Mr K - Please can you post a more detailed account of your Repack & Mt Tam riding experience?
In fact, any of you guys that have ridden it or get to ride it regularly - could you please post a detailed description of the descent ?
Repack is our "home field" here in the Ross Valley, and most local riders are familiar with it.
Length is about 1.8 miles (3 km) and it descends about 1300 feet in that distance, a shade under 14% average gradient. There are other hills in Marin County that would have been suitable for racing, but Repack is perfectly located so that at the end of the ride you are back in Fairfax.
As Mr. K will attest, it is a chore getting to the top, since you have to climb all that way. We usually go by a longer and less steep route than going straight up Repack, and it takes about an hour to ride from town to the top. Riding down is a lot quicker.
There are very few points on Repack where you can see more than 50 meters ahead; the road twists constantly, and the impression you get is that it keeps coming at you and stays steep.
First 100 meters are level and even rise a bit to the first crest, which drops you off a steep, off-camber pitch with a loose gravel surface. From there it is one after another of off-camber turns on a loose surface.
"Back in the day" the racing season was fall, when the first rains of the season would kill the dust and turn the road surface to tacky clay. After the heavy rains of winter start, it gets to be a challenge to cross the creek at the bottom to get back to Fairfax, so that would end the racing season.
Recent road grading has eliminated deep erosion ditches, and replaced them with "water bars," humps designed to channel runoff to the side of the road. These offer the opportunity for massive hucks if you want them.
I'm too close to the subject to be objective about describing Repack, and I look forward to reading Neil's impressions. Unlike the modern downhill courses with big jumps and the like, anyone can ride down Repack. Riding down it fast is another story.
I went riding yesterday with the two people I set Neil up with, 59-year-old Pat, and Megan, the best representative I could imagine of a female Marin County mountain biker. She is TOUGH! I don't believe Megan has ever raced, but she is a dedicated recreational rider and I haven't seen the hill that can get her off the bike.
Pat and Megan told me that Neil insisted on about 25 photo stops, so I guess we can look forward to seeing his photographs.