BAJA 1000 2010 RACE BLOG

The Baja 500 was an incredible experience and this November I had planned to  race with the same  team out of Vancouver, racing a Yamaha Rapter 700. We were planning  to catch the first place team and put the Canada flag on top. The team ran into some scheduling and timing issues and I chose to commit to Team DIRT to ride a CRF 450 X in the 1000 instead. My hope is that the Nutbar racing Team can pull it together and still race the 1000 and maybe I can even help them cross the finish line. Good luck boys and I hope we can hook up if you get down there.

Team DIRT consists of an eclectic group of individuals from 3 different countries,

Anthony Nicademo, a Wall street Banker and adventure Junky, put the team together and will race the second section. The logistics of pulling it all together are huge so thanks to Anthony for taking that on. Anthony is our fearless leader and will be driving with his brother from New York to ride in the mexican desert…long drive just to get dirty but thats the allure of Baha. ( that and all the pits are stocked with bikini clad mechanics……just kidding…they’re all named Carlos or Jose…no bikinis)

Chris Lunn is a Lawyer working in Hong Kong (but from Newcastle, UK) He Likes  Snowboarding & Classic Cars,   Most sports (rugby, soccer) & anything with an engine (jets skis / snowmobiles). Chris will start the race for us in Ensenada and hopefully avoid all the booby traps and chaos that surrounds that city and the first 200 miles. Travelling from Hong Kong, he should be well prepared for the crowds who will be lining the race in Ensenada. ( His pub experience should come in handy as well at some point)..haha

I will race section three…I like moonlit walks, pina coladas…but mostly dirtbikes!…here is a quick video of me in baja in the San Matias wash, part of this years course…complete with crash at the end. You can watch it here:
http://vimeo.com/14482090

Andre Corpuz is a special ( not short bus special but special none the less)somebody from Seattle Washington. Ewan MGregor has nothing on Andre who spent the last 2.5 years of the 90′s travelling the world on a big chunk of bike( a BMW 1100). If he can wrestle that bad boy around the planet…the baja 1000 should be a cake walk. His travels on a bike have taken him from Produe to Ushuaia, Cairo to cape town, Delhi to Pakistan. He even tried to go from Paris to Beijing but he got Distracted in Turkey ( wonder if he just ran out of cash or fell in love with some Turkish Massuese). Andre has spent the last couple of years honing his off road skills with the Likes of Tim Morton from baja Bound and has lots of desert miles under his kidney belt so to speak…haha. Andre has also been inspired by helping the kids of the world and you can see his project at www.viacorpuz.com. It involves an orphanage in Nepal, a lovely and inspired kindergarten teacher and a whole pile of biking. His exact words when describing Baja riding..It is crazy, it is exciting, it is insane…and I cant wait to get back. Andre takes the bike from me at about the 720 mile mark and gets to cross the finish line probably in around 35 hours…I’ll have a corona chillin for you Andre!


Lastly, I would like to introduce Martin who is the team member I am replacing on short notice under not so ideal circumstances. Thanks for the call Martin, I will carry the torch for you so to speak and you can relive the experience on my helmet cam. Take care of that shoulder my friend and thanks for coming down to support the team even though your injured…your a true sportsman!

Martin Haigh only bought his first motorbike aged 26 and the love affair has grown ever since.
Bike holidays through India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Cambodia have offered up some amazing experiences, whist surviving commuting on the streets in HK and London has been challenging at times. Martin has only just recently turned his attention to the lure of off road riding which might explain his in-ability ro ride at this years Baja. Trying to cram the many years of off road experience needed to complete the baja in just a few short months got the better of him whilst in Malaysia last month, an operation with some metal work to fix his shoulder means he will be in Baja only to support team dirt not ride.
I will be back on a bike soon.. Hopefully in Japan in the spring..

 

Blisters in the pursuit of glory

Andre's blister...only had to ride 190 miles with that...throttle hand

Kelly and Sal Fish, organizer and head hauncho at Score International racing
 

Bill from Rancho Santa Marta..wishing us luck

The team minus Andre who took the pic in front of the San Nicholas

Go to the bottom to read about the race( starts with Blue text)…or read the prerun blog as well…its all fun. You can also go to this link to view many amazing photos of the race and prerunning…

viacorpuz.smugmug.com

Friday November 12th,

Up at 5 am to try again to make ALL my bags fit under the 50lb limit….not sure what I should leave behind…takin my boots and helmet for sure. The team has sent out a mass e-mail to all their friends about Children’s Wish…it is great to be part of a team! I am off to the airport where I will getting on a flight donated to me by one of my team mates, thanks Pascal and Jenn. The project has gotten exspensive  and every little bit helps ( I’m running out of things to sell…haha). My family is still working out all the details about not having me around and more than once I have been reminded that they need me around and I need to be careful. I will keep everyone as up dated as I can…baja is remote at times as Calvin, Corey, Dave and I all know…once you’ve spent a night or two in the desert out of gas…you try and be prepared for anything! I can’t wait to see my family at the finish line down in Lapaz. I wonder whats gonna happen between now and then…?

Thanks D, I appreciate it. I have to type this on my I-phone and it takes a rediculous amount of time. Thanks for plugging in the e-mail I sent you. I will try to keep current but who knows…tomorrow is race day and I need to nap…I start around midnight and will ride through the night. This won’t be a regular blog as I have not had access to an internet hub and have been down here for a few days. Read it like a regular entry from top to bottom and I will add new stuff as it happens at the bottom. Here goes:

