2013 Baja 250 Blog



IMG_0323finishline haloMarch 10 Evening
Finally home and settled after an all day travel affair to return home. Lots of well earned aches and pains and I have a full fledged cold now. You don’t realize how much stress these things put on your body, which lowers your immune system and makes you vulnerable to sickness. A good nights rest will help…haven’t had one of those for a while. When your prerunning, racing and setting things up, your mind runs wild most of the waking moments and your system is set on high gear. Your adrenal glands are always working overtime and real rest is hard to come by. Now that it is done, I will have to deal with the after effects of all the supercharged time. Its a good reminder to be mindful not to fall into the busy trap in our daily lives as it puts our health at risk.
As for the race…well, score organizers have been criticized for how this race was put on and how they determined standings, points, etc. Roger Norman took over from Sal Fish, long time race organizer, and there were many glitches in how things went for his first time setting this up. The bikes for example, didn’t even have trackers, and frankly there was no way to know if anyone stayed on course or not. Checkpoints were scattered through out the course but it was not clear when you could deviate from certain spots or not. In the past you had a bout a 100 meter buffer zone that you could stray from the course to take a line around a spot that was maybe impassable or really difficult. At the racers meeting they changed that to 500 meters which caused a lot of pandamonium due to the rammifications for the racers. The race became a bit of a free for all, allowing for lots of alternative lines that may or may not have been fair.

As for us…Isaac and I ran a great race. The only glitch was a very short 20 seconds stop when I crashed in the whoops of San Felipe due to just plain tired! I started to go just a bit too slow because my arms were super tired after going a full 30 miles through massive bumps the size and spacing of parked cars. My momentary lack in concentration, sent me over the handlebars and onto my shoulder and back before I could blink. The bike was still running, so I picked it up and carried on with a bent brake lever and a broken frame mount for the exhaust. Lucky for me it wasn’t worse. Other riders were not so lucky and their races ended after such mishaps. I was really spent after such a long demanding section and I was really slow from mile 44 to 67 where I was to hand off to Isaac. I was passed a few times in that section because I was having to be so careful. That section was very rocky and technical and my arms were rubber. It was really hard to hang on and I wanted to get the bike to Isaac for his turn so I took it slow. Other teams had more riders so they changed more often and could ride faster. Isaac had a similar experience on his section, good and fast up until the final-15 miles which took longer due to being tired. It is then when you have to be the most careful.
Innate ability, intuition and instinct are concepts that are often misunderstood in my opinion. A riders reactions and decisions fall in the realm of magic for most people watching as they appear to happen effortlessly and without thought. Intuition as to what is coming next, instinct as to what to do about it, and an innate ability to access the decision in a split second are what set motorcycle riders apart from most athletes. Travelling at such high speeds through highly unpredictable terrain, and coming out unscathed is truly remarkable…or is it? Ask any rider what to do to cross a log or go through a rock section and they can tell you the process but you wont be able to do it. You have to put in the time, mess up, fall over, break a lever, ect. Its the 10,000 hours he has put in programming that information into his/her data bank of a brain, which allows the rider to slam head long into trouble time and time again and come out smiling. I believe we create our own luck in life in this way and I was lucky many times on this ride…as was Isaac.
He came in right when we expected him which meant he rode smart
( mentally and instinctively) and fast and I was recovered from my earlier effort. I appreciated the 2.5 hours off to regroup. Well played my friend!
The last section was about 50 miles, many of which were flat out…as fast as I could make the bike go. It’s a bit daunting riding at those speeds and not being 100% sure what is over the next hump or around the next bend. I was lucky the gearing was set so our max speed was only around 120 and not any higher as I probably would have tried to go faster which would have been dangerous this late in the game. I missed one pit that was poorly marked which I had to backtrack 1 mile to get to, and then I had a flawless last 30 miles. As it turns out that pit cost us a spot as we ended up coming in 7th by about 3 minutes. My guess is it cost me 6 minutes to back track.That is an un-official result as score still hasnt posted their results. It’s quite possible that we may never know how we really did for a number of reasons, but quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. We are sportsman racing for the glory, rather than the money and “the getting there is half the fun rule” is just a bit off….getting there is ALL the fun. The finish line with it’s party and t-shirts and beer girls is just the epilogue to a journey that only the racer can truly appreciate. I can try and relate the joy, the suffering, the pain, the voices in your head telling you to slow down or that you can’t go on, but they would just be words on a page…heading to the epilogue of this blog and would only have a 2 dimensional meaning for you. My advice to you would be to go out and seek your own Baja race, prep for it, train for it, take it on fully, and then you’ll understand in a way that is innate or a part of you. Only then will you realize that ANYTHING is possible for you in your life.

