I've felt a like a politician when answering questions about the Super-D. I've been trying to convince two groups of people that the race will be cool: "yes shredder of the gnar, the course will be gnarly enough for you!" and "no xc racer, the course will not be so gnarly that you break your face into a thousand pieces."
So to clear up any uncertainties, here's the straight dope, as it were.
-The course is about 8 miles, with 1700 feet of descending. You will be bussed up to the start.
-Your AM bike will be fine.
-Your XC race bike will be fine (hardtail or full suspension.)
-Your fully rigid single speed will be extremely slow and uncomfortable, but you could pick your way down the course if you were really wanted to.
-You will probably have to walk your unicycle.
-You do not need to wear body armor, nor do you need to wear lycra.
The race can be split into two halves. The trail-loop on top of the mountain, and the downhill section back to town. The finish is in town. Your cheering fans don't have to walk more than two blocks from the ice cream shop. It'll be neat.
The loop up top, McCune trail, is rocky and technical. It's similar to Big Bear, the 7 Springs XC course, Laurel Mountain, or Moraine. It should take 15 to 25 minutes.
The downhill section will be as hard as you make it. Although it's longer, it's no more technical than a hard descent in an XC race in our area. However, unlike an XC race, you can't ride conservatively down the hill and expect to make up time somewhere else.
If you want to win this race, you'll have to ride hard and take lots of chances. There are water bars, big rocks, and all sorts of other things that will make you crash if you're going too fast. I bit it and killed my front wheel while shooting a video of the course, and I know this trail like I know the hair on my big toe.
The leaves are down and the trail will be wet, so even if you're the Supreme God Of Descending, it's going to be hairy going down the mountain at speed. If you go slow, it won't be so bad.
There are three optional sections on the course. The first is a ramp that launches you down a steep grassy hill. It's about 4 feet off the ground at the end, and you can be in the air for a long time if you hit it fast. The second is a drop into some pointy rocks. The third is a rocky chute (which I crashed in. there's a good line, and a line that makes you crash.)
Each obstacle has a go around, and taking the easy lines will add up to a four minute penalty for the whole course.
You can't do a 'cross dismount then jump down an obstacle it. We'll have to figure out a time penalty for anybody who does that. 'Cross racing types should understand a rule like that. After all, you can't win the Dirty Dozen by running up a hill. You gotta ride it.
If you've never ridden off a ramp before, don't pick the day of the race to try it. If you do, you'll probably hurt yourself. If you're a DH racer and used to hucking off garage roofs, you may be disappointed to learn that these obstacles aren't big enough to break both your legs and compress your spine. It ain't Crankworx.
An XC race bike will probably be about the same speed as a 5 or 6" AM bike.
If Cyclocross is a race where roadies and XC guys can compete with each other, then a Super-D is one where XC racers and DH racers can race against each other.
If you race XC, you'll be challenged by going all out on the downhill. If you race DH, you'll be challenged by pinning it and pedaling hard for 40 minutes. Either way, you'll have a good time. Racing mountain bikes is fun.
And if you want to make a weekend out of it, there's a 'cross race Saturday, and a DH race later on Sunday afternoon. Both are about 30 minutes from Ohiopyle. There are a ton of camping spots around town, and good food and beer at the Falls City Pub.
We're running shuttles from the Wilderness Voyageurs store on Saturday. $10 for three rides to the top of the mountain.
Practicing is a good idea. You don't want this to happen to you:
The thwacking sound is my freshly rebuilt wheel hitting my fork. I guess I'm going to have to bother the nice fellas at Industry 9 to fix it again.
Here's the race website: http://monthofmud.org/