The 7th Annual Brown County Breakdown was surely one to remember. Nearly 520 riders from seventeen states registered for a weekend of bikes, bluegrass, barbecue and plenty of beer and helped raise more than $23,000 for the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association!
Money raised from the annual event has helped to fund new mountain bike trails throughout Indiana, including those at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, where the opening ceremony was held as part of the weekend’s festivities. State Park officials, HMBA leaders and local volunteers took part in the grand-opening ceremony on Friday afternoon followed by casual group ride on the new intermediate level mountain bike trail.
From there participants headed south to beautiful Brown County State Park where they were greeted with some very brilliant fall foliage. The deep autumn colors of red, yellow and orange welcomed riders from across the country. On Friday night participants were treated to the first complimentary beer of the weekend as they sipped on local brews from Nashville’s own Big Woods Brewing Company while settling into their campsites at the exclusive Breakdown campground.
Saturday morning brought more beautiful weather for the free bike and product demo. The world-class Brown County mountain bike trail system is the perfect venue for checking out the latest models and newest designs from large and small manufacturers. The 2011 event once again included the popular Family Fun Ride led by CORA National Mountain Bike Patrol members. Several families ventured out for a fun, casual ride around the introductory Pine Loop Trail.
But it was Saturday night that really brought the spirit of the event to light and fulfilled the vision of event organizers by transforming from a one-day mountain bike ride with a bluegrass theme to a full weekend festival of live bluegrass music, lots of great beer and hundreds of people sharing their love of mountain biking. The music began with the lively pickin’ of the New Old Cavalry, a Bloomington, IN based bluegrass band. During a short set break, the winner of the Norco Judan Single Speed Belt Drive 29er raffle bike (courtesy of West Trails Bicycles) was announced. Congrats to Peg Lindenlaub on Nashville, IN. The highlight of the evening was master banjo player and musician extraordinaire, Danny Barnes. The Brown County Breakdown was a stop on Danny’s ‘cross country tour and he gave event participants a memorable show as they tasted the flowing suds from two more local breweries, Upland Brewing Company of Bloomington, IN and Indy-based, Flat 12 Bierwerks.
Once the music was over the campground quieted and everyone settled in for a good night’s sleep in preparation for the next day’s ride. On Sunday morning, riders were met with crisp, cool autumn air and as the sun rose. The fall colors sparkled and reminded folks why so many travel long distances to see the Hills o” Brown during this time of year. While most people only witness the changing of the leaves as they pass by in their car, mountain bikers experience the fall colors from deep within the woods.
Along the way riders are reminded of the regional bluegrass history and tradition as they encounter local musicians pickin’ at a banjo, playin’ the fiddle or singin’ a bluegrass tune as they pass by. At the top of Hesitation Point, riders were greeted with homemade goodies courtesy of the Friends of Brown County State Park as well as mechanical support from West Trails Bicycles of Miamitown, OH. Local group, the Whip Stitch Sallies, strummed and played for everyone’s enjoyment. For 25-mile participants, Hesitation Point is the turn around point before heading back to the Start/Finish.
For riders continuing beyond the State Park boarders, more surprises waited and participants could hear the lively acoustic bluegrass music as they descended down into Forman Holler and the Hidden Cabin Sag. After a well-deserved break, a quick refuel including pretzels, cookies and Subway sandwiches, some riders turn around and headed back to the state park while more progressed further south and headed into the Hoosier National Forest to take on the local favorite Nebo Ridge Trail and on to the Maumee Bridge Sag.
In the middle of nowhere riders were greeted with more bluegrass music and a grill full of hamburgers and hotdogs. The Maumee Sag is a welcomed stop for riders and many pass through several times as they make their way through the rugged, backcountry trails of the Hoosier National Forest. The Maumee Bridge is the turn around point for 65 mile riders, but the longest distance riders still had the challenging Hickory Ridge Trail ahead of them. After completing the additional Hickory Ridge miles, participants headed north on Combs Road and back to the Hidden Cabin Sag before climbing out of the holler and into the state park for their final return.
Riders made their way back to the Start/Finish where they were greeted by friends and families and began to share their stories of the day’s adventures. After a warm shower and a quick check-in with event volunteers, folks took their place in line at the huge hog roast table where plates were filled with pulled port barbecue, fried chicken, au gratin potatoes, corn on the cob, pasta salad and fried biscuits with apple butter. One thing is for sure, it’s nearly impossible to go hungry at the Brown County Breakdown! Local favorites, the White Lightning Boys, took the stage on Sunday afternoon during the hog roast and delighted on-lookers with their rich bluegrass sound.
As participants returned from their ride they picked up their event t-shirt and found out if they were a winner in the random sponsor raffle. We had tons of great items to give away from our sponsors and nine lucky winners took home the grand prizes!
Felt 1903 Cruiser Bike courtesy Felt Bicycles
~ Chip Ellison (Cincinnati, OH)
Stud Tires courtesy Joe’s Cycles
~ John Clasen (Columbus, IN)
Park Tool Stand courtesy Nebo Ridge Bicycles
~ David Gregoire (Unionville, IN)
Saris RS Bones Rack courtesy Saris
~ Don Hiles (Champaign, IL)
Park Tool Starter Kit courtesy Nebo Ridge Bicycles
~ Steve King (Fishers, IN)
Garmin Edge 800 GPS courtesy Bicycle Outfitters Indy
~ Lori Levernz (Bloomington, IN)
Hesitation Point Photo courtesy 2 Pedals Photography
~ Kerry Powers (Bloomington, IN)
Garmin ForeRunner 610 courtesy Bicycle Outfitters Indy
~ John Bailey (Noblesville, IN)
SRAM XO Group courtesy SRAM
~ Alex Snyder (Indianapolis, IN)
For those who have participated in the annual ride, they know it’s our hard working volunteers, from the check-in tables to the Maumee grill, make this event possible. A huge thank you goes out to all our volunteers, participants, musicians and guests. Thank all our Supporting Sponsors and Event Partners for once again contributing to the success of 7th Annual Brown County Breakdown. We also want to thank the CORA National Mountain Bike Patrol for volunteering their time to patrol the course and helping with much needed medical and mechanical support. A huge thank you goes out to More East Design for once again creating a memorable t-shirt for our participants and to 2Pedals Photography for capturing the spirit of the event for all to see. Be sure to order your 16-page, magazine style souvenir book to remember your experience at the 2011 event!
Mark your calendars now for the 8th Annual Brown County Breakdown, October 12-14, 2012!