View Full Version : Idaho City 100 Reporting/Discussion Thread

06-13-2009, 12:06 AM
What's your story?

06-16-2009, 03:42 PM
Fb.Nathan's Epic Story:

That was one of the toughest race courses I have ever been on, and I didn't even see all of it! :helmet:

I houred out at the check 4 (I think that was it's official name, but it was only the 3rd check that had people on it). I got there with 10 minutes to go before houring out, but I decided I valued my life over trying to finish a race with a back brake that would stop working at what seemed the worst possible times. To help encourage that line of thinking, Clint Rogers, who was on the same minute with Paul and I was there having bike issues. He had decided to call it a day but was worried about getting back to the truck. I went back with him after waiting until I officially houred out.

I loved it though, and I will be back next year, even if I don't have a bike to race! I took the family and even though it's a bit of a long drive from Seattle it was a really fun weekend for everyone. Gonna become a staple and a yearly thing for us. :woot:

I left Seattle a little later than I wanted to, but with enough time to get there. What I didn't count on was traffic - apparently everyone was leaving Seattle early on Friday and going to Boise because traffic didn't thin out until I got out of Washington and into Oregon. But even though traffic finally thinned out allowing me to go quicker, the stretch of highway through Oregon was littered with road construction. Rolling into the Mountain Time Zone I realized I was going to be cutting it REALLY close - by minutes. But then there was some construction between Nampa and Boise that slowed me down, as well as a bunch of people on the highway between Boise and Idaho City. I rolled in at 8:10, 10 minutes after sign-in closed. Luckily they let Paul sign me in, and I was able to go with him to take the WR (ye olde Blue Tank) to impound.

I was nervous come race day. I haven't been riding as much up here for various reasons, I haven't been working out as much, and I haven't been eating as good as I should be. As we took off on our minute the course quickly was very fun and I was having a blast. I knew I couldn't keep up with Paul, but if I could make good enough time to finish the race and not hour out I'd be happy. The course got a little more technical and difficult than I was expecting, but I was still riding good. The bike seemed to be handling well, even though it felt a bit different since I haven't ridden it since March and have been on several different bikes since then, mostly a 2006 CRF450R which rides MUCH differently.

First problem came when I completely missed some course markings. I probably went 1-3 miles before realizing it - I was so focused on the trail I wasn't looking for course markings and when I started looking for them and didn't see them I then noticed the trail I was following wasn't as beat up/used as the race course had been. I stopped and listened to see if I could hear where the bikes were, but they were all around me it seemed. I started heading back going slow looking for any other trails and course markings. I apparently wasn't the only one that missed this turn as I came across a couple other guys that had made the same mistake.:arz:

After getting back on the course I picked up the pace to make sure I still made my minute as close as I could. I got to the first special test and pushed as hard as I could, but about halfway through it the back brake just stopped working entirely. I slowed it down a lot as the front brake was requiring a lot of work to ride with. When I got to the finish of that test I looked at my watch and saw I had about 2 minutes left. It was on a fire road and I hoped it wasn't far (no odometer, so I had no idea) but I risked going a little faster to try and make it. I checked the watch again and saw it turn to my minute just as the check came into view. Rolled right through and Paul was waiting for me, told him about the brake, and he said he was having the same issue. By the time we got to the second special test it was working again. Go figure. :shrug:

The second special test had some carnage on it. The blown corner Paul talked about had a couple bikes strewn across it when I got there. Sweet vengeance because the guys on it had passed me in the test earlier (I let them of course as they were obviously faster). However I had some issues getting up it myself and laid it down in one attempt. Man the Blue Tank is HEAVY.

After that special test the course got considerably harder. Some very virgin single track that was very technical slowed me down a lot. I had a few crashes in technical areas that were very hard to get out of once down. There was one spot where a guy had broken down on a steep side hill and the trail was barely wide enough for him. Right after him was a steep uphill, so there was a wagon train of people slowly going around him off the trail and then struggling up the trail after that. I got around him and up the steep uphill only to be faced with another wagon train where a crazy switch back had strewn a couple more bikes on the steep side hill. I had a tip over here that very nearly ended drastically. As I went to make the left hand corner I hit the peg of one of the guys that was downed which threw me off balance and I started falling down the hill. I used all the strength I had to throw the bike toward the uphill of the trail and it worked - the bike fell up and I went down about 10 feet. I have no idea how I would have got the bike out of there if it had fallen down. There was a course worker there who was helping out and I could tell he was glad it didn't fall down the hill either! :D

Getting passed all that took a lot longer than it should have, and due to all the work to do it I was extremely tired so when I got to the top of the hill I had to take a break and get some fluids in me. It was crazy hot, and the dust was pretty bad. Aside from breathing the dust, the worst thing about it was that it would hover over the trails so you couldn't really see what you were going over, even though you could see everything else just fine.

