So Last week I went out and hit up the Mid-Week Race at Lake Perris or MRAP put on by SAW Productions on Wednesday. I HAD to it’s in my freaking back yard! This was my first Mountain Bike Race and only 3rd ride in 3 months after taking time off to enjoy my new daughter. The 7 miles course was a single lap for beginners, two laps for sport, and 3 laps for Expert and Pro. These are my thoughts on the course, and the joy of having a mid-week series finally on this side of the main devide.
Who: EVERYONE (Especially IE Peeps)
What: MRAP Midweek Race
When: Wednesday a@ 6pm
Where: RIDE STARTS HERE – REGISTER HERE – STRAVA – FLIKR IMAGES
Why: FREE PARKING – Jenson USA Prize Patrol – On Site Teeter Totter
When I pre-rode the course on Monday I was super impressed. There was a challenging start (that’s been changed this week) and after that the challenges kept coming, but were rewarded greatly at the end. The Views in Lake Perris at sunset are awesome and tend to keep your mind off of the climbing bits. All told the climbing on one lap is only 900 feet. There is WAY more on the loop in Fullerton. Here is mySTRAVA of the course. In the beginning there is a climb that let’s be honest is basically sand. It challenges you to keep calm and maintain a steady pace. It’s a power suck, but passing people here will gain you a huge mental advantage. It’s only a quarter mile long, and at the rise gives way to a great view of one of the four summits surrounding Lake Perris. After that you travel on much firmer trail that hugs the base of the south summit. If you can maintain your speed this becomes a little roller coaster of ups and downs and helps to recover your breath.
At the end of that trail it leads you to the fire road bomb. This is like a breath of fresh air, true you’re not getting incredible technical single track here, but for those of us that are more comfortable going down than up we pick up real time heading down this. After a half mile of this it’s time to take a sharp right off of the fire road and onto some chattery double track that snakes across the saddle of Mount Russell and Terrie’s peak. While relatively short you need to keep up tour pace so you don’t lose places, BUT you need to conserve a little right here. After this point it is basically all up hill. You can even see the trail in the distance, and if you’re not mentally prepared for it it’ll sap your strength.
This climb is a burner and if you take the mental edge by showing them you can sprint they’ll either pull with you or drop into an easier gear, thing is you’re blasting the easy part. There are two little climbs here that have small areas to recover if you need it. After the left hand turn up ahead though is when the grade climbs up and the breezes typically stop. If you can hold on through this it literally is all downhill after that.
When I’m riding for fun out here this is one of my favorite down hills. It’s chunky, it rolls, it has short cuts, and if you know have a dropper seatpost you’re going to gain some serious time. Be careful though, there are derailleur busters, and loose turns with rock penalties. At the mid point there is a long dip that climbs right up to some hike a bike, if you know how to cyclocross mount here you can gain time and places around people unwilling to hustle. After that brief moment the down continues. These descents are faster than the top with swooping turns and well placed launch rocks to clear obstacles. After some trail hazards are past the flow continues with a little bit of climbing that is best handled out of the saddle so you can maintain momentum. All of it is fairly solid ground, but if you hold the brakes you’re going to float.
After this incredibly fun section you’re going to be on an adrenaline high, and having hit your second wind it’s time to drop the hammer. The next bit of trail winds along the foot of Terrie’s peak and back toward the parking lot. There are a few more street crossings inside the park, but there isn’t any traffic and there are guards at every crossing. After that you head on back to the starting gate on paved ground. If you have it in the tank hammer here.
All told even though I did one lap it was tiring and an entirely new experience at race pace. But everyone that crossed the line talked about how much fun it was to race in Lake Perris. This week is race two and as I mentioned some of the sandy beginnings have been changed, and whispers are on the wind about changing the finish to include some awesome rock formations to give people with handling skills advantages over the XC Rabbits.
I have to be honest and say that I am biased when I say I love this race because we’re so close to it. I’ve yet to find an accessible location in the Inland Empire that can hold weekly races, but Lake Perris has really stepped up and committed to offering their facilities. I also had to jump in and support the event via JensonUSA. We’re going to handle promoting, prizes, and possibly even getting volunteers for trail work days to help expand the trails we can use. OH, and I’m bringing my teeter totter to the events from now on to to help liven things up a bit.