What do you get when you combine 1000 motorcycles, soft dirt a bunch of river crossings and huge hills? You get the Crawfordsville Ironman GNCC – that’s what you get. This years addition was the hardest ever. I think it was at least 10 times harder than last year. The mud, the ruts, the hills, the waist deep river crossings, the ruts, the whoops, the power sapping soft dirt… Ugh.
Crawfordsville was the normal chaos of cars and trucks and ATV’s stuck in the muddy field. I am also always amazed at the fact that we see confederate flags this far north. They are on the back of trucks, they are on peoples hats, there are flags flying… Wow.
We parked in the XC2 pits. We kind of know our way around the place and just inserted ourselves in there. We pulled in and wedged ourselves between Chuck Woodford and our friend Mat Herrington. A primo spot, it was cool.
The morning race had over 500 motorcycles. Unbelievable. This was probably the most well attended race I have ever seen. I don’t know what the recession has to do with it.
I got a pretty good start, probably 5th off the line and into the woods. There were 15 guys on my line. Dang, that RMZ is a great bike. I also am really amazed at how well the 4stroke works now, compared to my previous 4stroke experience. It is fast, it handles well it just does everything well. Except, it is loud. I don’t really like that part about it.
The first lap there was the usual impassable spot that had to be rerouted. We were caught under this bridge culvert and with bikes stuck everywhere and overheating. There was a super muddy creek we had to ride down, under the culvert, down the creek and then in theory make a 90 degree right turn up a 100 foot hill from the river. There were at least 30 bikes there stuck when I arrived. No one was making it up the hill. We finally got through when they rerouted us away from a huge hill that people just could not make it up, but it was at least 5 minutes of just sitting there.
Also, somewhere along the first lap, I picked up a ribbon in my front brake. For the whole race, my front brake had to be pumped to make the brake work. The first pull it would go all the way to the bar, the second halfway and then finally on the 3rd pull it would work. It was a bit distracting as the hills are so big there, there is just no way to ride without a front brake. Hmmm… must have heated up the fluid somehow and boiled it all out or… I don’t know.
Because we start 15 minutes after the pro’s, and we had spent so much time sitting there in the creek, the pro’s caught us all before the end of the first lap. ugh… No 5 laps today.
Some of the race, I ran in 5th place. But, then on the last lap, I got impossibly stuck and was multiple minutes slow. Crossed a creek and then chose the wrong rut. The rut I was in was deeper than the top of the seat of the bike. There was an old guy there with an ATV, and after arguing with him for multiple minutes, he finally pulled out a strap and helped me pull the bike out of the rut. I don’t know what he was there for, if he was not going to pull people out of the ruts. I stood there for all those minutes, while multiple multiple people went by me. Unfortunately, I dropped back to 7th there. Not a bad finish, considering.
Of course it would not be a GNCC race, if we did not get the van stuck in the field trying to get out. For what feels like the hundredth time, we had to have a tractor pull us out to get going. We have been stuck in Scott’s van in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana (more than once), New York, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee… Wow. I wonder how many other states we can get it stuck in?