2015-10-31 25 Hours of Starvation Ridge Endurance Race

By Brian C. Englund · Taken at Starvation Ridge edited by Wiel Penders.

Photos of the race event are here

“Tears are innately manly when cried astride 100hp death machines.” #ManLaw

Summary: #BlackRiverRacing is a group of primarily adventure bikers from Black River ADV which decided to field a hardcore team to take on 25-hours of racing at Starvation Ridge in the adventure class (against the monsters of this business, Team Heavyweights), racing a combo of KTM 690R, KTM 950 Adventure, KTM 950 Super Enduro, KTM 1190R, and BMW F800GS. As Scott, the ranch owner observed, “The Ironman riders are the sickest of the sick…and you adventure guys are right next to them!”
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Warning, I like long write-up stories. This will be another.

BACKGROUND

I’ve basically been riding off-road for a year. Yeah, you read that correctly. In an effort to get my head right after an all-expenses paid vacation in Afghanistan, I found myself the owner of a 2005 BMW R1200GS almost 3 years ago in December of 2012.

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I rode like hot garbage on my first “adventure” bike for a year and a half, and I made a million mistakes, but I rode the hell out of it and I started meeting great people. Then I ran the LAB2V on the GS in November 2014. That truly lit the fire. I needed more, and I needed it more difficult. That’s just some twisted facet of my personality. It’s almost involuntary as a survival mechanism in my profession, but it certainly helps here. Ryan Holiday would say, “The obstacle is the way.” The Dog Brothers call it “Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact.” I simply look at it as exploring the limits of human endurance. My endurance.

The 950SE and a 300XC followed in January and August of 2015. I entered my first three races this year at the age of 38. So if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “But he’s been riding his whole life, and I’m too old for that stuff. I could never do that.” Dude, shut the hell up. Either stop reading now and close this page and live your pale shadow of life ignorant of greatness…or stomp the owner of that bitchy little doubting voice square in the nuts and get moving. You can do it. You just have to want it. Being slightly insane would be helpful, but it all comes down to desire and a willingness to work hard and not quit. It all comes down to that question. Are you a quitter? We’ll see at Starvation Ridge 2016 on November 5-6th. Who’s with me?!

Never experienced Hulk-smash rage? Swipe wadded up goo out of your helmet visor so you can see to pick up a bike with no handlebars after squashing it into the mud in a race pace crash in the dark while it rains sideways and cold water runs down the crack of your ass and into your boots. I’d have thrown it down on the other side in pure rage if that wouldn’t have forced me to pick it up again! So, instead, I did what any sane person would do. I laughed like a hyena on nitrous. What else can you do?

OK, have I got your attention? Well then,

“THIS. IS. 25 HOURS!!!!!”

CAST OF CHARACTERS

DSC_6529  – Brian C. Englund – your ever-so-humble narrator and would-be moto-hero on a fire-breathing 950 Super Enduro.

 

– Andrew Salinas – the motor behind Black River’s motos. The Godfather. Rides a KTM 690R. IMG_6015

 

DSC_6249– Wiel Penders – the organizer and Beemer guy. Programmed, plotted, schemed, and orchestrated support and cooks some wicked chow while passing the attitude adjuster around. All that aside, his greatest contribution was actually his daughter Emma, who stayed up fetching coffee, helping around the pit area, and lending her phone as a secondary transponder for the riders.

IMG_5893– Sam Hooper – the other half of our support team, Sam basically won the day by borrowing an RV that included a propane fire ring. Hero status. Plus his wife  Tracy is even more understanding than mine, because she stuck around to help out!

 

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– Iain Glynn – astride the Touratech F800GS and clad in a vintage $7 French onesie to beat the weather, Iain brought the might of Touratech to bear.

– Eric Archambault – rocking the 950 Adventure RAT bike, Eric is the other half of the Dynamic Touratech Duo, destroying chains, sprockets, and Sprinter transmissions along the way.IMG_5601

 

 

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– Alex Patterson – rocking the big 1190R, in search of mud and punishment. Rumor has it, he found a bit of both. He brought his Dad, Nick Patterson, who shot some great pictures too!

IMG_5975– Jason Downs – our other 690R rider, one fast dude who makes a mean french-press coffee to keep the motors running and his wife Cathy helping out with keeping the place in order.

