Six things to know as this weekend's professional mountain bike race approaches.
- You can test your skills on the course tonight. The Kettlehouse Weekday Race Series concludes this evening, with races starting at 5:30. It's just $10, and offers a chance to measure yourself against the pros.
- Speaking of which, Missoula riders enter this weekend's race with some momentum. Accomplished pro Sam Schultz, who rides for Subaru-Trek, placed second in last week's USA Cycling 2011 Mountain Bike XC Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho. Lindsy Campbell placed second in the women’s Cat 1 group, and Ingrid Lovitt placed first in Cat 2.
- The Missoula XC marks the last race of the USA pro mountain bike season, meaning the points race will be decided on Marshall Mountain. The current standings have Schultz in third, with Georgia Gould (Luna) and Max Plaxton (Specialized USA) in front of him.
- Who else will push for the win in Missoula? At the end of this video, Schultz lists the local riders he expects to do well:
- Local press is geeked about the event. The Indy wrote about the course and the K-hole series last month. The Missoulian previewed this weekend's race (although, it references local "Sam Schmidt." Oops.) And Laurel Douglas has been offering weekly updates of the race series at NewWest.net.
- Wanna see the course? Indy photographer Chad Harder filmed a helmet cam video of the descent. It doesn't include the huge wooden bridge built more recently. The Missoula XC website also has a course map and stats—and images of the bridge.