A whole new Sage
Same great venue at the Gunnison KOA, but the course has some major changes compared to the last few years. More single track, a new trail and a completely rebuilt trail. The times from last year won't compare to this year because of the differences. The start is the same - head out on the pavement for Hartman Rocks. Up Jacks as usual - a nice steady climb with a few rocks. After the climb, the course pops out onto the road for a short bit. Then there's a choice - the shorter, faster but harder "punchbowl" line. Or the steady but longer road climb up to Behind the Rocks. It's all the same from there as its been - up and down Alonzo's, up to Luge.
Instead of the road through the Cottonwoods, the course routes through Luge Connector. I'm not sure about that change - it's further away from medic tent at Cottonwood and make cutting the course easier. I hate to think like that, but if you miss the arrow directing you to Broken Shovel, you'll be right on Rocky Ridge - cutting about 15 minutes off the course. Like I said, I hate to be so skeptical of people but... Broken Shovel hasn't changed much - it's a little wider and a little smoother but the same steady climb. Halfway up comes the "whoa" moment. Turning onto a new trail - Lost Dog, eliminating that section of road. It wasn't bad, pretty fun with decent passing. But it will be an easy turn to miss, especially if you've done the race a few times and get complacent. The other huge change it the complete rework of Sea of Sage. I'm not sure why, but gone is the super fun, fast and flowing trail slicing through the sage. The new trail is cool, but it's so new, the lines aren't defined yet and the flow is gone. It's a little more work to, instead of the coasting recovery from the climbing. It's also a little longer and definitely not as fast. Once off Sea of Sage, it's all the same. Up Rocky Ridge (which I was not clean on at all on the pre ride), then down Becks and across the street into the Notch. The Notch has been cleaned up a little, with the narrow step ups filled in and ramped a little. Oh well - it's still a challenge and fun. Just a little easier. Drop the backside of the notch and back to the pavement. One last push home to the KOA. It will be a fun race - lap times will be a little slower then last year, but everyone's riding the same thing. And you can't beat the atmosphere at the KOA.
|Not cranky - just focused|
|The descent off Alonzos, huges views that we couldn't pay attention to|
|Coming down off the Notch - thinking about launching that rock...|