Recreation: Fill up your summer outdoor calendar
We know how it works: You spend all winter planning and prepping for summer, knowing you want to participate in your favorite race or run, only to have the days whirl back and before you know it, the race is already here or you've let the signup date slip and you can no longer get an entry.
Or, perhaps you have a big case of performance anxiety. Or you have too many events on your wish list.
That is why we are here to help with an annual summer guide of the rides, races and events you know about, plus a few you maybe don't.
So get out a pen, get out a calendar, get out your training book and start planning, before it's too late.
This category is filled with well-known rides such as the Antelope Moonlight Ride (July 11), Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride (June 28-29), the Tour de Park City (Aug. 2) and LOTOJA (Sept. 6) to name a few.
But there are others that are lesser-known that are worth giving a go. June 21 brings us the Three Kings Cycling race, a North Salt lake event that will bring out the best, and surely the worst, in climbers.
But we also like the Aug. 22-25 Hoodoo 500, because it is as much fun to ride amongst the southern Utah rock formations as it is to say the name, along with the Sept. 20 Harvest Moon Criterium in Ogden, which continues to build its reputation as a fun event.
For those with iron stomachs, or at least the power to control the urge to regurgitate, consider the Utah Tour de Donut, a Sept. 27 race in American Fork in which racers eat donuts to reduce their times.
The Park City Point to Point race, which features about 75 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing, has become so popular it sells out in minutes. Scheduled for Aug. 30, it will be hard to find an entry now. But there are others that should be tried.
The Crusher in the Tushar, a race organized by former local pro Burke Swindlehurst, is a 70-mile race that is held on pavement and dirt fire-roads in the Tushar mountains of southern Utah. Part of the challenge is deciding what kind of bike to use; many opt for a cyclocross bike, which has the split personality suited for the race.
Not enough mileage? Check out the June 21 Dixie 200, a 200-mile, self-supported epic challenge on trails between Bryce Canyon and Brian Head.
July 31 brings the Wildflower Trailfest at Snowbasin, a mountain bike challenge for women.
Riders and racers looking for something in between need to check out the June 7 Wasatch Back 50, a Heber City-based race that is just the perfect length for those who want more than the usual Saturday races off but don't want to commit to one of the full-fledged endurance races.
The only thing missing from this calendar is a 12-hour or 24-hour race in northern Utah for early summer. Anyone? Anyone?
The famed Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back race already is full, but don't despair, there are plenty of other races that will test your will and skill.
Coming on us fast is the May 24 Timp Trail marathon, a trail marathon much like an ultra marathon that is held on all mountain trails and fire roads.
Too tame? Then try the July 5 Moab Alpine to Slickrock race, which is a 50-miler that travels over three mountain passes for about 11,000 feet of elevation.
Closer to home is the Wahsatch Steeplechase scheduled for June 21 at Memory Grove. It's a mere 17-miler, but the 8,000 feet in elevation gain, with 4,000 of that coming right at the start, will have racers panting before they hit the first ridge. After that, they'll negotiate loose terrain guarded by rattlesnakes and tarantulas, what isn't to love?
Virtually every major city in Utah seems to have a marathon these days, which are all well and good. Running for 26 miles straight shows not only a great deal of physical but mental strength.
But not everyone wants to blow snot for 26 miles, so we are going to highlight a few other races, such as the first annual "Heaven Can Wait," 5K sponsored by Leavitt's Mortuary in Ogden on June 21. The idea is to raise awareness for organ transplant. We like the fact that with a 5K, there won't be a need to cough up a lung.
Others that caught our eye are the Famous Fruit Way half marathon on Aug. 9 in Ogden, the Cedar Express 31 Mile Relay on Aug. 16 and Provo's Midnight run on June 27, which starts at 10 p.m. Runners, glow sticks and Provo at midnight how can you top that for fun?
Many people view triathlons as a true test of fitness, with big efforts required in swimming, running and biking. However, there are more and more beginner and intermediate events being offered, which we see as a great thing to introduce more people to the sport.
The Sept. 13 Bear Lake Brawl offers an Olympic distance tri with a swim of 1,500 meters, a bike of 24.9 miles and a 6.2-mile run. But there are plenty of fun races featuring shorter options before that hard-core effort.
The Sand Hollow Triathlon on May 31 in Hurricane offers an Olympic distance, but several shorter options as well, while Cottonwood Heights on May 31, the Daybreak tri on June 7 in South Jordan and the Tooele tri on June 28 all offer sprint distances.
So get out and give one a try (bad pun intended).
Off the beaten path
Any serious XTERRA athlete already has the National Championship, scheduled for Sept. 20-21 in Ogden, on the calendar. This race crowns the champion of the mountains at the pro and rec level by testing racers on the mountain bike, trail run and swim portions on a beautiful course based at Snowbasin resort.
But why wait until September to test yourself? There are several growing events that racers should know about and put on the calendar now.