2010 Baja 1000…Ensenada to Lapaz…1050 miles

Nov.12th

I flew into Palm Springs this morning with a new friend Pascal. Him and his wife gave me their buddy pass to fly down and for that I am grateful. The costs are high and every little bit helps. I knew him instantly at the airport just from his dimeanor. I had only spoken to him on the phone and I knew I was going to like him already. We spoke on the plane and he is one of those guys who you can instantly connect with and we basically knew each others hopes and dreams, fears and joys in the 3 hour flight. It is great to have him come down and help support the team. We need many people to help support the racers as there is sooo much to do and places to get to and for the most part we can only go 80 miles at a time on the bike. Pascal had offered to help which would give him a short break from his full time job of minding his 9 month old. We had lots to talk about around that subject. Thanks again Pasc, you’ll get to know him better throughout the blog.
We landed in Palm springs and were met by Anthony Nicademo, his brother Marco and friend Dan, both from Monteal, and both amazing artists. They took a tonne of pictures with all sorts of cool cameras and I can’t wait to see all the shots these guys get. They drove from New York to Montreal, and then to Palm springs…mostly straight through. It was cool driving through to the motorcycle shops to get some last minute tires and then we went to Tim Mortons to pick up the race bike. Tim runs a company called baja Bound and her runs tours and race packages for the baja 1000. He did an amazing job putting the bike together and his years of experience really show on the details. He was hilarious and we had fun. The bike is a totally tricked out crf450x 2009 and the parts list is too extensive to list here….suffice it to say we even have the kitchen sink if we need it. I don’t think it will be the bike that lets us down in this race.
Then we met Andre Corpuz at an Italian restaraunt. He is a larger than life character who you can instantly like and he handed over shirts, hats and jackets that he had arranged KSWISS to supply for the exsposure. They are awesome…I feel like a rock star! Thanks again Andre. He also had thousands of stickers made to hand out to the local kids in Mexico. It is all they desire from the riders, with the occasional wheelie request…during prerun we stopped for every kid…and thankfully didn’t screw up any wheelies…haha  Once we picked up the RV it was off to the airport to pick up Marty Haggis, the rider I replaced as he seperated his shoulder in training. He arrived with a troup of people from Hong Kong who have proven to be the funnest people I have ever met. Every conversation turns into a long drawn out dialogue of british humour that invariably turns into belly laughter. They all originate from the UK but have settled in hong Kong. They speak more languages than you can shake a stick at and live so large in the world that it seems there is no place they haven’t been or no thing they haven’t done…the baja 1000 of course being the exception.
There is Marty Haggis, we call him lefty, and his camera is bigger than he is. He has taken amazing photos of the event so far and when we’re not laughing with him we’re laughing at him. He’s like Arthur from the 80′s movie only not as drunk…most of the time. Chris Lunny, our starter, who also brought a tonne of shirts to hand out to support crew and friends. Lunny has put in a tonne of work on research and training and has some amazing notches under his belt( I didn’t ask about his bed posts…we just met). He most recently ran an ultra marathon( over 100 km I think). He is presently riding with no toe nails…mine to are still missing from my marathon…haha…so much in common. Next there is Jerry, another Britt who came along “just cause”. Thes are the people you call when you have something crazy to do and you just need someone who will say SURE! They are up for anything. Jerry recently produced a movie on the movenment to stop the sale of shark fin soup in Hong Kong. If you you tube Hong Kong Sharkfin soup inprov you will find his project where he got a whole wack of people, some dressed in Shark suits, to freeze in a busy Hong Kong Square…its really cool. They brought their friends Fi…( Fiona) and Lorraine along as well. Great gals! We’ve been “Supping” together every night and I am learning how to pronounce Daft many different ways. I’m sure they see me as the absent minded professor as I seem to misplace or lose something every second and they always walk me through what I was doing when I lost it and it turns up…I wonder if Kelly shares their pain…haha.
Lastly we met Alan Podvin in a Wamart parking lot around midnight. Alan flew in from Costa Rica and many of you may remember my big green landcruiser…he was the man who built it. He is super competent with anything mechanical and is a fun guy to have around. I learned a lot from Alan in the past about diet and how to raise a family so we have lots to catch up on and many notes to compare. It is great to have you along Alan and I know’ll you will have lots to contribute…
We found a room at 1 am and its off to bed…6 am start for Ensenada….the 2010 baja 1000 bid for team DIRT has begun…more to come

Nov. 13th

Up at 6 am…wow do I feel rested…not! But the excitment has us going. We started the journey to Ensenada and it is a bit tricky negotiating a 30 foot rv with a trailer on it…wait till we get to Mexico where there is no shoulder and narrow roads…should be fun. Once we got to the RV park in Ensenada called Estero Beach Hotel and RV ( it is awesome…next time I will stay here…80 per night for a 2 double bed room…outside of the city and very secure). We tried to get organized for a ride but it was getting late and one of the bikes had no light…half way to the trailhead we prudently turned back…our first smart move of the trip…Fortunatly the RV place is a racer Meca. They have a track as well…yahooo…we hit the track at full speed with months of excitment fueling the hormones and you can guess what happened next… As I carreened around the very first corner in what seemed like solid terra firma, I litterally carreened..sideways for about 100 meters. I managed to save it and finished the lap…turns out the layer of clay below the surface is like greese. 2 more riders hit the track before I could warn them and the results were…well you know. Luckily no one was hurt and the bikes survived. Andre ended up a trifle dirty, and Alan has cool new air conditioning in his 350$ jeans…very trick.Lunny put in about 80 miles as he felt he needed the practice as he hasn’t ridin a lot in his life time.He rode for 2 hours! What a machine. We took the race bike out to make sure everyone got a chance to see how it feels. It is very crisp and light…but set up for a short rider…oh well. Ron has been strengthing my back so this will be a good test. The race bike did one lap and then seized…we were a bit stressed. After we went through the entire checklist we towed it back to camp and were about to put in a sat phone call when Pascal siad…is the choke on? Sure enough thats all it was but it was the perfect lesson. We put together a written list of things to check if the bike fails. it will travel with the race bike in the Sat Phone bag…short of valves…we can do anything!.
We had also met our guide for the trip in Ensenada. His name is Rickardo but he will answer to Roberto as well…for 2or 3 days before he will finally correct you. I think I may have even called him Pedro…he is good natured and very knowledgable about bikes and Baja. We are lucky to have him accompany us and I will make sure to include him in our future baja plans as his knowledge of the language, culture, restaraunts and the trails is worth a million dollars…and all we had to do was rent bikes from him…rad. It was 900 per bike and we rented 2…worth every penny!
The rest of the night was logistics, planning, making sure every detail was covered. We needed to learn SAT phones, VHF phones, Spot recorder, put together a toll pack and go over the race bike. By the time we had worked out the details it was time for bed and then we neede to figure out where everyone was going to sleep.Thirteen people…2, 30 foot rv’s and thirteen peoples gear…interesting.
Nov 14th
I slept very little…up at 6 again to get packed up to go to register…it would be our last time together as a team. The team has to split up, Ant and Lunny and their crew will prerun the northern section and we will work our way down to Lapaz to prerun the last 2 sections. We met at the San Nicholas Hotel to register and thats the last we’ll see them. We wished em luck, thanked them for eveything and started heading down highway 1…there is only one that heads down so it is aptly named. I had drivin up till now and I gave the RV to J-Banger…mexican roads are interesting!. We were heading down with Andre’s 1995 Defender…landrover with a trailer and the 30 foot RV. We passed by Santo Rancha Marta and we stopped and said hello and droopped off the cash that people had givin me to pass along. It wasn’t much but everyone else chipped in a bit and it felt great to have stopped and said hello.

