Lost Lake: A ‘real’ mountain bike race course | VailDaily.com

Lost Lake: A ‘real’ mountain bike race course

Shauna Farnell

There are certain characteristics of which any mountain bike route should contain at least one.The route should primarily be on dirt. We live in the Colorado Rockies; thus, there should be some climbing involved, some degree of breathtaking scenery and technical segments that force the rider to choose a line. Plus a dose of adrenaline. The rider should seriously feel his or her body working.Not only achieving just one or two of these elements, Wednesday’s town series race at Lost Lake has a surplus of each one.I rode the Lost Lake race course for the first time last week. Having heard that the course is “really technical,” I felt like I was sort of ahead of the game as I hit the rocky section at the top of Lost Lake Road. So? I thought to myself. This is everyone’s idea of technical?My ego took a dive into my shoulders and was cowering there a few minutes later when I was off my bike and gingerly lifting it around large rocks along a narrow singletrack, which continued for what felt like 300 years. Vail Recreation District race organizer Brian Doyon equates the Lost Lake course to a difficult golfing venue.The real thing”In golf, you have some rounds where you’re competing against competitors,” he said. “There are others where it’s just you against the course. Lost Lake is like one of those. This is real mountain biking.”Indeed.All race categories save beginners and children have to ride at least 13.3 miles, beginning on the dirt at Red Sandstone Road in Vail. From this start at roughly 8,500 feet, riders pedal as fast as their uphill oxygen-intake capabilities can carry them to a high point of almost 10,250 feet, eight miles up the road (Pros and experts have to ride the slightly longer and more technical route up Son of Middle Creek trail). From the end of the rocky but wide Lost Lake Road, racers plunge down a narrow, loose singletrack, cross a creek and proceed to play pinball with their wheels around a series of large rocks and roots.By the time the backdrop-like scenery of Lost Lake is in view, riders will be staring fixedly at the trail ahead, avoiding said obstacles and maybe even skirting through a couple of marshes and remaining lumps of snow. Just when you think it’s the end as you reach the Lost Lake trailhead parking area, you’ll have to haul your weary wares for another chunk-O-uphill on Red and White Mountain Road. The course ends with a fun descent to the dirt road on a singletrack with plenty of berms and motocross-like curves.Sport and veteran riders will climb for 3,064 feet before it’s all said and done, pros and experts 3,606, and beginners a merciful 1,834 over six miles.Children begin racing at 5 p.m. Adults at 5:45 p.m., with registration at the North Trail trailhead on Red Sandstone Road. The after party will be at Bagalis in West Vail. Don’t forget to rehydrate after the race …Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 748-2936 or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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