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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After helping with some trail work last week, and this past Saturday, I figured it was time to actually get up to LA to ride the Punishment course. We tried last Thursday, but rain and significant mechanical failures on my bike diverted us all to beer & margaritas at DeColores (sp.?). I couldn't make it to the planned 9am "group" start as it'd get me home a wee bit late for the afternoon activities planned at home, so I figured I'd head out at the crack-o-dawn and get home in time to prevent being relegated to the "dog house". I found a couple of early a.m. compatriots, including Sportsman on his SS, and we were rolling by 7am.

The course:



Hopefully the map links up OK, so my description makes some sense...... Anyhow, the race will start in town on the main drag, leading a parade no less, down to a trail head behind the 'Aquatic Center' called Bridges(?) where the trail rolls fast over a mix of loose stuff, grippy rock, and fast hardpack. Generally, the first miles of the race circle around town, 'daylighting' out onto brief paved sections/crossings, looping around to the edge of town at a cemetary. Once you've crossed the last of 3 paved/crossing areas in town, the course picks up Perimeter Trail and is off! Well, you've already covered some good fast mileage, but once on perimeter, it's 12-14 miles before your tires touch anything but dirt/rock, and then it's across the ski area rd. to the upper part of the climb. Perimeter is a fun rythmy trail that brings you up to Pipeline Rd. on a series of technical switchbacks. If you clear all these (especially during the race) you rock! Rode all but one, where I stopped to move a tree/punjabi spike out of harms way. Unfortunately, Scott (sportsman) was having both flat tire issues (2 in 6 miles!) and worse, his crank arm kept trying to wiggle it's way off. He bailed near his house (right before these switchbacks) and planned to hook up with the group at 9am. My riding buddy and I started our way up pipeline..... about 5-6 miles of sustained climbing on a mix of loose, rocky, hardpack, kitty-litter type stuff, and areas that had all of the above together! For those who've never ridden Pipeline, it's a bear in the best of conditions, which it happens to at or near now, and downright evil in poor conditions. It's a "road" in the loosest sense of the word. It's in fact harder in places than a lot of trails I've hit! Once at the top of the climb, there's a fast loose descent through/along Cañada Bonita that takes you towards the Pajarito Ski Hill, via some really fun USFS XC ski trails. Fast and swoopy the whole way to the ski area access road, where you cross and are tossed onto the ski area single track, which is in 100% awesome shape! Almost all climbing, steep & hard at times, but incredible. This year, the real punishment lies in this climb, as there is a new section that connects some of the lower singletrack up most of the way to the top. A fella named Peter at the ski area is apparently behind this new trail. Great trails, but add a hard and sustained additional 3 miles of climbing! By my odometer, when you get to the "top", you've ridden 20 miles, almost on the dot. The course then traverses across a service road, dumping you onto more singletrack, then another quick traverse, and, umm, more singletrack! You end up descending on/across a ski trail called Boomer, where the Tuff Riders built a fun section of trail last year, including a cool rock obstacle/stunt that keeps you sharp, and has some repercussions if bobbled. The descent continues through the bottom of the ski area, across a power line service jeep trail (fun drop into it!), and you briefly ride on the ski hill access paved road to the rest of the Nail Trail 'inlet' which takes in on some nasty jeep roads to the Pajarito Canyon trail. Up a bit of a climb, the down into the canyon to the finish. The canyon trail has been cleaned up nicely, though the locust/thorny stuff stil tends to grab you once in a while. At the end, I had 27 +/- miles on my odometer and some lactic acid starting to pool in my legs! I'd say completing the course in under 3 hours will be a heck of an accomplishment. 2 1/2 hrs and your a stud!

Only the beginners are spared the full brunt, as they end at the intersection of Pipeline and Perimeter. Sport, Expert, Pro and Semi-Pro all get the same ride as described above. So who's up for it? :D I'll be in the 30-39 ex., and as a "patrol" person the next day in the Valle Caldera, for the scenic tour/rides taking place.
 

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Basura Blanca
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Check yer email

'cause I just, by happy coincidence, sent you something about the Valles ride. In answer to your first question, I believe the add-on is the first section. The route goes down into and across Pueblo canyon (aka Bridges Trail) thus picking up more of the Perimeter trail. Then, of course, there's new bit of singletrack at the ski hill, too.
- Joe

Dr.Faustus said:
What's been changed about this year's course compared to last year? Is it some new trail at the Ski Area?

Anyhoo, I'm more interested Valle Caldera ride, though I haven't made that decision (being indecisive). For some reason, I haven't really been jonesing to race that much - don't know why.

Dr.F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dr.Faustus said:
What's been changed about this year's course compared to last year? Is it some new trail at the Ski Area?.
First of all, after the parade start, there's about 5-6 miles of riding before you pick up perimeter traill at the spot you hit it last year...... fun and fast couple of miles that must be paced correctly to prevent serious depletion at the top... then yes, the ride in/on/at the ski area is substantially harder/longer. Though now there is discussion about clipping the main/hard climbing in the ski area out - for sport and ss riders. They'd do essentially the same lower-mountain dirt road climb to the trails at "Boomer".

Dr.Faustus said:
For some reason, I haven't really been jonesing to race that much - don't know why.

Dr.F.
LOL, I can relate! Just can't help it is the problem... the full course is worth it if you feel the need at all. The Valle rides have gotten a huge response and are full!
 
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