So the answer to yesterday's question about ironwork was a bit fat maybe. The architect made an interesting interpretation of the building code and left us with an issue. You know, because who really checks occupant loads anyway? The good news is that apparently I had some points stored up somewhere because the iron supplier sent a critical piece a tad long. So now we have rework, which blows our early lead, but we don't have to get any new parts. If anyone needs the name of a terrible architect...
The news is out that we are having a W4 event at Lost River. This is good. The chicken and egg thing is tough for novice women's racing to overcome. We were able to do it within our safety parameters and probably revenue neutral to slightly costly, so we did it.
Jenkins Hollow is definitely a feature section of the course. The climb is kind of like that story about how you can boil a frog without him knowing (which is apparently untrue), in that it starts off as an innocuous false flat and gradually gets steeper and steeper until you are in full holy crap mode at the end. The feed zone and the finish line will both be at the Jenkins Chapel church at the top of the hill. My wife and I rode this section at very conversational pace on July 4th and apart from a couple of out of the saddle kicks in the big cog at the end, it's not so steep that you can't take it pretty mellow. It's pretty steep though, and I don't think anyone's going to be thinking about taking it mellow during the race. I think people are going to be attacking like mad in this part.
If you haven't gotten the picture yet, the course is sort of obviously hard, but it's also subversively hard. You've gone up Dispanet which is just stone cold hard, then you've gone down a mildly technical descent. Then you went up a false flat probably into the wind, it took all you had not to take in a bit of pole dancing at the turn (honestly, you'd never know it's there except that now you do), then you went through a very technical rolling section, and now you're on this climb that sneaks up on you like the opening chords of "She Sells Sanctuary." "Oh, this is a lovely little spacey riff, how pleasant..." and then BOOM full on hair metal head banging raucousness. Nice.
Anyhow, grab a bottle and stuff it into the cage because we're about to go downhill. I haven't skied at Windham in probably 18 years (I grew up in NY, Windham was the place that was better than Hunter anyway and didn't have all the d-bags in Giants jackets snowplowing down the diamond runs), but there was one fun run there where the pitch undulated the whole way down. You'd kinda be chilling out going at a nice clip, carving some nice turns and then over the falls you go and suddenly you're hauling ass.
The descent down Jenkins does that to you. You're going along like "this is neato" and then all of a sudden your wheels are barely touching the ground and you're not so sure about the sanity of your speed. The sight lines are really pretty good the whole way down, there are no tricks or anything, it's just having confidence to stay on the rail. It will be really fun to see how it is post resurfacing, because back in the old days there were like two (1.5?) secret lines that you could take to just tear ass down this thing. It ought to be a lot more wide open now, but going down 5 across isn't going to turn out well for anyone. The steepest part comes just at the beginning of the last paragraph of Jenkins. It drops and goes a little bit off camber to the left. It's not enough of a turn where you'll have to weight your downhill ski, but it'll fool you into thinking that you have to. After that, it starts to shallow out and you've got one shallow right bend and a shallow left bend before things open up and you see the guard rail marking the right turn onto Howards Lick.
The turn onto Howards Lick is acute but not difficult. Even if you mess up totally it's a pretty soft landing. You just can't take it too too fast. It is, after all, acute.
Howards Lick is the shortest section of the course, or maybe similar to the 259 section. If it's not the shortest, it's definitely the quickest. The road is butter, absolutely flawlessly paved (at least it was on 4th of July weekend). There is a noticeable elevation loss but it's not a downhill. It's like a steady 2% decline. You can RIP on this section. You have great vision of what's coming up, but Turn 1 does kind of sneak up on you. We'll have things marked out like a bastard because you'd fishtail to a stop or blow right by the turn onto the bridge otherwise. I don't know why that is, you can see it for a while, maybe it's just that the entry to Dispanet is pretty narrow. Anyway, the scene here will kind of remind me of a (far) more technical version of the first turn at Trade Zone. You might have a big wide pack billowed out but going at a good solid clip. The outside will slow down as they set up for the turn, and the inside won't. Hopefully everyone plays nice and sorts this out.
I really want to learn to weld.