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  1. #1
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    Nationals Great race

    Just got back from Nationals. It was a really cool event. There are a lot of people that worked really hard to make it happen and I would say it was a big success.

    I found sun valley to be a great venue. It is big enough and capable of holding the event; yet, small enough the race and event was all around you. If you went to a restaurant or store, there were always racers and their families around. The other activities around sun valley are stellar. (biking, hiking, rafting, dining...)

    I heard a few complaints while I was there. Things such as the long steep single track climb on the amateur loop. I talked with the person coordinating volunteers and they are interested in constructive feedback to make next year even better.

    I would like to see ride sun valley continue after 2012 when nationals moves to the next location. I would put it on my list to go for a race and a great weekend.

    A few highlights: It was really cool to see Ned Overend race in the pro race. His name has been a fixture as long as I've been mountain biking. The top few winners (Todd Wells, Georgia Gould...) in the two pro races should be competing at the upcoming Olympics. I got to watch them race today. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchur watched both the pro men and women's race; but, it was way cooler to have watched Ned, Todd and Georgia race. I placed 3rd in my race; cat 1 next week.

    I hope everyone that attended had a great time and a good race.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  2. #2
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    One thing I found odd was cyclingnews.com, a Australian based website has coverage, yet Velonews or Singletrack.com, based in the US, have yet to post anything other than a twitter feed that has some post alluding to the results.

  3. #3
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    That's because Cyclingnews uses stringers like Dave McElwaine@trailwatch.net for photos and Sue George for a brief report from the event, or in the case of the Canadian Nationals and World Cups, Rob Jones from CanadianCyclist.com so they get info from the race sites. Most other cycling websites rely on someone to complete a package and update it when they come into work on Monday morning.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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  5. #5
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    Wish I could have been there...looks like a great event! Good work to all that raced...

  6. #6
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    Nationals

    Congrats to AlliKat on the strong showing.

    I would echo many of his thoughts. Overall, it was a wonderful few days of racing at a well thought out venue and a very accommodating town of Ketchum. With over 400 miles of trails the area is unsurpassed. Furthermore, there are six bike shops in the town of Ketchum and each one was very helpful and able to assist on the spot.

    USAC did a very good job of organizing the event. The emails, flyers, and information packets were done well and were very helpful. There were no waits, the staff and volunteers were knowledgeable and helpful.

    If there was one disappointment (other than my personal performance) it would be the single track climb on the amateur loop. For the vast majority of racers it ended up being a train of hikers due to the bottle neck and technical nature of the climb.

    I have videos and photos of the event but I need to do some editing and down sizing to post them.

    Stay tuned!
    BoiseBoy

  7. #7
    Look out!
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    Did you say Ned Overend? It was a fun weekend, I wasn't so fond of the singletrack climb either, but the descent was fun, and the rock fall was way scary exciting. A great weekend overall. I do hope they come up with a different course next year just for variety. I wonder how difficult it would be to race on some of the existing trails there around Ketchum? That would be pretty cool rather than racing on the ski area.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nationals  Great race-ned.jpg  

    Last edited by mtnbkrid; 07-18-2011 at 10:07 AM.
    Ride the bike.

  8. #8
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    I keep thinking about it and while I love the other trails, it would be really challenging both from legality (NFS, sun valley ski area and other ownership) and logistics of having a base area etc.

    Anyone get good pics from the weekend. I looked on the teami4.com site and they don't have thursday. I saw a bazillion cameras while riding but haven't found a pic yet.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  9. #9
    Look out!
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    Check the team 14 site again. I ordered a couple of shots. He got a good one of me coming down the rock fall, and one on the rock garden. As for getting permission from the FS or BLM to race on existing trails, it seems to me that USA Cycling could negotiate to get the ok. Sit down, develop a plan, look at everything and hammer out an agreement to race on Adams Gulch for an example. Just an idea for something different.
    Ride the bike.

