USAC XCO 2024 - Bear Creek PA

Anybody ride recon or have beta about the 2024 USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships XCO courses? They changed it up a decent amount from last year (Though the main/big climb looks the same) for most categories (start is very different).
Just wanted to see if they took out or added tech and worth getting there early to pre-ride.

This is comparing white('23) to blue('24) courses but the same apples2apples 2024/23 for the masters men (and isn’t that the cat that everybody here really cares about:) and many of the other cats.
USAC RWGPS Page here 2024 USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships

judging from the silence looks like no one is making the trek to PA for XC Nats,
lurked on youtube and found some good videos recon from the MASS series that they ran earlier last month
This one is basically most of the course with the far part of it not the nats course (he knocks his camera for the whole second lap/middle so you are basically looking at his top tube the whole time, which he claims is “helpful in seeing the terrain”, but its not):

This guy did 5 minute sections of it with the best:
Flow section at end:

Leading up to the Aline


The climb looks the same but they took out the heckle pit (thank you)

The biggest change was taking out the heckle pit area(boo).

The start is on the gravel road and goes the opposite direction. You go about .15 miles and then make a hard left up some double track through the trees and pop out back on the ski slope and down to the first set of berms.

The course is pretty much the same until mile 2.75 where they drop you down a rocky single track and come back up the ski slope. You do this again but I think that part was part of Nationals last year. Then at mile 3.55 you head back into the woods on some double track that leads to some singletrack. It’s rocky but not like the heckle pit section.

After that you start coming down the mountain through the trees, fast rocky descents, and on the ski slopes. They took out the first drop that was after the heckle pit section but the second drop with the b-line is there. There is a sketchy right before the short climb up to the entry for the a/b line. It’s gravel and you will have some speed coming down the descent.

After the a/b line it’s a descent on the ski slope to the start finish.

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If you did the course last year do you think its worth going up to pre-ride the “new and improved” course or could you knock it off without a pre-ride? Without the heckle pit it looks pretty standard. I mean, its always good to have more mileage on the course but if one is stretched for time…

I haven’t decided if I’m going to do the race yet, but if I sign up, I have no plans to pre-ride and I only live 45 minutes away and I’m on summer break.

I have raced at Bear Creek more times than I can count. I did Nationals last year and the one that they had this June, which is almost identical to this one, and there was nothing that made me think that I needed to practice it again. The only thing that got me was the start where we made the left up the double track.

The only reason to pre-ride would be to learn where you should try to make passes. Once you hit the singletrack, there will be limited opportunities to pass.

The areas that are going to cause the most bottlenecks are right at the start where we make the left up the doubletrack, at mile .48 where we enter the first singletrack section, mile 1.48 where we hit the ridge climb, and mile 2.47 where we reenter the single track near the top of the climb. After mile 2.77, there are a lot of short, rocky singletrack sections followed by climbing wide open ski slopes. My suggestion would be to pass as many people as you can before the next single track section. From mile 4.08 on, it is mostly downhill. The sketchy gravel right turn is close to mile 4.36.

There are plenty of open sections throughtout the course where you come out of singletrack and can make passes.

The dust was bad in June and I don’t expect it to be much better unless the weather changes. It made some of the corners slippery.

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