SMITH OFFROAD >> 2009 Inyan Kara National Enduro Race Report (09 RMEC 5) [2009-06-21]
2009 Inyan Kara National Enduro Race Report

The 2009 Inyan Kara enduro was a national on the NEPG circuit, so factory stuff was everywhere- quite exciting!
This year the Inyan Kara enduro was a "national" enduro, on the NEPG circuit, and it was the first time the race was a national. As a result, it drew racers from around the country, including top riders such as Russell Bobbitt and Michael Lafferty, not to mention local Ian Blythe. Inyan Kara was the 5th race on the 2009 RMEC circuit, and my 5th enduro so far. With two extremely hard and technical enduros just behind me, I was ready for something a little faster and not so physically punishing.

The Inyan Kara enduro is held in Upton, Wyoming, which is about 5 hours North of Fort Collins. Local altitude is 4000' and the forecast was for a high around 80. Reports were that the terrain at Inyan Kara was not as rocky and technical as Cucharas and Hard Rock and that it was more similar to Caprock Canyon and Pine Ridge. I was riding with Roger Dowden of Elite Motorsports KTM in Loveland, CO, so we threw all my stuff in the van and took off for Upton about 10:30 on Saturday.

I rode my KTM 250 XCW with Rekluse
Bike Setup
I raced my 2009 KTM 250 XCW (2-stroke). I left its setup the same as the last two races: Rekluse z-start Pro (med/hard), Fasrway handguards, e-Line carbon fiber skid plate, SX head, FMF spark arrestor, and FMF Gnarly pipe (the stock pipe was destroyed at Cucharas). I programmed the KTM trip computer for our key time and wrote all the "start" times on a piece of tape on my gas tank so I could know when I was supposed to be somewhere during the race. I also got a new set of tires since the last enduro. I went with the Pirelli Scorpion Pro front and a Bridgestone M404 rear.

I run stock jetting from the KTM manual with a larger pilot: 38P, N8RJ-3, 162M. I set the air screw so I don't get any bog started from stopped in 2nd gear. This means that as the day warms up, I sometimes have to make a small adjustment for a stable idle: usually add about 1/8th turn out on the air screw.

I normally wear glasses, but I have contacts that I wear for riding. In combination with the Scott XiNoSweat goggles, I don't get very much dust in my eyes, although I do get some. I use the Works Rolloff system during races which has worked well for me so far. Last weekend, I re-injured a recurring minor shoulder strain riding some gnarly, loggy single-track near Albany. For a day, I couldn't use my arm so riding this race was in jeopardy. My doctor prescribed a NSAID to keep inflammation down and I iced it, and it was ready to go on race day.

Facility and Camping
Inyan Kara was headquartered at the Upton high-school, so facilities were excellent. NEPG is totally organized and everything went very smoothly. Although there were a lot of expensive RVs and trailer rigs, there were several other tent campers and plenty of very nice grass to camp on, as long as you noted where the sprinkler heads were and planned accordingly.

Facilities and camping spots were excellent!
Race Prep and the Start Queue
I was number 54E, so my start time was 9:54. I wore all my normal gear: Sidi Crossfires, Asterisk knee braces, Thor chest protector, my Leatt neck brace, Arai, and then Klim pants and riding jersey. My old camelback bladder had ruptured so I broke in a new 100-iz bladder with water and put a few Cliff Bar "gel shots" in my pack, along with my helmet-cam, and tools. I also brought some shop towels in a zip-lock bag to fix goggles if things got really muddy, my little "jetting" screwdriver, and a small bottle of eyedrops to re-wet my contacts (and flush away dust) during the race.


One of the restarts.
The starts were live-engine and we had four racers on our row. The pecking order was unknown, but I figured I'd let everyone else go. The start went straight to a transit section and a restart before the first test. The C route consistest of four tests totaly; three before gas. The whole route was about 73 miles. Besides a short section to get out to the trails from town, most of the transits were on double or wide singletrack in wide-open terrain. I held my speed conservatively to avoid hitting the ruts or mud crossings wrong and crashing: no sense risking a crash on a transit section.

As row 54 started the first test, the terrain got tight, with the trail defined by a narrow route thruogh trees. We quickly learned that while some of the branches were pliant, more of them were hard and hitting one might range from painful to causing a crash. Within the first few turns, a rider fell and we had a short traffic jam as the rest of us scrambled to get around.


Some of the tight terrain made is difficult to pull over and let faster riders pass.
Race (cont)
The terrain of the four test sections was very similar, and the routes generally made a big cloverleaf pattern around the gas stop area. It took me about a third of the first test to loosen up, get used to the terrain, and speed up. Then I started to catch riders. Another rider on row 54 and I had a battle that went back and forth in the first three tests. In contrast to other enduros were the transits were primarily on roads, the transits at Inyan Kara were out in the terrain. I made it to all the resets and gas stops with at least ten minutes to spare, which allowed some time to rest up, clean my goggles, and prepare for the next test section. The third test was the longest - 11 miles - and I figured this would be the tough one. It turned out that the terrain was very similar throughout the enduro. I didn't feel like there was a really "hard part" or crux on the C route, although the fourth test (after gas) whch was only 5 miles, had a few mildly tougher sections.
2009 Inyan Kara National Enduro (NEPG) Helmet-Cam Video
A half-hour compilation of helmet-cam video from the 2009 Inyan Kara National Enduro Race held near Upton, WY. The trails were smooth, mostly dry, somewhat dusty, and mixed between fast and tight. Filmed on a VIO POV.1 helmet camera on Zak Smith, row 54E on a KTM 250 XCW, Vet-C class.
Contents- 0:30 start first test; 0:55 first pile-up; 5:30 before start second test; 6:22 tight trees; 9:46 more tight trees; 10:19 check; 11:18 start another test; 14:12 my big crash; 23:41 gas; 25:10 start last test; 26:37 back tire loads with mud and I slip and fall; 29:26 last C check;
High Quality. Taking too long? Switch to Low Quality


Tight terrain opened to fast sections- just watch out for ruts and things hidden in the grass!
The Inyan Kara Enduro was a fun race! The C route, at least, was not very technical, although it was pretty tight. I felt like it rewarded speed versus just survivial. I could use a higher level of fitness to keep in good form longer, but I did rode pretty good for my skill level at this race.

I ran this race mostly in 3rd gear, using 2nd only for starts and a couple very steep hills, and 4th and 5th often on the more open sections. The combination of the mild and linear power curve on the 250 XCW and the Rekluse allow me to ride it just a four-stroke that will never stall. I think I could increase my speed by riding a gear lower and riding on the pipe more.

All in all, the Inyan Kara Enduro was excellent: a great course with excellent facilities, staff, and organization. I would definitely go again.

In the end, I was 64 points (minutes) down and ended up 9th place in Vet-C. All my gear worked great and I wouldn't change anything for next time.

Thanks To
NEPG, RMEC and the Inyan Kara folks - Great Job!

Roger and Elite KTM for support and transportation to the race!