Racers had many stories to share about their rides and we will string them together when they can get their stories to me to put into print. For now…
Monday, November 21st.
The drive for me was a blur and I am sitting in an airport waiting for a flight. When we got to the hotel yesterday we had all been up for over 40 hours and were a combination of sick, grumpy, giddy and just plain tired. It seems crazy that it’s over and we had accomplished our goal of completing the Baja 1000. The toughest and most gruelling race on the planet. It really is as tough as they say. In the race usually less than half of those that enter don’t finish. In our class there were 12 teams from Japan, Canada, Australia, The USA and Mexico. Each had their own formula for success, some pre ran the course some didn’t. Some just plain didn’t have the time. We knew it would take learning the course, both to be safe as well as not get lost, and mostly know exactly what it is that your getting yourself into. It is one thing to hear that you have 4 hours of massive bumps to cross ( dubbed whoops) and completely another to actually experience what it feels like to endure those 4 hours. The team had known that those types of experiences were coming and had prepared themselves as best as possible by training hard at home and looking into what diet would best support a body that was going to be taxed. What we hadn’t counted on was the constant state of no rest or recovery, day in and day out. A race stretched out across such a great distance takes a great deal of time and effort just to plan and then you have to gather the people to help you get there. Once there you have to set up, get ready and then ride for 5 to 8 hours, get back, eat and take care of your body, then your bike, and help with your teammates that are experiencing problems with any of those things. In all that you have to consider different personalities, ways of doing things, sometimes one person was tired or sick and by race day we were all stretched pretty thin. We all had colds, sniffles, sinus infections, coughs…and were tired …but none of that mattered. we knew what we were here to do and we did it. There were times during my ride where I was smiling from ear to ear and others where I was emotional to tears as I crossed the desert at 95 mph. I didn’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the euphoria of the Baja but I know it was great. All the stars had lined up for us to race, mainly because we had guided them and it felt like a dream come true. We all had hurdles to over come to make it happen, plans seemed to change moment to moment, and the costs were high on many levels. Our families had to endure without us and for that we thank them. Dreams become possible with the ones you love backing your efforts. It really is a Herculean effort for this to happen. Its just not the ride or the race!
Speaking of the race our finish was a culmination of preparation, hard work, support and talent! Our group has ridden together for many years and to distinguish between us when we ride is difficult. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and we had to consider those when choosing each section for the riders. Reaching those conclusions took lots of planning, discussion, and frank conversations about those strengths. We knew each other well and the planning and knowledge payed off. In our class there were 12 teams. Only 6 of those teams even completed the race. The Dream It Race Team, racing in their first ever Baja desert race, completed the race in 24 hours 52 minutes, just 15 minutes behind 3rd place, and 30 minutes behind 2nd. Our bike was down 45 minutes due to loose spokes and footpegs and who knows what could have been if we had have for seen these mechanical errors. Here are the results for our class on the world stage of desert racing. Well done team DIRT. Relish in the victory of a fantastic finish and realize your talent and commitment to team! With a combination of both as well as the support of our family and crew, we have accomplished our sports Mount Everest! Good climbing with you boys!
Sportsman Motorcycle Under (450CC or less)—1. Fred Sobke, Bonita, Calif./Matt Capdeville/Jake Staff, Oceanside, Calif., Honda CRF450X, 23:09:40 (30.44 mph); 2. Raymond Gray, Torrance, Calif./JD LaVanal, Santa Clarita, Calif./Guillermo Alavcon, Newbury Park, Calif., Yamaha WR450, 24:21:56; 3. Christian Espinoza/Miguel Rodriguez/Joel Leal, Mexicali, Mexico, Honda CRF450X, 24:37:32; 4. Darin Bullivant/Mark Appelt/Corey Meyer/Calvin Plum, Canada, Honda CRF450X, 24:52:12; 5. Jugatsu Toi/Yuji Miyazaki, Japan, KTM 350EXC-F, 29:00:39; 6. Shawn McKenzie, Granite Falls, Wash., Honda CRF450X, 29:29:15. (12 Starters, 6 Finishers)
Race is done…yahoo
We ended up finishing in just over 24 hours. No one crashed, the bike held together due to our incredible pit crew. They are telling us 4th place but penalties need to be assessed so we might even move up. We were up for over 41 hours straight and were so exhausted. We packed up after we crossed the finish line and headed for the border right away. We drove for as many hours as we could and made just out side of barstow…it was getting dangerous for everyone so we got a hotel and are pushing on in the morning. Everyone is anxiuos to see their families and loved ones and I can’t wait to see them and tell them the adventures….I will finish the race blog when I get back as it is truck riding for the next 27 hours…thanks for watchin…Darin
Listen live to the weather man here.
he is in charge of the race
The spot tracker…
Got up at 4:45 to eat and get Mark ready for the start. Calm and collected we went to the line. I am glad I was with him as it was really cool and it was good to have a helper. You had to find your spot to park, find your tracker…ect. Mark and I hung out and chatted with other racers and got some more info about speed limits in town and in Ensenada…turns out there are none! Good information…mark gets to go fast in town..Yahoo!.
The spot site was down for the first while as I bet when 60 spots all fired up at once it flooded their system. All the racers have them as we have all seen how valuable they are. I got a couple guys from Atlanta to film me starting and handing the bike over to Mark right after I go the green flag. Thanks guys…great footage and pics…priceless!
It has been a furry of texts trying to get some tracking info as well as well wishing from all our friends and family who are watching at home and wondering whats happening. I am getting things packed up at the hotel and trying to make sure spot is working. Corey is geared up at mile 70 as the first bikes came through his section at 8:30. Mark was expecting a 1:30 ride which will put him there at 8:40 ish. I will await his text that he is on and ride with him in my minds eye as I know and love his section very much…my interenet sucks so I may relocate to get some info and to watch the little dot on the screen. I have about another 15 hours before I get on.
on and ride with him in my minds eye as I know and love his section very much…my interenet sucks so I may relocate to get some info and to watch the little dot on the screen. I have about another 15 hours before I get on
Looks like Corey is on and Mark is off the bike. Cam Texted me and Corey left at 9:15. Great start Mark! Roughly 2 hours with tonnes of traffic, quads and bikes on the course…well done. Corey will now head over the summit. last year Kye did the section on a quad in about 2 hours. Corey should be close to that. See you at 11:15 Isaac!
Mark rode with no troubles until mile marker 30. He said the world closed in on him and he couldn’t see a foot in front of his face. Fog up high really slowed him up. He passed almost every rider in our class with only the 115 rider and the 104 rider in front of him.We are currently running in third place. He passed 13 guys total which means he passed lots from other classes as well. Great ride Mark..you rock. Just as Corey was about to leave they noticed one of the foot pegs was hanging on by its last thread. He caught it just as Corey was about to leave which would have been disastrous! Last section for Mark was crazy hard, lots of jumps and holes and rocks on the course. The mexicans have been busy booby trapping the course. I have to run that same section backwards!…Yikes! Mark figures the fog cost him about 20 minutes and he came into the pits in 1:45 minutes. Max speed was 140 km/hr. great start for us…go get em Corey…your in third!
