2012 Equinox Challenge – THE 24 Hour SnowBike Race

Equinox Challenge – THE 24 Hour Snowbike Race

After 1900 miles in my car, all I got to say is… I need new car.

Initial thoughts on the race: 
14 laps! AWESOME performance for The Judd! Right? 

Well, check below for all the details: video, course map, lessons learned, pics and the standard AND bizarre comments.

The Black Sheep SnowRoller – in the snow

can you believe this! I won the raffle! 
snowbike #2 will be rolling in no time
The Trip:
It was a long trip from Sandia Park New Mexico – but worth it. And I only drove about 20 miles with my eyes shut – asleep at the wheel. That’s pretty good for me. 

The Video:

Remember, I ride a singlespeed – it ain’t smooth, it’s rigid. And I ain’t a professional videographer. So go easy on me. And yeah, I mess with the playback speed. Because it’s fun. AND if you want a longer version of the video WITH Social Distortion – go to the end of this posting.

2012 Equinox Challenge – THE 24 Hour Snowbike Race from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
just some video of the 2012 Equinox Challenge – the flat stuff

The Snowbike Course:
I can confidently say this is the best 24 hour snowbike race in the country… or world. One lap is about 4 miles with 300 feet of vertical. About. We can philosofize on changes, modifications, etc. But screw it. I like it. Great track. It makes sense, especially with unpredictable weather. (BTW, philosofize IS THE correct spelling… at the back of the pack.)

Results – the hooligans operating out of room 142
  • Jill – 1st solo women, bike – 2nd solo women, overall
  • Ben & Ken – 1st duo, bike – 2nd duo, overall
  • Kevin – rookie, rolled it fast at the front of the back of the pack
  • Judd – veteran of 100s of 24 hour races, held up the BACK at the back of the pack. As required
The Logic that Led to Defeat :
As usual, I must analyze the events that led to my own defeat. You see, at the back of the pack, defeat is based on personal failures NOT on the official race results. I rolled in with some big goals – and I didn’t achieve my goals. Imagine that. Then again, failure fuels the fire. So, what really happened? Below are a few key points that may or may not be twisted, a bit.
  • A very warm spring day created slush that lead to an early and long lunch – I decided to wait it out for nightfall and harder snow conditions
  • The wait was long, real long. I went to the bar BUT ONLY drank water. Seriously.
  • I rolled out at 8:00pm, the course was still too soft for this obese dude. I was digging trenches with my 3.7 Nates
  • I decided to wait it out till midnight – so the freshly groomed course could freeze up without me destroying the SMOOTH track.
  • When midnight rolled around, I was frozen to the core
  • Thus I rationalized my own reality: sleeping bag = warmth = rest = get home a day early
  • The reality… I gotta toughen up and not live this life of luxury. Yeah, life of luxury.
Lessons Learned:

As usual, I learn from any and all experiences. AND I like to document these lessons learned. It’s a way to…. fill up more space in this blog posting.
  1. Take an easy up – there is an official pit / staging area. AND that’s where the late night party is!
  2. 1st place solo singlespeed  – what? You’re saying there are no categories? Not in my alternate reality. Just joking. 
  3. An obese dude sinks when riding a snowbike in slush. That’s just the way it is. Therefore I derived the Judd Index of Flotation – check below.
  4. Big fat Larry up front, Nate in the back –  for the big phat Judd
  5. When you travel 2000 miles (round trip) for a snowbike race, and you’re obese and you race at the back of the pack… The trip costs you about $20 per snowbike mile. No joke, jokester. 
The Index of Flotation:
When you are 220lbs (buck naked) with 10 lbs of clothes and gear and ride a 28+ lbs snowbike… riding a snowbike in slush is like riding a 29er in slush.. which is like riding a 26er in slush… which is all really like walking in slush. 

Therefore, because I have WAY TOO much time on my hands, I derived a cubic polynomial for the Judd Index of Snowbike Flotation. I normalized the index to the a 160 lbs (person + rig) and a 3.7 tire. The Judd Index of Flotation assumes that ‘flotation’ is a variable, i.e., if the snow is slush, like a slurry of ice & water, then flotation is a variable. If the snow is solid, like ice, then there is no flotation. Get it?

