I entered this race before I pile drived my shoulder into the ground (dislocating it) a few months back and thought my racing season especially Mtn biking was over for the year. I knew I was going to be attending this race since Jamis bicycles was a sponsor of the event (I work fo Jamis). I had a nice place to stay within walking distance to everything paid for by Jamis along with all other travel costs! 3 days before I decided I would go for a Mtn bike ride to see if I had any handling skills and if my shoulder would be OK (It seems fine? and the Doc said it was stable a few days ago) a few days later I'm racing one of the best and challenging races around. The race starts at 4000' on a uphill from the start never letting up for 8miles (AKA "The trail of tears") to 7000'. For those of you who dont race Mtn you start in as big a gear as you can handle as hard as you can pedal until the race is over. I got a poor start as I couldn't let it all out off the line and put myself in a crapy position. Its a double track that you can only ride one side and using the other lane was a risk as you would loose traction and loose placing and tons of energy when attempting to move up. I was looking at a line of 100 or so riders up a HUGE Granite wall. Once at the top you think the climb is over but NO another 1/4mi grinder (OUCH) then the next section is best described as rally car racing, you know those small cars flying down fire roads at insane speeds......Well I did that on a Mtn bike~~~~Dude imagine in your biggest gear pedaling as fast as you can possibly turn the cranks power drifting through blind corners like its a death mission (with other riders). come around a corner into a 100m sprint over a roller back into rally car mode for 15 mins. Now for some serious DH technical single track to offer up some for arm pump. back into more rally car action for a few. OK - Now the "baby head" section a fire road littered with round rocks the size of babies heads. No actual line to follow but you have to go fast on everything or you will put yourself in danger not only from other riders looking to pass but the trail will swallow you up and pitch you to the ground if going slow to med pace. You have to hall ass and float cross everything. After what seems like a endless super technical and fun DH trail in the woods ( I mean 40mins of turns, left-right, down down little up into a jump, water crossing, slippery rocky trail, drop offs on tight blind turns and on and on). They throw a few 200m climbs toward the end just enough to help you go into cramping mode if your feeling weak. I made it through with one minor cramp and finish 8th place. a respectable time 2:21:53.