Competing to Save a Trail
What do you get when you combine Rich Klein of CALRocs with four extreme 4x4 clubs that all have an interest in keeping the Rubicon Trail open? A crowded, entertaining event called Carnage for the Con.
Organized by Rich to help raise funds for Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR), this event centered around a competition between four teams: Sierra Rock Crawlers, URJB, Pirates of the Rubicon, and Tin Benders. Each team consisted of five members, and the rules of engagement were the same as those at a regular CalRocs event. Three brand-new courses were set up the night before on the slopes of the Donner Ski resort, and the event kicked off Saturday morning.
The action began at 9 a.m. on the first course, and it turned out to be brutal. Of the 20 vehicles that rolled in, only six made it to the finish line. Hammering down and holding on was the best way to pass the closing gates, but this caused major mechanical damage or rollovers.
The first course was so slowed down by damage and rollovers that the second was eliminated and competitors proceeded directly to the final course of the day. This allowed everyone the same chance of winning and finishing the event before the sun set.
After the first course, no one figured things could become any more challenging, but the final course was loaded with off-camber drops and climbs, all of which made the drivers depend on the spotters to use their holding power with the strap -- sometimes this method worked and other times it didn't. By late afternoon, the last rig finished the course, and it was time to head to the Donner Ski Resort, at the bottom of the hill, to find out who won.
Ultimately, Carnage for the Con bragging rights went to Tin Benders, with Pirates of the Rubicon nipping at his heels for Second, followed by URJB and the Sierra Rock Crawlers. As with all of the previous CalRocs events, this one was a crowd pleaser.
Founded by Del Albright, Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) is an informal coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to keeping the Rubicon Trail open and available to all recreationists. The organization works with Placer County, El Dorado County, the USFS, private businesses, organized recreation groups, and land-management agencies to ensure continued access to the Rubicon.
To this end, the members encourage responsible use of the trail and in no way advocate building new bypasses or using shortcuts around the established trail and existing bypasses. Friends of the Rubicon is now a permanent member of the Rubicon Oversight Committee (ROC), which will help guide the future of the Rubicon Trail.