Awesome mountain bike ride today out on the race course for this weekend's XC race at Fair Hill. I popped out there hopping that the course would be marked and that I could get a few laps in and as luck would have it, that's exactly what happened. I pulled in to the parking lot around 1:00 and started gearing up. A guy and a girl (Adam & Heather) were hanging out after just completing a loop and we exchanged “Hey's”. When I asked if they were racing this weekend we struck up some chit-chat and Heather, offered to show me the loop. Sweet! They were both rocking Niner's and Adam's especially caught my eye. I've had my eye on Niners but hadn't seen a steel version like the one he was riding. I'm getting closer and closer to joining the 29 scene...
So, off we went. We made small talk while Heather (a Wooden Wheels Racer) lead me through the course and even pointed out some insightful tips in some sections. Thanks! After a lap with them, I rode it two more times racking up a fun 21 miles. The course is rocket fast. There's almost no technically challenging features, virtually no climbing (maybe 1500' per lap) and tons of places to pass people. I am really looking forward to this race.
I'm also really glad I reinstalled my big ring, front derailleur & shifter this morning. I'm going to need that 44 tooth ring on this course. Still, I don't care for what I see as a cluttered bar. I love the simplicity of my single speed's cockpit (Just a couple of brake levers). On the Cannondale, my entire bar is taken up with brake levers, shifters and a lock out control for my Lefty. But, oh how I love locking that Lefty out on the climbs and road sections! I've been riding without a front shifter on my bars for so long now that I found myself accidentally bumping the shifter paddle with my thumb at the most inopportune times. I stopped and moved my shifter about a half inch further inboard and all was right with the world again.
Anyway, here are a few photos that show just how fast this course is... Thanks again for showing me the course guys!