The mud bog this year at the da Vinci Days’ Graand Kinetic Challenge wasn’t as tough as some years past. Perhaps the depth — about a foot — or the mud’s consistency was a little easier for the human-powered machines to slosh through.

“It’s so variable,” said Raan Young, the contest’s founder. “We never know what we’re going to get till the teams get in.”

The first eight competitors blazed through the 100-feet stretch without much trouble on Sunday.

It looked as though Toadily Insane — a Corvallis team of four pedaling a gigantic amphibious creature — would be the ninth.

Getting over the ridge that separated mud bog from solid, dry land proved too tough, however. One of the bike chains slid off and the mud made it too slippery to get the chain back on. The crew pedaled with one chain — traction on only one side — until that chain broke.

“We got through the mud,” team member Tom Sauret said. “We just couldn’t get out.”

Event volunteers and a dozen happy children lined up to grab the tow rope and pull the creature over the ridge.

Sunday’s portion of the Graand Kinetic Challenge also included a river race challenge.

While the Toadily Insane crew raced against the clock to fix their vehicle in time to float the river, the Vitruvian Racer waited leisurely by the Crystal Lake boat ramp.

Peter Wagner, with his flowing white beard and Renaissance-style shirt, resembled Leonardo da Vinci except for the modern bike helmet and orange lifevest. In his 10th year racing, the Davis, Calif., man had moved, gerbil-style, in his large wheel through the mud.

“This is the maiden outing of this,” he said of his new contraption.

The first in line to get into the river, Wagner pedaled a fold-out tricycle portion of his vehicle down the boat ramp. When he got to the water, he tipped the contraption onto the side with floating material. He sung to himself as he paddled with the current to Michael’s Landing two miles downriver.

Toadily Insane crew members — with a bent axle and a float that was losing air — took to the water, too.

“We have lifevests,” Sauret pointed out as they lined up at the boat ramp.

Watch for race results Tuesday.

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