Friday, October 12, 2007

Speed is of the essence

I rode that last part of IC today after setting up the IC Lite course and oh my god is it fast out there. These are absolutely the best conditions we've had and this thing is going to be smoking fast. I was flying through sections that are usually a bit wet and the combo of all the hot dry weather of the past several weeks and that bit of rain yesterday and its grinnin' time. There are spots in the woods that were powder a few days ago that now ride like concrete with traction to spare. I was basically surfing sections of trail and could put my wheels pretty much anywhere I wanted. How much traction exactly?

I rode up both of what are traditionally the last two run ups on the course in way too big a gear.

The best conditions in five years. World Cup and World Championship competitors taking part. The biggest field yet with over 200 pre-reg'd. Iron Cross V is going to so completely rock.

I take that back

Okay, lets go over the last part of that IC course again. I thought we were cutting out a piece we're not so its more like -- following on from the earlier post -- a decent of Woodrow Rd. through two or three nasty switchbacks and then some fast double and single track to the right (west) before crossing Woodrow and taking on some Enduro Trails to the left (east). These trails are not exactly following the contour lines and there is a short run up mixed in before you get out into a wide open fast logged out area, through a deer fence, and into the last trails on the course. Ooops. Its all so very sweet tho.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Double your Pleasure

Yep, two in one day...hell, two in one month.

Rode the IC course two weekends ago and put this together for one of my athletes who was asking about the course. Thought maybe a few other people would find it useful.

The best way to probably break the race up is into the sections between the checkpoint.

From the start to CP1 you have the short course at Camp Thompson then a couple mile stretch of flat road leading to the first long gradual climb of the course that starts paved and turns to dirt. There is a bit of flat at the top and a quick descent with a couple loose turns before a an extended stretch of pavement that includes a 5-6 big rollers and then the climb back up to the top of the ridge and the KOM.

CP1-CP2 - long rolling stretch of gravel along the top of the ridge with one or two short climbs and fast descents and then the descent of Lippencote Tr. Lippencote is the most technical section of the entire race and will definitely cause a selection if the intial climbs did not. A long flat fast section of pavement leads around the end of the ridge and then begins a very gradual ascent up which turns to dirt and passes along a reservoir. When you see the reservoir on your right you'll soon turn left and onto the trail that leads to the highlight of the race - the run up. CP2 is at the top.

CP2-CP3 - (this is my favorite section on the course) - you leave CP2 and roll along the top of the ridge and then make a fast road descent leading to a gated double track climb that pitches up in the middle before leveling slightly and rejoining the ridge top road. A few more miles of rolling ridgeline -- watch for the 160 degree left that keeps you on the ridge top roads -- leads to a very short piece of pavement and a very fast dirt road descent. A right at the bottom has you along the base of the ridge on a slightly rolling paved road for several miles before turning right again and heading to the base of Hogshead (or Hogs Head depending on the map) and CP3.

CP3-CP4 - Begins with the longest and hardest climb of the race - 25-35 minutes from the very bottom Hogshead CP to the very top of Woodrow Rd. The climb does flatten out in sections but its a long grind - having energy here is a good thing. Up over the top and into a tricky descent made tougher with some new gravel culverts that have been added in the last week - be careful here! Keep your head up and look where you want to go. CP4 is on Woodrow at the turn onto the trails.

CP4 - Finish - The most trail oriented piece of the race, but most of it is completely rideable double track the last long run up marks the end of the trails. This section, for the most part, follows the contour lines of the ridge until you cross through a section of new plantings and drop down a short singletrack piece to Michaux Road where you encounter a short climb on pavement before turning left and descending to the creek crossing. From here its all uphill into the last run up and then a bit more climbing to the ridge top road. At the top of the climb its a couple miles to a right turn onto a paved descent (Rt 233) that drops you back to the park. You turn left at the bottom staying on the pavement and its two rolling miles back to Camp Thompson with a last bit of cross course to finish the race.

More later....

Guess whos coming to dinner?

Iron Cross is just a couple days away now and Mark Laser has been doing his usual bang up job making sure the rest of us who pull this thing together haven't just been sitting around on our butts doing nothing for the past 8 months. Mark does a hell of a job making this thing actually go and keeping us all focused and while I keep laying claim to the idea for this thing any idea is only as good as the effort that is put into making it real. Luckily for all of us Mark grabbed hold of this and made it happen - 5 years ago this weekend.

All this is starting to pay off. It looks like we're going to get some coverage in some mags you may have heard of -- look for a bit in Mens Journal and Cycle Sport early next year about our little shindig.

We're looking at a very solid field again with past champions and some new faces from across the pond. If you're not aware, the idea for this thing came from 3 Peaks, a crazy cross race in England that has been going on for years. The winner of something like the last six 3 Peaks races will be on the starting line on Sunday and the guy that won 3 Peaks before him will be as well. In fact, a quick googling of Rob Jeb, Andy Peace, and Stuart Bowers shows all three finished in the top 8 of last year's 3 Peaks.

So now that I'm googling -- Rob Jebb was on the GB Worlds Cross Team last year and finished 37th. Peace is a two time 3 Peaks winner actually and a consistent top 10 finisher. Bowers, the only thing he's done is represent GB in a few World Cup events.

That's right, the first World Cup crossers in the MAC region this year won't be at Gran/Wiss, but rather right here at IC. Now, if only some more of the MAC elite guys would show up - hell, no one gets lapped.