Hardwood Hills puts on some awesome events. They hold a Canada Cup event along with being a world class x-c ski area holding a world cup race. The summer 8 hour course was a fun and physically demanding course. They used a section of the trail on the next grid acroos the street that used to be used in the 24 hour of adrenaline. Hardwood was know for that event as it was the lasrgest in North America. That title has been sent over to Chico Racings Summer Solsitce.
The start of the course was about 3/4 of a kilometer of wide double track climbing. In these events having a section of single track always reaks havoc on the pack when it bottle necks. Always a couple clowns who come riping in thinking they should be at the front of the pack instead of waiting like everyone else for everyone to merge into the single track. These are also the same clowns that you pass going up the next climb!!!!
From there they set in a nice little single track section that we use in the weekly series as the final section. Back to another double track section and link into a section of sidewinder to the top of Coffee Run. This is a great section that is in every Canada Cup. Its all about keeping your hands off the brakes. A hard left at the bottom to cross the street into the other grid. A long grindy single track climb with 2 quick little rises. You know the ones I'm talking about. Short only going up 3to 4 feet but extremely steep. Just enough to wreck your momentum.
This is when the fun begins. You move into the only double track section that isnt going up and you start smokin into the next single track section. Everything here is extremely fast with lots of quick turns that you can rail. Working into the rocks with 4-5 hard tight switch backs with lots of roots.
This is where the course starts to beat up your body. Lots of fast bumpy sections that its all about staying off your brakes. Of course what type of course would it be with out a section of single track through the pine trees. Of course after the fast section its into a bunck of single track switch back climbs with lots of roots. For single lap racers no worries, Soloing these start to wear you down. After the last climb on this side of the grid you get the best section of trail with some awesome flow before you cross the road and head back up to the top of the main trail to decend into the start finish area.
The course was 9.5 km long and had 500 meters of climbing per lap. There was zero sections for real rest recovery per lap. All double track sections were basiclly up hill or a setup for the single track. The single track was better than in recent years with its flow But very rough and hard on the whole body. My shoulders are still aching. Hardwood is definatly a venue desgined for shorter races when it comes to transition areas for teams. This was a problem during the 24 hour races when it came to camping. No space but their trails, shop and organization of the events area amazing. This is definatly an event that you should consider with a fall 8 hour race also in the 2007 schedule. They have promised a different course. I'll be there.