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Team Photo Scrapbook 2012
2012 Intermountain Cup Mountain Bike Racing Series

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Wasatch Back 50

The Wasatch Back 50 (WB50) was the 3rd race of the 2012 Utah State Championship Series. It was brutal fun. The race was 52 miles with 7300 vertical feet of climbing at altitude. In some categories 2/3 of the entrants did NOT finish. That's a tough race.

At the strider-bike race race, waiting for the last competitors to finish. Shortly after this photo (stolen from Bob Saffel's facebook post), the clouds dumped an inch of water accompanied by nearby lightning strikes.

The race combined the singletrack of Soldier Hollow with graded road, ATV track, and singletrack in the Little Deer Creek area. In the Little Deer Creek area, most of the climbing was on the improved road, and the descent was on fun fast semi-tech ATV track. There were a few hairy spots that dumped riders into the dirt.

The ATV descent had many water crossings. This photo is from late summer 2006. On race day, the water in this hole was 12 inches deeper and 30 feet wider. Really.

The race started with 5.3 miles on pavement with police escort. This "neutral roll" took riders in a 1/4-mile mob from the Homestead Resort to the singletrack of Soldier Hollow. At Soldier Hollow, racers started climbing the mountain in an endless creeping wheel-to-wheel chain. Those who were crafty enough to be forward in the road mob gained several minutes here, as back-of-the-pack riders slowed to a crawl waiting for the trail to clear. 

High-speed dirt road near the campground.

The 5.3-mile loop at Soldier Hollow was the reverse of the Intermountain Cup race. Back at the bottom, racers again climbed to the top of the loop, then diverted onto singletrack heading for the top of the mountain. (Up the Down Staircase from the ICup race.  See the map below.) Here there were nice views of Timp and the Heber Valley.

Meghan (left) and John (next to Meghan) talk racing as the rainstorm lets up.

At the top of the mountain (mile 13 of the race), we diverted onto newish singletrack which took us one mile across the ridge and down to SR 220. (SR 220, also called the Cascade Springs Road, is the crushed-rock graded road from Midway to Cascade Springs and Pole Line Pass.) Once we reached the main loop, there was never again an issue with passing, and those of us who'd been boxed in at the back began reeling in our rivals.

Mike and Mitt.

At the climb on 220, the race diverted onto ATV track for more climbing up the ridgeline. At mile 17.7 the course descended briefly to a saddle where it intersected 220. This was the cross-over for the figure-eight main lap. At the feed station riders scrambled to stock up for more climbing up 220 toward Middle Mountain.

Bruce gets his medallion and gift certificate. And does that separated left shoulder still look a little odd? Seven months later, and it still hurts for a couple of days after rough downhills.

The ridgeline on Middle Mountain offered dramatic views of Mill Canyon Peak and the valley of Little Deer Creek. At Middle Mountain, the trail dropped steeply on ATV track to the bottom of the valley. Fast and furious. Eventually the ATV track became dirt road, then after skirting the campground, again ATV track. One noxious loose steep triple-down-arrow section dumped a lot of riders -- including me, both laps.

John (left) takes the 2nd place honor in Men 50-plus.

The course then rejoined the Cascade Springs road low in the valley and climbed uphill. At the campground the trail diverted across a meadow to join singletrack on top of a pipeline route. This singletrack brought us back to the feed zone and crossover at mile 29.4.

Mitt (right) takes the 4th place spot in Expert Men 40-plus.

The next 2.6 miles was a blazing fast descent on winding ATV track down to 220 just above the Soldier Hollow golf course. A right turn on 220, and we climb back up for another lap. The lap/finish zone was 1/4 mile uphill on the Cascade Springs Road. With cold Coke in the bucket. Tempting, but gotta wait for mile 52.

Ah. Cracking a cold Coke at the finish line. Great race.

Meghan (2nd from left) gets a nice check for her 2nd place finish in Pro Women.

Stats from Bruce's ride:
Distance 52.2 miles (plus 4 mile ride back); Time 6:07:11
Climbing 7260 vertical feet; Top elevation 8050 feet
Max speed 36.8 mph; Average speed 9.0 mph
Max heart rate 172; Average HR 139
Average cadence 69 rpm
Fluids: 4 x 24 oz plus 3 x 20 oz bottles = 156 oz
Calories burned: GPS estimate 3500
Ingested: 8 Coconutz, 6 oz gel

Money winners in Pro Men went 8 deep. Casey (2nd from right) is among the winners at 5th place.

UMB Team WB50 Results 
Sport Men 30-39
Expert Men 40-plus
Men 50-plus
Men 60-plus
Pro Men
Pro Women
Michael Dodge 27th
Mitt Steward 4th
Geno Smith 7th
Mike Engberson 15th
John Higgins 2nd
Bruce Argyle 3rd
Dave Benson 8th
Casey Gibbs DNF
Casey Zaugg 5th
Meghan Sheridan 2nd

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