Insert prerun days here…3 day s missing

RACE DAY

Blue is Chris Lunnys account of the first 200 miles…enjoy…ps he’s from the UK so listen for the accent…tee hee

Headed to the start line at around 6.30am.  I’m following the RV on the race bike.  On the way into town the RV takes a left hander at the lights & a storage door on the RV opens up and 3 chairs, a drum of gas & a bikestand fly out over the 3 laner.  I dodge the kit and waive Gippy to pull over.  Tony jumps on the back of the race bike and we ride to the start….. leaving the lads to run back and stop a local guy from making off with the gear on his bike!!

Most bikes/riders are already at the start….nice fellas in the line on either side of me.

Tony helps me get set.  I feel a lot more relaxed than i expected.  I ride up onto the start dirt mound & Sal Fish shakes my hand and wishs me luck.  The bike starts to smoke really badly….I’m a little concerned but there is not much I can do at this stage.  5 second countdown & I’m off…….  Approx 7.16am.

I’d never pre-ran the first 50 miles of the course and the last 30 miles of whoops and so this was the concern for me and both proved to be the worst parts of the race for me.

My plan was to treat the race like a long distance run and just keep going….not wasting time at Mag 7 stops and just keep moving and avoiding crashes.  The lads had spent a lot of time & money on this race and I HAD to get the bike to them safely.

I rode through the closed off streets of Ensenada, people flanking the course during the whole run out of town….drop into the wash and under the bridges.

Concentrating hard on the course markers as I rode…I got passed by a bike and I started to ride a little too fast and went wide on a corner and pranged a small road sign.  No big issue, I stayed up and just made a loud metal on metal bang……..I tell myself to back off as I cannot damage the bike.

First 50 miles was not fun……loads of dust as only 30 seconds between bikes & quads.  I used all my google tearoffs before race mile 55.

About 10 miles in a local guy had turned the sign the wrong way and sent me up a tricky hill…stalled it…but got the bike to the top and back on track.

I went down twice during this first 55mile section…..mainly as I was twitchy and looking behind me for other riders.  After the second fall I tell myself to ride my own race and forget the other riders.  I relax into it a little and feel happier once I get to 50mile mark as I recognise the track again.

Fuel up at mile 55 and have my googles cleaned, but stay on the bike & off again within a couple of minutes.

I loved this race from mile 55 to mile 190.  Everything just came together and the bike was flying…….arse back, through the gears and the front end bopping around on its own.  I loved it.  At about mile 75 I came across 3 wild horses who were running along the track in front of me….awesome….just wish I had a helmet cam on.

Just before the dry lake bed I checked my watch and it was coming up to 11.45am (when the trophy trucks start) and I thought great ….no way they should catch me.  I was also pleased as I felt I might be able to get the bike to Tony with a decent amount of daylight for him.

Dry lake bed was a welcome sight…..nearly full throttle across the lake and into he deep sand (still a bit tricky even with the damper switched to soft!!).

So…..I’m about 40miles out from mile 230 (handover) and thinking about these whoops I’ve not pre-run…….

The back of San Fellipe is essentially a rubbish tip and looks like a scene from mad max.  I hit two booby traps…..the first a 4 foot jump….fine for bikes.

The second a 3 foot jump but I see broken bottles on the landing zone and stall it !!!

The whoops start shallow and I tell myself that they are a peice of p!ss and i’ll be home soon….. how wrong I was………….

The whoops get bigger & bigger, rockier & rockier and never end.  My legs, arms & back are in peices.  I try to sit on the seat and the suspension just trys to kick me off the bike.  I’d discussed these unseen whoops with a previous years’ iron man a couple of nights earlier at a taco stand & he told me to just grit your teeth and power on through.  Those whoops much of taken me an hour & a half……the sweat was dripping into my googles…….i really slowed up towards the end with fatique & arm pump.

I reached my last Mag 7 gas station and the guys filled me up and, to my delight, told me it was a mile to the highway.

10 miles on the highway & i was home! at around 2.15pm.

7hours on a bike…non-stop…..

I pulled in at the Cow Patty pumped with adrenalin and handed the bike to Tony.  Gippa helped me get the Sat phone, etc to tony & change the air filter and then the muscle cramps set in (lack of salt).  I was done, v. happy and the bike was in good shape.   Tony headed off into the distance…Great Days!

Anthony Nicademos account of the 2nd section

Hi Darin,

Back at work now. It took 5 days for me to get from Mexicao to NY. Way too much driving for 1 vacation.

Interesting read below. Looks like everyone except Chris ran into trouble. For my section things were smooth for the first 1.5 hrs while there was still light. I was making good time through my section for the first 100miles. It’s when the sun went down and I started getting passed by the trophy trucks that I ran into problems.Each time I thought a truck was coming up behind me I scrambled to get off the trail and clear the way. Sometimes the ruts made it difficult to toss over and I just ended up putting the bike on its side.

When the trucks did I pass I had to wait for the dust to settle so I couold see again. Even when it was clear I still had to deal with the flickering headlight which made everything look like it was moving in slow motion. The light would even change intensity sometimes which looked like someone was flashing me from behind. Several times I was fooled by this effect and dove for the side of the trail only to realise that nobody was behind me.

Normally you need to ride the silty trails with some good speed to keep yoour front wheel up, but that wasn’t possible with the lack of visibility. I constantly struggled with the bike at lower speeds instead of just sitting bike and enjoying the ride.

If all that wasn’t bad enough I had to deal with heavy fog in the last 50miles. I had to ride the last part without goggles as they just kept on fogging up. I ended up losing them, a brand new pair of Oakley’s.

When I picked my section I thought it was going to be the easiest part of the course, looks like I was way off the mark. During the day it probably would have been a lot of fun, but riding blind at night was pure hell.

Race Day for Darin 3rd section

We woke at 6 am and started packing up. My group was in a town called Loreto and I had slept in a hotel in town with my fellow racer Andre. I had chosen to forgo the fun of the RV for a good nights sleep. The roosters who crow next door as well as the dogs who bark at them have a messed up schedule. They crow and bark all night and sleep all day…must be a mexican thing to avoid the heat or something. I had continued my sleep deprivation and decided that I couldn’t afford to get no sleep before race day. My section was going to be entirely at night and I would have to forgo sleep to race through the night…I would later learn that I would race right into the next day and on to the afternoon, but that comes later.

We started the 5 hour drive back up the penninsula in the landrover with Alan and Ricardo and left the RV to transport Andre to mile marker 840 which was a 4-5 hour drive in the other direction. My job would be to take over from Anthony at mile marker 515 and get the bike to Andre at 840. I had prerun from 520 to 730 in about 6 hours with a stopover in Scorpion bay for lunch. I thought I had prerun from 750 to 840 in 3 hours but I later learned that I had actually missed the hardest portion of the course from 730 to 790…60 miles…no big deal eh…how bad could it be…famous last words! I was planning for a 9 hour ride from 8:30 PM until 5:30 AM…plans changed many time through the night as they tend to do in baja and nothing is as we expected( which is half the fun…haha).