  10. #10
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    I only see 118 photos and they start on 7/15. I emailed them a few days ago and no response. Guess they don't want my money. With 1000+ racers, they should have at least 2000 photos
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  11. #11
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    That was a fun race. I liked the climb but wish there were more opportunities to pass. Good job guys, a lot of locals did well, pretty cool.
    I think you need the ski area for the race to accomodate all the sponsors and spectators. How cool was it to sit by the lodge, drink beer and watch everything? If it moved to Adams Gulch or elsewhere you will be getting beer from the, hopefully friendly, neighbor.
    ATV = fat A$$

  12. #12
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    Great venue, but I had a terrible race. I raced Cat 2 and flatted in the first prologue lap in the first rock garden section. I pinched. It was just bad luck because I had ridden the section 3 times during my warm up and never had an issue. Time to go tubeless.

    After I changed the flat I managed to pass a couple other riders, so at least I didn't end up dead last. I got passed by the whole field during my little incident. So I ended up walking up most of the singletrack climb behind the womens class and the older mens age groups.

    If I hadn't flatted I would have been top 10 certainly, probably top 5.

    I'm glad I went and eventhough my race didn't go as planned I had a great time and now I'm familiar with the area for next year. Fantastic venue with a great staff.

    Well done to all who qualified and raced!

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't say the race was great. Even though I did well.

    The town, surrounding area, and trails (not race course) were stellar.

    Didn't make any difference but I would love to know what rankings USAC used for callups. #fail
    My wife's website....
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  14. #14
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    I raced as well, and thought the town was great! However, the amateur xc course was a bit disappointing. Actually the worst I have ever raced on for Nationals compared to Mt Snow, Durango and Mammoth, which is all that I have gone to. The narrow gulch had only one suitable trail (the descent). The long steep climb did not allow for proper passing/riding. I have no issue portaging a short climb, but to be forced off the bike to walk for close to a mile b/c of traffic is not my idea of amateur racing. The trails in the area seemed fantastic. Too bad the race did not showcase that. I would go back to ride the area any time, but not to race that course. I am loosing faith in USAcycling or maybe racing. IMBA has made available such such great trail science, yet race promoters to not seem to get it.

  15. #15
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    I raced as well, and thought the town was great! However, the amateur xc course was a bit disappointing. Actually the worst I have ever raced on for Nationals compared to Mt Snow, Durango and Mammoth, which is all that I have gone to. The narrow gulch had only one suitable trail (the descent). The long steep climb did not allow for proper passing/riding. I have no issue portaging a short climb, but to be forced off the bike to walk for close to a mile b/c of traffic is not my idea of amateur racing. The trails in the area seemed fantastic. Too bad the race did not showcase that. I would go back to ride the area any time, but not to race that course. I am loosing faith in USAcycling or maybe racing. IMBA has made available such such great trail science, yet race promoters do not seem to get it.

  16. #16
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    Well finally back to reality.

    Really enjoyed Ketchum and somehow got pretty lucky picking out a hotel about 3 weeks before the event and being right near the venue. Last year I had a sweet condo above Sol Vista and aside from dropping off a bunch of stuff before my race (hubby wasn't really able to get around as well last year as this one ) and was worried about driving and parking at the venue, but we were just up the road, so spun down with a collapsible cooler and floor pump!

    Ketchum was sweet; we ate out there 3-4 times and visited both markets (plus Albertson's down the highway). Seemed well-stocked throughout which is nice. Restaurants were good and fun, though we didn't enjoy much of the night-life I wouldn't say.

    Pro course was cool. I prefer more the rolling courses, but can't complain about the massive ski hill climb and singletrack descent. Everyone had the same course, and unlike the amateurs there were I think probably max 35 women out there so it was fine. Never had any bad issues with traffic. I passed 1-2 on the inside of switchbacks and had someone pass me (sadly she soon after lost her bike off trail!).

    Wish I had been able to pre-ride Super D more than Sat night, but just didn't work out with eating (why is it always at 6 pm?).

    Looking forward to going back next year.

    Not sure on the altitude thing since I felt fine the entire weekend (er, aside from being totally WORKED Sat afternoon after climbing that hill 5 times!). I'm chalking it up to a) mental, b) hydration, and c) pretending not to care! :P

    Hope everyone else had a blast, and hopefully the amateur course will either include the ski hill or more passing opportunities next year. Didn't ride the course, but heard it was fun to ride.


