Sunday, May 06, 2007

Camp Ingawanis

I'll keep this short because my back hurts like hell, and I'm self medicating right now. Camp Ingawanis was a muddy event. It rained in torrents of biblical proportions up to, and during the event. The race went on as scheduled.

As I said previously, I was camping with my son's boy scout troop at Backbone on Friday and Saturday night, so that's two night on the ground for this 47 year old body. Since we were packing for the whole weekend, I only took my Dos Niner, and left the 8500 mudder at home. The forecast called for clear conditions, so that didn't seem like a problem.

I got to the race with only a slightly sore back. That would soon change. I got kitted up, and BS'd with the unual suspects. Christy had called me on the way there to let me know about the deluge that was on the way. Things looked good when I got there. That would also change.

By the time the the Sport/Expert race had started, the skys had opened up and rain was running down the trails. Sport class started with me in the back, and I was suprised to pass some people on the gravel climb that starts the race. By the time we got to the top I could see Thad entering the single track on his cross bike. Then I bobbled on the singletrack. I must have pulled something when I did that, because the next time I got off the bike, it hurt!

During the race I wrestled with the mud, back pain, chain skip, and (later in the race) no brakes. It sucked, but I got through it.

As I was finishing my first lap (at about 1:30), I was going to quit. I can deal with the back pain, mud, and chain skip, but the lack of brakes was enough for me. As I approached the the finish line, Jeff Kerkove took this pic:

I stopped to chat with Jeff for a minute. While I was doing that Cam went by and told Jeff that the course was no longer ridable (was it ever?). Jeff told him to take it it to Carl. By the time I got to the finish line, the race had been called. Others that were just before me in the sport class went out for another 1 1/2 hour lap. Thanks to Jeff for being there, otherwise I might still be out there.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always take a mud bike/tires, even it the weather looks good.

  2. Take more clothes that you think you will need (I needed them all today).

  3. Don't send a 47 year old body on a 2 night camping trip without expecting some trouble afterwards.

So much for keeping it short. My back still hurts like hell. See you next weekend at Sockum Ridge.


bryan said...

ive been to backbone camping a few times with my boy scout troop...nice place...if i remember correctly, we would always take a tour of some fish hatchery near there

the inebriationist said...

Wanted to be there, but looks like fate worked in my favor. Car accident took out my car, not my fault and it was in a parking lot, so nobody hurt...stupid! Emily was going to go, but had doubts about the weather and so did Jess. I didn't really want to drag someone to a race they weren't game for. I wasn't really up for driving that far to not ride anyway.

Good job making it anywhere in the deluge.

Anonymous said...

Looks like I missed another one of those races that everyone looks forward to and then gets punked out by the weather. Not that I mind some mud, but come on! I can't even imagine that pine tree section with those conditions. Reminds me of Millville about 12 years ago. 4 hours of that crap to finish two laps, all with "riders on the storm... riders on the storm..." stuck in my head. Sucked. On another note, I sold some vinyl flooring to John and Mary Dodds and they said if you keep changing cars they might not recognize you anymore. I think it's the bikes they will have a hard time keeping track of! Looks nice. Later, Greg Travel Gravel! Travel Gravel!

Bruce Brown said...

Sorry about your back, Paul. I lost my brakes in lap one as well. I can't figure out what happened yet, but both the front and the rear disc brakes are missing a pad. I've never had that happen before, but then again - I've never been out riding in similar conditions with all that rain and mud at the same time.

I called it quits after lap one, but you mention the race was called after your first lap. So how does our one lap get counted? As DNF or do we get credit for completing one misery lap?

Next time, we should bring the fixie. ;-)

Paul Varnum said...

Bryan – Backbone is a great place. I spent two hours riding around on the roads and trails in the park. There are some really long climbs hidden in there. We did some rock climbing, but didn't visit the hatcheries. Some of the guys did some trout fishing, and even caught a few.

Ineb – Too bad about your car. You were down to one right? Is it serious? By the way, I met MTBidwell. He says to say “Hi”. It was good to finally meet him in person.

Greg – Actually the pine tree section was not too bad, except for a few needles sticking on to the mud that was already on the bike. Regarding the neighbors, I’ve lived here for 23 years, and they still refer to me as the “new guy”.

