Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 Fat Tire Festival Test Run #3

This morning I did yet another three lap test run of the Fat Tire Festival course.

There was a youth lacrosse group practicing in the field, so I couldn't incorporate the start/finish section of the course into my ride.  I rode a few loops in the parking lot as an alternative, but since the field is actually a bumpy minefield on a unicycle, it hardly compares.  Still, the majority of the difficulty comes from the hill climbing, which I did.
I've probably written this up before, but I don't feel like doing anything else, so here's a rundown of the trails in the course:

Sport Field - The race starts in a sports field.  For me this sucks because even though it's level, it's riddled with bumps hidden by grass.  I'm in a constant state of adjusting my balance and that wears me down.  I wonder if it looks like I can hardly ride and that's where the spectators are.  After the field is a just a bit of a climb up to the tree line.

Kasha - This is where the race enters the woods.  It's a series of switchbacks that climb up to the top of the park.  None of it is crazy steep on its own, but all together it requires a significant energy output. By the end I'm spent.

Upper Field - Then the course crosses the field.  Unlike the sports field, this field has something of a trail, but it's worn probably only six inches wide and riddled with rocks and tufts of grass.  Much of it also shaped into a trench which can be a fight for a single somewhat snaking unicycle wheel.  I actually find riding just to the side of this in the mowed grass to be more efficient.  The trail loops around one side up the field before entering the woods again.

Tree Beard - This is a pretty cool trail.  Most of it is smooth and rolling.

VB - This is a switchback heading down.  None of it is particularly steep.

Epping Forest - Technically there's a small section of connecting trail between VB and Epping Forest, but it's just a short tame section.  EF is pretty long and has a series of hill climbs and descents.  It's a good workout but totally doable.  It ends with a long medium grade climb that leaves me winded, which sucks because what's next is harder.

Chutes and Ladders -  As it's name suggests, this one has it's ups and downs.  Basically the medium grade climb from EF continues, followed by a descent.  The next climb would be totally doable if it weren't for a section of log corduroy in the middle.  Although it's relatively level and probably three feet long, the approach requires a significant hop up onto it from a upward slope.  By that time I'm spent and my efforts are weak.  Today I got close, but still ended up walking about 20 feet.  Then it's down only to encounter the next climb.  This one is significant in grade but not too long.  I usually make it with a significant effort.  Then it's down again only to encounter a longer and even steeper climb.  I'm not sure I've ever made this one.  It's tough but doable if I were not so spent.  I've been getting pretty close but there's a short rooty section that's been getting me.  Finally it's down again and over a log stack.

SSW - This one has some twists and turn and a few mini climbs but nothing too bad.

Elevator - The first part of Elevator is a short climb.  I find myself taking a breather here for the big climb.  This climb is very significant and leaves my quads pulsing with fire.  It's steep, somewhat rooty and sandy, but I'm happy to say I made this climb on all three laps today.  It ends with another short climb back out to the upper field.

Upper Field - This is fairly similar to the previous section of the upper trail in terms of its surface.  But about two-thirds of this I use my high gear and get some good speed.

Gully Down -  For the most part this is a descent and heads back down to the parking lot.  Nothing too crazy here.  The race course may incorporate some part of Kaleidoscope, but either way it's about the same as the ending of Gully Down.

Sport Field - Finally it's back into the sport field to the finish of a lap.

Cycle Computer: 11.6 miles
I finished about 5 minutes faster than my previous test runs, but that's probably just because I didn't ride the field.  I suspect my actual race time will only be slower because I'll have to step off or pull over to let a hundred mountain bikers pass.

Muni at Dryer Road Park - 2012-07-08

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