Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sandilands Race Course Preview

By all accounts, the race scheduled this Sunday in Sandilands forest is a go. Things did not look promising due to the recent forest fires in the area, but it's all systems go right now. About a month ago I had the chance to ride the race course that the AlterEgo and Body Driven guys have mapped out and here's my take on it.

The course combines existing trail with some newer cut singletrack as well as short sections of the Red ski trail, and is has a good mix of up and down. The existing trail was created, and is used, by dirtbikes and as a result is looser sand, with a few sections that the throttle twisters have gouged pretty deep ruts in. However, that being said, I found that these sections tended to be more on the downhill sections, and were therefore still fun to ride. I can only think of one section of slight uphill that has a rut that would affect pedal stroke. Mind you, I rode this about a month ago, and it's likely that the race course groomers have already remedied this. The dirt bike created trails tended to have the loosest sand, and that's something to consider when choosing your bike and tire combo. I switched over to a 29er this year and I solidly believe that the bigger wheels have a distinct advantage in the loose stuff, especially on the climbs. The trail groomers have worked doggedly to make this course absolutely as awesome as it can be and to minimize the loose, sandy sections by cutting stretches of trail that skirt them. These new sections of trail, as can be expected, needed to be worked in some.

The course starts at the base of Suicide Hill and begins with a good, solid climb. I found the climbing on this course to be good in the sense that it wasn't overly demoralizing. In other words, all the climbs are do-able. Probably one of the best things about the course is that it makes the most of your potential energy. The downhills seem to last a long time with the jewel in the crown being the final descent back to the starting point.

All in all, I think the race will leave people glad they made the effort. And any rainfall between now and the race will only improve the course by firming up the soft spots.


  1. Great review Duece. Since your ride out here we've put in a lot more work on the course fixing areas of concern we had (and you noticed).

    I want to also make sure everyone knows that Sandilands rides the best in the rain or the day after a rain. Mud does not get slimy or sticky out there, just firm and fast. Traction is fine in the rain too (except for roots and rocks of course). So don't fret the wet!

    Patrick Siemens

    1. Well, I was somewhat wrong about the slimy part. Tires stayed clean but there was some slimy sections out there. Thanks to everyone that came out.