We arrived in San Ignatio at around 2 and set up shop like many others, in a restaraunt and bar called Rice and Beans. This is a favourite for racers and is covered roof to floor in race stickers and pictures. It serves tacos and beer as well as, you guessed it…rice and beens. I tried to eat but I was feeling a bit queezy from the drive…windy road, 25 degrees,,,back seat..mmmm. We got a chance to check up on the race as we had wi-fi. Many of the race teams were there specifically for that reason. Everyone was glued to there screens watching the gps blips on the screen and trying to time when rider changes could happen and when pits needed to happen. Some racers saw blips that were still and were left to stew as to why. Some were stuck, some were broken and under repair and others were out of the race. All of the VHF radio channels were tuned to the weatherman channel. The weatherman is a volunteer who sets up a HAM radio tower on a nearby mountian top on. He runs communications for the race and we can listen in on the VHF radios we had purchased for just that purpose. He coordinates rescue efforts, gives race updates and warns racers of the course changes and booby traps that local people set up during the race once their ” festivities” go a bit far and regular racing doesn’t entertain them enough. They busy themselves making booby traps to send racers flying or in the wrong direction.They get quite creative but the racers sometimes fail to see the artistry involved…whats a Mexican gotta do to be appreciated eh?On the radio we had learned of a jump they had made in the first 100 miles with a bunch of buried tires and a lip that sent racers high into the air. Motorcycles negotiated this one fairly well but the race trucks and buggies were getting tossed onto their roofs. Race officials were sent to deal with it and I don’t know how it turned out. Our rider apparently had no trouble as he was still moving according to our GPS spot tracker that we had duct taped to the bars. It was an after thought that proved to be priceless later on in the race. We later learned about the broken glass landing that Chris described ealier…I wonder which UK cuss word he used when he stalled…was it knackers or bullocks? We’ll never know!

From the weatherman we also learned of a rider who had gone down and broken his ankle and collarbone and was on the course and awaiting the helicopter ride off the course. There were moments of fear and uncertainty until we saw that our rider, Chris Lunny was still moving according to our spot tracker and we breathed a sigh of relief…the injured rider wasn’t Chris. At 3:00 pm we got a Satelite phone call from Chris saying he had completed his section in about 7 hours and they had changed the light on the bike to prep it for Anthonys run which would take him into the dark around 5 pm. We couldn’t afford breaking the 500$ race light so we left the stock light on for Chris’s section and Anthony had the big race light with him all ready to go. Chris had arrived at 2:00 and they spent 30 minutes putting the light on, changing the air filter, checking the oil and passing off the riders SAT phone, the tool kit and the first aid kit. These all had to travel with the bike in a fanny pack that weighed about 10 pounds and hung around the riders waist. It wasn’t ideal but it was necessary in case of an emergency. I still have the marks around my waist from that stupid fanny pack but it pays to be prepared…in this case it payed in new scars…haha. Ant had about 2 hours of day light to race in and then the lights went out in Mexico…pitch black and dusty. Chris informed us all was well and Ant was racing and then we lost Satelite signal. It would be the last time the Sat phone actually worked( with one exception at 12 am…sorry about that wake up call Corey…just wanted to share the fun)

We decided we had better get into position in case Anthony was faster than expected so we headed to mile marker 515 to set up and wait. We wouldn’t have sat phones working for another 12- 15 hours for some reason which made the rest of the race interesting. We were counting on them to communicate so this was a difficult thing to overcome as we had no idea where he was or how he was doing and if he needed help he wouldn’t be able to reach us. We were waiting in the desert so we didn’t have wi-fi either to have access to the spot messages that were tracking him. We were blind and waiting, not so patiently…haha. As the minutes turned into hours we watched the first riders pass by from the pro class. They were blindingly fast. I have an amazing video of the race leader Quinn Cody screeching onto the shoulder with a flat tire. There was a support truck there awating him and they frantically changed a rear tire out in about 30 seconds. We tried to help but were reprimanded to stay back. Apparently they were not allowed any outside interference or they would be disqualified. As the rider left he screamed DID YOU CHECK THE PRESSURE?. The reply was a solid 16 lbs and he was off…getting paced down the highway at 60 mph by a chase truck assigned to that duty. It was exciting and got my blood racing in anticipation of our exchange.

While we waited we laughed, and hung out with many mexicans. As the night progressed they got more and more exuberant in their celebrating and I recall a conversation with a guy named Manuel which lasted about 1 hour and he repeated the same thing 137 times…good natured guy though. I am meeting his son in Lapaz for a tour…haha. We handed out a tonne of stickers with our logo on them( thanks for providing those Chris) and took turns watching the tools and gear. We learned the hard way that when you leave things unattended they disappear. At about midnight we had a rider from Japan roll up to our pit with no heaadlight. He couldn’t speak and English but we knew what was wrong. We got his bike up on the stand and were swarmed with mexicans. Literally 50 people were crowding around us watching and filming what we were trying to do. It was hard to even move. All I knew was Kineechewa so we just started ripping apart switches and checking fuses. Then we had to take the light right off and it still wouldn’t work. I ran and got my spare light and would have givin it to him but it had a different switch( good luck there as we ended up needing it later…more on that to come). We sent him off with a mountain bike light which did nothing but light his fender but it was all we could do. He had a 40 mile section of highway which wouldn’t be too bad but after that he would be in trouble. After he left I was hot from all the action and I removed most of my warm clothes( another stroke of luck…I will explain later) When we turned around our previously full cooler was completely empty…lesson learned. We never left anything alone for the rest of the night and we ALWAYS had Mexicans circling our area. I think they liked our brand of Beer…haha. We had 2 sat phones and numerous exspensive item sitting right out and I am thankful that we still have it all…I think…has anyone seen my knife…oh well.

We expected Anthony at 8:30 and it was well past that and we were getting worried. We had no Sat phone coverage, our VHF efforts to raise the weatherman or MAG pits were unanswered. MAG was the company who was providing our fuel and our pit stops along the way and if we could get through to them then we could maybe find out which Pit Anthony had last been. No luck…no news…where is he! We were beginning to think the worst as we had seen many trophy trucks and buggies scream past….then I had an idea. It was 2 am but I knew my friends back home wouldn’t mind if they knew our situation so I decided to place a cell phone call….a very exspensive  cell phone call! I dialed my friend Calvin Plum who was watching the race back home on his computer. We had duct taped the SPOT receiver to the bars and it was sending a gps way point every 10 minutes so the guys at home could watch the race and see how we were doing. I figured he could tell us where the bike was…no answer. No surprise at 2 am. I then dialled my second really exspensive call…my transrockies Partner David Hart. He was supposed to be here but couldn’t get the time off. He had ridin the race 2 years prior with the same team I was racing with. I knew he would understand the need for a late night motocross booty call. I got a groggy voice. It was his understanding wife Janna, ( sorry Janna). She handed the phone to Dave, right next to her  and not in the doghouse this particular night, and I asked if he knew where Ant was…he got up and checked the computer and informed me that he was 10 miles away and still ok…insert massive sigh of relief here. I said good bye to Dave and turned my phone back off…I would end up using it 2 more times during the race…can’t wait to see the bill on that one…some bills are worth it when your stuck in the baja. We waited for another hour for him to arrive which meant he was only doing 10 miles per hour…what was wrong???

