Brown County Breakdown Event FAQ

Why is this ride called the “Brown County Breakdown”?

Brown County, Indiana has a rich tradition and history of bluegrass music.  Bean Blossom, which is located in Brown County, is still the site of the annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival.  The string-music festival was originated in 1967 by Bill Monroe, the father of American bluegrass music.  It has not become the oldest, continuously running annual bluegrass festival in the world.  The “Brown County Breakdown” is the name of a famous bluegrass song that Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys used to play.  It is named after the one and only Brown County in Indiana.

Jerry Garcia, the guitarist of the Grateful Dead and a great bluegrass musician in his own right, made a pilgrimage to come see Bill Monroe play at Bean Blossom in 1964.  This was almost five years before the Grateful Dead would come into their own.  Jerry’s idolization of Bill Monroe and his desire to see bluegrass pickers in their own element called him east to the Hoosier state.  

He drove in his ’61 Corvair all the way from Northern California to Southern Indiana.  His musician friends back home in California liked to say that he went east because he was “Plumbing the depths of the yee-haw factor”.

Why do I have to pay to ride on the trails when they’ll be open to the public the day of the event anyway?

Your event registration fee gets you a free commemorative t-shirt, a weekend full of live bluegrass music from local regional and nationally recognized musical guests, complimentary beer tasting from local breweries, food and fluids at the sag stops, a huge hog roast meal after the ride catered by Jug’s Catering, a commemorative bumper sticker and course maps.  All current HMBA-IMBA members also receive a special commemorative event pint glass (while supplies last).  Event participants are also able to purchase tickets for two nights of camping in the State Park in an area you can’t normally camp!

The Brown County Breakdown is a fund-raising event and all proceeds go directly to the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association for continued trail building in Indiana.  Your registration fee also allows access to the excellent free prizes that will be given out randomly.  Each paid participant will be given a wristband to wear.  This wristband will help us identify who has registered and allows each participant to pick up their swag (free stuff) at the end of the ride.  You must attend the event to receive your free t-shirt, bumper sticker or swag!

The best part of the event is the ride itself!  The HMBA works with Brown County State Park and private landowners to allow us to use horse trail and private property to connect the state park with Yellowwood State Forest for this special one-day event.  This gives all of the paid participants a unique chance to link together trails that are normally not connected and ride trails not normally open to mountain bikers.  Each participant has the flexibility to ride a shorter or longer distance on the day of the event if they choose.  It’s not a race, it’s just a ride.  Have fun and ride however much you want!

What in the world are these trails like?  Isn’t Indiana flat?  This isn’t going to be boring is it?

Trail Video Footage

Contrary to popular belief, Indiana is not just flat corn fields.  This is some of the best and most technically challenging mountain biking in this region of the country.  There will be huge, steep climbs; long, flowing descents; log crossings, creek crossings, rocks, mud, dust and overgrown plants.  There will be just a few very short sections of asphalt and gravel fire roads.  However, the vast majority of the ride is pristine, eastern hardwood forest single-track.

What trails will we be riding?

All of the different course distances use the same route, some folks just turn around sooner!  This makes it easier for each rider to decide exactly when they want to turn back.

The ride begins and ends on the IMBA Epic Brown County mountain biking trail system.  Riders will make their way along the entire length of the Brown County trails beginning with Pine Loop, the North Gate Connector and North Tower Loop.  From there, riders will continue counter-clockwise on Green Valley followed by a clockwise tour of the Aynes Loop.  Riders will then ascend the entire length of the Hesitation Point trail until it intersections with the Walnut Trail at the top.  Hesitation Point offers the first SAG stop and a turn around point for the shortest distance riders who will turn around and head back to the start/finish using the shortest and most direct return route.