It looks from the spot location like Corey is very close to the exchange. He is right on top of the dot we marked 2 days ago which is where the switch will happen. It must have been a good ride as he close to schedule. they are just releasing the trophy trucks so I am headed to the start to watch..
OMG…CHAOS. So the trophy trucks ran up on a tracktor at mile 5…all of them. One after another they parked their cars single file like a tim hortons line up. It took2 hours to restart them and clear the croud that had gathered. Then they released the class one buggies…just as fast as the trophy trucks. Yikes those guys are fast and NOISEY.
Meanwhile our bike got passed of to Isaac in medieocer shape. Apparently both rims are super loose in the spokes, both footpegs keep falling out. one fell off completely. Corey got it to Isaac and Isaac is almost to Borrego to give it up to Cal. They may have to swap both rims. I guess the handguards fell off too. We have Calvins bike at Borrego as a spare parts bike and they will have to steal parts from it. One minor issue is I have the spare front wheel with the moose bib with me in Ensesnada. Clavin will have to be careful with the front as he will have the one off his bike which has a regular tube in it. Come on boys…get that bike to me and I promise I’ll cross the finish line!!! They spent 20 minutes on Laguna Salada fixing things and got passed back by a few bikes but we should still be good. Its a looong race and Baja is famous for throwing wrenches into everyones plans…including the million dollar trucks. Imagine 10 million dollars of machinery parked because a trailer was over the course….wish I was a fly on the guys window..( maybe not because then I might be squashed but it would have been fun to see how the boys handled the mishap. Gotta go follow a blip…stand by for more…Darin
The little blip says Isaac made it. You rock my friend…Whoop, Whoop! I wonder what the bike looks like. Its going to be hard riding with no footpegs…haha. I know the boys will pit him good and Isaac is a bang up mechanic so if he has any strenght left he will be fine to get her going again. Anyone wanna buy a bike, seldom ridden, only about 1000 miles on her. New plastic….haha
Cam just texted and Cal is off to the races at 1;30. Issac got into Borrego and pitted the bike…no word yet on its condition. Cal has a big section and its fast, then soft and sandy, then rocky…nothing to do but hunker down and watch the blip…wish I could sleep. At this pace we are looking good and are only 1 hour behind where we predicted we would be. That puts me on at 12:30 if all goes well from now on. I can hear those trophy trucks a coming…coming round the bend….haha. Cal is off to mile marker 330 where Corey is being taken by Scott to get on the bike once more. GOOO Calvin…you da man! Meanwhile Isaac must get changed and come to Ensenada to get me, the front wheel, and take us to Valley of Trinidad. Interesting little chess game. Lets hope the pieces stay together…
Cal’s blip stopped for a bit and we trust he was just dealing with a bladder issue…haha He is close to the turn around now where he heads back down the lower loop of the course. Making good time and soon to be wide open across the lake bed. He should be doing about 95 mph down the back stretch for a while so we should see some big gaps in the blips as it sends one every ten minutes…Calvin had back surgery last year, neck surgery the year before that and has even sold his sled to make this trip possible. He has sacrificed a lot in hopes of racing this race and I’ll bet he has a big smile under that helmet. I wonder what his mouth will do when the first truck passes him. The trucks planned to be done in about the 8 hour mark…unbelieveable. Hope he strapped on that rear view mirror I gave him…
Update 4:30…dark is coming
Calvin is close to 300 on the course and Corey is in place to catch his bike there. Ali and Isaac are on their way to pick me up and I need to get back to the hotel. I am at a coffee shop where I met up with friends of Dion. Mark and Gord from Calagry ame to watch the race. I had met them riding in Wiaporous one time and they knew me right away. it turns out that they had read my blog from last year and are here to watch and then race the race next year. really cool to meet them. Gord gave me a tip on reading the spot maps and I now have a way better perspective on where Calvin is at. Good for me but bad for Corey who I earlier sent to his spot an hour or so early…he had to poop in the cactus but I’m sure he will forgive me. Sorry buddy. I also just heard that trophy truck number 25 just caught fire…not sure on the details. There are booby traps at 577, 155.Big jumps that the locals have built and guys trying to lead you off course into the silt beds. We’ll have to watch things…the prerunning will prove useful as we already know what direction to go….hopefully. There was also an update from weather man saying a man was down at 155…not sure if he was hit or what. Go to the link at the top to listen live to weatherman.
Update at 5:30
Ali and Isaac are here to get me. His ride was awesome…lots of stories …fill you in later. Sue just texted and Cal is moving up on first place. He is at 310 and moving along while first place rider is stopped at 354.He might actually not be in our class…maybe we’re in first?…not sure. Just checked the shirt…and he’s not in our class…Roberto Ruiz is a class 25 rider…Don’t knowwhat this means yet.
Chapter 12, Contigency Scramble
Today we woke to another bright sunny day in baja…well we were awake a lot anyways because of the dog barking out our window. I am sure he wasn’t pleased that his usually sleepy little town of 1,000,000 has now grown by a couple hundred thousand. Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, Japanese, Australians…and who know how many others are drawn by the allure of the Baja 1000. He voiced his oppinion…and we listened most of the night. I arose a tad grumpy and when I checked my wallet for the hotel bill and realized we had mistakenly been charged for 4 nights instead of one to the tune of 1000$ US dollars I got grumpier. The manager had little to offer for sympathy and my only hope is that he sells the rooms and lets me recoup the costs. The girl at the front desk is very nice and has stated many times she is sorry for her bosses unfair treatment of us. If he doens’t come through, Mark says he is going to poop in the hallway…haha. I am sure it will work out as the city is brimming with people. Bad start to the day and I had to remind myself many times that this was a very exciting day and to let that go. It took a few moments and then we realized that we had a tonne of things to do…yikes.