When he rolled in we immediate;y knew what had taken him so long. His headlight was blinking like a disco strobe light to the beat of an old flock of seaguls song….I think “I ran” was the song. Either way he almost missed our pits as he was hypnotized by his own light. We had a generator running and a huge floodlight illuminating the landrover defender, of which there are about 6 in the entire continent so we figured it was something he couldn’t miss. The first thing he said after we expressed our relief at seeing him was…” I think I’m going to Vomit!”. He had been riding this way for 11 hours or so and had crashed more times than he could remember. He was covered in dirt and silt, his face, barely recognizable, his eyes filled with grit and dust, but he still had a shit eatin grin on about finally getting the bike to me. Anthony, you should be proud of your massive effort at getting me that bike…more than half of our class didn’t finish because they didn’t have the tenacity to continue like you did. You are a warrior my friend! Thank you!

At that point all hell broke loose at our pit. The mexicans true to form swarmed us again to watch the happenings like we were some kind of pro indie car team. We sat Anthony down and fed him some water but he was right back up and changing our air filter as it is an art to get the filter out and back in. I wanted to save the filter as I had never seen one so dirty on a running bike. Mine would later end up the same. While he did that Pascal and Marco started switching the light over to the one I had almost givin the japanese rider. Someone continues to watch over me! I had asked Alan to film the change over because I knew it would be cool. Ricardo was helping with the light and then he went on to change the oil. In the meantime I was getting my gear on. While I was waiting for the bike between the Japanese rider and Anthony I got cold…really cold so I had put on extra jerseys and clothes and took out the snowmobile gloves that I had brought along just in case. Ricardo had told me it would be cold but after sweating all day I wasn’t prepared for how cold it got. When I had geared up I returned to the bike to find the light wasn’t quite ready so I pitched in until all was ready…nothing left to do but smile, give Anthony, Pasc, and Ricardo a huge thankyou hug, and tell Alan I will see you in about 9 hours…I burned a big donut in the sand for the mexicans and was off down the dirt road to the highway. I would have to ride about 50 miles on the highway before heading into the dreaded silt beds past San Ignatio. I got up to 5th and tried to keep steadily below half throttle. I had paced in prerunning the rental bike against the landrover to figure out what 60 mph felt like and I hoped the gearing was the same on the race bike. For every second you were over the speed limit on open highways, you were penalized 10 minutes. It could really add up so I wanted to stay below that but I had a lot of time to make up. It was cold and dark and the road kind of hypnotizes you at night. I made it to my first pit and fueled up. As I rode through San Ignatio there was a croud of Mexicans cheering me on and motioning me to do wheelies…I am so weak…I wheelied through town to many cheers. It was quite a feeling. I had 15 more miles of highway and then it turned to gravel and then to rock. I was surpised to see so many fires burning on the side of the road. People were watching everywhere and the smell was one I won’t soon forget. The wood they use is scavenged from the desert and kind of smells like rotting garbage…I smelled it all night and I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not as it meant there were people about and you never knew what they were up to. I hoped that they were not setting booby traps and that my luck would hold. It was then that the fog got so bad I couldn’t keep my goggles clean. It was too hard to see so I pulled over and put them in my pocket. It was a bit erie when out of the darkness a drunk mexican appeared stumbling towards me. I couldn’t tell if he was offering help or if he was going to shake me down..haha. We were 60 miles from anywhere…I rode away into the night. I was passed by 2 buggies that lit up the night and I nearly crashed pulling off for them….they come up on you at 100 mph so its a bit un-nerving but once you get used to it…its…still un-nerving…haha. I rode on the right side of the trail so I could look over my left shoulder. I couldn’t turn all the way because of my race collar , a collar designed to stop my neck from breaking in the event of a crash, I would use my right hand to push my head around so I could look behind me. I used this technique a lot during the race but it meant I only had one hand on the handle bars which wasn’t ideal but what could ya do…

It was then that I came upon a rider on a ktm who had pulled over for me. I asked him how he was doing and he replied, This course is beating the hell out of me! In the desert KTM is said to stand for Kant Take Mexico…Mexicans can’t spell but their a funny lot. I replied that I had just got on and was still felt fresh…he said I’ll see you later then. I rode away and right into the silt beds and never saw him again.

Silt is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Its like three feet deep of baby powder covering rock and who knows what else. It hangs in the air far longer than regular dust and is so fine it goes right through your goggle filters. It also stops people in their tracks and that is just what I found. On the main trail in front of me were three buggies stuck in a row in DEEP silt. I looked left and saw 2 more trucks in the same state…I loooked right and saw another being jacked up with a blown tire…in my mind I went….YAHOOO!!! Actually I yelled it out loud…haha. I am going to pass all these million dollar trucks and buggies that passed Anthony 5 hours earlier on a 7500$ bike…hahahaha. I rode right through the middle and the bike sank to the bottom but kept moving…right past the best drivers in the world…God I was smiling hard…my teeth are still dirty! I rode past the Mc Millon family buggy and asked if I could help in any way. He replied go to the next Baja pit and tell them we are stuck at mile marker 750. When I informed him he was only at 608 he looked a bit chagrined but I couldn’t lie could I? I rode on and saw many more trucks in various states of Non Movement and as I hit the open trail      ( open meaning still silt just no trucks in the way) I was grinning and making good time. It was then that I realized that they would eventually break free and would hunt me down. I started to hurry a bit faster at that thought. I rode for about another 2 hours in the sand and silt sometimes ripping as fast as 90 mph and others in second gear and struggling to balance in the silt. I still had no goggles on and my eyes were filled with dirt but I wasn’t cold anymore at least…this was hard work! I broke free of the silt just as the sun was rising and it was like the calm after the storm or what Normandy must of felt like the day after…danger still looming but a calm quiet as drivers were freeing their vehicles rather than driving them…more action on the horizon but quiet just now.  I will never forget the sunrise over the Baja mountains with a permanent dust/fog hanging over the landscape. It was like mother nature had outlined my route with a big dusty sharpy marker and all I had to do was stick to the dust and I wouldn’t get lost. I wanted to put my goggles back on but when I tried they fogged instantly so I shoved em back in my pocket. A couple of times a truck would break free of the silt and would come roaring towards me. I took some video that I will include in the movie I plan on making…I had some funny moments out there in the desert by myself that I can’t wait to share with someone. Moments like “hey Mom watch this” as I would be engulfed in the dust storm of a 130mph pass by a trophy truck. Insert giggles here! I made it to the next pit and asked them to radio ahead so my team would know I was coming as well as let the McMillins know there buggy was stuck. They said they had no radio contact so couldn’t radio anyone. I believe they said they were in the Bajauda triangle! Oh well…nothing to do but keep riding.

