Text and photos by Richard Ries
"New & Improved!" Yeah, yeah. Heard it before. But the organizers of the Brown County Breakdown, which went down this past weekend, have been making that claim ever since the inception of the event in 2005. It's always been a valid claim; this year more than ever.
Nestled in the Indiana hillsides an hour south of Indianapolis, Brown County State Park is the state's biggest at 16,000 acres and has more than 25 miles of mountain biking trails. But that isn't enough to contain the Breakdown. The organizers look to nearby properties to include new routes in each year's version of the Breakdown. The 2013 edition included new trails in Yellowwood State Forest, which is normally not open to mountain biking. Some routes used trails in the Hoosier National Forest. Distances of up to 100 miles were available, all with no repeated sections.
Also new this year was a Kids Zone, a larger demo area than ever before, filled with demo models from Cannondale, Giant and Liv/giant, Kona, Scott Bikes, Specialized, and Trek as well as booths showcasing new products from Gore, Kitsbow MTB Apparel, local retailer Hesitation Point Bike & Backcountry, SKS-Germany, and SRAM.
The Brown County Breakdown serves as the primary fundraiser for Indiana’s Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA). In fact, since the event began, it has
netted more than $100,000 for HMBA.
The weather on Saturday was perfect. Sunday, not so much. Heavy rain moved in by midday Sunday turning the trails into long-distance Slip 'N Slides and the campgrounds into quagmires–not that it deterred the 600 or so riders who showed up looking for–and finding–a good time.