This is a new thing that I am going to do. I love riding, and tend to pre-ride most courses before the race, so I figured I’d put all the info I could on the course out here for others to enjoy.
So, how does the San Jacinto Enduro course compare to previous years? It doesn’t!
(Here is a short video of last years race and one of last years mustache contest)
Mustache contest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJi72LGsel4
My thoughts on the course
There is a lot of single track on the long course. Be prepared for it! I wasn’t when I pre-rode and was kind of going crazy. It seemed never-ending. There are not a lot of baby-head sections. The rocks you will see on this course are large boulders. You can ride over all of them, have some fun! Some of the sections can be lose (soft dirt), so be aware. This really is a unique and fun course.
Ride a little fast in the morning to try and stay warm. It is usually in the 30s at the start. Take the first descent to the ranger station easy. No need to fall here. This road has rain ruts strewn all over it and can be harsh on your bike/body, especially without rear suspension. Refill atCranston(2 bottles).
Keep your power steady up the control road. If you feel you need to recover on the little flat sections, you are riding too hard. Make sure to pace yourself, the back half of the course, though it does not contain as much climbing, takes a lot out of you. Continue to pace yourself around optimater. This loop rolls up and down. It is not a big climb followed by a long descent, though it may seem that way. Be prepared to keep climbing, even after you feel like you are on the “big descent.” Refill at the café just past the school.
The lady that works there was nice and said I could fill up there on race day. You will want to fill up a 3rd bottle that is stashed in your jersey here. It’s going to be a long time until you can get water again and it might be getting hot. You will be climbing for another 45 minutes to and hour.
Once you get to the top of this last climb, you have done most of the climbing. However, the single track that you have left will take its toll on you. The climbs can be steep and challenging. There are some boulder sections that will require some technical skill, but these are uphill sections, so you will still need some legs. Once you get to the familiar stuff (missing link) give it all you have. You are going to be done soon.
I’m sure everyone who is going to partake in this race knows that the course is radically different. The format has changed entirely and I think the non-management may have scored a homerun with this one. They ditched the two loop format for the long course and, instead, made one larger loop (the long course) and one smaller loop (the short course). Let me talk about the short course first.
The short course is very close to being the same as the previous years except for one new section. When you head into town, you ride past Saunders Meadow Rd, and then stay right on S. Circle Dr. when HWY 243 starts to curve to the left. You traverse through the neighborhood, try not to be tempted to make a left onto the Ernie Maxwell trail (closed to bikes), and instead make a left on the South Ridge fire road. Head up the fire road for a couple hundred feet and look for a turn-off on the right. The turn-off is actually more like a drainage ditch. It looks like it heads into a patch of trees. If you notice a pull off on the left, you’ve gone too far. This is where the turn off is. Once on that trail, you take it and it is gooood!
Then, you eventually get to a point where the trail comes out of the trees and does a switchback, but right before the switch back you will clearly see another trail on the right. Take this trail and keep following it as it rolls up and down through the trees. When you come to another clearing and have the choice of going left or right, go left down the hill. Don’t worry; it does look like nobody has been down there before. The road finally improves and you will see another road split off on the right. Make the right hand turn and just head straight. Then, you’ll find yourself onMay Valley Rd. Make another left; you will start descending; then look to the right for the log pile single track. Now, you are back on the normal short course route.
My pre-ride of the short course (disregard the little out-and-back on the 74. That was the start of the old long course second loop that is no longer in service)
Now, let’s look at the long course. I will start out with a little description, then post a link to a gps file of the course. I would highly suggest that everyone is semi-familiar with the route and that everyone has it loaded onto their gps. There are a lot of times when you will have to decide to go left or right and it might take your gps a minute to update, so having a vague idea of where to go can come in handy.
The long course this year starts off like always. After climbing up the control road back into Idyllwild, you make a left just before the gate and hit the optimater loop. This loop has a lot of intersections with other trails, so pre-riding this loop would come in handy. There are also a lot of switchbacks that you will be climbing up on this trail that can be tricky. I had to walk a few of them. The trail can be loose when descending through the trees, so watch out. There are some technical rocky sections and a couple good rollers. Don’t worry, they look challenging, but are easy. I was able to ride them all.
Once done with the optimater loop, you continue on similar to the short course. This is where the race can be fun. The faster long course guys will be seeing/passing the slower short course guys. So, we will actually have some company out on the course. I think this would be a good place to put a check-in station for the race. Maybe next year we go deeper into Idyllwild and pass by the Hub and check-in. Get an idea of where we stand in the race.
So, we ride with the short course guys up South Ridge trail. We make a right onto the single track, however, we stay on this main trail and do not make the right turn off the short course guys do. Instead we keep climbing, for what seems like forever. We eventually make it to the top, which is the majority of all of our climbing and get to have fun descending.
From here, the course make a lot of turns on trails I don’t know. The single track up here seemed to start out easy and get more challenging the further along you went. When it dumped you out onto a fire road, pay attention because the next trail you are supposed to take is not far away.
Finally you will find yourself on the familiar missing link trail. When you hit this point, you know you are almost done. Keep pedaling until you finally make it back to the yellow post campsite and can get off the bike, lay down, and have a beer!