Sub 9 Death March


Tim, Rick, Ralf and Josh’s stunt double (guest team member Aaron Smith) made the trip to Brown County Indiana for some early season racing. The Sub 9 Death March is one part race, one part alleycat and lots of adventure. Since there isn’t a set course and the object is to reach all the mandatory check

death march-Ralf and Tim

points (3) plus some bonus check points (7) and get to the finish line in the quickest time, it becomes a race by all intents and purposes. The check points where old county cemeteries and one fire tower

fire tower

separated by pavement, gravel roads and single track. Plenty of places to try shortcuts and gain time on the others. The terrain is hilly, similar to West Virginia, the dirt roads similar to Pennsylvania

death march roads

golf ball sized limestone gravel. Hated it. The single track was stick and leaf covered like an early Lumberjack training ride. Parts of the trail are rocky with plenty of mud and stream crossings. I bet one 4 mile section of out and back single track had 8 streams giving you a total of 16 fun filled foot dousings! Or is that 32 feet? Tim and Ralf formed Founders Alger Racing Team #1 and Rick and Aaron formed team #2. Rick and Aaron figured out their plan at the start whistle, Tim and Ralf labored over maps, paper notes, gps, Droids, sharpies, beers and google maps for weeks. They beat Team #2 by 84 minutes. I’m cool with that.

The following was taken from the Best Bike Blog Ever, thanks go out to them for the history notes! “Back before this part of Hoosier National Forest was an area of recreation and conservation, before the Army Corps of Engineers built the dams and lakes, this was family farm and logging country.  The stones in the cemetery, lined up by name and some dating to the early 1800’s, are testament to that.  The stones in Robertson Cemetery have quite a few Robertson’s, same with Todd Cemetery.  When your grandparents were young, there were farms and farm roads, logging camps and logging roads here.  Eventually, however, the land was used up of its riches.  The farmers and loggers moved on to richer soils and older trees.  About that time, the government began purchasing parcels.  The rivers were dammed, the town of Elkinsville evacuated, and the lakes and park born.  Consequently, in the last 50 or 60 years, like the modern day ghost town of Elkinsville, some of those old farm and logging roads have simply been retaken by nature.  Internet mapping hasn’t been so quick to notice the ghost roads.  Suddenly your GPS isn’t so reliable.”

Paper maps have errors too as I soon found out! One cemetery was located on trail #15. Everyone had a hard time finding it since some of the signs and trail markers were missing. Aaron and I spent an hour looking for this “optional” checkpoint to obtain the 1 hour bonus (deduction) from your overall time. At least we didn’t go in the red on that one, oh well. Interesting thing was that we were required to take a digital picture of each other either separately or together to prove we were there. This cemetery was the ONLY one Aaron and I let someone else take our picture for us. You can guess what happened right? Yep. When we got done and handed over the camera for proof and documentation, NO PICTURE OF THE CALLAHAN CEMETERY! I pleaded with the score keepers, got the picture taking bums to vouch for us and was simply told “oh well, it was a beautiful day for a ride, right?”  I later tried to bribe another score keeper and head race honcho with a free entry to BRX if she would fix it. J She doesn’t like riding gravel roads. Dang! What’s a guy to do? “Hey, want a Founders?” I think that did the trick. All and all we had a great time and I would highly recommend this event next year.

Ralf and Tim placed 22nd of 95 teams with a corrected time of 2:07 and all 10 check points for roughly 50 miles. Rick and Stunt Double, riding fixie I might add, placed 41st of 95 with a time of 3:31 and 9 check points.

post ride beers

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