For those looking to find the “hidden cabin” sag, continue on the Walnut Trail until it turns into Limekiln Trail at Hoosier’s Nest.  Riders will then take Limekiln Trail until it ends at the  Rally Campground.  Asphalt will then be taken for a few miles through the state park campground.  From there riders will follow a dirt access road to Horse Trail C which is taken to an old ridge-top logging  road that heads south a few miles to the “hidden cabin” sag stop in Forman Hollow.  From here, riders will exit the cabin and head toward Yellowwood State Forest.  Those looking to return to the start/finish will follow Horse Trail B until it intersects Horse Trail C to continue back through the state park campground and returning to the start/finish using the shortest and most direct route on the Brown County Trails.   Participants who are wanting to ride an epic 80-100 mile route will continue on to ride the trails in Yellowwood State Forest.  

In the event of inclement weather, alternate routes or additional road will be used to prevent damage to the trails and ensure the safety of participants. 

Please remember that mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to horseback riders and hikers.  Riders are given this one day use of State Park trails normally open for horseback riders ONLY.  Always follow the IMBA Rules of the Trail.

What is the best way to enter Brown County State Park for the event?  Where will the Start/Finish be? 

The best entrance to use is the North Gate entrance located just east of Nashville on Indiana State Highway 46.  CAUTION: If you use the North Gate Entrance, you must go through a covered bridge.  Clearance is only 9 feet, so large trucks, vans, campers or RV’s may not make it through.  Also, if you have a roof rack with bikes on top, BE AWARE OF THE HEIGHT OF YOUR VEHICLE.  If your vehicle will not clear, you will have to use the West Entrance, located west of Nashville on Highway 46.


The Horseman’s Camp entrance on the south side of the park CANNOT be used to enter.  It is for the horse camp only.

The Start/Finish area will be located by the swimming pool, just inside of the North Gate House.  Check-in will be at the tents in front of the pool building.  No parking will be allowed in this area unless you have registered for on-site camping.  The main parking area the day of the event will be at the main mountain bike trailhead parking lot just south of the pool area.  Overflow parking is available at the Lower Shelter.

REMINDER:  You must pay an entrance fee to Brown County State Park.  This is NOT included in your registration fee.  There is a $5.00 Gate Fee for Indiana license plates and a $7.00 Gate Fee for Non-Indiana license plates.  This fee admits the driver and all passengers.  There is a $2.00 Gate Fee for anyone entering the park as a pedestrian or on bicycle.

What should I put in my SAG bags?

You will be provided with two SAG bags prior to the start of the ride.  The bags are basic, plastic shopping bags with a handle.  Each rider will be allowed to fill each bag (within reason, of course) with items you may need at the SAG stops.  Items may include, food, drinks, or supplies.  Please keep in mind that bags will NOT be refrigerated, so please NO PERISHABLE items.  Examples of what to place in your bags may include sports drinks, power food, PB & J sandwiches, spare tubes, lube for your chain, pixie sticks or a Red Bull.  While we will do our best to bring the remaining contents of the bags back to the Start/Finish in Brown County State Park at the end of the day’s events, we cannot guarantee the return of items in the bags.  HMBA and all volunteers will not be responsible for items in the bags.  Please try to use what you have put in the bags, and it is our recommendation that you do not include valuable parts, personal effects or tools. 

What should I carry with me?

While there will be SAG stops with food, water, sports drinks and some mechanical support, each rider should be well prepared to deal with the physical and mechanical problems that may arise between stops.  Each rider will be STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to always have the following items before leaving the Start or any of the SAG stops:

– Course maps

– At least 70 ounces of water

– Two inner tubes

– Hand pump or at least two CO2 cartridges and an inflation device

– Tire levers

– Patch kit (glueless patch kits are easier to use in the woods)

– Chain tool (and the knowledge to use it)

– Full set of metric Allen wrenches (1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm)

– Standard and Phillips screwdrivers

– Torx T25 wrench if you have disc brake rotors

– Compass (and the knowledge to use it)

– Rag

– Chain lube

– Spare chain links

– Spare derailleur hanger for your make and model of bike

– Food or energy supplements

– Small first aid kit

– Emergency light source (LED lamps are tiny, lightweight and long lasting)

– Identification (Drivers license, state ID, etc.)

