Friday I had the pleasure of riding a lap of the OP course with friends, one of whom is a German man named Walter who is 69 years old, has toured on his bike all over the western US, and is signed up to solo the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.
We rode a sociable lap together, then I grabbed my GPS and carefully rode an official lap so that I could get the new course's distance and map it. There are two sections of singletrack which will be joined to bypass a bit of service road that has traditionally been part of the course.
By my measurements, the course change will add about a mile and a quarter. But more importantly, one of the sections of trail "His" (the other section is called "Hers") is very twisty. I have found myself skidding and blowing out of a few distinct hairpin turns almost every time I've ridden it. And not because I was going terribly fast--these turns are super tight, and they appear suddenly. I need to ride that bit pretty often in the next two weeks to get dialed to how quickly it can be ridden without loss of control. It's much more strenuous to blow out of a turn than it is to corner smoothly through it.
After my 35 or so miles of singletrack riding Friday, I was invited to join a little dinner party with a slide show after. I brought half a dozen bratwursts from my stash, but the dinner went way beyond that. Grilled chicken breasts, salad, tasty corn relish, scalloped potatoes, and then some of the best chocolate cake I've ever had smothered in vanilla ice cream.
Six of us packed into a little box trailer and Walter showed us about a hundred of his photos from bike travels around the west on June and Phil's TV. It was a really fun; lots of laughing.
I flopped at 10 o'clock, amazingly late for desert camping in winter. I usually don't see 9 o'clock. The large dinner and full day laid me out, and I slept until after 8 am. I woke to a beautiful calm morning, the second one in a row.