Finally I made it to this race, despite having been warned I wouldn't like it. Silly me.
The race site is at the Magic Mountain Ski Resort "base lodge" - which resort apparently consists of one (1) lift across the street from the "lodge". It's near Twin Falls, up an nice twisty road in Black Rock Canyon. The weather was, well, changeable. Sunny/partly cloudy at the bottom of the hill turned into a chill drizzle by the time I got up to the lodge, then it cleared off before race time. Then awards were almost complete before the skies opened up and dumped sleet on the proceedings. No wonder there was still some snow on the course, it's only June for goodness' sake.
The course. 11-mile loop for beginners, sports add a 3-mile section to get 14 miles, experts ride the 11-mile loop twice for 22 miles of smiles. Unfortunately for me, a last-minute change wiped out the first mile or so which was formerly on the road (paved kind). Oh well, it was a climb anyway. Instead, we (vet sports & sport/expert Clydesdales, me & Rich & Mark & Super Dave & Dr. Tony & some other old farts) went out of the parking lot, across the road, onto a jeep trail instead. But it still climbed, anyway. After a bit of this, true to the name of the event, was some singletrack (still climbing, don't worry) with various rude interruptions by rock outcroppings.
I had gotten out ahead of Rich and Mark, but the vet sports were starting to go by me as the course meandered back to the road, crossing it again (formerly leaving the road here for the first time). A kind-of-steep switchback climb started immediately, and I decided I didn't feel that spunky and I would walk instead of ride. More vet sports go by. After that leveled out it turned into a pretty fun rolling/descent singletrack near a creek, with lots of high-g creek crossings that I was never quite sure wouldn't turn out to be significantly deeper than they appeared. At which hypothetical point I would be doing the aquatic equivalent of a "superman" - an "aquaman"? But I never got to test this hypothesis. Leaving behind the fun part of the course and turning onto the sport-only loop extension started a long climb. I believe the sport extension was almost entirely this long climb. Sure seemed like it. I rode for a while, then started hiking. Got back on the bike for the next little bit, and Mark behind me said, "Oh, I was going to start walking, too." Soon enough we both were walking, and he passed me, and then a skinny little sport woman motored by both of us. The winning sport woman, and only one to pass, I might point out.
Lots of hiking for me after that, as Mark hiked and/or rode just slightly faster he receded into the distance. Training, what's that? It's because I wasn't feeling well that I couldn't climb, not that I train one day a week and he does four or five. Yeah, that's it. Some of the hiking was enforced by the aforementioned snow, in mostly little pockets with the big one at maybe 100 feet of traversal required.
Eventually I got back to the main loop, only to find scattered beginners in my path. Wow, must have really taken a long time on those hikes, I thought the wave theory of race starting intended to minimize such class mixing. Oh well. Now imagine my disappointment to find that the climbing was not in fact over yet, either. So more hiking and snow-slogging to go, and just before the actual top, the leading pro/expert passed me on his *second* lap.
Once at the top, after all that climbing, there was a fire-road descent of maybe a couple minutes. It went by so fast, that all-the-climbing didn't seem worthwhile. Pow, descent over, back at the upper road-crossing point, this time some bumpy singletrack back down to the lodge, during which I was passed by the second pro/expert finishing up. But not a third, boy. Mark beat me by three minutes, I still stayed in front of Rich (also not feeling spunky) by six minutes, but our times, usually closer to the middle of the pack on courses with less intense climbing, were all way toward the back of the entire sport field. But what can you do.
Then the sleet truncated the awards, but was soon over. We remaining helpers took down the equipment and loaded the trailer just before it started raining again, at which point I left.