The day slated as Contingency is named thus, because your race is contingent upon you passing technical inspection. We however, needed to complete the race bike that Calvin had worked so hard at getting ready for us. There were a few details left to manage before we could take the bike through…reflectors so the trucks could see us at night, hand guards, bolt check to make sure everything was tight ( ironically the only bolt we found loose was the kickstarter, which for us, is the only one that really matters. Our bike blew the starter during prerunning and we were not able to get another. If the kick starter fell off we would be done…good catch). I rode the bike down and the team walked to meet me in line. It is a 1 km line of cars, trucks and bikes that you walk through and get mobbed by race fans. Sal Fish, the race director said it best at the riders meeting tonight. He said this is the Mexican Super Bowl, their world series of sorts and to them we are heros. Our bike looks really good and it got a lot of attention during the walk and I ran out of stickers in the first 10 feet. Once I handed out one….they left like hot cakes( or in Mexico…hot tamales). We got to tech after a lot of pushing( we didnt have to line up as we are a bike they let us scoot to the front) but it’s all part of the experience and the team soaked it up. It was our moment and was really cool. We regret that Cam and Scott missed this adventure as they were running essential errands. They headed down after though and got to see the excitment. Thanks for sacrificing the time you guys. The trucks will be stocked with food and water for the team and that is super important.
After tech we headed back to the room and finished the prep and took care of some lst minute planning, ate a rushed supper, and split up for the last time. Cam, Corey, mark and I went to riders meeting, and Scott, Isaac, Ali and Cal headed to San Felipe on the other side of the Baja. Here is the race plan:
Mark, Corey, Cam and I , rise and shine at 4:45. Corey and Cam need to get out of Ensenada to get Corey to race mile 70. Traffic will be nuts and we expect 2 km lines at all the military check points. They need to beat those lines. Mark and I will head to the start line for 6 AM. Our bike shouldn’t leave until around 7 but you need to stage and get ready and get your tracking device which will make sure you don’t go off course and cheat a bit. I will officially start the race but I will get off after 10 feet or so and Mark will be off to mile 70 where Corey will get on. It should only take hime about 1 and a half hours to get it there but he will have to be careful as the million viewers are famous for messing with the course and trying to get the riders lost or wet, or whatever. Mark will ride conservative through town before opening it up to full speed. Corey will then take the bike over the mountain summit, a rocky technical ride that he is well suited for. It is very similar to our mountain rides at home. Once over the summit he will pass the bike off about 2 hours later on Laguna Salada to out pinch rider up from the minor leagues…Isaac will ride the tough but short 40 mile section of whoops, rocks, silt and gravel wash until Borrego at mile marker 194 which should take approx. 1:30 minutes. That’s where Cal will put on the headlight and get on for a long section that will take him to mile marker 320. I think Cal was hoping for 5-6 hours for that section. Its tough, sandy and will be the hottest part of the day. It should be dusk at this point and be around 5 pm. Meanwhile Corey has ridden in a truck from laguna salada to mile 320 where Cal will pass it to him for the first of the night runs. Corey will ride to mile marker 400 ( About 2-3 hours) and pass the bike to Mark who will ride the whoops in the dark past Borrego and onto Valley Of Trinidad.( another 3 hour section or so…remember it is in the dark now.) Mark will pass me the bike at mile marker 505 and I will take it all the way to the finish. My section is fast with a really hard 40 mile section from 610 to 640, and then into town for the same section Mark did coming out of town…70 miles to go. Te team will all be racing up behind to try and catch me before I cross the finish line. Like clock work we will finish around the 24 hour mark and be in Ensenada for Breakfast…unless something happens…and we are faster…haha Heres a time break down
7am darin Starts 7:01 Mark gets on( remember the plan that I have to start or finish…if I cant continue at the end, my team is disqualified)..Mark Rides to mile 70
9 am. Corey gets on and rides to mile 154…2 hours
11:00am Isaac gets on rides 40 miles to 194…1:30 hours
12:30pm Cal gets on, changes lights( 30 Minutes) and rides to 320…around 5-6 hours
5:30pm Corey gets on at 320 and rides to 400…3 hours
8:30pm Mark gets on at 400 and rides to 505…3 hours
11:30pm Darin gets on and rides it in to the finish 505 to 705…7 hours in the dark
6:30am Team meets me at the finish with a morning coffee, bacon and eggs…no wait, I’m a vegetarian…but I’m delerious so who cares.
During all this of course our chase team/trucks are all over the map, getting us in place and servicing the bike and just plain working hard. They are up at the sae time and I believe we will all be up for over 24 hours before this thing is done. They want to hop into the truck and drive 3000 km right after the race to get home. I wonder if that will still be the plan? We are all missing our families and are anxious for this to be over, just as we are anxious for it to begin. The constant planning, thinking, and working has taken its toll but It has been the adventure of a lifetime. There will be some great campfire stories when this is all over…speaking of which, I gotta get up at 4:45 and it’s already 12:00. Guess I’d better get some sleep. Rest well my friends for tomorrow…WE RIDE…( and we don’t need no stinking badges either…haha)
Day at El Rancho Refugio and start pre run in Ensenada
Besides the dog attack, the high light of my day was rolling into the school that Hunter’s preschool teacher, Hannah Pauls moved her family to live at. I told Tim, her husband that I was proud of his efforts and commitment to help these people when it would have been easier to stay at home and live the status quo life. I can see that they are loved and respected and I know that they love it even though it is a trade off of sorts and there are many hurdles to overcome. You are true pioneers and your family is lucky for the opportunities you have created for them. Hats off to you. Cam and Scott arrived and delivered all the goodies that our families had collected to provide these families. They were swarmed with love and admiration and they were moments I won’t soon forget. The kids were over the top excited to meet the racers, and get stickers and candy from these tall pasty folks but it was all smiles. One of the boys who lives in a tent with his family of 7, had his hands on every gadget, sticker, candy, my wallet…he was unstoppable. He wore my headlight around and it broke my heart to ask for it back as I really need it race night in case something goes wrong in the dark for me and I need to fix something. I will send it to him when I am done. He sat on my bike and beeped the horn until the battery almost went dead. Cam and Scott were in their element, surrounded by kids, handing out candy collected buy our kids at home. I will post pics when I get home. You guys made such a difference to those people. They will remember you forever. Cam was only slightly hunched over as he had put his back out lifting one of the bags at the start of the week. It was great that you got to see a silver lining in your slipped disc cloud…haha. Thanks soo much again. You guys are the best! And a big thanks to all who helped at home. Ang, Sherri, Kelly and all you other do gooders…share in fun we had through the stories and pictures we will send you…
Yesterday was a blur and my short synopsis will have to hold you over until I can get some rest and finish the stories. There has been some team developments that you should know about. It became apparent to me that we needed another rider to ride a section on the west side so it would free me up to be on the east side to finish the race. I was previously slated to ride from laguna salad to Borrego and then from Valley of Trinidad to the finish. That would have me up at 5 am, across the entire peninsula to laguna, then after that gruelling 40 mile section of rocks and whoops, I would sit in a car for 10 to 12 hours before starting my 7 to 8 hour section to the finish. That would have me up for over 18 hours before I got on the bike which would be nuts ( do-able but nuts) so we decided to recruit Isaac to run that far section and that would allow me to start the race. He’s totally capable and excited and he ran that section today. Keep her going Isaac…Let me explain. As rider of record my name is kind of like “team captain” and I have to either start or finish the race. If something happens to me on the course and I am unable to continue we are disqualified. So the plan is for me to “start”…I cross the start line and immediately give the bike to Mark who does the first 70 miles. That way if I run into trouble any one can jump in and help get the bike to the finish. It is sound thinking and will hopefully get us a trophy…although seeing cam and Scott handing out goodies was even better than a trophy! ( I wont say no to a victory though…happy with a finish…gunning for the trophy). I have to head to bed but before I go….this wild dog( there are hundreds on the course was chasing me down the start section through Ensenada today. I didn’t see him but Mark did and we hustled up to where the road led onto the streets and were forced to stop for traffic as the course is still open to the public. It was then I was scared out of my socks by the sound of rabid dog attacking a boot…luckily it wasn’t mine. He attacked Mark…sensing the weaker of the herd I guess( haha) and lunged at Marks leg…Mark shot out into traffic and we continued on our way through the streets and up into the mountains. The most treacherous part of the course in my opinion as the city is full of dogs, kids, people partying and trying to set booby traps on the course. Not to mention the maze that the city provides …the course goes through the centre of a million person city. Glad that this is mark’s section…whoops..its mine to as the first 70 miles is the same as the last 70 miles. I would have to do this section backwards…2 more days…Can’t wait….sleepy time
Chapter 8, 9 10
O My goodness. time is tight for blogging. Here is a summary of things I don’t want to forget.
