Monday, 13 July 2009

Lost River - Dispanet Descent

You shoulda seen me on the 10am yesterday. I put everyone to shame. Shame no one else was there.

All right, so after turn one you go up the Dispanet hill. It's a hill, not much to say about it. When you first get onto it you'll think it's shorter than it is. There are some stair steps, and one spot where you'll think it's time to throw it back into the big ring (anyone who climbs these the whole way in the big ring, well I know a good ortho who does great knee work), but it's short lived. Handle it how you will. As Tim Rugg says, it's just a kicker anyway.

Coming down off of this kicker is fun. Right away, there's a steep drop off which levels out, then rises slightly. You maintain speed and are going fast at this point, and then go through a left-right zig zag that has great line of sight. Bomb that part. Soon enough, there is a challenging off camber left sweeper with limited sight lines. We will have a road guard positioned at this turn so I do not expect any trouble with cars but it's still a slightly blind turn, I've had deer jump in front of me on the course - you get the picture. Anyway, this is the most technical part of the descent. It's not hairy, and it doesn't tighten in on itself in the second half. It's just a garden variety off camber sweeper that could be taken too fast.

The road has just been resurfaced, and in fact is being swept today as I write this. The DOT has given us some scary moments when we've not been fully aware of how they do things (I've gotten several "holy shit there's gravel everywhere!" phone calls in the past several weeks), but they are the most accommodating municipality I could ever imagine. As I said, they are sweeping today. They are going on a guided tour of this course with a race rep on Thursday. They are going through that punch list and sweeping AGAIN this Friday. A few of us will be out this weekend to critique that work, and then they will do any rework that needs doing early the week before the race and give a final machine sweep on Friday the 23rd. The same process that I used to prepare drywall in a 4 star hotel is being used to prepare the course you're going to race on. Again you should always expect the unexpected, to the degree that you would on any well maintained road.

The second part of the descent is fast and fun. Basically you drop down a longish straight section, then do some fast rollers and shallow turns. Your time to make up ground lost on the climb is at the top of the descent. Groups are going to be giving it full stick through this bottom section and will benefit from drafting.

All downhill sections should be treated with caution. The officials and lead and follow cars will ensure that safety is maximized, and the public is very very aware of the race that's taking place. Please still exercise caution. You will easily be going 40 in places along this descent.

The final part of the descent is the turn onto Route 259. 259 is the busiest road in the area, so still not that busy but there is regular traffic on it. 2 road guards and lots of signage will handle traffic. The turn is slightly acute and if you take it at full cook you'll wind up in the oncoming lane.

259 is a straightforward false flat that is also often into the wind. Apart from that it's short and not worth too much discussion.

The next section of the course is my favorite - Crab Run. Next time.

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