Professional cyclists are flocking to the Beehive State as the Tour of Utah kicks off for the sixteenth time on August 12. The annual road biking spectacle will challenge world-class riders with a leg-torching 38,000 feet of elevation gain over seven days through Utah’s famed mountain ranges. Three past Tour of Utah Champions—Joe Dombrowski, Lachlan Morton and Rob Britton—will take the starting line to compete alongside athletes from UCI professional teams, including 24-year-old Giulio Ciccone, who won the King of the Mountains jersey at this year’s Giro d’Italia and wore the yellow leader’s jersey for two days at the 2019 Tour de France.
The Tour of Utah starts on August 12 with the prologue at Snowbird where riders will speed through an individual time trial up Little Cottonwood Road. Over the course of the next week the race winds its way from Logan to Powder Mountain Resort, from Antelope Island State Park to Salt Lake City before a brutal final stage that begins and ends on Park City’s Main Street on August 18. Check out the full list of stages and venues for this year’s Tour of Utah to catch all the action in person.
Witnessing these superhuman riders in action will likely get your motivational juices flowing, so jump on that rare rush of fitness inclination, and get ready to ride your own mini tour.
Gear Up for Your Ride
You’re going to need a bike. Yes, the rusted-out Schwinn in your garage is probably fine and that now-disgraced-former-hero was right when he said “It’s not about the bike.” However, few things are more inspirational than new bike day, especially when you can get a killer deal from a local Utah Company.
Fezzari Bicycles was born and bred in Utah—many of their bikes bear the names of famous local mountains—and they offer a unique direct to consumer sales platform, which substantially lowers the cost to you. Typically a bike goes from the manufacturer to a distributor to a bike shop to the consumer, with markups all along the way. By cutting out the middle part of that transaction, Fezzari provides a comparable high-quality product for less money.
Our top pick for your budding cycling obsession is the Empire. The bike is named for the epic climb up Empire Pass and features endurance-focused geometry that is not only efficient, but is also ultra comfortable on long rides. While not cheap at $1,699, the Empire is a complete steal for the package you get, and you can be sure your legs will give up long before the bike you’re on does.
Ride Your Own Tour
I wouldn’t deign to suggest you attempt following the Tour of Utah’s actual route—most of us mortals would expire along any one of the race’s formidable stages—but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience Utah’s highlights from the saddle. Here are a few options to get started.
The climb up Emigration Canyon is a great introduction to mountainous riding. The eight-mile climb gently rises approximately 1,200 feet from This Is The Place Heritage Park to the Little Mountain Summit with views of Mount Aire and Little Dell Reservoir. If you have extra gas in the legs, an additional seven miles and 1,500 vertical feet will take you to the Big Mountain Summit. Whichever option you choose, stop by Ruth’s Diner on the way down to undo all that hard work with some Mile High Biscuits and Country Gravy.
Explore the largest island in the Great Salt Lake on two wheels. Park at any one of the parks on Antelope Drive in Syracuse and start turning your pedals west across the Causeway to Antelope Island. There’s a three-dollar day use fee for cyclists, but it’s well worth the investment. A counter-clockwise tour of the island will bring you back to the Causeway and the finish of the 48-mile ride.
Provo River Parkway to Utah Lake
The 35-mile point-to-point ride starts at Vivian Park and follows the Provo River Parkway Trail before joining the Murdock Canal Trail and Jordan River Trail to Utah Lake. The paved trails feature incredible views of the Central Wasatch, are delightfully devoid of vehicle traffic and end with the opportunity to cool off with a dip in Utah Lake. Just don’t forget to stash a car or arrange for a ride home.
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