Kodiak was host to an annual event last weekend involving motorsports, community, and no small amount of mud. From the Ididarock challenge 2021, KMXT’s Dylan Simard brings us this audio postcard.
Last weekend in Kodiak, an incredible event took place which brought a community together around shared passions. No, I’m not talking about Crab Fest, although that does fit the description. I’m talking about the Kodiak Ididarock Challenge.
30 miles out of town, on Saturday morning, riders of side-by-sides, ATVs, dirt bikes, and two extraordinarily brave runners set out to complete a 34-mile circuit through some of the most inhospitable terrain on Kodiak.
Some participants described the weather as being the wettest they have ever seen for an Ididarock- not a small claim on Kodiak.
The first riders had impressive times of around 1 hour and 45 minutes, which would be considered a good time even in fair weather. The dirt bike riders came from the trail sopping wet, caked in mud, and completely out of breath.
A pair of riders pull in, with one struggling to pull his bike out of a hole hidden under at least two feet of water. When he finally arrives at the finish, he flips the bike over to fix obvious damage to the underside of the fuselage. When he does, water flows out of the tailpipe, gas trickles from the tank and steam wafts from the engine. A few onlookers laugh and take steps back, especially those who are smoking lit backwoods cigarillos.
The onlookers seem to be impervious to the cold wind, the unrelenting rain, and the hours anxiously awaiting their friends and loved one’s return from the harsh trail. They gather around wood pallet fires and enjoy soft drinks and music wafting from nearby car speakers. The mood is good, and spirits are high.
I interviewed one of the dirt bike riders, the one who didn’t suffer damage to his bike. Anthony Juhin looks like he went swimming in his dirtbike clothes. His helmet hasn’t shielded his face completely from mud, and when he unzips his motorcycle jacket the shirt underneath inexplicably has mud on it too. He’s exhausted, but the high from the day’s ride keeps him on his feet.
“It was what it was, like the moment was pretty bad. I think that’s our hardest part was mud. It was getting us hung up. No other than that, it was pretty good. We got overheated once so we had to sit for a little while in the mud. But after we got through the mud, like the rivers were pretty good. It was easy,” Juhin said.
I leave him to trade stories with his friends, and the mood instantly is one of revelry. Friends boast to friends about their trials on the trail, and stories range from injuries sustained, to overtaking other riders, to ending up soaking wet in a ditch. They glow in one another’s recognition; for them life is good.