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Hats off to Dan Jennings and the Bike Rack crew for pulling off a well-organized Psycowpath series race on Saturday, August 21 at the Hitchcock Nature Area just north of Crescent, IA. It is obvious that a good deal of planning and work went into the race. I look forward to next year's event at this same location. It is a shame that this trail can only be ridden once a year. These trails definitely caused me to ratchet up my bike handling skills, not to mention the cardiovascular challenges that the trail offers. At the same time, I have a concern about the first major transition in the course, the steep uphill after the long, thrilling descent. It seems to me that only a few skilled souls were able to actually clear this hill without dismounting. The rest of us average schmucks were forced to a hike-a-bike stance. I am not complaining about having to push up the hill. But I think this transition came too early in the course. As such it creates horrendous bottle-necking and breaks up the overall flow of the course. I wonder if next year the transition could be made less radical by a slight re-route. I would love to get some feedback on this from other riders who did this race, or have ridden this trail before. And I am sure that Dan Jennings and his crew of trail builders would appreciate any comments on this as well.

Most Cordially,

Dr. MTB
 

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Dr. MTB said:
At the same time, I have a concern about the first major transition in the course, the steep uphill after the long, thrilling descent. It seems to me that only a few skilled souls were able to actually clear this hill without dismounting. The rest of us average schmucks were forced to a hike-a-bike stance. I am not complaining about having to push up the hill. But I think this transition came too early in the course. As such it creates horrendous bottle-necking and breaks up the overall flow of the course.
I think it's great. It's one of the toughest sections on the course. If most folks can't clear it, it serves as an equalizer. If you are able to clear that section, it shows that it's best to introduce a little strategy - i.e. if you know you can make it, bust your but to be in a position in which to make the hill by the time the pack arrives. That's all part of racing, including studying the trail and forming a race strategy.

It's been that way for 8 years or however long they've been racing at Hitchcock. One of the biggest complaints of most race courses is that they're too fast and non technical. A little hike a bike never hurts anyone. If you finish the race and say, "I would've placed really well, if only it wasn't for that little short steep climb early on in the race," well, then you know what you need to work on for next year. That's racing, and that's partially the reason that folks include obstacles like that in their events.
 
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