March 10…Quick update
Well the race went well and its now 1:30 am on Sunday. We rode well and only had one minor incident ( I got a bit tired in the whoops and got off for a quick “break”)…later found out I broke the frame…whoops is right) and a few other ( too many) close calls. We have no idea of the standings as they usually post them tomorrow at the awards ceremony. It doesn’t start until 10 and we needed to catch our flight from San Diego so we will have to wait and see. Post race we packed up and started the 4 hour trek to Ensenada to drop the bikes and then the next stage was 2 hour drive to the border. We spent 2 and a half hours crossing the border and then another hour finding a hotel…which takes us to now. I am cross-eyed and finally had a bite to eat. Exhausted but happy. I went on the score international website and there is a picture of me and an interview just prior to the race. I couldn’t get the video to work but it’s cool either way. I had so many great things to say and when I got up to the start…I was a bit dumbstruck by all the lights and cameras. I’ll have to practice up for next time. Good night to all and I will post an update when I land tomorrow evening. The trek continues in the morning. Thanks for watching…Darin

March 8 evening update
At the riders meeting they said you could watch the live feed on score international website. Click on the dirt live tv link and watch me give a speech. I should be on sometime between 6 and 7 am

March 8…Contingency…and new spot page for race day…here is the link

The party is town is unimaginable. Its like the super bowl of Mexico and racing. Today has been a whirlwind and we are pooped but almost ready. So many things to o today with prerunning the last section, deciding who will race where, planning pit stops, getting through tech and contingency( your race is contingent on you passing all the tests ect), shoped for food, got gas, and attached tracking device for the race techs to follow us…..and on and on and on. Its 5 here and I am whipped. Met up with some old friends who will cheering us on…great to see people you know down here. Had a talk with Kendel Norman…best in this sport as well as Cameron Steele… comentator and fellow racer. So much to tell but I need to rest.
I will be starting and racing to mile marker 64. Then isaac will get on until mile marker 144. Then I am back on to the finish. There is a cut off at mile marker 184 where we cut across the course and join up with it again. Yahoo…spot will be on both riders so you can see the entire race. We have planned baja pit stops so dont fret if the bike isn’t moving. Might just be fueling up or resting or fixing. Assume all is well. We are going to rock this race. Both feeling strong and ready. Gotta be up at 5…good night all.
Ps…always overwhelmed by feelings of love for my family and just life itself in these times. Plan is to stay safe to bring the trophy home to the kids. My section is very high speed but it is a bit easier than Isaacs. It also has a lot of whoops…which is hard on the back. Might need a massage when I get back:) Love to all…and to all a good night!

March 7 evening update. Isaac wanted me to add that he is riding very cautiously and has changed his underwear everyday…( he said his mom might read the post so I added that in)…:) Heres a couple pics of the day

