Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I am not too happy about the course change for the Draper ICUP race this year. The original course had a good steady climb but then had a lot of variaty- Clark's, couple sections of the BST, Golf course descent etc. This year it's all UP and then all DOWN without much room for passing. I rode it Monday following the ICUP page map. Here's my synopsis for those interested (Warning it's not a flowery description).

The start's at the Equestrian Center and goes under the road through the tunnel and turns left just as last year. The course then follows the Lower Corner Canyon trail to the dirt road. However, there is still a lot of construction in that area and part of the single track is closed. Who knows if it'll be open by race day. Anyway, somehow you get to the road part and stay right up to the T where Clark's ends and BST heads South. The difference now is that we go UP Clark's. I think this is going to be a LONG haul for beginners on single track! I see people walking their bikes up it every ride.
My buddy Rich: 57+ category had to stop a couple times to catch his breath. Where would that be safe during the race?

Next you hit Corner Canyon Road and head down just past where Jacob's Ladder empties onto the road. About 100 feet on the left will be the Ghost trail. I have to admit this is a fun down hill but not at all conducive for passing. Watch out for several trees leaning over the trail. They can take a head or shoulder out pretty easily!

After that fun short couple of minutes you come to a T. Right takes you past Ghost falls and to North lower Ghost but you make a Left and head down South Lower Ghost. This is a pretty narrow trail that can be loose and a bit rocky. Quickly you get to an option to turn right or to go straight. It was not clear on the map which way to go. I suspect right, but either way it will drop you breifly off onto Canyon Hollow trail. Turn Right for a very short distance and don't fall into the gully! It's deep! You will quickly see a sharp Right turn and a "short bridge". Cross it and head left off the bridge to Lower Ghost.

Lower Ghost is another fun rolling section but not very good to pass on considering significant drop off if you miss or push someone over.

You make a very do-able but sketchy left hair pin turn around "the Rock" and finish off Ghost. Go straight on the gas line double track and you will quickly hit the wall. If you ask me this part is stupid! Instead of taking a nice left across the bridge we have to go across a relative wide flowing stream and head up this stupid sandy hill that I guarantee more than half of us will be hiking! THEN we go down this washed out double track again which would be good to pass on but it is so washed out and pitted that it would be crazy to try to pass here as well!
THE WALL: Doesn't that look fun?

THEN we have to take basicly a high speed dowhill left U turn onto a narrow single track. Then we end up back at the bridge that any sane rider WOULD have taken instead of doing the wall. 10 feet before the bridge we take a sharp Right down the "Stairs" trail.

This section is narrow single track with several small boulder obstacles that aren't too bad but will slow us up but then you hit "the Stairs". These are ridable if you do it confidently and aggressively but I can see any hesitation could cause havoc. So, many will be tempted to walk this and likely be run over! There's no room to walk along the side!

Rich made it- the second time. This is a must to preride so that you get comfortable with it.

So finally, the route takes us back to the main road we started up to get to Clark's and now we have two way traffic AND have to cross traffic to get to the Creek Veiw trail! How they are going to manage this is beyond me!

Let's say you survive the crossing. So now you are up on a narrow sandy trail that is pretty exposed. It can be quite fast but then you have these hidden off camber turns that will take you into the oaks (I saw it happen Monday). OK, so let's say you survive this as well- (by the way I am not going to be on duty that day), you then have to watch out for the narrow sharp downhill left hairpin turn, or else, again, you will be in the Oaks. Finally, you will wind your way down across the bridge back to lower lower corner canyon trail and go through the tunnel and take a left through the stream. The rest is like last year's going through the bushes around the pond and then??? You are supposed to turn left up the short single track to get to the Equestrian center but as of monday there were 15 dump loads on top of it with the trucks still working there.

So, anyone with a more flowery experience? Please, uplift me!


Aaron said...

Any idea why they changed the course? I loved the old course. Why mess with a good thing?

ER Dad said...

Not sure why the course change. One idea was the two road crossings were not liked by the city.

StupidBike said...

It will be fun and it will all work out on race day. I swear.

ER Dad said...

No offense intended to the person or bike team that may have come up with this crazy course. Honest.

Carson said...

At least you can ride to the course...

Anonymous said...

Karl, You just need a beer before the race. everything will be good again.

KanyonKris said...

My plan: have fun pre-riding, don't race it. As a mountain bike ride I enjoyed the race course. But I share your concerns about racing it.

While Clark's is wide for a single-track, it's long and will still present passing problems.

I agree, choosing "the wall" over the single-track is a head scratcher. I actually liked climbing the wall after all the downhill, and it presents a short passing opportunity, but that old dirt road is washed out and treacherous and the downhill hairpin turn is a mess.

The stairs trail is fun to ride, but the rocks and stairs will trip up racers.

The Creekview trail also fun to ride, but will be dicey to race.

In general, the more fun a trail is to ride, the worse it is to race, and vice versa.

StupidBike said...

oh, this course is all Ed, the shop just stuffs goody bags.

Next year, with the new trail available, it may all work out even better, I am kind of excited about the figure 8, smash em up derby section, but expect that something will change by race day, heck maybe even a fly over bridge.

29er said...

Karl, I'm a little nervous after reading your description. So you're not officially on duty that day.... will you still be available "on call" for friends who can't quite stay on the trail and may need assistance?

Grizzly Adam said...

I loved the old course. BBQ alley was awesome. I always expected to get hit in the head by a soccer ball or water balloon. The road crossings seemed manageable as long as the course marshals were on top of things.

I guess the pre-ride will be a good time to get out and do the Clark's TT.

Keith said...

Sounds like a must to pre-ride. I'll try to be there on Monday.

Daren said...

I rode most of it and agree it's a very fun ride. We'll see how it goes in the race. I like the addition of some technical challenge. In general, XC courses are too easy. Technical skill should be a factor in MTB racing.

I also think last year's course needed to be changed. There was too much dirt road, it was a mess when the Experts lapped the Sports on the last short lap and charging through residential streets and backyards is never good.

Maybe somewhere between the two courses would work best. I guess we'll see. In any case, racing close enough to home to ride to the venue is always good.