Race day began like any other,up at 4 :30,on the road travelling by 5:30.We had rented another car as we needed a car at each drop point for the rider who came in. Because the race is spread out so far, it is a logistical nightmare. I followed Kenny and Kye for 2 hours to get to his drop point. We left him and the truck there and proceeded another 3hours down the road to the dry lake bed. Meanwhile back in Ensenada Brad had started. He was doing his best to avoid all the traps set by the locals close to town. They find great humour in digging pits , building jumps around corners, as well as daming up the many creeks to make them impassible. One of his crossings was 3 feet deep; it was a trickle during pre-run. The morning fog also made it impossible to wear any eye protection as his goggles were instantly covered with dampness and dirt no matter how much he wiped them.
As we were driving, Kenny and I were being updated by Kennys wife, Karin. Our fearless leader , Brad, also had his wife Jeanne, daughter Sammy, and mother in law Faith tracking the race for us and they were constantly updating where the quad was as well as how fast it was going. This was possible because Brad had attached a special gps to the quad. Brad had passed the quad off with no trouble to Kye…yahoo. We saw that he made it to Kye and Kye was travelling at 60 miles per hour so the race was on for Kenny and I. We needed to beat Kye to the lake bed so I could be ready to take over. Traffic was insane as all the other crews had the same idea. At one point there was a 2 km line up at a military checkstop. People were driving in the fields, down the wrong side of the road, and everywhere to get to their racers. It was just as crazy as the actual race. We later heard that Brad had passed a couple of riders which put us somewhere near the top of the field. Great riding, Brad!
I got to the lake bed where some locals had decided to set up an impromptu tole road. We were going to complain but how do you argue with a Mexican family with a rope across a lake bed. We got to the drop and Kenny left me and headed back to his section, another 1 hour drive for him.
As I sat in the 40 degree heat and got dressed I eagerly watched for Kye. He is a young downhill racer and is a fast quader so I thought he would be faster than his prerun times.
I was fully geared up , spare gas in hand, for about 2 hours. I didn’t want to be caught not ready when he showed up. Off in the distance a massive dust cloud appeared. It was Kye doing 75 miles per hour on the lake bed. He informed me to watch for a loose shock bolt that would have spelled disaster if a check point girl hadn’t noticed it coming out. It cost him 30 minutes to get that fixed which explained his timing. He would have been a full half hour faster if he didn’t need to stop and that would have been a full hour faster than his prerun time. The heat was intense! He came over the summit to hit a wall of moist heat even hotter than the lakebed. I talked with him after and he said he really had a battle going in his head about quiting…it was that unbearable! He won the battle with his mind which is the sign of a true champion. I was about to feel the heat myself as I headed for the desert. I got on after refueling and tightening the loose shock bolt and I hit top speed for about 3 miles before I hit a silt bed that promptly stopped me in my tracks. Prerunning was a full 20 degrees cooler as well as a completely different course. During the last couple of days the trophy trucks had been destroying the course with their 800 horse power trucks. I came to my small 8 inch deep, 500 meter silt bed, and hit 2 to 3 foot deep of soft silty soil that lasted for 2 km. It came over my head and I was blind but pinned as the adreniline from racing took over. I kept moving for about 1.5 km completely engulfed in silt before I came to a halt. The ruts were too deep and my forward momentum had slowed. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to drag the 400lb quad out of the rut in 50 degree heat. It was intense and I was only 10 miles in. I finally got moving due to some desperation revs and much pushing and my mind battle began…this was going to be a lot harder than prerun day. I was underway again. I got into a pretty good groove for about 10 miles and I started going faster and faster. I was getting hang of this. You see I had only actually drivin a quad twice. I preran on my dirt bike and once on the race quad and my experience was minimal. Just when I got going fast I got off the course about 50 feet and was hauling. The whoops on the course were big and I could make better time in the weeds. Well one patch of weeds had grown on a sand hill not unlike a big ant hill. I thought I was hitting a small weed patch when really it was a big mound. It hit the front right tire and catapulted me into the air and off to the left. As I landed and rolled away( I had experience to call on here) I began to think about the quad rolling down the trail after me. Yep there it was following me. It landed on top of my back but didn’t pin me. I lifted it off..Yahoo, I was fine. As I worked at flipping the quad back over. I saw that the quad hadn’t faired so well. The handle bar mounting bolts had snapped. They were big M12 bolts and I thought our race was over as I knew I had no spares. I felt like crap! Then I started to think o’ my goodness it’s 50 degees and I am in the middle of nowhere. Oh oh! My head was pounding and with no wind I now felt the full effect of the sun…wow! I hit the emergency button on the gps which allowed me to speak with gps headquarters, kind of like baja onstar. They informed me I was screwed. There were no roads to me and no way to get ahold of my crew. I was on my own.