Whoops from San Felipe to san Matias with mark, Ali and Isaac…best ride ever…except Ali crashed hard…good skills to not be hurt to badly. She got engaged today over the phone…where whooping it up for her…Yahoo…Congrats! Our group rocked it today…super fast. had a flat…10 kids helped us changed flat…sooo funny. Auto graphs, stickers, jokes, bike tricks…we signed all their shirts and sat them on the bikes…I told then Isaac was Gay….man we laughed…Excellent supper at Valley T,…met buddies of a stuntman friend at supper ( and our competion…made a bet…haha) In middle of now where…he had a head on collision with 3 quads going the wrong way on course…is ok but a bit whoozie…met the crazy team guys from Edmonton…he was uncouncious for some time…back pre running…turns out they are a freestyle moto team…haha,…worked all night on packing up…woke up at 5 am to do oil change…got 4 hours sleep and headed to do my section…IT WAS AWESOME …Cal got sick though and had to duck out last 40 miles. I did the rest on my own and came out in the dark. Mark found me by some miracle on the highway…so cool. I did 140 miles in 5 hours 30 minutes and 20 miles of that was in the dark by myself( gotta go slower when alone)…met all my old friends ( Kye, Jeff, Terry, Kenny…)in Ensenada at the American Hotel…so great to see them…Cal rode the high way into town and ate at taco stand…the taco stand driver drove around town to get us and bring us to taco stand…so funny. I had many rooms arranged but team couldn t join us. Will join us in the am…also went to Rancho Santa Marta orphanage…really cool. heading to school tomorrow with donations and doing last 100 miles to town…as well as start…team needs to find new starter…I got 3 different lines on one and should have one by tomorrow…oh ya…almost hit a cow today…ran out in front of my tire and stopped (no notice at all, in the dark…slammed on brakes…little fella just came to his senses in time and got out of the way. Luckily going slow( 2nd gear) in the dark. Lots of little karma things as well…begger asking for money reminded me I didnt have my wallet…I hunted him down and gave him 10 pessos after…saved my day….raced with Wide open buggies for the first 50 miles of my section…they cant catch me….haha, I love it…great talk with Mark in the truck on way out…great guy…lovin the trip despite the stress and tonnes of work..its non stop…need a vacation from my vacation!..wouldn’t have it any other way.
Forgive the point form…I used perpeteum today. Its an endurance product for racing and it has 25 mg of caffeine…per dose…I had 12 during my section…yahoo… still flying…soon to crash though I ammm suuurrrreeee.zzzzzzzzzzzzz
There were so many things that made me laugh today, I don’t know where to start…my sides hurt! God, I love these guys! We started out as planned and headed for mile marker 70 which is a three hour drive form San Felipe, our home base for the moment. The discussion around the breakfast table centered around relationships and the ones we love and it eventually led to Ricardo sharing that he was going through a hard time with his spouse. Through all the sharing we found that we all have the same, struggles, the same fears and ultimately the same challenges in keeping our relationships strong. It is a good reminder that the only thing that really matters is our loved ones and they are most often the ones who challenge us to change and grow the most. That growth happens within and changes the way we relate…only sometimes we slide back into old patterns of behavior instead of moving forward. Then we end up BEING something we don’t like…I guess thats why we’re called Human BEINGS. I am committed to BEING loving…it seemed to work today, and I was reminded of the movie Into The Wild…the moral of that movie…Happiness isn’t really happiness if you have no one to share it with so take care of those relationships that are important.
Our conversation continued on the drive towards the west coast and an ironic sequway conversation started about the washes that we race in sometimes. They are dry, rocky, sandy valleys, that are super fun and challenging to ride in. Ricardo told us a story about the Baja 500 a couple years back where there was a flash flood. I rained for about an hour in the mountains and it filled the course with water 2 feet deep…yikes. (Interestingly enough later in the evening, it rained for over 4 hours but I will tell you more about that in a minute)
Our group today was Corey, Isaac, Ali and me and our plan as 110 miles over the summit of a mexican mountain range which I would guess to be 5500 above sea level where we started from. A fast wide open section proceeded this elevator ride, and of course after, many miles of sandy, rocky wash with tonnes of whoops( big bumps, one after the other…for miles and miles…arg) and then onto the soon to be not so dry lake bed at Laguna Salada.( Forshadowing) We would then do a 40 mile stretch assigned to me to the highway at borrego, where we would meet up with Ricardo and head home.Simple plan and it worked quite well. We had great fun on our ride. Ali is lighting fast and I can see how she could take on ISDE six days, an incredibly grueling race that every rider has on his/her bucket list. We never have to wait much for Ali but her bike has seen better days. Luckily we have Isaac along who is just as fast, and a good natured cross between a toy tinker and a real mechanic…funny and handy to boot. The problems we encountered were handled easily and we made it to laguna in under 4 hours. Not blinding fast but considering Isaac had no rear brakes ( if you recall they fell out first day…haha) and we were all carrying 8 litres of fuel on each hip in bleach bottles that Ricardo had pillaged from local San Felipe Business owners. It was pretty good ride with a few snack stops, a few non-inury crashes, lots of photo stops …and of course some impromptu bike maintenance.
