Austin Rattler MTB 2021

Anyone here going to ride the Austin Rattler in November? This will be my first foray into MTB racing as primarily an ultra TT roadie, so I’m thinking of just opting for the 40mi race to get my feet wet, but I know the 60 is a Leadville qualifier. Would love to do Leadville some day but that’s probably a few years out.

Anyone have any tips on the course, tire/gear selection, etc.?

Do the 60 if you have experience doing long events. As you mention, it’s a Leadville qualifier. If you get a spot, they normally allow you to defer it out into the future. I got a Leadville spot at last years rattler and deferred to 2022 since I was already in for 2021.

The course isn’t technically challenging in the traditional sense, but it’s a hard course to maintain any momentum. Lots of punchy climbing wears most folks down. I ran a pretty chunky front tire (forekaster)since the are quite a few loose sections, some of them off camber turns at bottom of descents. I’m not a great mtb’r, so the extra grip on the front was really good for confidence. There were a lot of dnf’s, definitely a course you need to pace properly because there is no way to get around the course soft pedaling if you blow up.

Similar to above comments - last year’s course was full of loose off camber turns - loose sandy with chunky rocks mixed in. Turns often came at the bottom of a short decent and right before the next punchy climb which made it difficult to build any momentum. I also used a Forecaster on the front with an Ikon on the rear and traction was pretty good. I went down only once in one of those off camber turns when my front tire rolled over on a rock buried in the sand.
My biggest issue was race day was relatively warm and humid and I did not hydrate or pace properly. If I remember it was about 80 F. I started cramping bad toward the end of the 2nd lap and I was one of those DNFs. Later when I looked back it was clear I under hydrated and should have been supplementing more electrolytes.

I don’t think the course has updated on the website yet but they did email this out to previous participants:

Mostly double track, smoother than the prior two years and less climbing. The course will take you up, over and around the highest peak on the ranch. Saddle up- you’ll face a mixture of rock, dirt and gravel. Beautiful views and unique terrain throughout the course.

IMO this would be a good change. I did not particularly enjoy last year’s course as it did not play to my strengths and I did not have the right tires. I do better with longer sustained climbs and rockier terrain in general. I was not prepared for the looser soil and constant up-down, off-camber as others described. I just couldn’t keep any momentum or flow. For tires, I rode my normal XC race tires (2.25 Mezcal) and those were a bad choice for that soil. Agree with the others about the Forekaster being a decent choice. I’d definitely ride something with more float in in a 2.4 width.

All that said, I’m glad I did the event last year and I’d consider it again but can’t this year due to family obligations.