The section seemed to last forever. I'm not sure but I'm pretty certain it was the longest section I completed. When I finally got down toward the end of it there was a crazy downhill and the back brake decided that would be a good time to go out again. It was steep, and very technical. Frankly it scared the crap out of me and I decided to call it a day when I got down to the check/gas stop. But before I could get there the brake came back, and after taking a break to fill up with gas I felt since I drove all the way out here I should keep going. Looking at the clock I was 20 minutes behind my minute. Hoping that I had been through the worst of it I thought I might be able to still finish without houring out.

Immediately after that check another steep and technical uphill with switchbacks awaited me. On of them I couldn't get the bike to turn and had to back off and regroup...but when I did the back brake wasn't there and I slid a ways back down and into a more difficult place to get going again. Luckily I wasn't in the way so I didn't hold up anyone else. I was really feeling fatigued now from fighting all these issues (haven't mentioned them all actually - most of those tip overs stalled the bike, and it refused to start easily each time. I was also having a real difficult time controlling the front end of the Blue Tank, the front tire kept coming out of the trail and cross-rutting me at what seemed the worst possible times, and it would wash out in corners a lot...wish I would have taken the bike with me to Washington so I was still used to it!) so I took another break and watched the carnage unfold for a while. I was running low on water too which worried me - I had neglected to fill up at the last check - and I felt the urge to hurl a couple times. :puke:

I got going again and got passed that tough spot and started making pretty good time, but I was really starting to feel the effects of exhaustion and dehydration. Then came the nail in the coffin for me. On a steep side hill with a narrow trail that was huggin the terrain over and around a lot of ravines, my back break went out when I was working on making up time (read: going faster than normal). As a result when the terrain went left and the trail followed it I went to brake to make the turn, but nothing happened (well the front did what it was supposed to do when I feathered the front brake, but the support from the back never arrived), so I simply went off the trail down the steep side hill into a little canyon. I managed to stop myself about 20 feet down from the trail, but there was no way I was going to get back up to it. I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but this side hill was exposed to the sun and I was nearly out of water. I took stock of the situation and saw a little deer trail that I could possibly follow down into the ravine and then back up the other side where it looked like it might hook back up with the course (judging by what I saw of the 30 or so people that went by while I was down there).

I gave it a shot and had one little mishap but managed to stay on the deer trail enough to get around the next bend in the terrain. Trouble is that put me only 10 feet closer to the trail, with a not-as-steep-but-still-plenty-steep shot to get up to it. Somehow there was less traction on the side hill than the trail had had so I struggled getting it up there.

...to be continued...

06-16-2009, 03:43 PM
...and the plot thickens!

I wish that was the last of my struggles, but it wasn't. However the amount of time I lost there is what really killed my chances of finishing. I was so worn out by the time I got back up and going, that I just couldn't push anymore.

But the trail got worse - there came an uphill that just never ended. There were guys strewn all over it. I tackled it in 3 sections, some of them I had to attempt more than once. At the top I nearly passed out due to exhaustion and heat and lack of water. After some more time just trying to survive I got to a fire road that would take me to the next check point. I got there to see Clint Rogers hanging out, so I stopped to ask what was up. He asked if I was still going on - I had 10 minutes left before houring out. I was pooped. A small glimmer of hope told me I should go on to see the grass track, but the last time the back brake went out on me really scared me, and stole all my energy. I decided to wait the 10 minutes and hour out, and then ride back with Clint.

All in all it was an amazing race. Some of the most fun trails I've ever been on, but also some of the toughest and most technical. I loved riding the Blue Tank again, even if I had a lot of difficulty with it. I'll be back next year, hopefully racing, but if not definitely there to spectate and support other racers. It was great seeing some of the Utah fold again, talked with Jeff Boyd and Phat Jimmy and got to know Mike Knight better. All in all an awesome weekend, and my body tells me it was great by how freakin' sore I am. ;)

Big thanks to Paul for letting me ride the Blue Tank again, bringing it up there and getting me all signed up. I got him a lottery ticket and if he wins I'll have paid him back and then some! :haha: