Utah is an ecologically diverse state. Unique rock formations caused by thousand upon thousands of years of erosion have been formed in Bryce and Arches National Parks, and same goes for the deep canyons in Zion National Park. Rugged and broken down mountains make up the Uintas, and the Wasatch Fault line formed the jagged Wasatch Range that forms the eastern limits of Salt Lake City. The high desert climate mixed with the salt from the Salt Lake is what makes Utah’s snow apparently “the greatest snow on earth.”
Although the capitol and largest city is named after it, the Salt Lake is often overlooked due to its inability to sustain any type of wild or plant life, as well as its potent stench. Once-popular resorts and venues have quickly withered away just to become destinations for death metal shows and raves. One thing that has survived and continues to draw people year after year is Speed Week on the Bonneville Salt Flats which lie about 100 miles west of Salt Lake City.
While living in SLC I have always enjoyed a spring ride on I-80 West. Once passed the town of Tooele there’s approximately 80 miles of open road — flat and straight — allowing you to see for miles and giving you the opportunity to open your bike (or car) up and not have to worry about a highway patrol seeing you before you see him/her.
Speed Week had been on my calendar for months and as the week came my Instagram feed — full of some of my favorite motorcycle builders/documenters/bloggers — began to fill with pictures from the flats. Monday through Wednesday came and went, with meetings or other obligations keeping me from skipping out of work early in order catch a couple hours of the races. But Thursday afternoon appeared to be open and, after a few emails back and forth, Kaycee (Landsaw) and I decided to at least attempt to make it out to the flats before the week was up even if it meant only seeing a handful of races.
While in route to the flats we remembered a picture of Austin Paz from the Heat Tour doing an air on the concrete art that is near a rest stop about 20 miles east of the flats. Although we were already cutting it close to even getting to see any of the races, Kaycee had his blades in the trunk and we decided to pull over for a 5-minute pit stop and snap a blading pic while we were out there. It was hot and we were rushed, but Kaycee strapped up and got a fishbrain stall in a matter of minutes.
We jumped back in the car and rushed to our destination in hopes of seeing at least one bike or car take off. Arriving at the first track it looked like they were wrapping up, but as we parked the sweet sound of a race-tuned bike firing up caught out attention one track down. We ran to see it take off and fortunately for us a group of Frenchman were lined up with multiple bikes, so we got to watch them race for the next hour. To make things even more enjoyable one rider was having trouble getting his bike started and asked us (as everyone in their group was 50+) if we could help him push start his bike.
Although it would have been great to spend a whole day or more out there, we were able to make the most of our 220+ mile trip on an evening after work. And we even managed to mix some blading in on a long anticipated spot.