I came upon yet another silt bed in the middle of the trail and noticed a truck and a buggy off to the right. I spotted a motorcycle trail off to the right and decided to take it to avoid the silt. I sped onto the trail and was having a great time riding and carving in the sand when I felt a presence behind me. I did my patented look behind and discovered the truck and buggy following my trail about 50 meters behind me. I pushed it a bit faster as I didn’t want them to pass me. As I carved slightly more out into the desert they followed and we were moving quite quickly when I decided I needed to stay closer to the course so I didn’t get lost. I turned slightly left and still I heard the roar of the truck behind me. As I neared the course I realized there was a gorge between me and the course. I was confident that I could make it through and knew that the truck and buggy that were following me couldn’t…hahaha…this was soooo fun. I steered them towards the gorge and disappeared into the valley and up the other side. I looked back to see a million dollar truck with a wheel hanging over the edge, reversing in a panic, the buggy right on its tail and preventing them from backing up…I sped off down the trail with a big grin. I wont forget that moment for as long as I live…haha…this was a great race.  Gotta go to sleep but there is sooo much more to tell you…I’m only 3 hours into my section…

Good Morning…

I race off down the road and the speeds started to increase as the road opened up. Every mile or so I would have to slow for another unexpected drop off or another short silt section. It was like regular Mexican highway now…haha. The light was now good, although the sun wasn’t yet cresting the mountains. My eyes were burning as they were filled with dust and I still hadn’t put on my goggles. I had covered about 130 miles in 3 hours. It was about 5:30 and I was at mile marker 640. I stopped again to pit( I had written all my pits down on a piece of paper and taped it to my left arm. I had also taped it to both legs in case on fell off. It was really important not to miss a pit as we would run out of gas if we did. I should have told this to all the guys and that would later come back to haunt me). It helped me gage when I could rest as well. At the pit I thought I would try my goggles again but I ended up taking them off right away because the fog was still about. ( after hanging with the Britts for so long I find my speech reflects their influence…cute)I was soaked through by the fog still but I wasnt as cold as it had warmed up closer to sea level. I switched my snowmobile gloves to my regular ones as they are easier to ride in and continued on. Then I came to a place called Scorpion Bay. It is a surfing mecca and has the longest surf break in the world. You can surf one break for more than 3 minutes…check it out here. http://scorpionbayclub.com/bayinfo.php Its in a place called San Juanita and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The sun had finally come up and I put on a pair of tinted goggles. I was lamenting my decision to remove my visor as the sun was hitting me right in the eyes and a visor would have been nice. I removed it because I thought my section was going to be completely at night and at 90 mph it really pulls your head back.  Right now though I was riding directly into the sun. I was still be passed occasionally by a screaming buggy or truck that had been extracted somehow from the silt beds. I passed a trophy truck Hummer that was sitting up on two of its spare tires, he was replacing an axle bearing( or something). I stopped to offer help and found that his co- driver was his wife and they were working together to fix the problem. Awesome that a husband and wife team can do something amazing like this…maybe next year Kelly and I….never mind…haha. I carried onto another section of highway and then once again headed off into the desert. Ricardo, Andre, and I had prerun this section together and I knew exactly where to turn. It was nice knowing where to go. I highly recommend prerunning but later I would see the benifits of not  prerunning a particular section that sucked no matter how many times you practiced it.

This section came between mile marker 730 and 790. I had NOT prerun this section as we had met up with our RV on the highway during our prerun and we had decided to head back with them as the light had run out for that day. It turned out to be lucky, in that, this section turned out to be the hardest section of the course. It would have been like practicing bleeding …haha. I hit this section thinking that I was looking for a nice easy river section with loose gravel and then a nice road section to the Mission I had mentioned during prerunning. It was a church built in the 1700′s and it was spectacular. As I kept going I kept thinking ” wow this isn’t it yet…this isn’t it yet”…and the silt got deeper and deeper and deeper…hey look more stuck trucks….yahoo! I caught em again. There was about three buggies and 2 trucks that were sitting in the silt up past their doors…so much so that they couldn’t get out of their trucks( at least not through the doors). I raced around them and continued on. It was about 10 miles further that I was nearly run over.

I came to a road section was 5th gear cruising when I came across a baja pit. I looked at one of the bikes there and recognized an old friend of mine…of all the places. I stopped and said hello to Terry and his significant other Kari. Terry was soloing the race. That means he was racing it ALL by himself. He was sitting by his truck on the ground resting and grabbing a bite to eat. It was great to see them and we chatted for about 5 minutes and shared a protein bar. It was then that I realized I was smokin hot and still had 3 jerseys on. I shed some clothes and took the sleeves off my jacket and put them in my backpack.( I much later learned not to have any exposed or unprotected skin…the .5 cm long cactus spine in my arm didn’t come out for another week and left a nasty scar!) It was hot when you were not moving. I gased up at the baja pit( they didn’t check my numbers to realize that I was actually using Mag 7 pits….yahoo free gas…2 minutes in the box…I felt shame…and then I rode away.)

I rode a gravel section for about ten miles before it turned to silt. I was travelling along the silt trail and the trail was tight and lined with cactus. My spidie sense was tingling so I did my patented look back( and nearly crashed as you need both hands on the handle bars when your in silt) I saw a big dust cloud coming and knew I had to get off the trail quick. I found a spot that I thought was safe off the trail behind a cactus about 7 feet tall and about as thick as my leg. I know what your thinking so think of a normal guys leg and not my chicken version. I shut off my bike and waited. It wasn’t long before I heard the roar of a  buggie…race chassis with a suped up VW motor. It hauled passed me which wasn’t a problem. What was a problem was the one in behind it…right behind it…actually probably nerfing the one in front( nerfing is when a faster truck nudges a slower truck from behind to “let him know your there and want to pass”). His nerfing caused him to bounce left towards me. It happened so fast all I could do was blink and say “wow that was close”. The second buggy ran right over the cactus beside my leg…so close that the car actually brushed my leg. Wholly crap, I won’t make that mistake again…and also remember that cactus are not trees like back home…they push right over. I waited till the dust settled…you have to do this so that a truck or car wont mistake you for a truck or car. I wouldn’t want to be NERFED by some adrenalized truck driver thinking he was initiating a pass, only to find he has run over me and got the underside of his truck all dirty! Once I was on the rode again I came across a full sized 6 by 6 John Deer tractor going the wrong way down the course…obviously one of the trophy truck drivers had made a call and hired a tractor to come and pull him out. The tractor was going beside the silt and not through it…wonder why. It was mowing down cactus like weeds…wish I could do that.( both mow down cactus as well as afford to call a tractor from who knows where to come and rescue me in baja).

