It’s official! The trail maps have been released, and it’s time to start picking your lines. Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find on Day 2.
Let me start off by reminding you that what goes up must come down. From the top of the gondola, head past the start of Pioneer and up Storm Peak Challenge.
It looks worse than it really is. The air is fresh, and the view is great. If you don’t have the gas to ride, it only takes about 40 minutes to hike it. You’ll be at the top before you know it.
Here’s the start of Stage 5. This is a LONG stage.
After a short rip down a fast and rocky double-track, you’ll dip in and out of the woods for a bit. Lots of technical rock sections will keep you on your toes.
Pete’s Wicked is very similar to Cathy’s Cutoff and Sunshine. The rocky sections become less and less frequent as you descend.
With the wide-open fields, it’s relatively easy to spot your line.
There’s only one tiny climb on Stage 5 in the woods on Sunshine.
At the end of Sunshine, you’ll hook a hard left back onto the service road.
Watch out for hikers and wildlife! It’s hard to stop on gravel.
The entrance to Moonlight is just to the left of the service road. Note the speed — 36 mph and I’m riding my brakes. I expect we’ll see some racers hitting 45-50 mph on Sunday.
The entrance is pretty wide open, and if you can hold your speed, there’s a hill about 20 feet into the woods that you can cruise up.
Moonlight is full of tight switchbacks.
I had my GoPro set on 2-second photo mode. Somehow that correlated to only shooting left-hand turns.
Another left …
And another left …
Hey, a right turn!
The finish is seconds away once you pass this little shack. Be extremely careful because it’s FAST and ROCKY from here down. It’ll be easy to cook your brakes or smash a rim.
I imagine I’ll be pretty excited to be here on Sunday.
Now it’s time to head back up to the gondola building and get ready for more descending.
The start of Stage 6. This stage shouldn’t feel as long as Stage 5. Pioneer has a pretty good flow to it.
Pioneer is fantastic single-track riding.
Here’s the first climb. It’s only up to about where that red sign is.
Steamboat Bike Park has put a lot of work into this trail.
Toward the bottom of Pioneer, there’s a FAST bit that ends with a slight right into a blind U-turn.
Someone isn’t going to remember this turn. Don’t let it be you.
Now it’s time for my personal favorite, Creekside!
It’s pretty similar to Pioneer. The upper half is tight and rocky. The lower half is fast and twisty.
The end of Creekside. According to the map, we’ll head down the road from here. Next up is Stage 7, the final stage of the event. You can see examples of Rawhide here. Don’t forget you’ll need a full-face helmet for this stage.
Mike McCoy, Downhill Mountain Biker