I sent a spot GPS ( I carry an emergency gps becon that indicates my statis to Kelly and my mom on any rides I go on…that way I can get help anywhere I need it…unfortunatley Mexico is a bit far to drive to help out) I knew they would be watching my progress and see I was stopped. I almost sent a help message but decided against it. I took out the tool pack to see what we had and the pliers and zip ties were not going to be much help…oops. I then remembered seeing a truck about a mile back. I wondered if I could make it to them somehow? Luckily there was about a half inch of the bolt remaining so I shoved the handle bars back on and limped back to my Mexican angels. They didn’t speak much English but the universal language of I’ m screwed got across and they started rumaging through their 5 dollar tool box, in their 10 dollar truck, and voilà 2, 7/16 bolts that were close to the right length. Over 1 hour later and a lot of grunting and stripped Allan bolts I was back functional. Four big hugs and 200 pessos later I was traveling down the course again( I am uncanilly lucky at times ). I had to take it easy as those bolts were not very big and the whoops were.
At this point I was out of water and hot hot hot. I didn’t need a heart monitor as the pounding in my head was easily measurable. About 170 per minute I figure. I got into a rythum and felt more confident with the bolts so I picked up the pace.
That’s when the first trophy truck caught me. No warning, my spider sense started tingling and then I saw the helicopter oh oh. Just as I saw that I heard a defening roar and off to my left a truck railed past me doing about 90 miles per hour, sideways, in the whoops, he went off the course around me ( thankfully) and my race had changed! From that point on I would have to watch the sky for choppers and turn my head every 10 seconds. You see a truck doesn’t know what is making the dust so they just assume it’s the truck their chashing. Hence they don’t slow down. I must have hit the ditch 30 times for trucks and buggies travelling 10 times my speed. (My helmet cam was going to have an amazing story to tell but the camera has an operating temperature maximum and apparently the Mexican gods had exceeded that…no footage…crap!).
I started to have more arguments in my head about making it but I knew they were just feelings and emotions that were not real and I chose not to listen and just kept rolling. As I got closer to Borrego there started to be crouds of people in the funniest of places. I have no idea how they got there but I now had another resource for trophy truck indicating. When a drunk Mexican is yelling at you, just assume you should pull off cause something big is coming. That was my lesson and it payed off numerous times…but you can’t always trust a drunk Mexican. Some were busy building booby traps so it was a bit of a trade off.
I had radioed ahead from the Mexican 4 man angel team on their satalite radio( 10 dollar truck… 1000 dollar radio) and told the weatherman to have a triple clamp waiting as I didn’t think this one would hold. My entire section was very whoopy and the stearing column was taking a beating. I finally got to my next pit at mile 196 only to find they didn’t have another clamp…oh oh! I had no choice but to fuel up and carry on. Twenty more miles of whoops and I would be passing the quad to Kenny. Trophy truck, whoops ,trophy truck, whoops,trophy truck whoops is a pattern that is a bit unsettling. It was nice to have a class one buggy every once in a while to mix things up. Not to
mention the mexicans who were watching at certain sections. Every time I saw them I got nervous as I had heard that they had set up booby traps along my section. Thankfully my delay had givin course officials time to clear the obstructions…perhaps that is the silverlining in the cloud of my feeling that I had lost the race for my teammates. Despite everything I somehow made to Kenny at mile marker 222, 1 and 1/2 hour longer than my prerun time but I made it! Kenny tore off into the distance with a warning from me about the loose bolt and the weak steering bolts…I was worried but glad to be off…my head was spinning and I felt sick to my stomach.
I had many things to remember before I passed the quad off to Kenny at mile marker 222. .. GPS, gas, shock bolt, handle bar bolts and if no bolts I had thought I could reinforce them by wiring the entire thing together, thus making the bolts almost redundant. I was gassed up at 196 at baja pits and that was where I learned that the 7/16 bolts would have to do. In retrospect I should have taken it easier on the past 26 miles. You see I assumed there would BE bolts when I got there…oh well. During the next 26 miles I would dodge trucks, people dogs and boobytraps and as a result my mind wandered a bit. Talk to my friends, they will tell you it happens without any life threatening distractions.