It was after that that I hit the hard stuff. Square rocks about the size of pumpkins littered the trail and I had to slow right down and trials ride it…2nd gear, feet on the pegs and stay balanced…..and PAY ATTENTION. It was slow but the good news was it was full day light now…unfortunatly it was also full heat now as well….wow was I hot all of a sudden. I rode this section for what seemed like forever and then I came to THE HILL. THE HILL was lined with Mexicans…hundreds of them and I knew it wasn’t the view that they were admiring from the top. They were here for a reason…it was to watch the carnage. The hill wasn’t that difficult if you were fresh but after nine hours of riding…( 24 hours if your Terry) you had used up certain reserves. I hit it in 2nd and quickly had to downshift, which wasn’t a good sign. I was bouncing and hopping from big rock to big rock and when I fell over the Mexicans hooted and hollered and I later learned from the trophy truck drivers, that they had earlier been rolling big rocks down on the participants…maybe they had run out of rocks to roll as so far they were just laughing( or cheering…it was hard to tell). My guess is that they hadn’t run out of rocks but they had run out of initiative…rolling rocks must be hard work and as it got hotter…maybe the desire to exert had fallen away…(see, being late has its advantages). I righted the bike and carried on up the hill using my buddies adage of keeps your arms like steel till you get to the top. It was super hard work and when I got to the top I looked back to the Mexican peanut gallery who gave me the nod for a job well done and then it was on to the next Baja pit…I know, I know…I was supposed to use Mag 7 but who cares at that point( We had payed Mag 7 $1000 to provide our gas and Baja pits was their competition but in Baja…everything seems to blend). I saw another old friend at that pit named Phil. Phil was here to support Terry and is a fellow Canadian with a love of Baja.I said a quick hello and filled up with water. I would later calculate that I had gone through 7 liters of water and 3 liters of Perpetuem and 7 to 1 carb protein blend by Hammer nutrition. I will atest to the power of that product in sustaining energy for long periods of time and it is directly responsible for my performance that day. I rode as hard as I could for 11 hours and still felt good and I could have gone on, no problem…the product rocks and I’m not even getting payed to say so…thanks Hammer…you make a great product!

My next brush with death came at about 11 am. I rounded yet another gravel bed corner in 6th gear…( about 90 mph), head long into a family of about 40 goats. I remembered them from Prerunning and they were in the same part of the road but those who know me will attest to my short memory…and my prerun was 2 days ago. I cried hello in my best East indian accent( I always address goats in this fashion) and waited for them to part like the red sea ( better to be like Moses than Jesus at this point…I think you get docked points for riding on goats)and continued on. I rode the wash through Loreto ( through their dump actually)and started my ride up the river canyon to the mission. I was passed by a Class 1 buggy( unlimited hp and suspension…its like the trophy trucks of the buggy world) at the bottom of the paved part of this section so I followed them quite close, pacing the 60 mph speed zone and using their speedometer to stay out of the penalties….but they were going slow…too slow…so I blew past them and the race was on. Just as I passed them I realized that they couldn’t corner as well as me and I started to pull away from them…this was getting fun again…when your racing a million dollar machine and beating them, there is no better feeling. Then it turned to dirt again…oh, oh! You could go any speed on the dirt and I knew they would be coming fast. I raced them to the very top of the pass and kicked their butts, I must say. It was a windy road with a 1000 foot cliff on one side the entire way…sometimes with nothing between you and the rocks below.  scraped the pegs a couple of times on the ground…fun fun fun! It was then that the road turned straight for about 10 miles….I hit 6th and wished for 5 more gears…they caught me in about 5 minutes and passed me doing about 30 mph faster than me…I was doing 95mph! I guess that’s what a million dollars buys you. It was knee slappin fun. ( But I still had to pull over again to avoid crashing in the dust) and I rolled through the beautiful mission and made my way to the rock river bed.

I came across one of the COPS race buggies lying perpendicular to the course. I could see his tracks and see that he had missed the course and veered into the massive boulders in the riverbed. The rocks had ripped and entire A- arm and wheel off the buggy which had made it careen across the course and plant itself firmly in my way.

This moment will stand as the single most memorable part of the race. I saw that the drop off to the right was a bit sketchy on a bike ( three foot drop to the rocks)so I looked left. The buggy was up against a wall with its front end but it wasn’t a verticle wall and instantly I had devised a cunning plan. I approached the car with more speed than was prudent, startling the driver who was out of his car and directing traffic and advising people to stop. I rode around him and proceeded up the left hand wall and virtually over the front of the car…I pulled a Bat man as I shot above the car, defying gravity …what a rush. When I came back down from my skateboard like manuever I stopped and looked back to see the driver shaking his head and laughing at my audacity. I was grinning like a school boy as I rode away. From there it was 6th and tapped off the rev limiter to mile marker 840. I started to hallucinate a bit as I was tired and a bit bug eyed, so to speak. I had thoughts of the kids and Kelly waiting for me at the finish and I got all emotional…and then I remembered I still needed to concentrate. There were lots of rocks sticking up and I still had to be smart. At that speed any small bobble in concentration would mean your life so I forced myself to treat it like a meditation and focus on nothing but breathing and being. It worked! I rolled into the pits approx. 11 hours after I had taken over and I was sad it was over already. I asked Andre if he wanted to Paper, Sciccors, rock me for the rest of the ride…he laughed as we prepped the bike yet again…new filter, oil, chain check, bolts…ect…ect. I was totally shocked when they told me how long it had taken. I could have sworn I’d been on the bike about 6-7 hours…time really flies when you having fun. It also explained my lack of concentration. I had only mixed enough Perpetuem for 9 hours and, as I was 11 hours instead, my glutamine levels and my electrolites would surely be depleated and that leads to wandering brain syndrome. A mistake that could have cost me my life…I will be smarter next time and pack extra as well as pay more attention to the clock. I crawled into the rv for the 4 hour drive to the finish and its wasn’t until I awoke  from a 1 hour nap, that I learned that Andre was lost and out of fuel…shit! To be continued…