 

 

– Various cast: Darryl VanNieuwenhuise, Alex Martens, Richard Miller, Super-Stoked Kevin, Radek Burkat on The Heavyweights. Justin Coffey and significant other, Kyra who hiked around out there shivering to turn out some great photography of the team for Touratech. Jonathan Blunt, Greg Hilchey, Chris Vair, and Fletch Newland who heckled me from their RV then overcame just a touch of adversity during the race. Chet Mainwaring Sr. and the crew of Couch Potato Racing. Mari Bettancourt (?) whom I met in Tahuya back in February and who rode a lap in a sock monkey costume prior to lending me tools. My wife SunJa, who arrived with my dad and step-mother, Carl and Midge Englund, and my pack of hooligans, Lex, Carl, and Nate. Gerd Kolbenschlag, my BMW arch-nemesis with the Van Helsing accent. So many others… What a great community we have!

PREPARATION

I have to give most of the credit to Andrew Salinas and Wiel Penders for their organizing and scheming. I basically packed the truck and showed up. However, working with Iain Glynn and Eric Archambault, they secured sponsorship from Touratech-USA, and also with Darryl VanNieuwenhuise from Cyclops Adventure Sports and Alex Martens from Konflict Motorsports and Suspension. My Cyclops lights are awesome (I’ve been using them for over a year on three bikes), and the Konflict suspension absolutely transformed the 950SE into the firebreathing monster it always wanted to be–or rather, it matched the bike’s handling to the LC8 motor and made me a far better rider. Incidentally, I love that Alex and Darryl were on board with this…especially since we were racing against them! It has nothing to do with their sponsorship and everything to do with them being genuinely great dudes to ride with…or against. That’s the community we ride within. It bears mentioning that 2013 was the first Adventure bike attack on Starvation Ridge, and The Heavyweights are still king. Very few are crazy enough to attempt this. Only two teams even entered this year, though a third was rumored. I keep hearing other guys want to try. So, as The Rock said, “Just bring it.”

The team managed to get a good photo-op together at a local track, though Iain was busy playing Bob Ross at his house or something and missed the mischief. The crew snapped some sweet air time (no sound stages or green screens, but I can’t rule out the use of stuntmen) and some laughs, but otherwise, with the team spread all over the area around Seattle, we primarily worked by email, phone calls, and social media taunting.

Mechanically, I slapped on a fresh rear tire, cleaned the air filter, changed the oil, re-touched all the electrics when I had to pull the cracked sub-frame, and generally did house-keeping on the 950SE. I left the 9,000ft jetting in since we’d be at 5,000ft.

57f1780ddb444feede97b2d1e3b9284dWiel and Sam Hooper showed up with RVs, which really were perfect, because the weather was, in polite terms, absolutely craptastic. Screw that, it was shit. It rained for half the race, and winds when I showed up were gusting over 40mph. Combine that with temps in the 40s-50s, and you can imagine that it was pretty miserable just standing around, much less wallowing in the mud. In my experience until now, I thought only the Army could dish up weather this rotten. Well, I was mistaken. I’m sure glad I wasn’t out there in a tent as I’d initially planned. Plus, after a half dozen outings together, Sam finally fulfilled his dream of getting me to share his sleeping accommodations. Hope I didn’t snore too loudly bro!

Setup day gave a hint of what was to come, with the weather alternating between frightfully miserable with wind-driven rain to sunny and pleasant during the 3.5 hour drive down to Goldendale/Centerville, WA. I got worried for a moment wIMG_6022hen I arrived at the coordinates and there was no race to be seen, but another 4 miles and two hills down the dirt road, and the growing field of campers popped into view. I snapped a pic of the Starvation Ridge sign on the way in, and promptly found our pit sight, next to Chet Mainwaring Sr.

 

Le Mans Start! Run!

View footage of running start with all the fine folks of Couch Potato Racing.

Except for the Touratech crew who’d gotten a late start, everyone arrived in short order, and we commenced to fighting the wind to get the easy-ups up, along with all the other camp setup tasks. I’d brought a stash of weird-ass beer that keeps accumulating at my house, so I commenced to drinking everything else. Gotta hydrate, right? Seriously though, Apricot Ale, Pyramid? Really? No one else wanted that crap either, and it’s in my garage again. I’ll end up watering the plants with it.FullSizeRender

We ate a ton of great food and enjoyed the camaraderie that dedicated moto-nuts generally share. After all, I can’t really talk the fine details of twin-cylinder adventure bikes from Austria or two-stroke rippers from Spain or Japan with my wife too long before she resorts to tactics she learned from me during discussions of her girlfriends’ shenanigans: “Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, yes dear.” Fellow lunatics will hotly debate for hours the advantages of the Husqvarna 701 vs the KTM 690R, why only a jackass uses Brand X tires instead of Brand Y when you’d have to be Johnny Walker to tell the difference, or how Moab is better riding than Death Valley. Always refreshing, unless you’re one of those fools using Castrol instead of Motorex…or is it the other way around? Regardless, you’re wrong.

