53 miles and 3800 ft.
Started the ride at 5 am to enjoy the lovely sub 50 degree temps. We finished around noon when it started a bit uncomfortable around 80 degrees.
The trails still need some work. There are some rocky sections, there are some areas turned to mush by the tree thinning operations going on. Los Burros, LoP, Four Springs, Chipmunk and Country Club provide some sweet singletrack.
The ride begins at the Corrals. No idea how and where do they expect people to park but don't expect anything close to the venue. Those with bikes can get a nice warm up but family and friends may have to walk a bit.
There is a small section on asphalt and another 1-2 miles on a narrow forest road before you turn in to wide singletrack. The path will continue for miles as parts of forest road or wide track. It's a very gradual climb. There will be passing opportunities but it will be crowded. There are some potential bottlenecks around fallen tree stumps but maybe they will clear those.
Around 15-20 mile mark the race will take place on forest road with slight downslope for about 10 milers. High gears are recommended - good place to battle for position. SS riders will definitely be at disadvantage. Los Burros
The climb up the Lake Mountain is a guaranteed HAB. Impossible to stay on the bike. There is series of steep climbs which occur around 30 mile mark - where one is already fatigued. Those initial climbs can be barely done with maximal effort but then comes a narrow trail with high grade climb up the mountain. The bed is made of loose dirt. Even a cyclist with unhuman stamina was able to sustain this amount effort to continue the climb - there is no traction.
The remaining 15 miles are fun and mostly downhill.
The race overall difficulty comes close to Whiskey 50 proof. I was just as spent after both. I know Whiskey had 8K ft of climbing but there were a lot more roads both forest and asphalt. Whiskey was about 60-70% road, this one is about 25%.
The Lake Mountain sort of mars the race for me. I like challenge and hate to HAB, but this section is a must HAB. There were no sections I had to HAB on Whiskey that were due to terrain (I was stuck behind the conga line riders few times in the beginning).
There is a possible talk of a re-route and there is still plenty of time before the race - so we will see what the route will be like in few months.
Mandatory link devoid of any achievements to brag about.
Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Tour Of The White Mountains near Navajo, AZ, USA | Times and Records | Strava
At 15-20 mile mark still hopeful and full of spirit.
You know it's a bad HAB if the helmet comes off.
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