by Jeffrey Stern
Dec 04 17

Another Perfect Fall Day in the Wasatch Mountains

We last caught up with Megan Porteous over a month ago on the sunny, sand swept beaches of San Diego, California while she was enjoying the long, beautiful extended summer that seems to be becoming the norm in Southern California. From cycling, to yoga and stand-up paddling into the sunset, her perfect summer day was dreamy to say the least.

Around the country, seasons have changed and as we approach the start of winter Megan has been enjoying everything her main location base of Salt Lake City, Utah has to offer. Beyond the colorfully morphed outdoor scenery, these months represent a bit of a slowing down period for most athletes, herself included.

An important part of everyone’s own pursuits is finding a smooth transition from one season into the next. With time to relax at home with friends as the weather cools, reflect on accomplishments and look towards future goals, the fall is the perfect time for trying a new sport or just getting outside for the fun of it. Megan is no stranger to mixing it up, always in pursuit of something new to stoke her athletic fire, her perfect fall days have been nothing short of extraordinary.

WHEN THE RACING ENDS

Summer is always fast paced and goes flying right by; from hard core training to getting done with bike racing, fall finally signifies a perfect time period to chill out. A family agreement made last spring between my Canadian ski-loving husband and I was the second the race season was over, we promised to get off the roads and onto the trails in our SLC backyard. What better way to motivate my training all year be dangling a shiny new toy as a prize to myself?  

I finally got the very first mountain bike of my life immediately upon my return from IRONMAN Whistler; an awesome, full-suspension all-mountain ripper that can do a little bit of everything. It only took one ride to convince me it’s the most fun you can have on two wheels. Experiencing trails on a bike that I’d normally ski during the winter is amazing; the beautiful ribbons of dirt really show their true colors compared to the snowy white conditions we know are coming in a few short months.

During the hotter months of the year, we either have to get out super early in the morning on the trails, or wait until it cools down to avoid snakes, a factor that limits our trail time in summer. One of the best parts of the fall is exploring and getting lost out on the trails without worrying too much about encounters with our slithery friends.

(F)ALL ABOUT FUN

In the fall we’re also just sweating for the pure joy of it. There’s no looking at my watch or GPS device because the numbers don’t matter. What we lack in fitness we make up with in fun and then some. We’re outside for movement and enjoyment, not worrying about times or splits.

My new mountain bike is the perfect vehicle for unstructured exploration and has seen its fair share of miles the last few months, many at our go-to spot Powder Mountain. A great ski resort in the winter, but with awesome hidden trail gems all around even during this transition season. From our house, it’s only about a 40 minute drive and after a relaxing Saturday morning, we’re at the mountain and hitting the trail before midday. After a sweet 20-mile loop with rolling climbs and some twisty singletrack through aspen and pine forests we stop for arguably the main reason for our continued visits to the mountain during the fall: tacos and beer at the lodge, not at mid-mountain, but at the top of the resort with sweeping views of the Great Salt Lake and beyond.

With hearts and bellies full, it’s all downhill to our van afterwards and we’re thankful for a good day enjoying all the Wasatch Mountains have to offer.

FALLING PERFECTLY INTO THE EVENING

Back at home, we fire up the crockpot as the sun starts to drop in the sky and the air picks up a slight chill. All fall long it seems like we’re drinking warm beverages, and the traditional hot mulled wine of German descent, glühwein, made with various spices and always tasty, is a great way to start an evening off with friends at home. Outside at a fire pit we share a few laughs with our neighbors and it’s clear the fall uniform is in shape; puffy jackets abound. Once we’ve lost all light and our cups are empty, we head to our indoor crackling fire and the board games come out, the current favorite is a Ticket to Ride. While not long ago we’d be outside at this time getting in activity number two for the day, but instead all of us are embracing the time to enjoy each other’s company and slow down the last few months of the year.

With my husband dreaming of the snow ahead and hanging up the bikes for good in the coming weeks, I find myself day dreaming during a recent meeting in our “Atomic Ski Showroom” and getting psyched on all the new skis and gear around the office. Although it’s a slow transition into winter, there were no winter boots dawned around the first pit yet, winter is coming soon and naturally, more perfect days of a different kind will follow...