We met some buggie racers from New York, some fellow sportsman bike racers from Japan, and even got passed by Larry Roesler…I think he’s a famous golfer ( just kidding…famous off road racer). We filled up at laguna ( thanks to baja pits for arranging that) and rode my section to Borrego. It was like deja vu of the 2010 500 that I raced the quad in and I enjoyed my stroll down memory lane, complete with deep silt beds, big whoops, and crashed quad. Great times, except for the roll over that nearly cost my team the championship. They had to work a bit harder to win in the 1000 and capture the title but they were kind enough to invite me and kelly along for the fun. Those photos are in the baja 500 secton on this sight. Miss you guys. Hope to see you down here.
As we pulled into the sand hills at Borrego is where the story gets interesting. We rolled into an area looking for Ricardo when A rider flags us over and asked if I had seen a ktm 640 on the trail. I told him no…and I’d hate to be the guy riding that particular monster of a bike over such a difficult section. He said”where you from” we laughed as we learned that we live 3 hours apart. We had met up with a team from Edmonton who had an interesting plan to race the toughest race on the planet. I will share that in a minute. ( more forshadowing) First the rider. We asked where he got on the course and he said, mile marker 70. Hey we got on there too, what time did you drop him?…noon was the reply! We looked at each other in disbelief and did the math…they were in for a surprise. We started at 10 am and were on fully prepped, woods bikes. Our Northern Alberta friend had started late and was riding a 300 lb monster with 65 hp and by himself to boot. Neither of which any sane man would attempt, especially when it gets dark at 4:30. We took 6 hours…he was going to take a lot more which means they would have to wait until way after dark. Oh well, they replied. Might as well start a fire. Then something freakish happened…it started to rain! I have NEVER seen it rain here but as Ricardo stated previously it happens…and it was happening…fast. We figured it would be a good idea to exchange numbers in case they needed support or visa versa. We did and they told us their support plan. They have one prerun bike to share between all 3 riders…guess what bike it is…right…the ktm 640. And they have one van for support, and they are racing a ktm 300 which is actually pretty cool. Collin ( an Edmonton racer) then asked about doing the entire San Felipe section…in one day…by himself…on the 640…and then riding the highway back to Borrego. I told him…Sure, anything is possible…there’s a couple of whoops though that might slow you down a bit but you can do it. He smiled, thinking I was SERIOUS and said, “I knew I could do it”. Corey, Isaac, and Ali were looking on with open mouths…wide open mouths. Even they weren’t sure if I was being sarcastic or thinking that it could actually be done. I stiffled a smile and bold face lied and said sure, you can probably do it by lunch. OMG!! are you drunk…there are so many things wrong with that plan I don’t even know where to begin. It took us an entire day just to run one hundred mile section down there…on moto cross bikes…it was then that the sprinkle started to turn into a lot more…more to come…Darin
Their plan was to drop each rider at the start of his section, let them prerun it…by THEMSELVES! The truck would wait at the end of the prerun. They had split the course into three sections ( equal miles of course) and were going to link it together by weeks end and then race. A good plan… unless you knew anything about Baja!!!
Our team thought something similar until we hired Ricardo, who lives in Ensenada and guides motorcycle tours down here. He knows baja like the back of his hand ( odd saying that one…I couldn’t describe the back of my hand to someone but you get the idea). Ricardo helped us design our race sections and some small 40 mile sections feel like 80 mile sections, while some others can fly by in an hour. The moral, it’s not the mileage that counts but how tough the miles are. Mark for example has a 40 mile section that the trucks don’t even pre run because it’s so hard. Its like doing pushups with a couple of kids on your back…fun for the first few but grueling after 3 hours of it. We all have parts like that throughout our sections, but if you can get breaks where the riding isn’t as technical, you can survive with some sembalance of speed ( kind of like spreading the push ups over the entire Christmas break rather than all day).
Back to the Edmontonians…they were in for a wait. Their rider had left late, on a crazy pre run bike that would be extremely difficult to ride in anything technical, and he was by himself and soon to be in the dark. We wished them luck and loaded up the bikes, ate an incredible burrito that Ricardo had picked up for us at San Matiaus, and headed for home…in the rain.( remember Ricardo’ story). When we arrived to San Felipe our friends from Calgary showed up to help us. Scott and Can had driven all the way from Calgary ( over 3000 km). To help us set up the race, preun, and have an adventure. Well the adventure started when we walked into our room and found a shot ski…a ski with 5 shot glasses embedded in it. Isaac quickly ran out and bought some tequila which started the next adventure…and we all know where those adventures lead. Ask them in person how the night went after that…they’ll tell you if they can remember.
As responsible racers Corey, Cal and Me left “THE CLUB” and went home. Right before we left though I remembered to text our Edmonton friends. Here is the conversation:
Did you guy get out?
He got out but the bike didn’t. He went over the bars, knocked himself out, and was driven out by a passing buggy. The bike is still at mile 150, we are going to go in and get it tomorrow.
My response…have you looked out side?…its really raining…like monsoon rain.
Ya it’s going to be fun?, he replied.
I offered up our teams help and as of 8:30 this morning we haven’t heard from them but mile marker 150 is on the other side of the dry lake bed…which will no longer be dry. As a matter of fact, it will be a lake, of three foot deep mud. So to recap: three guys, one pre run bike, the bike is a 640 and it is trapped on the course at 150 on the other side of an impassible lake of mud about 10 miles long. They still have the entire course to pre run minus the 80 miles that the concussed rider did that he may or may not remember. It all comes down to perspective I guess.
I can see that they think they have it all managed and they may just well pull it off, which they indeed may( it’d be a miracle) When I apply that to our situation I can see the same things happening but on a different level. Just when you think you have it all managed Baja will throw you a curve ball and the next thing ya know your on an adventure. Can’t wait to see whats next….Darin
Chapter 6, Nov. 11…remember!
Day off from riding today. We did however spend 3 hours with Ricardo at breakfast planning our sections, where trucks need to be, who needs to be in which truck, and a million other details. It made our heads hurt by the end and our nerves were a bit rattled by the end of it all. We did bike maintenance, worked on the race bike, and got ready for tomorrow for the next adventure. My body needed a break anyways as the trip and all the riding, organizing,ect had givin me a monster headache. I just wanted to not think about anything…and thats what I did…haha. Tomorrow is another day…up at 5:50 to get to mile marker 70…to try the summit to Borrego at mile marker 190. Should be fun.
Chapter 5…Wake up call day Nov.1o
Classic baja day, broken femurs, lost riders out of gas, caught in the dark, no food, lights, or goggles, mexican ambulance, dead battery in the truck, Ghost busters playing in a semi…who ya gonna call? Let me explain.
Today began like most, up at 5:50, breakfast, and hit the road. As with any day though, our plan to be on the road by 6:30 never materialized. We had worked hard on our bikes the night before and had everything loaded and a plan in place to drive 2 trucks to Borrego, drop one group of riders who would run from mile marker 190 to to 320, and then continue on to mile marker 70 to drop the second group who would run from there until 190, thus grabbing the second truck and meeting Ricardo at Borrego. Seemed like a good plan at the time…we were wrong. Life’s like a box of chocolates right???
