The biggest change is the Fuego XL (Lifetime opener) is on FRIDAY instead of Saturday.
Single speed first wave after the elites in XL… That’s going to be fun going up Couch Canyon. Strategy to keep a gap between the rest of the field and the pro women?
Nice. I’m going to be doing my first ever road race there on Thursday (I’m a recovering triathlete and will be doing the cat D first time racer category). Anyone else racing the road race this year?
Well I don’t know if I’d call it “fun” The word I’d describe does start with “f” though.
Also new bridge at the bottom of Couch too. So at least that bottle neck won’t be as bad.
How far into the race is Couch Canyon? Going to sea otter for the first time and doing the Fuego XL. Any tips or advice welcome!
I’ll be doing the circuit race this year but I did the road race last year. My only advice is to be prepared for climbing. It’s not a huge amount necessarily but in ~40 miles it’s about 4,000ft of elevation gain.
@K42 Elevation changes at Laguna are no joke. (I used to do motorcycle track days there on a 250cc 2 stroke twin and the climb from 5-6-7 is no joke.
@Bdchunk Pace yourself, except when you shouldn’t. It’s a race up the aforementioned 5-6-7 to the gate that drops you on to trail for Couch which is the first single track section with limited passing opportunities until you top out of the climb, then some fire road until it’s time for MORE single track again with limited passing options.
Be prepared to ride at a pace slower than you’d like and gas it to pass on the fire roads until you get into a group that’s more your speed. There’s a four mile climb from the bottom of Barlow Canyon to the entrance to the circuit. Single track for the first mile and a half with a section or two that is steep and sandy. Just gotta keep the cadence up and spin up.
The most frustrating thing on course is the sand washes. So…MANY…Sandwashes. They just suck your speed away.
So pacing is all I can suggest and Trainer Road XCM plan.
Supposed to be a new Fuego XC course…only 21 miles compared to the usual 30 ish.
I think 21 might cut off Couch Canyon as it is about a 4 mile section.
Would not mind that at all.
About a half mile into the race and then again at the start of the second lap.
They also have a non-competitive social ride going off in between the women and men’s Fuego XC race start waves, on the same course, on Sunday…how stupid is that? They just can never seem to get it right. I remember the first few years I raced there they had tandems start first, then the men’s classes, nothing like getting behind a tandem on a singletrack climb.
The elites are all that matter, but if that were true they would be putting single speed between men & women elites
The tandems are going ahead of the age group men this year too for the 21 miler.
I would be curious as to why they do this… they dump riders onto a steep down and up singletrack and purposely make it difficult to pass? But it’s not like a hard start will even help… they get a head start.
It makes unnecessary chaos. But at least they went back to waves unlike the mass start that had people standing around for 10 min waiting to get on the trail.
The only other options are…
have the start run clockwise so that the first mile is on the tarmac including the climb up the corkscrew before topping out at T7 and then dropping into Couch. OR
have the first lap skip Couch (like they did with the gravel race last year). It still featured on Lap 2, but it pushes the choke point to the turn on to trail 44 (currently the 2nd single track section.)
Couch is a great feature to ride, but a really crappy way to start a race with 1,000 riders even if there are waves.
The passing opportunities going down the Corkscrew all the way through to T11 are amazing though. Crazy how many people park it in the corners.
(My other toys are a GSXR 1000, and an NSR50)
I have no problem with Couch Canyon at the start as crazy as it is. Though people going crazy at the start to then be in granny gear the way up is annoying.
I was referring to putting tandems before the fast age groupers. I’m curious as to why they put them before everyone else?
I liked the courses where you finish coming through couch canyon and start with half a lap on tarmac then a few miles on fireroad before hitting singletrack, it lets everything get a bit more sorted before the pinch points.
Fuego XL Friday April 19th 70 Miles (Updated course as the 2023 course was 68 miles?)
Fuego XC Sunday April 21st 21 miles
Road Race Thursday April 18th 68 mi/40mi/30mi