March, Yes! As winter officially ends on the 21st, the snows in the high country don't know it's spring, and sometimes it snows here in Denver another month. Planning a trip to a summer trail can be tricky these days, as you just never know how much snow is there. It's a safe bet that most of the foothills trails, and one's with south-facing slopes below 9000' should be open by April. With a calendar and a "wish list" in hand, the HoboJeepers are ready for a great year of jeeping. This month's trail theme though is…ice, as in ice ice races!
The following trip report is brought to you by Steve Gilbert: On the 14th of January 2001, myself (TJ) and Don Deralth (XJ), took a Sunday trip to Georgetown for the 25th Annual Georgetown Ice Races. Georgetown is located a couple miles past Downeville right off of I-70 west. "Our Gang Four Wheelers Inc" puts on the ice races that last all weekend long. Saturday the 13th was reserved for "Studs and Cheaters" while Sunday is the day for the light core and novice racers in the bare rubber class.
25th Annual Georgetown Ice Races
We arrived promptly at 9am for registration and the required tech inspection. It seems that some people try to race with unanchored batteries and they occasionally hit the fan…then something else hits the fan if you know what I mean!! The tech man also checks tires for size, p.s.i. and sipeage. If you have sipped tires you must race in the pro-stock class due to the "unfair" advantage you have…sorry Don. After registering and the five-minute tech check we had a little time before the first race started.
As the different trucks lined up for the much-anticipated practice run we all noticed that there were some trail ready jeeps and then there were some not-so-trail-ready trucks and SUVs. Being fairly new to racing my jeep on a lake I'm sure that I wasn't the only curious one to know which rig would do better… the locked up rock crawler, or the stock explorer sport trac for example. Figuring that front and rear lockers would aid in maneuvering during the slid turns, I thought that we had the unfair advantage… The practice run wasn't so bad we all seemed to get the feel for the course and where to put our jeeps prior to every turn.
The first race was the women's bare rubber class. I wasn't surprised to see the women put up such a fight. Some with male copilots and some without copilots at all they weaved in and out of the turns pretty well…for girls hahaha…just kidding ladies. The next race was the men's bare rubber class which most of us were in. My passenger raced my jeep as well since we registered as two separate racers. These races are single elimination, if you lose once you're out for the day so the pressure was on.
Race after race, the competition was pretty even, the winner not finishing all that much faster than his competitor. I was in the 19th race and was competing against a Nissan Pathfinder. I had stepped out of my jeep to meet the driver I was racing against (and going to beat!!) and found out he had raced here before…uh oh. Well we soon lined up at our respected ends and the light flashed green…we were off. I tell you it's a bit different racing under pressure. I was all over the place, mimicking about the same amount of grace as a car wreck in slow motion, but hey I was having fun!!
There weren’t any mechanical catastrophes or flying batteries (thank god!) but some racers had issues with a tire or two. Some guys rolled the bead so bad the tire came off the rim all together, others hit the ruts just right and knocked the tire off the bead, and I believe one guy even punctured a tire due to violent and frantic steering.
It's sort of amusing to watch five grown men try to change a tire on ice…one jacks the truck up while the other slips and slides to get the tire out from under the truck and the other two all push on the guy that's unbolting the over tightened nuts cause it seems he just can't get the traction to do it himself on the ice. Oh and throughout the whole day I don't think I saw one person fall on their tailbone…that's a good thing. All in all it was a fun day of jeeping and racing in the 25th Annual Georgetown Ice races.
Steve Gilbert -Jeep Jeep
Is it February in Colorado? Is it windy and cold?? Do you need take your jeep out for a 'spin"? It must be time for the annual Camp Wondervue Ice Ice Races sponsored by the Cliffhanger's of MHJC Patrol 11. For two Sundays in February for the past many years, they have been hosting this fun event at a private lake up Coal Creek Canyon.
On Sunday February 11, Hobos Scott "Mad Max" (Suburban) and Janet (Exterra) Maxwell, Steve "Da Moose" Gilbert (TJ), Chris "Curly" and Debi Veith (YJ), and myself (CJ) with my jeepin-sidekick Molly, met with Bobbette Mathews and kids (TJ), and Steve's buddy who drove out from Missouri (Explorer) at Hwy 93 and Hwy 72 in the early morning cold to drive up Coal Creek Canyon.
Once at Camp Wondervue, we were greeted by Patrol 11, and received a cheery inspection and some paperwork before going out on the ice. Registration was at the warm boathouse, and soon all ice drivers were together for a meeting. With single elimination racing, it's a one-time shot to win, and then play again. The ladies (Bobbette and Janet) won their 1st races, while all the men all theirs. So, we got to cheer them on, which is half the fun of racing. Come to find out, if one had won just 2 races, the next race would be the trophy round.
The track was in good shape, and the ice was nice and thick. Though all those cracking noises you could hear were just the ice adjusting under the load, at least that's what I was told. There was a lot of snow on the track, as you could see people were making good time on. Later on in the morning and some 200 tires later, the ice patches were getting bigger and bigger. For some reason, the sky to our North seemed clear all day, while one cloud hung over us and didn't let the sun peek out much. What a difference the sun can make, mentally that is.
I figured I would win my 1st race, and get at least two runs in, as Bobbette had let me drive her smiley yellow TJ with her original 205 tires. She was up 1st and won, so I even got to see the track 1st hand. Well, my number on the board was way at the bottom (second to last race). So it's my turn, and there's a lot more ice then Bobbette's run on the track. Well, at least that was my theory as to why I lost, though nobody believed me. We have some racing photos that are up on our website, along other sights of the day.
After the races are down to the top 5 in the bare rubber class, they then run each vehicle separately for a timed run. Chris Vieth has his BFG MT's sipped, so we waited to see him almost win against a dinky CJ5 with Blizzacks!
On Sunday February 18th, some more Hobos made a return for the ice (way much more!!) and fun. I drove just drove up in my car to be a spectator, while Steve Gilbert (still sick from a suspect bowling alley pretzel), and Chris and Debi Vieth, were already there. Chris came up to do battle with his spare Nisson truck. He won 3 races and lost his 4th, one shy of the trophy round!! Thanks again to MHJC's Patrol 11 for another great Ice Races, keep the tradition alive!!
Happy St. Patrick's Day 2001 to all you lucky Irish at heart!!
See ya on the trail, "Jeep, Jeep"
Hobo Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers
Happy St. Patty's Day 2001!!