March 7th
Today was an epic ride north from Mile marker 33. We got up at 5 am and ate a quick porridge breakfast and headed out. We had a loot of miles to cover and only a day to see this section of the course. We rode for 15 miles and Isaacs brake caliper came off so we had a repair time out. He was lucky we had a spare bolt with us to replace the one that had worked its way out. We carry a full toolkit each, first aid kit, 2 satelite spot trackers, food, 3 liters of water each, spare tubes, VHF radio and a lot more. I’d say close to 60-70 lbs of extra gear, ect as we travel.The desert is unforgiving and your left to your own devices if something goes wrong down here. You can’t call a cab:) The truth is, the only vehicles capable of even travelling on the desert course are the race cars and bikes themselves. There is nothing else tough enough to even go 20 miles. The only exit is by helicopter and that can be a nightmare as they have to fly in Mexican airspace( the chopper would have to come from the USA) and that requires all sorts of clearance. Wefound this out 2 years ago when a rider broke his femur during prerunning and we had to splint him and wait for the chopper. Turns out we had to ambulance ride him out…I think the pictures are still up on the 2011 baja 1000 blog. Luckily we had a clean run today and Isaac is confident with the section but we stll need to confirm when and where we will both be racing. There is some confusion as to how the course is going to run so we will confirm at Contingency tomorrow. Contingency is a race tech inspection and walk through which is very exciting as all the people of the baja come out to pay homage to the racers and for a day we are like rock stars. Everyone wants an autogragh or a sticker from our team and they are all so supportive as what we do seems so exciting to them. I forget sometimes that I am privaledged to have the opportunity to even do what I do and when I am down here I feel grateful for everything in my life. When I am at home I tend to forget that everything I do and have is priceless to me but I look at it as ordinary or expected. Gratitude is a lesson we can all learn in any givin moment as one miunte you might have something and the very next minute it’s gone. I appreciate all that I have in my life but most of all I love my family. I miss you girls!
I am super tired after the days ride and need to head to bed as tomorrow will be busy. I am running the start line to mile marker 33 and then heading back down the course to do the bottom loop. Then we have to get back for contingency, change tires and get the bike through tech inspection so we can race it. All that and then get prepped for a Saturday 5:45 sign in and I estimate that we will be leaving the start line at around 6:15-6:30. You can watch our progress on http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0eMjCjjCpWruS73FAnOKIORfHUbqA9q9W

I will have my spot on tomorrow am for my prerun as well so you can get a good look at the course and how it will look race day. I may have to set up another spot tracker site so It doesnt get confusing for you. Until now…just watch this one. You can also go to score international to get more details on some live feeds from the startline. I believe I will be starting and doing the notorious San Felpie Whoops that my friend Mark is so familiar with…Yahoo. 30 miles of massive bumps that are bigger than trucks…my back is going to be a bit sore on Monday…haha Good night for now and look for things to be grateful for in your life. I know that if a 5 year old mexican boy with no home and food can look up to me and smile asking for a sticker and getting such joy from such a trinket…that you can look around and see something to smile about. Mr. B

I love the musical culture down here. Spanish guitar is music to my ears...

I love the musical culture down here. Spanish guitar is music to my ears…

March 6
Finally have arrived in San Felipe at the start line for the race. I am always taken aback by the poverty down here and it takes awhile before I get comfortable. We met up with my friend Ricardo who will be helping us plan and drive us all over the penninsula. When your racing this far, a 100 mile section like tomorrows prerun will mean about 9 hours of driving for Ricardo. He will drop us at mile marker 33 and we will ride the course to mile marker 80 where there is a pit company that will give us gas there to run the other 50 miles back down to the highway. Ricardo will have a 2 hour drive to get there after the intital 1 hour drive to drop us. Then we will continue down the course for another 50 miles to zoo road ( a road named for how crazy it gets with race supporters) and then we will head off the course and back to town. Ricardo will then back track and meet us back at town…that is if there is no trouble. We always anticipate that something is going to go wrong such as getting lost, flat tire, crash or something that can hold you back. Because of that reason we start our ride tomorrow at 6 am or what on the 24 hour clock grade 4’s?..haha It will only be light out until 6 pm so we want to be off the course ASAP. After dark can be dangerous down here and you have no cell service, no people, no nothing in the desert. You really are on your own out here. It took the entire day to fly in, pick up the bikes, and drive another 5 hours into Mexico. I met some friends along the way including MRS. Colleen’s Husband, Chuck on the plane ride in. He is a fireman as well as a west Jet Flight attendant. We will see her again on Monday for another measurement. We had a nice dinner and were seranaded by a guitar player in the restaraunt. Ronan would have loved the song. He was great. All day I have had to fight thoughts of doubt and unease about the race as I haven’t seen what we are up against and people are saying it is the hardest one they have ever put on. It is typical of my mind to do this when I don’t know about something and I will put those thoughts to rest when I get riding tomorrow. I know my fears well and will not let them stop me from doing what I set out to do. Our goal is to ride safe tomorrow and learn the spots where we can make up time on less experienced riders. Places where we can thrive and go fast because of our skill set and watch for the places where it will be better to go slow and be safe. We are exhausted and heading to bed. I will have my tracker on tomorrow to test it for the race day so watch the blink and tell me if it works. I have e-mail access in the evenings so you can shoot me an e-mail. I miss you all back home already but will focus hard at the task at hand. Thanks to all who have already pledged donations to the Childrens Wish. I will also be giving some cash to the school down here as some riders from Canada wanted to chip in for some new school reading material. It feels good to make a difference. Good night…Mr.B
March 5
Had a great day at my awesome school( that was for Lauren and Michelle) and was welcomed with a student send off message of good luck over the morning PA system wishing me well. I love the kids in my class and my staff. They are amazing and it feels great to be supported. They made me a good luck card and I spent the day giving lessons, prepping my new student teacher who taught a great lesson to the grade 4’s, and then getting the report cards ready. In between I was printing news reports, having safety meetings and teaching the kids about blogging and getting some lessons set up for when I am gone. I look forward to reading my students blogs when I return and I know they will be following mine here…Hi Guys. Be great for Jyoti and Mr. Q!
I read to the girls and we had a nice dinner at the Lazy Loaf and Kettle. Then it was homework and off to bed for them. I will miss them so much and we were just at the good part of The Order Of The Pheonix, the latest harry Potter. Bummer! I love you girls…be good for mom. Kelly has set everything up for me to fly and be taken care of and I have clean underwear and a tooth brush thanks to her. I couldn’t even think about doing this without her help. Thanks love!

