My bro, Brad, with his Thai style mohawk (he just got back from several months in Asia) reading to my kids
The last 2 Buck Hills have been equipment experiments for me, which seemed to have worked out in my favor. In both races, I was able to ride off the front in the first lap after really hard starts by Chris Fisher last week and Doug Swanson yesterday.
The experiment: I recently got a new Trek HT built up and have had the itch to try hardtail racing again. It has been 3-4 years since I raced a hardtail in an XC event, and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. First, the tuned ride of the Trek w/ the extended seat mast is awesome. It is a much more supple ride than I have experienced in the past w/ hardtails, and I can see why many manufactures are going to the extended seatmast on their top end bikes. Second, it has forced me to work on my "skills". The hardtail is a sharper tool and sometimes I get lazy with the dually.
All that said, for most full length XC races the Top Fuel is a better bike. I really notice this on the bumpy sections of the course (whether flat or not) where the hardtail makes you work a lot harder. With only a 1.5-2 lbf difference between bikes, weight is not a big factor.
Ok, enough rambling about bikes, but technology and trying new stuff is part of the fun!
Afton on Sunday is next. I am going to try to chase the U23 National Champion around, which should be entertaining=)