Checking in from Northstar!

The drive was long, but good company made it alright. We left the trailer at home in favor of a 15-passenger van with the back two rows taken out for bikes. We picked up Kyle from t.u. in Ft. Worth and kept on chugging. The only notable points of the drive was the drive down the strip in Vegas, looking for a place with free wi-fi to turn in some homework assignments and being accosted in the McDonald’s parking lot (that’s right, we went to Vegas and stopped at Micky D’s) by a creepy thug who just had ‘one question’, or the drive over the Hoover dam and seeing all the construction that’s going on there.

The rain/snow the resort got a few days ago served only to firm up the course. In fact, the course times now are so much faster than when the course is dusty that they’ve added a lap to all of the races!

After some morning bike work, we bundled up to go do the pre-ride. Then we walked outside. Then we walked back inside and took off the base layers, arm warmers, and knee warmers. Seriously, it was 65 degrees and sunny. Absolutely gorgeous.

So we rode the half mile down to the course from our awesome condo and jumped onto the singletrack, and went up. You see, the first half of the course is a 3.5 mile climb that goes up 800 feet! The first half of the climb is all double-wide trail and completely un-technical, so there’s lots of room for passing. At mid-mountain (the half-way point of the climb), the only logical thing to do is make the climb technical, so we climbed up through some little rock gardens, and finished the climb on some jeep road. Then, seeing as how the course profile is something like this: ^ , we rode down the mountain.

And ya’ll, I’m not even kidding when I say that 75% of the hard turns on the 4 mile descent had full berms. In between them, there were little kicker jumps, or sometimes a 4- or 5-foot double to jump over. It was all so fast that my eyes were watering! Rocky sections, steep sections….oh man. You had to wipe the smiles off our faces after it was done. It was a technical descent but not overly so. However, our hands ached by the time we reached the bottom because it was so intense! The only rough spot was towards the bottom when we came around a fast turn and met a serious rock garden that didn’t treat Steve too well, but he’s alright.

Krishna went out today and rode the downhill course for a few hours — we’re all really excited to see him race!

Kath goes off tomorrow morning at 8, but the men don’t race until noon. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I encourage you to check the forecast for Truckee, CA tomorrow. Be jealous.

Time to prep the bikes and get to bed.

Oh, and just to let you know that I’ve already taken care of my requisite pre-race self-induced injury. The dozen bleeds on my rear magura brake were unsuccessful…something is wrong with that brake. So at 11pm the night before leaving, I put on an avid juicy-7 rear brake. Well, the pull on it is slightly different than the maguras, and the pads were brand new and not broken in at all. So when I went for the first pre-ride wheelie and reached for the brake to maintain the balance…nothing happened. Being tall is nice, but it’s a long way to fall square on your butt mid-wheelie. Just a little bruising on the ol’ cheeks, is all. I cracked one of the fins on the back of my saddle, but that’s it. So don’t worry, Chad’s pre-race injury has already been checked off the list.

Chad “don’t know if I’m more excited about the climb or descent!” Haga