The basics: if you wanna get FAT – you better get skinny and have WIDE tires. Dude, Dudette. Yeah, I roll with a 260 lbs total weight, the Judd Index of Flotation is ~ 0.28 with my 3.7 Surly Nate tires. That’s tough. The Judd Index of Flotation, for Judd, with 4.7 Big Fat Larry tires is 0.52. That could work. Or… maybe I should just lose some weight. 50 lbs would work.

In the end, the moral of the story, just the way it is:
In 24 hr solo racing, if you stop… you’re done, for the most part. Unless you’re a super freak – then standard Back of the Pack logic doesn’t apply. I’ve learned this lesson many times over – I’m still learning this lesson.

The Absurd:

32 x 20 ain’t that bad for a 24 hour snowbike race – the Equinox Challenge. 32×19 may work, under cold conditions. Ask Super Freak Jill how she likes her 36×20 – she’ll say ‘dude, it’s awesome. I’d go crazy if I had to spin a 32×20!‘ Damn, Super Freak Jill rollin’ a Pugsley (and Nates) with a  36×20 setup. I think Jill needs to follow The Lt Col’s lead and have a debate with El Freako on singlespeed ratios. (BTW, Jill + Pugsley with 3.7 Nates = the normalizer for the Judd Index of Flotation. Understand?)

The Future – will I do it in 2013?
Of course…. if The Morale Chairman or Lt Col or Mad Rhino commits to the trip. In reality, I need The Morale Chairman to drive me. Who knows? We are always up for Ludacracy. So I think it will happen.

Racing is a thing of the past? Time to adapt. 
Why do we race at the back of the back? For the elusive beer sponsorship. Obviously. And that ain’t working out too well. So I’m gonna be forced to start my own brewery.  You think I’m joking.  Therefore I have some tough decisions about time allocation to bikepacking, 24 hour ‘racing’ and beer brewing. Maybe Ska Brewing will wake up and decide they need a Modus Hoperandi ambassador, that would be me. 

Two Versions of Reality:
After all this rambling, you can philosofize about two possible versions of my own reality.

  1. I cashed it in, checked out at midnight, so I could return home early – save a day on the road
  2. I’m just afraid of the dark
You know, both options could be the partial truth. Could be.

Just  a Few Pics:
the day before – the Black Sheep SnowRoller

Jill likes the drive-ups… on the snowbike

the day before – some IPA

checking out the trail maps

Jill likes preriding anything and everything

the snowbikes of the Hooligans of Room 142

when Jill and Kevin are involved in an arial photo…. well

is this a snowbike Crossfit thing? a toboggan pull?

the  race site – the Equinox Challenge

it’s RACE DAY!

like I said, it’s RACE DAY!

and we are off

the big lunch, at the bar, without the beer, waiting for the sun to set

the big pizza – after the big race

just a reminder

it’s hard to focus on the reminder – when you eyes are almost shut

preferred Back of the Pack lodging – great rates

tired and dirty – ready for the next adventure

The Video – the long cut:

just more of the same… more hills, more descents, more head bobbing

2012 Equinox Challenge – THE 24 Hour Snowbike Race from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
just some video of the 2012 Equinox Challenge, the flat stuff and some climbs

and just because: 

you all need some good relaxing music – we all do – I think

3 thoughts on “2012 Equinox Challenge – THE 24 Hour SnowBike Race

  1. Whew that is a lot of driving. It's hard to remember how suck ass the driving is when you sign up for these epics so far away because the races seem so appealing. Don't blame you for hitting the sleeping bag early. But wow, man you won a bike frame so trip was well worth it, even if you were a zombie for a few days, huh?


  2. Hey Matt. Yeah, the drive was a bit longer than I usually do.. in a solo role. Hopefully The Brother will go next year. Then again, I'm just getting old. Maybe I just need to follow my dad's (The Padre's) rule of travel.. take your own pillow and everything will work out just fine. After 80 years on this planet he has it all figured out.

    And yeah, a free 9:Zero:7 frame. Awesome. A guy can't have enough bikes. Too bad I need to buy a few parts to make it a rolling frame. But that's cool.


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