Belated 2013 Brown County Breakdown Recap

Sorry for the late post. After the BCBD, I moved into a new place and have been busy getting everything unpacked and organized. I’m mostly situated now, and I need to catch up on some posts.

The 2013 Breakdown was a great time. I went down for the whole weekend on Friday evening and camped both nights. I got there a little on the late side, and wound up in a suboptimal campsite. It wasn’t a bad spot, but it was out in the open and got hot in the sun. The Crosstrek held our camping gear well.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

We could have organized the gear a little better in the car, but it wasn’t bad. Unfortunately being out in the open we couldn’t use our hammocks because we had nothing to attach to. Thankfully we brought the cabin tent just in case. We need to remedy the hammock situation. A couple things that might work – freestanding hammock stands would probably be the most flexible, but also more bulky. Another alternative would be to figure out how to hang the hammocks using the roof rack as one anchor point and then only needing a stand for one end of each hammock.

We also need a canopy of some sort for cooking/relaxing under. Being out in the open exposed us to all the elements. We had a tarp we could use, but it wasn’t quite good enough.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

I found this scene when I went to fetch water Friday evening. Very nice autumn scene – a wooly bear, corn stalk, and a pumpkin.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

FYI, the work stand on a Kuat rack also makes for a handy lantern hanger. Yet another difficulty with camping in an open field. I’m used to finding trees to hang my lantern.

Saturday showed us that a lot of people didn’t get there until well after dark. This place got pretty crowded. We slept a little extra, so didn’t make it to the demo event until well after they had already begun.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

2013 Brown County Breakdown

2013 Brown County Breakdown

The wife and I got to test a nice variety of bikes. She came away with the conclusion that she loves her Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon. That’s an outstanding conclusion, because it’s nearly a $7,000 bike! I came away liking my bike better than most of the bikes I rode, but I focused on riding things different than my own bike.

What I most wanted to demo, though, wasn’t a particular bike. I wanted to try out a bike or two with the SRAM XX1 group. I got my wish, by taking out a Giant carbon 29er hardtail.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

I loved the XX1 setup. It was quiet, offered the gearing that I wanted, and the shifting was spot on. The bike was fast, but I’m just too used to an XC FS bike and didn’t like the harshness of the hardtail. I also noticed the 29er wheels in a glaringly negative way on this bike. I found myself going too wide on most tight corners with this bike. I could probably adapt to it, but the bike’s handling felt too slow to me.

I didn’t take pictures of every bike I test rode. After the HT, I rode a Giant 6″ FS bike. I felt like the bike took all the fun out of the trail I rode (I demo’d all the bikes on the same Pine Loop/North Gate Connector course). It would be a great bike on a really chunky trail, but this was not that trail.

After that bike, I managed to get on the fatbike that Kona brought along. I’m surprised there was only one fatbike on offer. I didn’t like it at all. I’ve ridden a couple fatbikes before (the Surly Krampus and the Salsa Mukluk) and this sucked. A big part of it was the ridonkulous handlebar on it. Super super swept back, forcing me into an excessively upright position. For a size L frame (I usually ride a M), this was disconcerting. The handlebar was also too narrow for being swept so much. Handling was too twitchy. I realize Kona wanted to build a fatbike on a budget with this one, but it’s a failure. This bike isn’t half as fun as the Mukluk I rode. Even the Krampus (which I didn’t care for) was more of a fun bike.

We missed the main departure before dawn on Sunday. Those riders got out soon enough before the rain began that they got some trail miles under dry conditions before it got wet. Gearing up Sunday, it was obvious the weather would get sketchy. We hoped it wouldn’t last too long.

Gearing up for the 2013 Brown County Breakdown from TheGPSGeek on Vimeo.

We were wrong. Light rain pretty much all day, with periods of heavier showers. No storms, at least. Trails were wet and a little slick when we started with a smaller group of other riders, but it was clear that the trails weren’t going to get better. In fact, I expected that once folks left the main BCSP mtb trails, conditions would get sketchier fast. I wasn’t wrong about that.

Climbing Hesitation Point in the Mist During the 2013 Brown County Breakdown from TheGPSGeek on Vimeo.

It was beautiful out, though, in spite of the rain. The mist in the valleys when climbing up to Hesitation Point was very cool. Reminded me a lot of my last trip to Pisgah several years ago. I need to go back. The Friends of BCSP ran a very nice Sag station at the lookout. Lots of good food to stave off the bonk.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

We skipped Walnut, because sliding off rocks is not my idea of fun. After riding Limekiln, which at the time had spots in awesome shape, but also spots in terrible shape, we decided to bail on further trail riding and take the roads back. I gave up on my goal of riding 50mi that day, and the wife cut her day short, too.

In spite of the rain, I still got a PR on the HP climb. And I stopped to record vid of people trying the big rock garden in the rain.

After returning to the campground, it was time for cleaning up, eating roasted pig, and listening to a little bluegrass.

2013 Brown County Breakdown

2013 Brown County Breakdown 2013 Brown County Breakdown

2013 Brown County Breakdown

Yay for the bike wash station!

2013 Brown County Breakdown

2013 Brown County Breakdown

Oh yeah, thanks to Upland Brewing and Big Woods/Quaff On! for the beer provided Friday and Saturday nights. I’m told that last year, event attendees didn’t finish the beer that was provided. Are you kidding me?! We sure finished it this year. Here’s hoping for good times (and better weather) for next year’s Breakdown.

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