Team Touratech finally arrived at around 11:00 pm. Turns out they’d lost all but 2nd gear and reverse in the Sprinter and limped in at a brisk 37mph. Thanks for not giving up, guys! That it took 8 hours to drive home after the race is even funnier!

Saturday morning dawned dry and cool. Scott, the ranch owner, soon led us through the riders meeting and announced that there’d be a bit of rain (Lies!)…and wind gusts in excess of 45mph (truth!). Starvation Ridge was not to disappoint. As usual. This year’s course totaled 18 miles in three loops of 8, 5, and 5 miles each. We stressed a bit at remembering the order of the loops–yellow, white, and orange marking tape–though that was to prove unnecessary since the course was so well marked at the beginning. Later in the night after multiple collisions with marking stakes, darkness, and mud, it got slightly more challenging.

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The Le Mans style start required the first wave of riders to run across a 1/4 mile of grass strewn with rocks. I silently rejoiced that Iain was the lucky winner of that particular prizeIMG_5753, because just walking in motocross boots and knee braces sort of sucks, so running must be that much better! Sure enough, at the appointed minute, the green flag dropped and Iain and 50 or so other riders clumsily clumped across the field in a parade of stumbling and fumbling and commenced to rip that course a new one. Actually, about a dozen guys really ran. I think most of the others decided that saving 30 seconds at the risk of busting your ass before even touching a bike would be rather silly on a 25-hour endurance race. Most gave it a light jog, and the arguably smarter riders just walked. It would be interesting to see what, if any, correlation this had with the winning teams!

Despite the unintentional penalty incurred in shutting off the ABS and other dummy systems on the F800GS, Iain turned a respectable lap time of 55:41, and reported excellent course conditions! I laugh now at the urgency, but we had a pit drill down to yank the transponder belt off the incoming rider, fasten it on the outgoing rider, and launch as quickly as possible. For the first round at least, we warmed bikes, staged on pit row, and watched eagerly for the arriving rider. Seconds of course add up to minutes, but the weather and fatigue would soon bring that urgency to an end. Of course, it always amused me to finish the hurried transfer, only to launch the next rider–who promptly settled into a brisk 5mph pace mandated in the pits on the way to the course starting point. It’s a safety thing and I agree with the need, but it sure does prolong the sudden explosion of braaapppp! as you finally clear the pits.

Jason promptly crushed the course with a 50:24 time on his lap with the 690R, setting the bar high for those of us following.IMG_5909

I’d like to think that had I known Jason’s time, I’d have ridden harder. However, that’s a lie. I basically have two speeds: go and no. With that said, I rode somewhat cautiously in order to feel out the course and any possible surprises. After all, some wise old desert racer once told me after I’d crashed out the BMW, “To finish first, first you must finish.” That old fart had been racing since wheels were still wood, so I took notice. I planned to be much faster the next lap out. Regardless, I reveled in my clumsy grass course flat-tracking and a few hill climbs and descents while letting the mighty 9fiddy roar. A few dirt bikers may have passed me, but hitting 90mph on the short road sections certainly felt good and netted me a few seconds. I wisely avoided the mud pits, instead opting for the longer, easier bypasses. Again, had I only known… One further highlight occurred in the abandoned farmhouse which is part of the course. I knew about this from video clips, but underestimated the width of my bars on the approach. I hit dead center and perfectly square…and instantly stopped. My bars were literally too wide to fit through the door frame! Ever see that video of the dog trying to carry a long stick through a door? Yep, same deal. Dudes piled up behind me while labored to wrench the stuck bars out of the chewed up door frame. The few seconds seemed like minutes, but I quickly pulled back far enough to angle through the door, lean the bike, then swing the bars the other way. Cool, problem solved. Shit…there are two more doors. Sorry about that, guys.

Despite wicked arm pump from wrestling that behemoth around at speed, I completed my 1st lap at 50:40, handing the transponder off to Andrew. That put me 16 seconds behind Jason. Obviously, this poured 100 octane race fuel on the fire of competition, and I resolved to hang it out there the next lap. Sadly, conditions (and conditioning) would not allow a re-attack to set the bar higher. The time for my next lap arrived in the dark and the goo while it rained sideways like a sonofabitch. I’m not sure why I’m surprised. We all know that Jason always kills it on Halloween! Jason wins the fastest lap competition–this time.

