I had the pleasure of heading on over to the Bozone this weekend to recon the SSMT course. On Saturday myself and the Mule Crew (Cory, Eric, and Julie) headed up to trail which will be used for SSMT, as well as the Muleterro race. We wanted to make sure the trail was in good shape, try to figure out how many laps racers would do, and try to determine where the start finish area would go. As seems to be par for the course up here in the Big Sky, the trail is a solid climb, with a few steep sections followed by a solid descent on a DH style trail. No real flat spots to allow for that recovery thing, which I'm a little bummed out over. Below you can see Cory who stopped during the climb to soak in the view of the Bozeman Valley.
Once we got to the top of the trail, Eric, Julie, and self headed off to try to find a proper area to have a staging area. Lady luck must have joined up on the ride because after riding up the dirt road for a bit we came to a perfect area for the staging area. Plenty of room for parking, several camping spots, and some fire pits were right off the road, making this the spot. So with that if you do choose to make the trip to SSMT from afar, you can camp out at the race site. Camping will be primitive so bring everything you might need, but I'm willing to bet the night before there will be some folks up there having a good time. The view aint that bad either.
Some other stuff I determined was that aside from the standard cross country race, the second portion of the bike race will be a hill climb. I'm leaning towards making it a Les Mans start, where racers will have to run to their bikes with their front wheel in hand, put the wheel on the bike, then start the climb. The cross country race will also include a "choose your own adventure" section. At the end of the descent there is a fork in the trail, racers can go either way they want. I wont disclose which route is faster, that will just be part of the fun. There is also an old beat down cabin on the route, where beverages and treats will be stashed, who knows there might even be some sort of reward for stopping and enjoying a drink.
Choose your own adventure, which trail will be faster?
So in the end it was a good weekend to go check out the course/venue, the weather was great, and the trail was in good condition. Sunday was my "divide day", where I only road trails that had the word divide in their name. After watching the final stage of the Giro with Horan, I headed up and road the Bangtail Divide, which still had a fair chunk of snow at certain points. On the drive home through Butte, I stopped at the top of Homestake Pass to ride a quality section of the Continental Divide Trail. Both trails had good switchback climbs, which reward your efforts with great views and even better singletrack. I just hope the trails in the Saphires are as good, when I head to ride there at the end of the week.