Monday, August 11, 2008

Course Clues

So we've spent the past few weekends riding the course with other mortals. No one on our rides was a real contender, but we did have most skill levels, bike set ups and attitudes covered.

Gear ratios and the likeWe're not rocket scientists (well most of us). But we did grow up riding here and have spent a considerable amount of time out there, so we might know a little bit about what we speak. Let's see, we're pretty much mid-pack fodder and have been using the following with much higher success (read ease, fun, ability) at Skyline:

29'er---32x20
26"---34x19

Now you he-men can come and rock the 2:1 all day, we're just saying that there are STEEP climbs, sometimes short, sometimes not, technical sections and loose rock. There is NOT a lot of flat sections. Choose what you think you can rock for 3 laps with about 5000' of climbing give or take.

Still need more info, refer to Sheldon Brown , Surly Spew, or your beloved forums.

Tires
Bigger is better
Knobs are better (tires not people)
Semi slicks are not recommended as there are actually rocks and obstacles on this course.

Air Pressure
More is better, unless you really, really like fixing pinch flats. In the heat. Near or on poison oak. While you lose the race.

Rigid vs. Suspension
How do you feel about feeling like shit the next day? Like it? Go rigid.
80mm is nice. 100mm is better. At least that's what some of us think.

Running
Still think you're gonna win? When the chump in front of you stacks it on the single track, you might want to think twice about hopping off and running your ass through the beautiful field of red, green, yellow or stick poison oak. Helping others has a much higher karma value.

Listening Skills
Let's say you're riding near/behind/ or somehow alongside someone who says they have actually ridden Skyline. If they say it might be wise to :
A. Slow down
B. Watch out
C. Get off and walk
D. All of the above

You should listen to them.

You can always prove yourself on the next lap.

This course has been (rightfully) described as pretty technical. There is a great cross-section of Northern California terrain involved. Exposed rock sections, steep climbs, smooth, fast single-track, tree covered sections, fire-roads, loose, off-camber descents. A little bit of everything. All fun. If you have 10 thumbs, you can still finish this race, you just might have to walk a few more sections than Cameron.

By the way, there are sections you WILL have to walk up, so no tears if your ├╝ber-cool, ultra-lightweight, carbon soled shoes get all scratched.

Poison Oak:
Staying on the trails is your best bet to not being afflicted with the itchy scratchys down there (and everywhere). Again, we've been out for the past month and (knock on wood) have not gotten any oak. But it IS out there. Everywhere. It can be red. Or green, or yellow, or sticks. Best piece of advice we can give you? DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING but your bike.

After the race, make like high school prom and take a cold shower.

  • DO NOT TAKE A HOT SHOWER.
  • DO NOT TOUCH YOUR JOHNSON.
  • PUT YOUR CLOTHES IN A PLASTIC BAG AND WASH IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD.

**We're not trying to freak you all out, just giving folks that have never seen this beautiful plant a reality check. With the proper care, it is totally possible to not get it.


Riding your bike in the United States
Welcome to the USA, now pay attention--bikes are second (third) class citizens. This isn't Sweden or Holland. That being said you need to do a few things:

1. Pay attention to traffic--you want to ride with it
2. While riding around Napa at night, use your lights (head and tail-lights)---no need to give Johnny Law a reason to pull you over---this means BRING LIGHTS, (you don't need super hi-dollar lights, but something shiny and blinky will help).
It will be wise (and fun) to ride to almost every location here in town. You really won't need a car or a cab to get around-everything is flat and within biking distance.