Bruce – I haven’t looked at my brakes yet (Christy had to unpack my truck for me – she’s a sweetheart), but I will look for a missing pad. I was talking with some of the guys afterwards, and they suspect if you didn’t carry your bike up the sand hill that all of the accumulated sand took out a lot of brakes. I think it was just mud. Not big loss on my part as brake pads and a chain were on my list of things to replace. I was thinking about turning my single speed into a mudder bike. There are a lot fewer things to break. As far as scoring, I think they did sport class scoring according to your finishing spot after one lap, but I’m not sure.

Bruce Brown said...

I did carry my bike up the sand hill except for the final 10 feet, but my brakes were pretty much gone by then anyway.

How did the clearance work for you in the back of the Dos Niner with the Nanoraptor and the mud? I had mud galore around the drivetrain (stretched my derailleur cables trying to force some shifting).

It looks the rear tire of choice for you with that clearance issue in mud would be either a Stans Crow, a Kenda Karma 1.9 or a Kenda Small Block 8. All are great rear race tires, but they don't have the height volume of the Nanoraptor which would give you more clearance back there. I've got all of those tires and can bring one of each next weekend to Washington for the race in case you want to take a look at them and see what the clearance would be compared to your Nanoraptor. I ran the Karma 1.9's yesterday and at Sylvan Island. There are about 505 - 520 grams each.

Pete Basso said...

Bruce: what was your experience in the mud yesterday with those tires? I've always run 1.9's on my 26'er but never on the 29'er. Did they work for you? How was the traction?

Thanks for the suggestions!

B I D W E L L said...

Wow, is this the PCV forum?? Hey, Nice chattin with you- Too bad the conditions didn't warrant a good "1st race" impression on the Salsa. Have to get your clan up here to try out our trails again- mother nature permitting.....

Bruce Brown said...


The Karma 1.9's actually did pretty well considering the slop. I had a pair of Kenda Klaws in the car, but didn't have time to mount them since I arrived about 40 minutes before the start. So I just let some air out of the Karmas and ran them at around 28-30 psi.

The Klaws would have been the best choice for the mud as I think they are the only decent mud tire for 29"er's to date. Kyle Sedore had Klaws on his big wheeled Kona and might be able to respond to how the Klaws did yesterday. However, the Karma 1.9's are narrow enough that on the climbs they dug in and with a steady tempo I wasn't spinning out at all and I guess they were swimming around in the mud on the flats and curves as much as other tires. They didn't slip once on any of the roots. I ride them south of Indianola in the mud all the time and like them due to their low 500 grams weight.

However, with no brakes - I wasn't even thinking about traction. ;-)

What tire were you running?

Paul Varnum said...

Bruce- You carried most of the way up the sand hill? You the man! My bike was so heavy, and my back hurt enough, that I mostly pushed.

The clearance at the back of the Niner was not enough. I never intended to use it for a mud bike. But sometimes the circumstances dictate that you use things in ways that they were not intended. The Nanos gripped pretty well. I was surprised how well I could climb if I stayed seated.

I’ve decided to start taking the SS as a mud bike. That really makes a lot of sense. Leave the geared bike for dry races.

Bidwell – To bad about the “first race” conditions. Sadly, I think I would have been well equipped for a dry race.

Pete Basso said...

Bruce - I was running Nano's before the race and decided to switch to the IRC Mythos tire set. I thought the tread pattern on the Mythos would've worked better. I even reversed the rear chevron pattern for gription but that didn't work at all. I rode most of the race with Kyle, his tires were definitely hooking up much better than mine...he just didn't have any brakes.

I'll have to look into some mud tires for these occassions. They seem to be happening more often than not the last two years.

Bruce Brown said...

Yeah, I'm trying to jog my memory from last year's IMBCS to see how many involved some mud. I remember it was quite a few.

Really, having a rear Klaw is about all one would need to have. I ran the rear Klay at Boone on the rain shortened XC race of the IMBCS stage race at Boone. I was amazed at how it held traction on the climbs in the goop. Something about that paddlewheel tread of the rear Klaw...

mud tire punk said...

Mud tires really come handy for muddy tracks and races