Rode the course last weekend. Conditions were very good, a little less dusty than normal. Was on a FS Supercaliber with Enve M525’s wrapped with Schwalbe Racing Ray 2.25 on the front and Thunder Burt 2.25 rear. Same tires I ran at Leadville in 2019, except I ran a HT that year. Remains a personal choice, but after the weekend riding it confirmed my decision to go FS Supercaliber with dropper this year vs the HT without dropper I rode two years ago. Picked up time on all the descents including two minutes coming down Columbine. Other times on the course were either on par or better. Lots of variables including fitness, but the bike felt great and I didn’t feel fatigued after two days of hard riding covering the full course.
There is a new rocky crossing on Powerline. Descending, it’s a little before the steep graded section. I believe it was built to help channel water down across the road when it rains. It’s rideable, but will likely be a spot a lot of riders stop at on race day if they are not familiar with it.
On the weekend, I noticed the right hand sweeper after the steep, graded section of Powerline was very loose with a lot of sand near the edge. Just be mindful of the corner on race day.
Columbine is rideable all the way to the top right now and all the snow is gone. Goat trail is unchanged.
It sounds like the section between Twin Lakes and Twin Lakes alternate aid has changed slightly to avoid private land. In the past, the private land was opened on race day but I think now they have decided to go around it if I understood things correctly. This would be the same route people used for pre-rides in the past. Not really a big deal.
The Powerline descent on the way out, and the Sugarloaf descent on the way back, and the goat trail at the top of Columbine are the biggest threat to your tires. Bouncing on and over all those rocks at speed is likely where the majority of punctures happen. Definitely a tire with a little extra puncture protection would be worth it, be it a Snakeskin Schwalbe, an EXO Maxxis, etc. Some cornering knobs on the Columbine descent help. The Sugarloaf descent is really fast and rocky, but for the most part very straight. St. Kevin’s has a few turns where traction is important. I think all the fast rolling options people talk about are going to be fine, but don’t skimp on the puncture protection.
They are limiting crew to 2 crew members on the course this year. It sounds like this may be a permanent change to reduce car traffic. They were strongly encouraging to work together with other riders and share crews. No indication that aid stations will be any different and it sounds like they will still be filling bottles with GU Roctane or water out of pitchers. GU remains the sponsor and therefore GU products will be at the aid stations. During the camp they had GU waffles, gels, and new liquid energy (isotonic gel similar to SIS). They no longer had GU chews. Not sure if they will have the chews there on race day.
The Lifetime staff, as well as Ken and Merilee, are all so excited that the races are back this year. It’s going to be a special atmosphere on race day with everyone being a little more appreciative of things after last year’s wipeout. Good luck to everyone during final preparations!