Dear City of Draper, Utah,
I have waited for too, too long to tell you this, and simply cannot restrain myself any longer. If I do, I fear my heart will burst.
I love you.
Yes, I’ll say it again, without shame, and will shout it from the rooftops:
I love you!
Why do I love you, Draper? Could it be because of your low crime rate? Could it be because of your exceptionally clean streets? Could it be because of your reasonable property taxes?
No. It is none of these, because I have no idea whether you have a low crime rate, exceptionally clean streets, or even how your property taxes compare to neighboring cities (for I do not live in you, oh most wonderful Draper).
I love you for one big, beautiful reason — a reason that encompasses a multitude of many wonderful reasons.
I love you because you created, built, and now maintain Corner Canyon Park.
Draper (do you mind if I simply call you “Draper?” I mean it as a term of endearment, I assure you!), the most important reason I love you is the fact that you don’t simply allow Corner Canyon Park — a well-planned and executed network of singletrack nestled between several expensive neighborhoods — but that you actively develop it.
I swear, Draper, there is 30% more singletrack in this park right now than there was last year, and there’s clearly more on the way.
Here’s Gary (and Vince close behind), coming down Ghost Falls — one of several stretches of trail you’ve put in place this season.
And here’s me, riding over one of the dozen (or more) top-notch bridges you’ve put over ravines.
And me again, climbing up the other side of that bridge.
Of course, not all the water crossings have bridges. On a hot day, splashing through a 6″-deep creek feels pretty darned good, as Riley demonstrates.
Draper, do you know how rare and precious you are? Do you know how uncommon it is for a city to take some of its property and say, “Hey, I bet mountain bikers (and equestrians and hikers, sure) would like a place to play. Let’s give them something really deluxe.”
I’ll give you a hint, Draper. It’s pretty darned uncommon.
And it’s not like you’re a one trick pony, Draper. In addition to the swoopy singletrack you’re installing in the foothills, close to the street, there’s Jacob’s Ladder — a crazy fast, at-your-own-risk descent (that’s where I messed my shoulder up a few weeks ago, but I don’t blame you), and you’ve put in some fun stairs in the trail — a real technical challenge to climb. Sleepy didn’t get it this time.
I understand you’re currently developing a downhill-specific trail, taking advantage of a natural V-cut in the mountain. It looks insane. I can hardly wait to try it.
Draper, as fine as you are, of course you have many suitors. And yet, you somehow make me feel special. For example, last Saturday morning, when a bunch of us came over to ride in Corner Canyon Park, I started from my house, and before long was riding in what looks and feels like wilderness.
But then, turn around — quite literally — and you can see that there are some ginormous houses sitting right above, below, and in some cases in between the singletrack lines.
You know what, Draper? I don’t mind having the houses there at all as long as there’s still room for me and my friends to ride.
And you’ve made sure of that, haven’t you? In some places, you’ve actually set up easements so that there’s singletrack zooming right between people’s houses. It’s only eight feet of space, but it makes all the difference between a mountain bike-friendly city and a “No Fun Allowed” city.
Above all, Draper, I love Clark’s Trail. Somehow you knew that singlespeeders would be using Corner Canyon park, and so you built what may be the most perfect singlespeed climb in the entire world. It’s just steep enough that I find myself standing 80% of the time, but not so steep that I go full-on anaerobic and want to keel over.
I don’t know how you knew how to make this perfect trail — which is no slouch to descend, by the way — but I’m glad you knew. (Special thanks to Dug, by the way, for his timing in getting this picture: my stomach is in, my legs are flexed. Maybe the most flattering picture ever taken of me.)
In short, Draper, I’m a huge fan, and I love you. Don’t ever change.
The Fat Cyclist
PS: The following picture has nothing to do with the love letter, but it cracks me up. This is Sleepy, searching for his iPod, which had gotten snagged by the bushes. Dug’s helping.
Here’s how I imagine their phone call went that morning:
“I’m going to wear my plaid bermudas and my Orange Fat Cyclist jersey; what are you going to wear?”
“Same thing, but I’ll wear a pink jersey so nobody will think we’re twinners.”
And this is Sleepy, after he found that it was still clipped on to his jersey all along.