Hundreds of cyclists to race at Soldier Hollow in Wasatch All Road
Cyclists from all over the country will compete in a 100-mile race in the Heber Valley this weekend. People on local roads will see them throughout the day, and spectators can enjoy festivities at Soldier Hollow.
It’s the second year the Wasatch All Road Bicycle Race is based in Wasatch County, and the first time it’s at Soldier Hollow.
Organizer Jeff Louder says he hopes the race will find a home there. Billed as “Utah’s toughest gravel race,” he says the format combines traditional road racing with the scenery and challenge Utah race routes are famous for.
“The gravel bike is made to handle both road riding and off road conditions like fire roads and mellow single track and everything in between,” Louder says. “It’s really grown in popularity of the sport in recent years, mostly because it just really gets people out into amazing territory that typically cyclists haven't spent as much time pursuing. And on the racing aspect, it's been really fun community oriented.”
A former professional cyclist of 15 years and winner of the Tour of Utah, Louder says the Wasatch All Road race drew inspiration from that race and others around the world.
About 420 riders have registered, and Louder expects about 450 total before the registration deadline Wednesday at midnight. He says many of those will be Utahns, but cyclists will also come in from around the country.
The route includes over 11,000 feet of climbing and passes through Daniel, Independence and a Uinta Mountains loop that reaches Highway 35 near Woodland. There are also 75-mile and 20-mile races.
Last year, the race started at a Heber bike shop called Ventum, but that wasn’t an option this year. He says Soldier Hollow was at the top of the list in the search for a new place.
“It's just a great endurance event site,” Louder says. “As a former Olympic venue, they put on world-class events year round, from cross-country ski racing to biathlon. And, in the summertime, plenty of great mountain bike races, and so it was really just a no-brainer to put on an event like a gravel race at Soldier Hollow, and they've been great to work with.”
Like at other Soldier Hollow events this year, people who aren’t competing can still enjoy the day at the site. There will be food trucks, a cycling vendors expo and a beer garden throughout the day.
The cyclists will cross major roads like U.S. 189 and U.S. 40 in the southern Heber area. Louder says they’ll be asked to follow the rules of the road, but no roads will be closed for the race.
The winners of the 100-mile men’s and women’s races will split a $10,000 prize purse.
Visit thewasatchallroad.com to register to compete or for more information.