  17. #17
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    Good to hear good feed back about the pro course. I did not ride it, but it looked like a better option than the amateur climb. I felt really bad for the cat 2's when I watched them all bunched up and walking. Hopefully they will put something better together next year.

    If anyone is interested, I put some video together of some of the riding in the area:

    http://gallery.me.com/ellenandart#100516

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    Didn't make any difference but I would love to know what rankings USAC used for callups. #fail
    They had a paralell parking test behind a closed donut shop 2 towns away......

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    They had a paralell parking test behind a closed donut shop 2 towns away......
    dammit! i always miss out on those!

    they announced that they were going to call up the defending champ and top 4 ranked riders. the list that they called up didn't include the defending champ, or the #1 ranked rider so you are probably correct as to how they did callups.
    My wife's website....
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme View Post
    dammit! i always miss out on those!

    they announced that they were going to call up the defending champ and top 4 ranked riders. the list that they called up didn't include the defending champ, or the #1 ranked rider so you are probably correct as to how they did callups.
    The call up procedure and qualifying race info were clearly written on the bottom of the 3rd Port-aPottie from the left in the lower parking lot.
    You could have easily snorkled into the blue chemicals and brown trouser trout.....and gotten a much better call up.
    You can only blame yourself....

  21. #21
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    I'm going to catch a lot of flak for saying this, but here goes anyway. The venue/volunteers/race officials did a good job of hosting the race, but the courses, both Pro and Amateur sucked. After talking to many people there, I am aware to many of you straight up/straight down is XC racing, it's not where I come from. Our races are varied, some rocky and climby, some tight and twisty, some that favor huge legs and lungs, but they are mostly singletrack, and they all have some element of fun in them. The thing that may make us different is every Texas race course/venue is also frequented by mtb'ers riding for recreation, and willing in most cases to pay a day use fee for that. I can't imagine anyone coming to the Bald Mountain courses to do that. After riding both courses on Tuesday, I imagined the amateur races would have lots of long conga lines of riders pushing their bikes uphill, and there was a lot of that. In addition, the manmade rock gardens were just silly, adding hard for the sake of being hard. For the first time since oneday national championships were started, XC was separate from Downhill, and USAC had the opportunity to think outside the box, instead we got the same old/same old ski resort up/down races at altitude. They should rename these the "Mountain States Climbing at Altitude National Championships."
    What upsets me the most is that in a conference call when the venue was first announced, the USAC personnel responsible for making that decision, told me flat out, "it's in a ski town, but the races will NOT be held at the ski resort." Obviously that didn't happen. I did get some scuttlebutt from a variety of locals, even got to meet the mayor, and it seems there were some politics (not really a surprise) affecting things. In a nutshell, the money behind the ski resort dictated that it be held there, despite some popular feeling that showing off some of the area's much better trails would have been preferable. Bikeshop people were all almost apologetic and offered me all kinds of advice on where to ride around their town to showcase where THEY ride. And I did that, rolling out of my lodging for the next three mornings for 2-4 hour rides in the mountains around town on some really stunning stuff. I had a wonderful trip, including some stuff in Durango and Cortez on the way out, and I loved the town of Ketchum itself. The townspeople want the race to come back and want to make it better for the participants so maybe some changes will happen.
    I think I have the right to say these things. I'm the current president of the Texas racing association, have promoted races and served on its board since 1998, and have raced myself since 1997. We are USAC's representative/affiliate, and one of our executive board members has been on the USAC board for years and has served as president of it. Depending on which statistics you look at, we're either the #2 or #3 biggest group in the US, by number of licensed riders and by race attendance. We must be doing something right and yet fewer than 20 racers from Texas bothered to go to Idaho, as the deck is stacked against us. I wish for just once USAC would try something different, seek out a less remote venue that doesn't automatically favor a certain racer profile. Road Nationals have been held all over the country, proving that anywhere with a trail system could be a candidate. Sorry to be so curmudgeonly, I'm really a tireless advocate for racing and the character and camaraderie it builds. If any of you would ever like to come visit us, I will be more than happy to show you the ropes.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbscott View Post
    I'm going to catch a lot of flak for saying this, but here goes anyway.
    I don't think you should catch flak for your opinions at all, and they seem well-thought out and appropriate. The town/location was awesome, and I agree the volunteers/venue/race officials did a pretty good job (45+ mins for prelim amateur XC results, though? Top-5 to 10 would be nice to see as they are rolling in!).

