Our team rode the course yesterday. The overall trail conditions are good. The course surpasses its challenging nature with a few more ruts, rocks and lots of sand. The "Dam Climb" is easier and has very little sand and more exposed bedrock. The “Fun Begins” descent is about the same. “Baby Heads” has one thin ride-able line to the left of a big rut. After mile 4 the course changes from previous years. Gone are the “Dragon’s Back“ drops. There is a little drop that is easy for now, but will be pretty torn up by next week. You'll find a lot of fun ridge riding; one section is on a very old grass covered trail. If it wasn't marked, you'd miss it. By race weekend it should be cleared up with all the traffic. You drop off the ridge on a new short twisty trail.
Around mile 6 is a longish moderate climb littered with sandboxes. By race day we'll see thin trails skirting around most of these. At the top of the climb is a short, steep hike-a-bike (this use to be a techy decent). From here you're on top of the ride-able section of the old “Calf Burner”. The descent is very fast and fun. You actually don't get to ride down the hike-a-bike part of “Calf Burner”. Instead you hike up a very steep hill to yet another ridge top. This ridge has some rough descents. You really need to be on your game if you're carrying speed through here, it's a commit and go ordeal.
At mile 8 is a mess of roller coaster hills that look like fun. They actually have steep faces that wear you down. Not as much fun as I had hoped. After the roller coaster, you u-turn back up a sandy wash again. Here you hook up with a small section of the old course and “Marine Corp Climb”. After the little hill is the fast home run to the finish.
We measured the total miles at 10.5 and elevation at 1,400. I suspect your average lap time will be 60-75 minutes. Expert riders will be 45-55 minutes.
For all of you who actually read through this, I'm guessing you'll be there next week. I'll see you and have fun.
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