With Andrew launched on the 690R, I availed myself of a fortifying beer. Or three. And maybe a couple of pork chops. Probably some water too. My next lap wouldn’t start for another 4-5 hours, so why not?

Andrew returned with a dirty, ear-to-ear grin and a lap time of 57:52. Hell yeah, this is what we showed up for!DSC_6493

With another transponder exchange completed, Alex set out on the 1190. Beer firmly onboard, I was in an entirely happy mood by the time the word came arrived from the Heavyweights that Alex had mired himself in the mud just past checkpoint 2. He’d avoided the mud as well, but actually tumbled from the narrow lip of the mud bowl anyway, and was having trouble getting under the big 1190 to lift it, due to the viscous nastiness of it all. Course rules dictate that a rider may only receive help from his or her own team, but after a few minutes of watching Alex struggle to right the big bike, Super-Stoked Kevin from the Heavyweights (our competitors, remember?) and a couple of bystanders jumped in to render assistance. Alex departed moments before we arrived for the rescue. We may be in competition, but no one wants to see someone have a crap race or DNF when it’s avoidable. Alex returned at approximately 1:01:21, with a big smile and high fives. Again, hell yeah!

Eric launched on his lifted 950 Adventure (guess that makes it a 950 AR?), batting clean-up for the team. By this time, Wiel had appropriated Emma’s phone and activated the tracking app, which allowed us to keep tabs on the rider’s progress whenever he rode within signal range. DSC_6711When we checked after a few minutes, we found Eric to be stationary. No worries, as we guessed his phone had sent an update and lost signal. However, a few minutes later, the phone still showed no update. We still figured the phone was out of range…right up until Eric came jogging into the pits! Though he’d slowed down a bit by then, his heart rate monitor pegged at 191 during his one-mile return jog/walk/crawl…which is decidedly unhealthy. Wowsers! While we’re not certain, it appears that 3 miles into the course, he clipped a “rock or something” (military guys, go ahead and laugh!) DSC_6663with his rear sprocket. The sprocket tacoed and the big 525 chain snapped, whipping against the front case guard. RAT was effectively knocked out of the race, though it remains to be seen whether the damage to the case is limited to the bolts on the guard or not. Either the way, the case will have to be split. First attempt at lap #6 ended in a DNF with no credit given.

– Iain’s second lap (#6 total) began as the sun set and the rain began. Conditions swiftly transitioned to fully crap-tastic by the time he completed the lap.

– Eric departed astride my 950SE, out of sequence after his initial loop in order to get back into the rotation. He crashed out after 8.7 miles and an hour of paddling in the goo, injuring his neck in the process. Unfortunately, he sat out there for quite a while before recovery, returning to the aid station hypothermic and miserable. However, he tweaked his neck and his race was over. The 950 returned muddied, but apparently in one piece. “Glad your neck’s not broken dude, but how’s my bike?”

Jason set out again on his 690. After about an hour and a half, he returned, having completed loops 1 and 2 and thrown in the towel. The mud was absolutely miserable. Conditions had deteriorated to a truly craptastic suckfest. At this point, we found ourselves at a crossroads. If it couldn’t be done on a 690, the 950s and 1190 had no chance.

Stubborn to the point of stupidity on the best of days, I decided to give it a shot anyway. I figured at worst, I’d get carted back to the pit like the dumbass that I am. As with so many of my greatest–and worst–decisions, I culminated my consideration with a simple announcement: “Screw it!” Andrew lent me his 690–a bike I’ve never even sat on. I had to ask how to deactivate the ABS! Seriously bro, am *I* the dumb one here?

Within a few minutes, IMG_5075I found I could nearly ride the 690 like a heavy dirtbike, complete with counterbalancing, foot dabs and power slides, though the power-to-weight ratio is a bit lower than what I’m used to. That’s actually a good thing in this case. Despite the mud, I found myself tracking for an hour and a half finish until the handlebars literally came off in my hands just 3/4 of a mile from the finish line! WTF?!

