The end of Dirt’s 90-minute ride was near, and he looked forward to the finish where he would put on his flip flops and enjoy a cold craft beer and gorp with his bros.
Ahh, beer. The ultimate after-ride beverage. Cold beer and mountain biking have been a fine pair since the first fat tire was mounted on the front wheel of a Schwinn stingray—marking the birth, as I know it, of mountain biking.
So wine would never do. Right? If one of Dirt’s bros were to pull out a bottle of Petit Sirah, he might actually be banned from future rides. But what if, Dirt considered, his bro paired that Petit Sirah with a nice goat cheese and endive salad? Interesting. But even thinking this is treasoneous, and could get one expelled from the normally warm and welcoming community of mountain bikers.
To be sure, I’m a bonafide beer-drinking mountain biker. But I love good wine and I love good food. I’m no Mary Brown-Malouf, but I know good the good stuff when it enters my mouth.
Enter the Park City Food & Wine Classic and my two-day quest to find an answer.
This multi-day event started out 11 years ago and has been growing in popularity. The event consists of two large stroll events—where the masses can sample food and wine at booths and restaurants—and then a whole bunch of discrete avtivity-based events. These include several mountain biking event where you ride with a group, then wine and dine afterwards.
On day one on my quest, I rolled in to Stein Ericksen Lodge for the Fat Tires and Phat Wines ride. Hosted by avid rider and Stein’s Executive Chef Lane Holmquist, the ride advertised a morning of riding on Deer Valley trails, followed by lunch at Stein’s.
We started out with a warm-up ride, led by Deer Valley mountain bike guide Doug Gormley, up Deer Crest then down to Snow Park Lodge. Next, we jumped on the Silver Lake Express to Sterling Express and to the top of Bald Mountain. From there, we rode the newly built Tidal Wave flow trail—designed and built by Gravity Logic—as well as Naildriver and Deer Crest trails. ]
The ride was a bit shy on the actual saddle time, IMO, but I was mollified by what I knew was going to be an amazing lunch awaited. Whitney Fisher and Nile Zacherle, of Fisher Wines and David Arthur Vineyards, paired some fantastic wines with Chef Holmquist’s tasty menu. I was surprised by the deviled eggs in the first course. Turns out Holmquist’s mother made deviled eggs for every occasion possible when he was a child. His recipe has become a staple at Stein’s.
By the end of the meal, I was beginning to think that good food and wine go indeed go well with mountain biking. To be certain: wine will never replace beer in the world of MTB. As Holmquist himself related to me—I’m paraphrasing—”some of the best wine events are planed while drinking beer.”
Day two of my quest started at Snow Park Lodge, where we were met by St. Regis Deer Valley Executive Chef Chip McMullin. Chip is a pretty bas-ass rider himself—sporting a killer Silver Star Ski & Sport jersey bearing the likeness of Vidalia and Tallulah, owner Todd Fischer’s English and French bulldogs. We featured Todd and his dogs in the May/June 2015 issue of Salt Lake magazine.
On this ride, we quickly made our way to the top of Bald mountain and headed north, sampling trails like Road to Ruby, Team Big Bear and the new extension to Mid-Mountain trail.
Again, ride time was pretty short and needs to be improved, IMO, be we had fun regardless and descended on St Regis at Deer Valley and took over the communal table at J&G Grill. Winemaker Scott Ferry paired some excellent Michael David Winery product with out meal. Of note was the pork belly, which I typically shy away from. In this case, I loved it.
As you can imagine, after lunch I was ready for more riding. While everyone else drifted off for a nap, me and a new bro headed back to the top of Bald Mountain to ride Tidal Wave one more time. There was another endow—it wasn’t me—but we basically KILLED it.
If you want to try something a bit different, consider participating in one of next year’s Park City Food & Wine Classic events. To learn more, check out www.parkcityfoodandwineclassic.com