He had called on a mexican cell phone he had bought and told us he was at the Pacific ocean and out of fuel. I frantically started looking at the map to try and figure out where he could be. I determined it must be the spot at mile marker 871 where the road crosses the course. He had missed his left turn onto the course and had ridin the highway all the way to Ciudad Insurgentes. It was 30 miles out of the way and as a result he had also missed his pit and had run out of gas. We all carried a small amount of cash in our helmets just in case of this exact occurance and he hit a Pemex to fuel up and he rode back to the place he had hit the highway and retraced his bike tracks so to speak. He immediately saw his mistake and got back on course. It cost us an hour and we hoped that wouldn’t hurt us by putting us over the time limit or disqualify us for going off course. You are not allowed to go more than 1 football field to either side of the course but if the GPS files indicated you did your best to get back on track without cutting the course you were OK. We were banking on this but we wouldn’t know until we handed in Our IRC tracker and they went over the footage. Your entire race is tracked by this device that you carry in your pack and it is like the Baja referee that  hounds you the entire race and collects penalty points to be held against you at the finish. Nothing to do but cross our fingers and hope for the best. We travelled in the rv into the night to get to Lapaz and the city was bustling with activity, roads were closed, and it was tricky getting to the finish line. Once there, I got ahold of Kelly and arranged to meet them after the bike crossed.  It would be a long wait!

You see, Andre had crashed in the silt and had attempted to pick up the bike. He had grabbed the header pipe by mistake and his hand was badly burned. The blister was about 3 inches long across his palm on his right hand…his throttle hand. It had grown and was seriously inhibiting his ability to hang on. He was tough and somehow managed to hang on for the next 180 miles…thats right, he burned his hand in the first 20 miles of his section. Andre is tenatious and there was no doubt he was crossing the finish line…it was just a question of would it be on time? ( you only have 45 hours to traverse the course and it’s adversities!)

We waited and watched from  about 6 pm on and our updates from the weatherman indicated that he had passed mile marker 610 …which of course was bogus info as I had passed that at 3 am. We were left again with my buddies info from home and the spot tracker. Mag 7 and Baja pits were absolutely no use and wouldn’t even answer the radio calls. I guess what you learn is that you can’t really count on anyone but your own resources.

As it turned out Andre had met up with my friend from Vancouver who I had had lunch with hours ago. He had steered him in the right direction. Terry had soloed the entire race and in the end had led our rider home as well. They had negotiated the last silt beds together with another female rider who also soloed the race. There were 5 more miles of verticle rock steps for Andre to negotiate…how hard could falling down hill be??? It was tough after 190 miles of sand, silt and heat.  Andre crossed right behind them at about 1:15 am….2 hours before the race officially ended. Those who finish after this point are considered non-finishers and are left with half a race pin( you received half at the start…the starters pin…and the other half at the finish…to complete the mini baja penninsula pin which says you’ve completed the journey)…OMG I did all this for a pin…I  must be nuts! We had done it!! We celebrated with my first beer in 2 years( with one half exception of course…you know who you are)…and spent the next hours remenissing about the race. It already seemed so long ago. We wished the rest of the team could share the moment but they we already back home in the states…some on to Hong Kong. I went home and crawled in with the family and basked in the glow. ( and tossed and turned a bit as well…still racing in my head)

This is a race filled with adversity, insane obstacles, and heros at every corner. Many I had only met in passing…literally, and some I knew by name. My team was made of heros for it took inhuman feats of courage and tenacity to get us across the line on time. You guys rock! For those we met along the way that helped us finish…thank you, you are heros as well. There were 40 teams that started and only 26 that finished. We were among the finishers and as for how we placed…were not sure yet but its not that important…what’s important was the journey( we’ll probably check though when its posted…haha). As for the Baja…well be back, I’m sure! Next time maybe we’ll bring a child with us that wants to live the dream of racing the Greatest Race On Earth. And that it truly is!

Afterword:

Its been two weeks since the race and I have been changed forever. It’s like an egg after it’s been fried. Runny and altogether one moment, cracked and completely sizzled and burned the next. Well…maybe not like an egg but changed none-the-less. The 2 weeks with the family in Cabo San Lucas were luxurious and connecting with them without all the training was a treat. We played in the sand, snorkled and lived for a time with the fish.  I look back on all the  5 am mornings running, riding and hitting the gym and thoughts of Forest Gump play out in my mind. In actuality they did all the time in my training. Watching the sun rise over a wheat field, or a crystal clear lake with nothing but the sound of your heart thumping, and your breath is mezmorizing, peaceful, and altogether indescribable! So I will stop trying! Its just like Forest…I was just running, riding or whatever but there was a peace that came from that. It cleared my mind of it’s chatter and the constant barrage of something is wrong in the world. It is a feeling that Zen masters and Monks around the world study all their lives for and I got it on a daily basis. When the world is just as it should be in your head, it opens up a whole entire world of gratitude and joy that wasn’t there before because normally your head focusses on whats wrong or what needs to be fixed rather than how great life truly is.

I went for one 5 am run along the beach to watch the sun rise and I found I have already lost my running legs and running barefoot on the sand, although liberating, left me with blisters on my big toes…haha. Its not all Zen and peace! I still got that feeling though and I find the more you train your mind to reside in that place, the easier it gets to be there. When I get to that place I come home to my family and am truly grateful for them and that makes being with them amazing. I am committing to keep training so my family gets the best of me and I can’t wait to dream up the next challenge.

As for the results…we placed 23rd overall! Outstanding result!

An unexpected result was that my quad team that had struggled to even get down to the race ended up racing. (life has a way of interupting your dreams and it takes great integrity to keep progressing towards them despite life). They came down, raced it cold with no prerunning, got run over completely in one of the silt beds by a trophy truck( how many people can say they got run over by Robbie Gordon?), and finished the rest of the race on a quad that was broken to bits. They are the embodiment of integrity, grit, tenacity and team, and as a result, they ended up winning! Winning the 1000 is a lifetime accomplishment and hats off to Nutbar racing for pulling it together. You guys Rock! They invited me to Orange County California for the awards banquet to share in the fact that they also won the entire points championship! A select few can make such a claim and I am proud to be a part of that team. My part in their victory lies in the section labeled baja 500 race blog and is a story all to itself. Suffice it to say, I am honored to have been included on the team and to have raced with Champions! I will covet my trophy and my shirt till my dying days. Thanks Brad, Jeff, Kenny, and Kye! 2010 Baja Champions!

I struggle to end the story because that will mean its over…but…its never really over is it. Look for more adventures to come and make sure to find something in life that inspires you…then train for it…and then appreciate life! Life will get the best of you if you do! ( and visa-versa…)

Regards Darin!

Turns out it wasnt over…just got back from Orange county for the awards ceremony..cool. My quad team won the championship( as well as the 1000). Great weekend with the team and their wives( and Kyes Mom)…planning a trophy