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Castaic Race Course conditions
All,
Preran the XC course last Saturday afternoon and here are some highlights of the course, starting from the beginning. The water-tank gully that you cross before the grueling switchback climbs has a moderate level of water and mud. Going slow through it, still splattered mud all over the bottom of the bike. Hauling through it on race day, will guarantee mud everywhere. Add many classes running through it, before you and it could be interesting.

The switchback climbs are still a butt-kicker. The turns now sport soft sections, so be prepared. 'The Wall' is in surprisingly good shape, with little soft or rough areas and no ruts. The S/T down to the lake has soft sections in the switchbacks. The lake S/T is all hardpack. The climb from the lake is a long climb and there are numerous sandy and soft sections. From the top of the ridge, by the gate, the super-fast S/T-D/T (singletrack transitioning to doubletrack) section that gets you to the bottom of the greenhouse climb is very smooth and fast. There is some soft stuff on the transition part, where the S/T turns to D/T.

The Greenbox climb has changed significantly. The County of Los Angeles decided to apply a whole six-inch deep layer of 'shredded sticks' about a half mile up into the climb and up to the halfway point up the ridge. These shredded sticks average 8" in length, with some smaller, some larger. There is some narrow relief on the right side, but it is compounded by being a sharply angled berm too, so you're screwed either way. Fight the sticks or weave on the berm next to the outer edge of the hill. What a killer. The second half of the Greenbox climb is nice and smooth with only a minimal amount of shredded sticks applied in some areas.

The Greenbox singletrack is a barren little beyatch now, but wow, is it fun. The S/T runs across and through bulldozed sections from the last fire. It can be rough and has numerous sharp, short whoops, that really make you work the bike. There are soft sections interspersed with pure hardpack and of course, all the braking bumps into the corners. If you relax and have the flow, you can really haul. I had it nailed on the second lap Saturday. Sarge nearly wrecked hard, trying to keep up with me. It was 'my kind of S/T'. Usually, I'm trying to keep up with him.

The last part of the course (if they run it like I remember) is running along the hillside next to the paved road. This is smooth and fast. I tried the tunnel the first lap, but the track ended up in super deep sand and a near dead-end. I don't think they're going to run it this way.

Fellow racers, we'll see you out there Sunday AM, for the course we love (to hate). <8^)
Posted by STP a 48 year old Racer riding a K2 Razorpiggie from P'Dale on 05/14/07

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