I have been running around taking care of last minute details and safety equipment and am almost packed. I need to leave for the airport at 6 am and then start the trek to Mexico. We land in San Diego, where my friend and guide, Ricardo will pick us up and transfer us to the first pre-run section. It is a 40-50 mile run into San Felipe full of sand whoops and rocky technical sections. No easy break in period here. We will hopefully make it in before dark. The temp should be in the plus 30 range and we will have to hydrate and keep track of our electrolytes for if we start running low on minerals we sweat out now, we will be playing catch up all week and our bodies will be depleated on race day. Half the battle is recovery and maintaining your nutrition so you can perform at your peak on race day. I am frustrated with my spot tracker as I am having trouble getting it paired with my phone. There are so many technical gadgets to learn and maintain that its hard to keep them all strait, but could be life or death if you don’t. Once I get it figured, I am off to bed. The journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step…here we go.

March 4
Awoke this morning feeling tired but dragged myself out of bed anyways at 5 am. Had an apple and a Vega sport and got on the Spin bike in the basement to do a SUFFERFEST workout. Today it was Revolver…4 minutes at 4o% then 1 minute as hard as you can go…100% then 1 minute rest. Not too bad…except I had to do that 16 times…yikes. Someone get a mop! As I was spinning I had the thought that the feeling I get from going full out for over an hour is beyond compare. You can’t pour this kind of freedom from any bottle thats for sure!. My mind is clear and ready for the day. Looking forward to going to school this morning. I also found a detailed TV show on this years course. Link to it here:
Also Just got the spot set up and you should be able to follow the race if you paste this link in the browser…you can then link coordinates to google earth and look on the course map to see where I am at…more info to follow. You should be able to see the spot message I sent today from River Valley School. I had a studnt send a message from the playground.

