Decided to head out to Vail Lake today to do a little course recon for this weekends 12 Hours of Temecula race. I don’t think I am going to be racing, but you never know. I haven’t raced Vail in a few years and none of the courses I have raced included the DAM CLIMB! After looking up Jason’s Garmin Connect course file and downloading it to my Garmin Edge 500, I set off for Temecula.
The good part of adding the Dam Climb into the course is the first mile is relatively flat circling Vail Lake. It sure was a beautiful day out there today.
Once you come around the back of the lake though, wham, start climbing. The following 3.5 miles is all up. It sucks. Lots of sand. A few steep grades mixed in. Did I mention a lot of sand?
Don’t forget to enjoy your views this weekend!
Back to the climb. 3 miles in I was cursing myself for driving to Temecula. Why oh why did I bother coming out here! Fortunately, it was a nice day and the course did improve.
Not yet though. Still climbing. Still on fire roads. Still boring.
Ah, a sigh of relief. Rolling fire road climbs. Joy. This was all new to me so I appreciated that.
Somewhere around the 5 mile mark keep on the lookout for a couple of up arrows sending you up a steep singletrack climb off the main fire road. I can see a great number of people missing these signs and missing out on the ONLY technical section of the entire course. If you follow the fire road around this section you will end up in the same place. I can also see a lot of people cutting this section of the course.
Near the top of this section you reach this rock garden. It is completely rideable, however, this is going to cause a cluster of people to bunch up if you enter this section in traffic and a newb is in front. Try and plan ahead if possible. It’s hard to see the line in the picture, but its there. Just keep your pedals from slapping the rocks and you will be okay.
Coming down the technical section you have a couple of choices to make. I chose to go left so I cannot comment on what you will find if you go right. I did see both of these trails coming together at the bottom of the hill though.
To the left, you are greeted with a choppy downhill singletrack that has a few gotcha rocks along the way. Just enough to keep you on your toes. Stay alert and watch for walkers. It looks pretty simple in this picture because I was too busy negotiating the rocky sections to stop for another pic.
At the bottom, both trails join and cross the fire road. I cut the left-most trail out of this picture because you are suppose to stay straight up the middle. Then once again when you see the big white fire road you are to stay to the left singletrack and climb some more.
You guessed it, on the other side, more fire road climbing.
After a brief downhill section, you will start seeing signs separating the Enduro Racers from the 12 Hour racers. Stay alert as these may be hard to see if you are in a crowd. It would have been nice to see these signs color coded.
Enduro riders go up, 12 Hour riders stay to the fire road.
Here, the Enduro and 12 Hour riders both go up.
When you finally make it to this ridge line, the course starts getting a little more fun. More singletrack, more flow and more up and down.
There are a couple of yellow CAUTION signs out there just before a few drops. Stay alert. Neither are anything to really worry about though.
From this point on the course was all too familiar to me. Drop down to the fire road, make a hard right and start the remaining 3 miles of the course.
This ridge line is also a very fun flowly section.
I failed to grab some shots of the last in-and-out section between the hill (I think most of you know where I mean). After you make your way though that section you can now see the RC car track and the first parking lot area. But, this year it seems Jason threw in another bonus section sending you back between the hills for a final climb and descent that ends in the parking area.
Overall, I am glad I went out regardless if I show up Saturday. Its a fun course and Jason works hard and puts on a great event. Being in the desert and containing a ton of fire road doesn’t make it the most exciting, but its not totally boring either. I really miss the summer Rim Nordic event he put on a couple years ago. That was some great riding.
A local artist had some rather unique work on display throughout the park. Be on the lookout for Dragons, Horses, and even a Demon!
Ride your bikes!