We needed more gas than we could carry in our bikes which became evident during our breakfast meeting. Ricardo went to pillage restaurants for 4 litre juice containers, not because he needs to supliment his income, but because they would be added to our belts as extra gas. Kinda like 2 wheeled exon Valdez. Our plan was to carry two, 4 litre bleach/juice containers on our belts and add them as we rode. It was the only way we could each complete our sections. After Ricardo collected the jugs, we got piled into the trucks, it was 8:00, not the early start we had hoped for but still workable. After we passed through the 2 military check points we parked at Borrego and dropped Calvin, Ali, and Isaac. They got changed into their gear, strapped on a pile of gas (not even close to enough we later learned) and headed out to do the bottom loop of the course. We proceeded 2 more hours up the road to mile marker 70, a section that I knew very well from Racing last years Baja 500. I had ridden this section 4 or 5 times and was confident that Mark, Corey and I could rip the entire section in plenty of time before dark. I know these guys so well as we ride together all the time and I am confident of their skill level and predictability when riding. they have good riding heads on their shoulders. We struck out knowing we would have to push it to make it out before dark..it was 12:30. We had 4 hours to clear the summit, cross Laguna Salada, and carry on to Borrego. We had to be steady, but not push it as we learned from Yesterday…completing pre running means you get to race, right? We were setting a great pace with Corey up front, Mark in the middle and me running sweep. This is probably going to be Coreys section, so he needed to figure it out, therefore he gets to see it dust free and ride whatever pace he wants. It is one of my favourite section, fast, loamy, sweeping corners, 4th and 5th gear…60 mph plus. Super fun.
We had just marked a way point on Corey’s GPS and were about to head into the mountains, when we came across a wreck. Two riders, One standing, one Lying down very uncomfortable looking. We inquired and found the one rider had a broken femur, spot was activated and help was on the way. We helped stabilize the fracture sight, and then tried to roll the rider we later learned was named Jeff, onto his side. He had been lying there for 2 hours awaiting help and I knew there was no internal stuff going on or he would have been in serious trouble or gone by now( yucky thought) We gathered wood for a fire, as I was still worried about shock. I had Oxecodone and aspirin but was worried about dropping blood pressure so I gave him a 500mg tylanol. He had already taken ibruprofen 3 hours earlier. It was a bit rattling trying to remember everything from EMR training but we kept him fine for a while, and I felt good that he was stable, in good spirits and help was on the way. His leg was as stable as we could get it. We used a spine protector and a stout stick to splint the fracture which occurred right above the knee brace, a common injury among riders. We didn’t want to splint it to the other leg as he was lying on his side and he would have been even more uncomfortable. I figured the air ambulance would have a ked splint or an air cast of some sort, so we would wait for them. It was then we heard from a passing buggy, that spot had indicated through radio that an air ambulance was not coming and they thought he was in hospital already…yikes. the spot system had worked but had lost something in the translation. It was then I began to worry. Jeff was getting cold, a sign of shock, so we made a wind block, covered him with jackets, and gathered more wood for a fire. His leg was an inch or two shorter on the injured leg so I was worried it had over lapped and my be close to his femoral artery. He wanted to be on his back and we did our best to roll him and provide some traction but it was a guessing game and I wasn’t willing to gamble. It took 2 more hours for the mexicans to get an ambulance down the course and we had used my cell phone to call his wife, and some other ssupporters. His support crew also showed up and we had to make the call, should we stay or go, as were were now trapped by the lack of daylight. The summit is a technical section that requires huge concentration…but I thought we could make the tougher sections before it got dark…we decided to stay as it didn’t seem like they had enough hands to do a safe lift and there wasn’t anyone else with any training in case his condition deteriorated. It turned out that one of his fellow riders turned up with his crew and he was and EMT. We shared the same sinking feeling. It was 2:30 ish and the clock was ticking for him. We decided to try the lift into the ambulance as a chopper will not fly at night down here and there was only 2 more hours of day light. The chopper would have to come from San Diego! I was really worried that we would nick that artery in the transfer and the riders did an amazing job of stabilizing his leg while we did the transfer. He is HUGE for taking all that pain and not passing out. It was evident how much pain he was in and he held it together like a warrior. Th mexican emt’s did a good job as well, although I was not entirely comfortable with their training. Once he was in and not writhing in pain anymore, we felt more comfortable and I can only imagine his trip out…4 miles or so on a bumpy race course in a 1978 ambulance. I was not impressed with no air coverage and will follow up with spot about that. I spoke with his wife and she had someone on the line who might have ben able to get a chopper in but…
That was 1 eighth of our ride…it was a long ride over…we got caught in the dark…but I will have to leave that story for tomorrow…I am wiped. Suffice it to say that was one of ten different lessons learned today…more to come about today…tomorrow
Update…just heard from James, Jeff’s riding mate and Jeff is OK and was transported to Ensenada, and then San Diego. Mend well my friend…Darin
Update 2 the next day.
Now I have recovered a bit I can tell the rest of the story. We continued over the summit after the femur incident and were riding well. The summit is a bit easier since the last time I rode it last year, but it is still challenging. We rode over the peak, dodging the big rocky sections, and one section that I remembered from last year with huge 3 foot cliff drops that cause lots of grief. It was nice to have seen it before and know where to go to avoid the trouble. It was like old times again with Mark, Corey and I riding together. It is a different experience when you know everyone in the group so well. As it got progressively darker we ended up in some sand washes and got separated for a 20 mile section. Somehow we had passed Corey who was in the lead and we went to the next mile marker and were miffed that he didn’t wait. We continued on for another 10 miles and he wasn’t there either. We know from experience that he wouldn’t deviate from the plan so we figured we missed him somewhere. 20 miles is a long way and we were hoping he wasn’t lost. We rode back, didn’t find him but then he rode up to us…we still haven’t solved how we passed him twice with out seeing him but that’s baja for you. It cost us about 30 minutes and by then it was getting dark. We were having a blast in the deep sand, dodging rocks that were hidden and trying not to get nabbed by the native vegetation. Every tree branch seems to have a giant thorn waiting to stick you…we all have ripped jerseys. I wear a heavy riding jacket for this reason but the rookies like to be cool ( both from a heat and coolness side)…they’ll learn…haha. In the dark everything changes and I got turned around a couple times but the course is pretty easy here with one exception. Getting onto laguna salada can be tricky. Right at that point I told the guys to follow me as I thought I remembered the path through. It turned out to be perfect timing as we went over a rise and right into a huge silt bed. Two feet of silt engulfed my bike and I was forced to pin the throttle to get through…good for me…not so good for Mark and Corey behind me. I was laughing so hard I almost crashed. You couldn’t even see their lights…haha. When the dust cleared( it takes many minutes, we found our way through. They were sure I had planned it all and I didn’t have the heart to tell them I didn’t…just got lucky…haha. Onto Laguna Salada we ventured. I t is a dry lake bed where you can go 100 mph. As it was night we were doing around 60mph which still seems fast. We saw Ricardo flash his lights on the highway a full 10 miles away. Its neat here as there is no city lights or other lights and you can see for a long ways. We got back to the truck feeling tired but great after sharing such a ride. It’s hard to explain but it’s a euphoria and all seems well in the world and you feel unstoppable…overall a pretty good day with the buddies I love and we got back safe and sound…although about 4 hours late. Ricardo waited the entire day for us on the highway to pick us up. He truly is an asset to our team and I don’t know how we would do it with out him. I am glad he is here…quite frankly we wouldn’t be able to do it with out him!