12189481_10153294405539220_7117225516134732380_oI wish I had video of the moment, because in my mind, it plays out like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon where I looked down and realized, “I’m screwed”. “Yipes!” Then, the yardsale begins. The bolts in the HDB clamp were too short and had worked their way out! I feel fortunate to have made this discovery in a relatively soft location! Incredibly, down on my hands and knees in the muck, I found two bolts and with the help and tools of a friend passing by, succeeded in just barely working them back into the clamp so I could limp onward. This lasted for all of 300 yards when they pulled out again and I got another opportunity to lift the bike with no handlebars while covered in slime. Thankfully, the guys back in camp had received word and ran a set of replacement bolts out to me, and after 45min or so, I rode back into camp. Ugly though it was, lap number 7 (my second), went in the books at an incredibly slow two hours and 15 minutes.

At my return, and after some laughs at the buffoonery of it all, Iain set out again on the F800GS for another crack at the course. Though struggling through it valiantly, at about 5 miles, he encountered some course sweepers who recommended that he return to the pits, knowing that he would soon be at the most distant and difficult point in the course should he require recovery, and the riding would only get more difficult. Grudgingly, he set a course directly back to the pits. No credit for lap #8.IMG_6221

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Meanwhile, with the assistance of the guys in the next pit over, Wiel and Andrew cleaned the radiators and a bit of the front end of his 690 again. At roughly midnight, I set out again. Yeah, stubborn to the point of stupidity. The rain had tapered off, but at this point, the course had deteriorated even further, with enormous ruts and chowder (Chris Vair TM’d term) everywhere. I found myself suffering killer cramps in my legs, primarily from having to paddle in several areas such as the long boulder-filled ditches. The sharp uphill at around mile #4 was probably the single worst point of the course. Though short, the incline rose sharply at around 60 degrees, and a shelf mid-way robbed me of needed momentum, necessitating a churning, paddling struggle to the top. Better yet, at the top where the course turned left, the incline remained and without momentum, the bike wanted to steadily slide left. The only other location that really gave me pause was an incredibly steep downhill section terminating in a rock pile directly after a 90 degree turn at the top. I actually stopped to pull a woman out from under her bike there, and found that I had a hell of a time just climbing a few yards back up to my bike and righting it. Despite all of this, I finished my third lap in exactly 90 minutes, putting #8 in the books at about 0130 in the morning.

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PS073CAt this point, the guys next to us didn’t want to lend the use of their pressure washer anymore. While that sucked, it’s hard to blame them, as they were still putting laps down and needed to worry about their own team and limited water supply. Andrew got the 690 partially cleaned, but not enough to be sure it wouldn’t overheat while I thrashed it. I’m not going to say we admitted defeat here, but the heavier bikes were out of the question for us at that point. I seriously considered going out on the 950 anyway, but with two laps already complete in those conditions and the leg cramps still aching, I considered the wisdom of some rest to fight the fatigue and warm up. Besides, morning brings daylight, and daylight brings hope.

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Still a bit damp and definitely filthy, I crawled into my fartsack and passed out. fq1F_BdqI expected a rough wakeup within a couple hours, but slept from 0230 until almost 0600, when the wind and rain replaced that knock on the door of the RV. I admit to some sluggishness, but was out and suiting up by 0700, determined to give it one more try. As if to add to my determination, I discovered that our entire team would be DQ’d if a rider wasn’t on the course when the race ended at 1000. I pushed out at 0755–this time, astride the 950. I had opened on this bike, and I intended to finish that way. Despite the rumor (lies!) that daylight and wind would quickly dry the mud, I departed with the expectation of crashing out. Regardless, the effort was worth a shot. Win or lose, at this point, I wanted a legit finish for our team. I got it.

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The final lap, presented a near constant battle with the mud. The weight and power and high center of gravity of the 950 only made it more difficult, and while the slime pervaded, I now dealt with sections of tacky stuff that packed my knobs smooth because I couldn’t maintain enough speed to throw it off. The bike seemed to weigh a ton with all the accumulated mud, making the going even slower. To complicate things, I experienced an electrical failure at around 6 miles after a low-speed wobble dropped me on a barbed wire fence. After investigation, I found that one of the leads to the primary relay had come loose and was arcing. That same fence lent a chunk of metal which I wedged into the bolt’s allen head to tighten it, as my fingers were too slimy and fatigued for the job. Oh…and the warning for low gas came on. Thankfully, Andrew and Jason met me at checkpoint 1 with a set of tools and a gas can.

 

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I fought through the farmhouse and the following slippery boulders and pond, to arrive at checkpoint 2 at roughly 2 hours, right on the dot at 1000. Inquiring “for a friend”, I discovered that if I quit at this point, the entire team would be DQ. “But it’s just five more miles! It’s easy! You’re almost there!” Yeah…about that. No rest for the weary, so I pushed on, determined to finish or crash out. Checkers or wreckers!