    I can possibly see some issues with heat both in So Cal and somewhere like Texas in mid-July, and trust me, I understand dealing with heat as an acclimatization isn't all that dis-similar from altitude

    Have your promoters applied/petitioned and just not gotten the bid?

    I was pretty stoked on the area and also glad that we got out to ride both a ridiculous epic up near Stanley and a big view ride up Sun Valley Rd. Definitely heard from a lot of the locals as well not to consider the venue the best riding the area had, but that is true for most of the race venues we have here as well. Bonelli and Fontana are fine for maybe weekday riding, etc., but not somewhere I'd send someone coming here to visit and looking to ride our big/fun trails.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbscott View Post
    I'm going to catch a lot of flak for saying this, but here goes anyway. The venue/volunteers/race officials did a good job of hosting the race, but the courses, both Pro and Amateur sucked. After talking to many people there, I am aware to many of you straight up/straight down is XC racing, it's not where I come from. Our races are varied, some rocky and climby, some tight and twisty, some that favor huge legs and lungs, but they are mostly singletrack, and they all have some element of fun in them. The thing that may make us different is every Texas race course/venue is also frequented by mtb'ers riding for recreation, and willing in most cases to pay a day use fee for that. I can't imagine anyone coming to the Bald Mountain courses to do that. After riding both courses on Tuesday, I imagined the amateur races would have lots of long conga lines of riders pushing their bikes uphill, and there was a lot of that. In addition, the manmade rock gardens were just silly, adding hard for the sake of being hard. For the first time since oneday national championships were started, XC was separate from Downhill, and USAC had the opportunity to think outside the box, instead we got the same old/same old ski resort up/down races at altitude. They should rename these the "Mountain States Climbing at Altitude National Championships."
    What upsets me the most is that in a conference call when the venue was first announced, the USAC personnel responsible for making that decision, told me flat out, "it's in a ski town, but the races will NOT be held at the ski resort." Obviously that didn't happen. I did get some scuttlebutt from a variety of locals, even got to meet the mayor, and it seems there were some politics (not really a surprise) affecting things. In a nutshell, the money behind the ski resort dictated that it be held there, despite some popular feeling that showing off some of the area's much better trails would have been preferable. Bikeshop people were all almost apologetic and offered me all kinds of advice on where to ride around their town to showcase where THEY ride. And I did that, rolling out of my lodging for the next three mornings for 2-4 hour rides in the mountains around town on some really stunning stuff. I had a wonderful trip, including some stuff in Durango and Cortez on the way out, and I loved the town of Ketchum itself. The townspeople want the race to come back and want to make it better for the participants so maybe some changes will happen.
    I think I have the right to say these things. I'm the current president of the Texas racing association, have promoted races and served on its board since 1998, and have raced myself since 1997. We are USAC's representative/affiliate, and one of our executive board members has been on the USAC board for years and has served as president of it. Depending on which statistics you look at, we're either the #2 or #3 biggest group in the US, by number of licensed riders and by race attendance. We must be doing something right and yet fewer than 20 racers from Texas bothered to go to Idaho, as the deck is stacked against us. I wish for just once USAC would try something different, seek out a less remote venue that doesn't automatically favor a certain racer profile. Road Nationals have been held all over the country, proving that anywhere with a trail system could be a candidate. Sorry to be so curmudgeonly, I'm really a tireless advocate for racing and the character and camaraderie it builds. If any of you would ever like to come visit us, I will be more than happy to show you the ropes.
    no flak from my end.

    town/area/people were great. the venue was great as far as the amenities and atmosphere.

    the race was not so great. (not the fault of volunteers)

    USAC screwed up the callups, should have ensured that the courses were appropriate, should have provided prelim results in a reasonable time frame, etc.