Ricardo goes to start the truck and of course it is dead…we laughed. Out in the middle of a desert highway we are stranded after spending 170km in the craziest terrain…we are stranded on the highway. I texted kelly just to let her know we were safe and told her what was going on. She, in turn, called everyone else and the next thing you know, there are 4 people texting back and forth trying to rescue us in mexico on the highway. We were laughing as the texts came in…we flagged several cars down for a boost and now one wanted to have anything to do with us…until a fully loaded semi practically locked up brakes. We couldn’t believe it. The biggest, hardest thing to pull over was just the thing that did…so funny. When he got out he cranked up his stereo and what was playing but, Ghost Busters. More belly laughing. Up and going again thanks to the semi driver who I tipped 10$ for the effort…too funny. By the time we got home we figured the rest of our group would be worried and heading to find us as we were about 6 hours late at this point. I texted them several times and thought they would have all they needed for info until Ricardo informed us that their phones were in the truck with him…more laughter. Kelly e-mailed and texted Isaac who was relieved to hear we were Ok because they had just got in as well. They all ran out of gas and had to be rescued by a buggie who filled their bikes full. they then ran out again which means we totally miscalculated the gas required for such a ride. It wasn’t long but it was all sand whoops which eats way more gas. Calvin was also running a bit fast in pre running and got off the bike in 5th gear. He nose wheeled for 180 feet before launching another 100 feet off his bike. He figured he separated a few ribs and he bit his tongue real bad which turned out to be good luck bad luck senario. He sounds kinda funny when he talks now which makes everyone laugh and thats keeping us smiling…haha
Over calculate for gas in Baja
always pack for an overnight stay
Pre run and race like you want to get home again
Remember in the dark you need good lights and clear goggles
Get good insurance
Carry your cell phone…its how we helped Jeff and texted everyone…lots of cell coverage down here
Glad we learned them with little or no consequences…besides a fat tongue!
Meanwhile Calvin, Ali and Isaac had their own adventure:
This is Cal’s story ( a bit late, but here it is)…. Day two started out great with Calvin Isaac and Ali riding the section that I will be riding come race day. It will be a 124 mile ride that will have every aspect of Baja in it (except for silt beds)…. I’m thankful for that! Lots of Woops Soft sand Big rocks High speed dry lake bed and one sections that looks like the moon. It was a long day, we packed 1 gallon of gas each and that wasn’t even close to being enough! The ride was going great, feeling good, setting a good pace and having a blast. The first 15 miles of woops were soon forgotten once we got onto the dry lake bed then it was 30 miles of WOT (wide open throttle). Came across a truck in the middle of nowhere, 10 miles later we came across the rider that was to make it back to that truck…. Get this, he was walking in the middle of the desert in his sock feet and no gear, (he thought he would save energy if he got rid of his riding boots). Ended up doubling him back to his bike and giving him enough gas to make it 10 miles to his truck. For the next 50 miles we ran into stretches of high speed that would always end up with a quick series of big woops and soft deep sand, or a sharp corner. We then came across a support team waiting to fuel their buggy, but we had not seen it so I assumed it was still behind us. fortunately for us he was able to sell us gas and were were completely refuelled (still not enough). We entered the Matomy wash, a beautiful area with a nice narrow canyon that you work your way through over big rocks and gravel that swallows up your tires if you go to slow. I came up on a team pre running in a buggy, they saw me coming so they pulled out ahead of me and the race was on! For the next 10 miles it was back and forth between them and me, I would get close but have to back off because of the dust and I could not see anything. This section was fast, but full of deep gravel and big rocks! Finally an opportunity to get out of his dust and I took a different line, a nice sweeping corner at about 50 mph, a quick look over to find the buggy, and that is where it all went wrong. I hit a rock buried in the gravel, someone hit the launch button and I was staring at the ground as I rode the front wheel for 102 feet. (I stepped it out after I recovered). It seemed like forever and I actual thought the back might come back down…. that didn’t happen! Over the bars I went with the bike landing on me, a few acrobatics and the bike and I came to a stop another 85 feet down the trail. Winded, separated my ribs, and bit my tongue (bad). Other than that I was fine. The last 30 miles of the ride were not quite as fun as the first 94, more like survival and just get back to town. We made it out to the hi-way, then it was about 15 to 20 miles and we were back, how ever that didn’t pan out very well either. Out of Gas with 10 miles left to go…. the day would just not end! One bike down, took the gas from the 2nd bike and put it into the 3rd so it could make it back to town to refuel. Lesson learned on that ride was pre running is for learning the course and race day is for racing the course, other wise the would call it pre racing! A couple days off and I be back in action.