Other items that are darn good to have:

– Pocket knife or “Leatherman” tool

– Duct Tape (carefully wrap 2-3 feet around an ink pen or Allen wrench)

– Several strong nylon zip ties

– SRAM power links for quicker chain fixes

– An old spoke cut in half and bent on each end to hold your chain together while fixing it

– A safety whistle to blow if you get in trouble

What will the start be like?

We will be using a mass start from the pool parking lot near the North Gate Entrance at Brown County State Park, begin.  Participants will be self-divided depending on their speed and mileage planned :

Faster, longer distance riders should plan to start at the front of the pack.  More casual paced riders and participants looking to ride a shorter distance should start after the faster, longer distance riders.

The ride will begin with a very short stretch of pavement.  This will help a bit with crowding and traffic as the ride begins.  Please exercise patience and courtesy throughout the ride.  If you need to pass someone, please ask if you may pass, and pass cautiously and carefully, only when given the OK.  Remember to announce whether you plan to pass on the right or the left and allow plenty of space when passing.  The groups will quickly spread out and people will naturally sort themselves out as the ride progresses.  Remember that the fun and safety of the ride is more important then your desire to finish the ride as quickly as possible.  This is NOT a race.

How will the course be marked?

The course will be well marked with orange surveyor’s tape, orange marking paint and signs.  Turns, intersections and confusing areas will be well marked.  Please keep in mind that there may be long sections of trail that will have few or no markings.  Each rider will be given a detailed map.  Riders are expected to study the map and familiarize themselves with the course.  The course and course markings will be reviewed prior to the start.  We will make every effort to staff the SAG stops with volunteers who are familiar with the maps and the course.

What will the trail conditions be like?

Generally, fall is one of the best seasons for mountain biking in Indiana.  Trails are usually quite dry, sometimes even dusty.  Wear glasses to help keep dust out of your eyes.  Even with some rain on the days leading up to the event or on the day of, the trails should soak it up pretty well.  Some of the trail could be covered with leaves, so please be cautious if you get into leaf cover.  Please keep in mind that there are a lot of miles to cover, and there will be some spots of mud.  The latest Brown County State Park trail conditions can be found here. 

Will my cell phone work during the ride?

Cell phones do not work over many parts of the route.  Some folks do receive decent coverage in parts of Brown County State Park and on the higher points of the State Forest.  Riders are more than welcome to take their cell phones with them, but under no circumstances should a cell phone be counted on as a viable form of communication.  However, most of the route does have cell phone 911 emergency service, so it is a good idea to take your phone with you in case of an emergency.

What should I do if I get injured or have a bad mechanical problem during the ride?

We STRONGLY encourage all participants to use the “buddy system”.  Please try to ride in a group or with someone of similar ability.  However, if you find yourself alone and you are in trouble, stay put and flag someone down for assistance as they pass you.  If you are injured badly, please stay where you are and do not move.  Volunteers from the CORA National Mountain Bike Patrol will be “sweeping” the course late in the ride to find stragglers, but this may not be possible on all points of the course.  

If you must ride alone, please check in at the SAG stops and give them your name so we have an approximate guess as to where you are on the course.  We will have very basic mechanical support at the SAG stops, but each rider should be prepared with their own tools and supplies.  Riders that cannot continue due to injury, mechanical issues, or exhaustion will be given a ride back to the Start/Finish from either SAG stop, but not until the very end of the day.  Local emergency personnel are aware of the event and will be available in case of an emergency.  REMINDER:  All participants MUST check in at the start/finish area when you complete the ride! 

How much time will I have to finish the ride?

On the day of the event, local sunset time is 7:30 p.m.  We are requiring all participants to arrive back at the Start/Finish at Brown County State Park NO LATER than 7:00 p.m.  To help ensure all participants make it back before dark, riders will not be permitted to pass through SAG stops after certain cutoffs.  NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE ALLOWED.  Riders are encouraged to bring an emergency light source with them or put one in a SAG bag in case of a mechanical problem or injury near the end of the ride.

