powder. This hides some rocks, deep cuts, and other obstacles in the way, and makes tight turns at any level of speed an uneasy prospect. Compounding this, a lot of the switchbacks have downward slopes on the exit portions instead of banks, so the natural course of a bike, is right off the trail. Before I slowed down to a crawl on these switchbacks, I made out with a couple endos because of that design. Which brings up a question — were the switchbacks planned this way to force bikers to slow down, or is it a result of a lack of planning & foresight on the trail designers part?

Back to the subject at hand, I decided to make one big loop out of the Green Pond & Last Chance Loops. This was a good combination resulting in 8.4 miles of trail climbing around 1500 ft. This route took me my preferred way up the Green Pond Loop, and gave me the chance to do the Last Chance Loop the opposite way of what I’ve done before. I didn’t like it that much to be honest. I think next time up there I’m going to try these loops in a figure 8 pattern. It will cover more mileage and be a little more climbing, but It’ll be a better ride. Overall, though, it was a great ride. It doesn’t even feel like you’ve climbed 1500 ft throughout the whole ride, maybe just half.