Day one of pre running turned out to be eventful and fun. It started off with getting up an hour early due to the fact that I failed to set my watch back an hour. Therefore up at 5 am, Whoops! Lovely breakfast on the beach and then Ricardo showed up…yahoo. I hadn’t seen him since the 1000 last year and was grateful he could come and help us out. I definitely feel better having him along to help with logistics, work on bikes, take us too good restaurants, and generally make this all work. he is a super big help and I know the guys will appreciate his input. Once a plan was in place we headed out to mile 21 on the the highway south of San Felipe. At that point we entered the desert and started ” pre running” the course. We started an 80 mile section crossing the bottom section of the course through the old water washes. We figured it would be a good test of our gas range, abilities and bikes. It turned out to be a test for all three. I had several things come loose on my bike and had to stop several times and readjust riding gear, tools, ect before I got to feeling right. The bike performs well for a tank…haha. I caught the group and we headed into the deep sandy, silty, whoopy sections and the crew did well. We had the entire crew including support ride with us today to gage skill levels and make sure everything was going to hold together. If something goes wrong at any point, whether it’s rider or bike, the entire group would be in for a very long extraction…ie it would take us over 24 hours to get an injured rider or broke down bike out of these remote section. Pre running is a time for learning but also of prudence and it takes a day or two to learn this. I learned it a couple years ago when I was pushing way to hard in the middle of Mutumbo wash and I went over the bars doing 40 mile per hour. It could have been the end of my ride, both for my bike and me, but I got lucky and now I pre run with more reserve. It also means a crazy difficult time for the team getting you out so there is much to consider. There were a couple of good crashes but no one got hurt to badly. Most were low speed fall overs that happen when your not going fast enough, usually in the deep sand or silt and your bike flops all over the place before it crashes to the ground. Corey went down on a higher speed one and bumped his head so I will wake him at midnight or so to make sure he’s OK. Turns out he was up to pee ever 2 hours so I am sure he is fine. The group is very similar in riding skill level and our support riders could fill in quite handily if needed as they know how to handle a bike very well. Isaac runs a shop in Calgary Called Toys Boys and probably rides in his sleep…his whole life is about bikes and having fun. It was great riding with him and watching him laugh and giggle at all the fun things you encounter here. He is also very handy to have on the trail as we had numerous breakdowns and he helped sort those out. He also rode everyones bike and swapped off numerous times as his bike was layed up with some brake trouble. In true Isaac form he hopped from bike to bike with style and never missed a beat. Great to have you along Isaac, your attitude and skill set are a perfect match for our group. You fit right in! Ali, also joined us riding a ktm 300…the only 2 stroke ( and girl) on the ride today. She rocked for the entire ride and only had a small hiccup when her petcock got gummed up. I know that sounds weird but it is best not to ask. Isaac sorted out her petcock and got her up and running again( if only I could read your mind here I know I would be laughing). Great to have you along as well Ali, You add a great dynamic as well and are very good natured for a girl…haha just kidding! Ali will be competing in the Germany ISDE this coming year and this is good training for her. I would just ask if she would let me ride in the front at least some of the time…haha
Calvin and Corey are looking strong and developing blisters like they should to toughen em up for race day. The banter never stops and it keeps us all laughing and waiting for the next convoluted conversation that goes on for hours and never gets anywhere but funny…as if funny were the destination rather than the point. Good times! It is neat to see a group of riders develop together as you probably couldn’t really tell us apart speed or skill wise as we spend all our time riding together. Marky Mark isn’t quite himself as he is fighting a cold. He is still blazing fast and in the best shape out of all of us and we have decided to give him the toughest section, while reducing his mileage a bit. He will run the start to 70 miles, and turn it over to Corey, who will take it over the mountain summit and onto Laguna Salada or the dry lake bed, and then all the way to Borrego. He will then give the bike to Calvin, who will ride down the far side of the San Felipe loop and hand it off to Corey again who will do the ride we did today. Mark will get back on for the dreaded San felipe Whoop Section for a rough 50 miles or so and then hand off to me. I will dash for the finish and hopefully drink all the champaign before the boys can even make it back to Ensenda. My section is long and wont start till 2 am but it is fast, for the most part, with one really difficult 40 mile section at Santo Thomas. Should be fun!!! Many more things I would like to share but its up again at 6:00 am ( not 5 this time) and off to the next section of preruning…doing the summit with Corey and mark tomorrow, while Ali, Calvin, and Isaac are riding the lower loop. Ricardo is our driver extrordinaire…good night…
Chapter 3 Nov.7th
To say it’s been a laugh a minute would be an understatement. As with any great adventure the anticipation builds as every detail consumes your life as you frantically try and take care of everything for your trip as well as the details that need to be taken care of because you wont be home for 16 days. The anxiety builds to a frenzy of activity …and then you get in the truck! After that there’s not much to do but sit and drive but the energy is still present and the talk turns to racing, prerun planning, race order and, of course laughter. Even the silly things bring tears after you’ve been in the truck for 24 straight hours. I remember why I love these guys and cherish these times.We drove straight to Vegas…got out, showered and headed to the casino. I was up 12,578 credits in about ten minutes and was rolling…ya baby! That was when Corey informed me I was playing a penny slot and I made about 17 dollars on my 5 dollar investment…like I said…I was rolling! We had dinner at an all you eat buffet where the tears of laughter continued thanks to the 6 shot margaritas. Take a few years off drinking and see what happens…yikes. We left the casino and dropped off the dead weight who were to old to continue and Isaac and I headed to a club called Swingers. Dont get the wrong idea here, it was a golf themed club. It is owned and operated by a couple old friends, Travis and Keith and I wanted to drop in and surprise them but they we’re not working so we played some more penny slots. I came home with more than I left with thanks to Isaac’s savy gambling tips but we came home with thick heads thanks to my enthusiasm at the bar. Getting to Know Ali and Isaac better has been fun. They offered to come down and help and be a part of our adventure and Isaac even donated 1000$ to help with our entry fee. A huge thanks for that Isaac ( and for the gambling tips…haha) He owns a shop called Toys For Boys and he has lots of cool things for sale for the guy who has everything. Head down to his shop and buy something for that special someone. Ali offered to join us as well and is a gal who laughs a lot and has lots of positive energy and she’ll be great to have around. She will also been one to learn from as she was on last years canadian ISDE team in Mexico and rides like a banshee. The group became almost complete when Mark joined us tonight in Yuma. He flew in from a wedding and now we are awaiting the last of our team mates, Cam, Scott and finally Alan Podvin from Denver who is building my LX 470 right now and then driving down. Anyhow here are some high lights and I’m sure there will be many more. It will be the last of the party crazy times as we will be prerunning and all business from this point on. Nutrition and riding will be the focus now and we found out that the class we signed up in is the competitive one with many European champions competing for our trophy…it’s on Like Donkey Kong! Missing my girls back home and loving them for supporting my dreams…Until tomorrow…Darin
November 4th, Chapter 2…the sendoff
Sheri and Corey hosted a big send off party at their house in Bearspaw where all the friends, supporters and families got together to help organize and send us off with love and well wishes. It was a great night and it filled our hearts with what we will need in the coming days without our families beside us. We will miss everyone and our prime directive is to get back to our families safe and sound(with a trophy in hand of course)
Nov.1, 2011 Chapter 1
Calvin Plum took on making the trip special and now the team is faced with trying to live up to a fantastic looking race bike. He custom designed every detail of the bike right down to the flaming skull on the front fender. Which brings me to todays point. It’s better to look good than to be good…haha. This should get attention at the start line. It just goes to show you that even though we’re all grown up…there’s still a 5 year old in all of us who “if you could design it anyway you wanted, what would you put on it?”…we put skulls ( because we want to be cool just like those guys who ride Harleys). Ya get out of my way…I’m tough…although not quite tough enough for a skull tatoo, that would be a bit too much. ( or would it…maybe we should…never mind)