    i had argued that "ski resort" courses were good for racing. this course was NOT. last year's amateur course was IMO much better. (i didn't race it, but i did ride it the day after the race at a slow pace)

    we all pay USAC to be our governing body and when they fail they need to know it. i hope they get feedback and understand.

    we also rode some amazing trails nearby. i don't think those trails would have made for great race courses either. they were awesome to ride on though!!!

    specific course feedback:

    regarding the artificial rock gardens, i am okay with that. i don't mind man made technical challenges. it impacted my race negatively that someone else couldn't ride it, but that is how it goes! i actually sort of liked the feature and it gave spectators an easy place to watch some action.

    single track climbs are good. technical is good. zero passing for that long is bad. there needs to be alternate lines every so often so that riders can pass the walkers. i love single track, but that first lap was a nightmare.

    the descent was interesting. i thought i would get held up more, but didn't. the skid lines on the inside allowed for aggressive passing when needed. i think it sucks that the trails go so abused, but that is what happens when you run that many racers down a trail that is loose and dusty (all courses used the same descent, Elite,CAT1, SuperD etc).

    in my opinion the descent could use some more challenges. something that allows separation between the riders (climbers vs descenders) is always a good thing on the descent. no time differential could be gained on that descent between a good descender and a fair descender.

    i rode the elite course as well. their climb was hard and afforded separation and passing. it allowed for better racing IMO. was it fun? NO. of course the same comments apply for their descent. the pro course last year was IMO much better.

    SuperD was interesting. i sort of liked it, but heard lots of complaints from seasoned superD racers that they wanted more technical challenges and less climbing. i don't disagree but i thought the course was okay, though i am biased as i feel i would likely have put myself on the box if not for the flat and crash.


    IMO USAC needs to play a more active role in ensuring that the race course is good. maybe have a "trail/race advocate" that works with whatever venue they choose. i understand that it is important for them to have nice restaurants to dress up and go out to, but the racers that pay their salaries need to have a good time at the races. not all of us are going out to the $60/plate dinner places in town in suits...
    My wife's website....
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  24. #24
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    First off, I want to thank you for presumably volunteering and filling what can be a pretty thankless position. Running a racing organization can be a blast and a headache all at the same time. I wish you and your organization continued success.

    But... a person in your position should do a bit more thinking before posting.

    Comments like this are scattered throughout your post and really make so little sense to me that I have to bring it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbscott View Post
    ..seek out a less remote venue that doesn't automatically favor a certain racer profile
    It seems that you're advocating "racing" on courses that only play to your strengths. Is that NOT what you're saying? If the Nats course isn't exactly like my favorite one from back home then I'm not gonna play!

    You're never going to find a course that doesn't favor some aspect. Too technical, to steep, too much climbing, too much altitude, too flat, too dry, too muddy, too rocky... ...etc.

    Your boys/girls from Texas didn't want to race because the "deck is stacked against us"? That is flat out lame and demonstrates how much you think of your racers. At least you could say that the costs associated with traveling to such a remote location are prohibitive.. but nope.

    While I definitely have my fair share of bones to pick with the nitwits at USAC, everyone is not out to get you!

  25. #25
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    what racer profile fit that course???
    The amatuer course sucked due to the no passing, and the pro course sucked because it was just a straight up service road climb. The DH part was fun but not challenging in the technical sense by any means. I hope they do a better job next year with course selection. I agree with most that they have a lot of trails that would work much better than the ones they used. The man made rock sections were pretty cool IMO. You may not generally have them out on the trails, but you had to have decent handling skills to get through them with ease. The whole altitude thing really gets me...is 7000ft that high(not even sure if the race went that high)? Jeremiah Bishop kicks a$$ and he is from freakin Virginia.
    I didnt really do very well in either race, but it was fun. I just need to figure out how to keep the rubber side down. I think the descent was so boring that I gave up and crashed. I would love to see a gnarly descent in a race. I climb fairly well, but I am a good descender and would love to be able to really make up some time there. All in all it was fun and good to put some faces to names. I enjoyed meeting some of you and I hope to see you next year.
    ATV = fat A$$

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