What will the weather be like?

Ask anyone this question that lives around here and you’ll most likely hear a chuckle before they give you an answer.  Indiana weather changes constantly and could be almost anything.  The record low for this day was 30 degrees and the record high was 86.  The average high is 67 degrees, and the average low is 45 degrees.  Be prepared for chilly/cold conditions that are very wet or warm/hot conditions that are very dry.  In other words, be prepared for anything.  As we get closer to the event, Nashville weather conditions can be found here.

I would like to help out in some way by volunteering.  How can I help?

We would love to have help!  We will be recruiting volunteers right up until the morning of the event.  An event this large takes a lot of hard-working people to run smoothly.  You do not have to be an HMBA member to volunteer.  Heck, you don’t even have to be a mountain biker!  If you are interested in helping out, please contact the event coordinator, Tania Juillerat, at [email protected].com or call her at  (317) 413-0624.  All volunteers receive a free event t-shirt and have access to the catered hog roast at the end of the ride.

Where is the best place to stay while I’m in town for the event?

If you like tent camping, the best place to stay is at the official on-site camping at the start/finish area at the pool, near the North Gate Entrance.  The cost for participants and family members is only $15 per person (children 12 years of age and younger are free.).  Online pre-registration is available and is required to camp.  There is a strict limit on the number of campers allowed, and the camping will most likely fill to capacity, so please register before the event.  Once it is full, we will NOT allow any additional campers.  There is access to the pool bathrooms, change rooms and warm showers.  There are also several picnic tables spread around that can be utilized.  Your car will be parked within a few feet of your tent for convenience.  Normal state park camping rules will apply, and quiet hours will start promptly at 11:00 p.m. to ensure everyone gets a good night’s sleep.  The camping area will open at 3 p.m.. on the Friday afternoon before the event.  Additional camping is available in Brown County State Park.  Reservations may be made online at the park’s official site.

If you aren’t planning on staying at the on-site camping, please keep in mind that this is a very busy time for the Brown County/Nashville area.  Nashville is a very popular tourist location this time of year due to the nice weather and the changing of the leaves.  If you are planning on staying in the area, please keep in mind that accommodations will book quickly. is the best resource to find lodging, restaurants, or just about anything in the immediate area.  Recently the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced their list of Mountain Bike Friendly Lodging.  Mountain bike friendly accommodations must provide secure bike storage or allow bikes to be taken into guestrooms, provide trail maps and driving/riding directions to trail heads, have roof rack friendly driveways and height clearances (at least 10′), provide ground floor accommodations when available or upon quest, and most importantly, put up with dirty, stinky and potentially bloody people after their ride!

Finally, free primitive camping near the road is available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the Hoosier National Forest.  “Backcountry” camping is also permitted.  


Is there an age limit for the event?

There is no age limit for this event.  Bring the kids!  All children under the age of eighteen must be riding with a parent or guardian.  A youth participant ticket is available for those 15 and under who are participating in the Sunday ride.  Cost is $65 and includes camping, event t-shirt and hog roast for after the ride.  A non-participating youth hog roast ticket is available for $15.  Youth t-shirts are also available for purchase on the registration website.

What is the Family Fun Ride?
The Family Fun Ride is a great way for families with kids or those who are not yet able to ride the Breakdown routes to join in a fun, casual ride and experience mountain biking on introductory level mountain bike trails.  The ride begins at the bike and product demo at 2 p.m. and will head directly to the introductory level Pine Loop Trail which is perfect for first time riders of all ages.  Pine Loop can easily be ridden both directions and more adventurous riders can even continue on to the North Tower Connector Trail and North Tower Loop, both beginner level trails.

There is no cost for the Family Fun Ride and it is open to anyone who would like to participate, however riders do not receive an event t-shirt or hog roast ticket.  These additional items can be purchased on the event registration website.

What will be at the bike and product demo?
The bike and product demo on Saturday, September 28 will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the main mountain bike parking lot near the North Gate Entrance.  This is free and open to the public.