March 3 rd

This morning the girls awoke at 6 am so we went for an owl walk around the hood. We have 2 Great Horned Owls that frequent our block and Piper has asked to search for them as I get to see them all the time as I train early in the morning. No luck…they must have taken the weekend off. Then the storm hit! I took the girls to Cadence for some breakfast and then started the long list of errands to get ready for the race. i had to register my SPOT connect GPS locator which assure that I can acces search and rescue even in Mexico and if I need a chopper to evacuate me I can call one. I can also send a message every 10 minutes to update anyone who wants to follow my progress along the course. I will post that info here so that you can paste it in your browser and bookmark it. Anytime you want an update just take a look on the site and you can see me beaping along the trail. Then it was off to BOW Cycle a local sponsor, to pick up Hydration packs/race gels/nutrition bars as well as some camera parts for the gopro camera I will be using to record the race. Then it was off to Canadian Tire to purchase Batteries for the GPS…special Lithium ones that a fortune. There is no substituting with your life though so they are worth it. I then had to go and get a VHF radio to keep with me during the race so we can keep in touch with the race director called the weatherman. He sits atop a mountain and is the communications director for the race. During this drive about town in the crazy storm I pulled out 2 cars from the ditch as well as a city bus that had been stuck for three hours. He was very grateful and I love my Land Cruiser….yahoo…I am unstoppable!. I am at home know and preparing the family meal. Buffalo roast with Yams, broccoli, mashed potatoes, and garden carrots. Yorkshire Pudding and yummy gravy. I am a veggie but the kids and Kelly like a meat treat sometimes. I am hoping to finish editing the Report cards tonight as well as do a 2 hour spin in the basement for some exercise…that and shovel the walks…again. Haha. Isn’t life amazing. Oh Ya…gotta go. Time to walk the dog.

March 2


Today was awesome…did 2 laps of the old race loop through the forest on the single track. It was snowy and Icy but the ice studs I installed worked amazing and I had no crashes or issues. I was able to ride solid for about 3 hours and then load up to meet my family about 10 km away. We did a 4 hour mountain drive through the mud ice and we were all totally covered in mud. It was a great day and we were all super tired at the end of the day…mission accomplished:)

March 1
We visited Amaranth today and we talked to the CEO of Santevia, Yvonne. We left in a Lexus with Flo Rida good feeling on full blast When we were on our way to Amaranth. When we got there we took a tour of Amaranth (which wasn’t expected) and got a talk on how they grow their organic food by rotating crops. While we were walking around Amaranth, we saw that their was a presentation going on hosted by Yvonne. We walked by while eating organic bananas (and George was raving about protein bars) and Yvonne saw us. We were unexpectedly invited into the presentation and we introduced ourselves and why we were there. We got a presentation of how alkaline water is healthy for your body and tap water can effect your body drastically because it could still have chlorine in it and it might not be filtered enough.We compered Santevia water with tap water and found out that tap water on a ph scale which is measured out 14 was number 6 on the scale which means its acidic and Santevia water was the number 12 and that means its alkaline which is good for your body. We also learned that by the end of your day your brains water levels deplete by 3%. Also we learned that your body is 70% water and your brain is 80% water. Drinking 5 glasses of water a day can decrease your risk of colon cancer by 45%, breast cancer by 79%, and kidney cancer by 50%. Alkaline water is especially good to balance out our body pH (7.35) because of the acidity of most foods. Thank you Yvonne and Christina, it was a wonderful experience…George, Lauren, and Ronan.

Working late on Report cards and prepping to be away for the 3 days at school as well as up late putting ice tires on my enduro bike so I can ride out in the mountains tomorrow. Looking forward to training out in the mountans tomorrow at 8 am and then have the family join me to do a 4 wheeling run at 1:00…busy but fun and I need the activity to prep me for the days in Mexico that are non stop driving/prep/Riding


Feb 28th/201

This years extreme triad ┬ábegins next Wednesday when I fly out with my Title Sponsor and friend Isaac Sayles of Toys4Boys fame, to race the toughest 250 mile race in the world down the eastern Baja coastline. The Baja 250 is dry, dusty, remote and just plain nasty and I have been training every morning from 5 am until 7, before getting my girls off to school and heading off to my dream job at River Valley School. Erin, my incredibly wonderful leader and Jyoti, my teaching partner, have supported my fundraising and racing efforts by allowing me the time to devote to this incredible endeavor. My students are excited to be a part of the fun and my plan is to blog the adventure and post my GPS spot tracking website so they can follow my progress at school in Calgary. I am hoping to bring down some Spanish corrospondance from our school to a small Mexican school as well as some much needed Spanish readers and perhaps even a water filter system for their village. It’s a wonderful opportunity to help out while having a blast as the racers who visit Baja are the super heros of Mexico. Autographs and stickers are like currency and the people are so helpful, friendly, and supportive it almost makes you melt. I look forward to the adventure and hope you will pledge a small donation to the children’s wish to show your support. Gotta get my report cards done..gotta go, Good night