It’s time to turn our focus to the site of race #2 at Erwin Park in McKinney Texas.
If you haven’t yet finished basking in the joys of the Sansom Park race, you can find my recap as well as photos on these pages.
Should you be man enough (or woman enough) to prepare yourself or Erwin Park, I have all the info you need.
Start off by checking out the trail footage from our exact race course, if you haven’t had a chance to get out and pre-ride you have got to see the start. If you don’t see the video embedded below, click here.
Virtual Pre-Ride of Erwin Park
The trail for the DORBA fall series race at Erwin Park has gotten a lot of work in preparation for this race and I think it is in some of the best shape I have ever seen it in. Bravo to the DORBA trail stewards and volunteers that make it happen. That being said, I think this is going to be a very interesting race.
The trail at Erwin is unique because virtually all of the climbing is done in gradual climbs through open fields. This will give racers plenty of chances to hit the big gear for passing opportunities. The singletrack is perfect right now after last weekend’s rain. It should be an incredibly fast race. Our weather forecast gives us the rest of the week with clear and partly cloudy skies and cool temperatures that may prolong the tacky turns which will be perfect for the race.
Racers are going to find the majority of obstacles in the form of roots or tight tree gates. There is only 1 singletrack climb worth mentioning and it is about 1.5 miles from the finish line. It is a very short climb that comes just after a couple of tight turns. Your speed is going to drop while going through the turns, so you will have to gun it at the base of the hill, which has both a right and left path that can be taken. My preference is for the path to the right, but both are equally difficult. There shouldn’t be any traffic jams at this climb, but it’s always possible.
The singletrack is very tight and twisty in the trees, lots of quick back and forth’s and some tight switchbacks on the backside of the trail. All CATs will be doing the Expert section in their race.
The race will be starting at the very bottom of the asphalt road past the parking lots and the trail head. You will then ride up the road to the entrance of the park before veering off onto the singletrack path. This uphill start is misleading. It’s not steep enough that you think it will burn you out, but it is lengthy enough that if you sprint you are going to expend a ton of energy. My very casual pace riding up the road took me 2 minutes and 30 seconds, a good sprint will probably take 1 minute and 45 seconds. Choose wisely how you start this one.
Race Start Times & Distances
Cat 3 – 7:30am – 8 miles
Cat 2 – 9:00am – 16 miles
Cat 1 – 10:45am – 24 miles
Analysis & What To Expect
My expectation is that the CAT 3 and 2 race will see several slowdowns and pileups in the heavily rooted sections and around 2 of the tree gates. The uphill start and ample passing opportunities should have all 3 races spread out pretty well within the first 3 to 4 miles. With the course conditions it is going to be a super fast race, I would expect the winners to finish around 32 minutes per lap for Cat 1 & 2 and between 35 and 37 minutes for Cat 3.
A big benefit of this course is that the starting area is very centrally located in the middle of the trail. This gives spectators and your own personal fan club a ton of opportunities to watch you race or snap pictures.
Race Course Map & Altitude Profile
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To register for the race, head over to the registration page at USAC.
Have a great race, I will be running around filming and taking pictures before the CAT 3 race and during the CAT 1 race. Come say “Hi” and let me know why you love Texas Mountain Biking.
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