MNMBS visited the nice river town of Red Wing Sunday. This may be my favorite MNMBS course, and even if you don't race it should be at the top of your list for a weekend mtbking visit! The singletrack is twisty with plenty of technical stuff to keep you on your toes. That got topped off with running us on the a downhill course (SO SWEET!) and the gnarl of the Stairway to Heaven climb.
As an aside, I missed out on the Pro XCT over in Wisco due to the required Friday registration requirement (Pros had to be present by 5:30 Fri, which wasn't in the cards this year work and family wise). I likely would have raced if I could have cruised over there Sat AM, done the race, and headed home. It sounded like a good time other than the token bottle necks at the start. I have fond memories of that course for sure!
Back to Red Wing...I fought "it" (my body) for the first 2 laps but was able to pull a gap despite laying the bike over once and a bobble on the Stairway climb. The course was mostly super grippy tack, but the first lap had a few surprise slick corners along w/ the aforementioned downhill course that needed exploring. By the 3rd lap I got in my groove and even felt like I was going good for a while. I didn't cramp, which in the high humidity is always key to success. By the end I pulled a pretty good gap for the win.
Equipment wise, I had a new secret weapon...EC90 XC wheels. Thanks Easton and Freewheel! The dang things are slightly less than 1300 grams but w/ out the compromises in stiffeness and durability that you get w/ other lightweight wheels. They are made to be ridden hard every day not just raced on occasionally and delicately!
Also, the top fuel was awesome. I have the suspension fully dialed at this point. I use very close to the Trek recommended air pressure. I run the new Kashima RP23 on full platform, then I lockout out the Fox RLC fork but turn the compression damping and lockout threshold as low as they go. This provides for a firm and balanced (front to rear) racing platform but allows for sufficient bump compliance when the trail gets rough.
While there is no racing planned for me this weekend, my family is collecting at my parents house. Ben will be there so I will probably come out of the weekend w/ enhanced fitness.
To that end, Ben raced this past weekend up at Crested Butte. The course, part of the MSC series, was a 1 lap 38 mile beast...mountain bike racing in its most raw form. I think they should do a world cup on a course like that!