I pushed pretty hard, including a high-side moments after a trailside greeting and subsequent chase of Radek Burkat of the Heavyweights, who was going to “take it easy” on his team’s final lap. Dude is a monster on that 990, no doubt. If that portion of the race was a coloring book, I colored everywhere but inside the lines, running along the edges of the destroyed course for what little traction the straw could give me. I hit the barn and an enormous expanse of rutted uphill stew, powering through in second gear and sounding like a top fuel dragster, launching a roostertail that probably reached low earth orbit. Hopefully the photographer there captured that absolute shit-show, as I nearly died in a blaze of glory while fighting my way to the barn door, only marginally under control.

After what felt like days of riding, the end of the lap drew near. At some point, I crested a rise to see a rainbow, ending over the pit area. I promptly crashed while attempting to stop and get a picture of it. Figures. By the time I extricated myself and hauled the big bike up, the rainbow had disappeared. But the pot of gold remained! This was the last of 20+ crashes in that lap. High-side, low-side, foot-slipped-while-stopping, fell-off-a-rock, you name it. I nailed them all except for the coveted yardsale–but only because I could never gather enough speed to crash that hard. Thankfully the only truly dramatic rep occurred on that ridiculous downhill section with the boulder field at the bottom. Happily, the ground was so slick, I simply slid to the bottom, avoiding the challenge of not killing myself in an out-of-control descent into the rocks. Blessing in disguise?

Just 18 miles, my final lap exacted a brutal 2 hours and 26 minutes of all-out battle. I arrived at the finish line exhausted, greeted by a substantial portion of the team cheering for me. Win or lose, that is a personal victory. The team finished with a total of 9 laps. Four of those laps belonged to me.

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NOTES:

Can’t tell how many people stopped me after that final lap and noted that I was crazy and that they were happy it wasn’t them on that big bike!

Great people at the race! I had a blast! A couple of these teams turned out 33 laps, and the top Iron man churned out 16, on a course best described as a soup sandwich! Madness! I think Team Heavyweight finished 12 laps, while we managed 9. I’m happy with the 4 I did as part of the team. Could have done more. I will next time.DSC_6696

I’ll Ironman next year or die trying. Would be awesome if the team came out again and we could pit together. Otherwise, I hear Landon Norman and Kevin Moto are down with the sickness.

I took over two hours to clean all the mud off the bike and eventually had to pull the guards and bash plate to get at all of it. Talk about filthy!

SUCCESS STORIES

– backup generator is only a backup until the primary fails. My 5500W Coleman (Yamaha motor) was perfect all night.

– Propane fire ring “campfire” was absolutely key. Sitting around soaking wet in the wind just sucks. This made it bearable, and was a great place to gather and just BS. There’s a lot of value in bench racing!

– Super happy with my Pirelli MT21 tires.

– The RVs were totally key here. Anyone who’s ever seriously had a case of exposure (generally hypothermia due to wet/cold/wind) knows how awesome a heated area is for recovery. This was awesome for combating fatigue, as the limited rest is that much better.

IMPROVEMENTS FOR NEXT YEAR

– Bring electric boot dryers! This would have been such a help!

– Speaking of boot dryers, my Goretex socks were a total fail.

– There were some great hangar-style tents out there. Much better in crap weather than our easy-ups, even with tarps lashed onto them. Chet Mainwaring Sr., I really liked the Couch Potato Racing setup.

– I generally hate GoPros because no one ever cares about watching your boring footage, but it would have been nice to get some clips of the truly incredible (and by incredible, I mean bad) riding conditions.

– Bring a crappy blanket or woobie for just sitting around the fire between laps. Getting all that gear on and off is a pain–especially when it’s wet and you’re going out again soon, and a $200 sleeping bag is tough to abuse.

– Consider the IRC M5B rear tire. That thing has monster knobs for soft terrain. Super-Stoked Kevin was pulling wheelies in the dirt! Consider a Teraflex. MT21 was very effective, but these could be better.

– Enormous tent stakes. The ground is too rocky for the small stuff, and the wind is vicious.

– MUST bring some sort of pressure wash capability if it’s going to be crap weather again. Clogged radiators are no good, and Pam or WD-40 had limited effect. A surplus wildland firefighter backpack or even those hand-pump sprayers for insecticide would work. I’m surprised Scott and Debbie (ranch owners) haven’t set up a tank truck with a pay-for-play system, because it would be worth it.