Specificity. It has many applications; one of my favorites is something I call "Bike Melding." With an important race coming up, the idea is to ride only the bike you will race. If training includes intervals, that's fine, they just get done on an MTB. With KTR coming up, it's especially important because after the pre-ride, I decided to go with the 29er Dos Niner. Except for the first 2.5 hours of climbing, the course is ideal terrain for the big wheels. Lotsa sand, legdgy stuff, classic desert riding. I'll miss the Fuel in the singletrack at the end, but the Dos overall is a good choice. If it only had 3" suspension...
The route today was the last long ride before the race. Starting from Durango, head north to the Hermosa Creek trail, take that to Salt creek where it becomes doubletrack (and under Hermosa creek right now anyway), backtrack to Jones creek & hit that climb then descend Mitchel lakes & spin back down the valley. This has become my standard "taper" ride the week before the big day and it's served me well. It's got some of everything: graded road climbs, paved climbs, tons of singletrack, big singletrack climbs, semi-tech terrain, and one crappy steep jeep road descent. This time I made it extra special by starting at 4AM, packed like it was a 14 hour ride, and filtered water out of Hermosa creek.
I'm happy to say the Dos is fine shape, and what's more, the bike melding is on. It felt sorta strange the first two rides last week as I haven't touched it after the OP testing...but today, it was a dream. It helped to have Radiohead guiding me along. One of the issues with the Fuel last week was with a loaded Wingnut, the front end was too light, I couldn't keep it on the ground on the steeps and that was way annoying. It's probably because I've altered the bikes geometry a bit with the 100mm Reba...the Dos handled the steeps like a champ, steady as a rock, and traction to spare - I forgot about that part! Steep rubbly climbs were no problem, and that's good cause KTR is littered with them.
There are a lot of eyes on Hermosa creek trail in the dark! I haven't done these trails yet this year, and was pleasantly surprised to find them in great shape (except for Jones which has been rooted by motos) and most downed logs cut away. The views from the top of the Jones creek climb (going towards Mitchell lakes) are so worthy...I leave you with this shot of the Animas Valley from my perch of 9600'.