When I got there to pass the quad, I remembered a lot. I needed to give my wrist mount gps to Kenny as he would have no way of keeping track of his speed on the restricted sections. You see when the race sections need to be linked by highway the racers are not allowed to speed. Each racer has a gps tracker that indicates his or her speed and if it is exceeded it amounts to penalty minutes added on at the end of the race. Each second that you are over the limit amounts to massive time penalties. We didn’t want to risk that so we had a Garmin GPS mountd to the handlebars. That was of course before I wrecked. I had to remove the GPS to get at the Allen bolts to remove the handlebars ( We, my Mexican angels and I , had to use vice grips on the allan key as it was so seized…it twisted the allan key 180 degrees before it finally gave way…insert huge sigh of relief here). I had the GPS in my pack as I didn’t want to waste any more time putting it back on. As soon as they got the bars back on I was moving.. So Kenny of course would be riding with no speedo. When I offered my wrist mount Garmin ( I used it to keep track of my section in prerunning and I knew precisely where my trouble spots were…those spots where I might get lost) He decided against it as he just wanted to get going and I hoped that would not come back to haunt us later in penalty minutes. As soon as he left I realized I hadn’t told him everything…I had forgotten the wire…shit!
As soon as I realized this I knew I had to try everything to get that message to the next pit. I had to get that stearing reinforced somehow or Kenny or Jeff was going to wreck and it would be my fault. I felt like vomiting at that point both from that sinking feeling as well as the dehydration but I had to take care of this for my peace of mind. I called the weatherman on the satalite radio at the pit but as I so, did a code red came over the radio as another rider needed to be airlifted out due to heat stroke. I couldn’t use this radio so I got the baja pit director to radio the next pit on thier radio frequency, and they promised me they would relay the message and stop the quad at the next pit( it never happened of course…forshadowing for what happens next). It was out of my hands at that point. I finally relaxed as a trophy truck came in sideways from the wrong direction down the highway and into the pits for a quick fix…two mexicans dove under the still revving truck to secure a loose something or other…dam this race is crazy.
It was then that I realized that I had left my gear bag back on the lake bed where I had started. It had my wallet and pants as well as my ipod…rats…that would later cost us a 6 hour delay when leaving after the race as the Mexican volunteers who run the pit brought it back to Ensenada for me…the long way round of course. Everything was there much to my amazement( thank you Baja pits…I would recommend Carlos and his crew any day) but it was at 5 pm…we were ready to leave at 11:00 am…have I said sorry enough times for that guys???
Kye and I headed back to Ensenada to rip the bolts off a spare quad and be ready if we needed to rescue the quad somewhere. It took 3 hours so we stopped for a quick mystery meat burrito at a roadside stand. It was the first meat I had eaten in 2 years but I didn’t care. I needed something. Kye had only 10 more US dollars and we needed it as the rental car was out of fuel and we had 3 hours to drive…good thing we rented a compact. We got back to the hotel to track Kenny. When we got there we found out through e-mails from friends that the quad was down at mile marker 280. We started rushing around to get some bolts as we could only assume that was the reason he was down. We had no way to communicate with them so we were going to head to 280 and see if we could help. That’s when we got the text from Brad…it turns out we were right, the bolts were broken and they needed new ones to continue! The race was half over but it felt like it was just beginning.
As I searched the race trailer, I had an idea. Mile marker 280 was close to Rancho Santa Marta, an orphanage for children with learning disabilities. Last year the DIRT racing team, a group of riders who share a passion for riding and adventure, organized about 40 peddle bikes to be brought down for the orphans. We managed to get them to their head office close to San Diego as we couldn’t get them past the mexican officials. Bill and Kay the founders and directors of the orphanage, had brought the bikes down one at a time over the past 7 months( bless their soles and their patience and commitment) and had just givin the bikes to the kids( I just happened to be there that day which was awesome). Bill is an avid racer and has participated in the baja series since the early seventies. He wasn’t racing this particular race so I thought if I could get a hold of him, he could drive down with some bolts and get us going again. I got his number from an old e-mail of my I touch and called him. That is when I learned of a tragic event that happened on the Mikes Sky Ranch road. Two trophy trucks were racing side by side down the road on a particularly fast section when they came across a lone rider who was doing his best to pull aside for the racing trucks. The Casino Bay truck struck the rider and he went down hard. The driver of the truck stopped and tended to the rider, who was air lifted off the course and taken to a hospital in San Diego where he was rushed into surgery with 2 broken legs and who knows what else. As it turns out this was a friend of Bill’s and Bill was heading out the door to go and support him in the hospital. He said he wouldn’t mind helping us out, which under the circumstances was amazing. He was headed to the highway with bolts and tools in hand when we got the call from Brad to Kye’s cell phone( Kye’s bill is going to be huge). The quad was up and racing again thanks to a bye-stander that supplied us with aircraft grade m 12 bolts. People really come together for the racers and we can’t thank those who helped us enough!
So in the dark of night, about 4 hours past our expected time, a race was about to break out! Not, however, before, we got the race lights put on the quad. Jeff, who was waiting for his turn in Eurinda, had been waiting patiently for the quad to arrive and was getting updates from kenny’s wife via texting on the statis of the quad. The dreadful foreshadowing and fear that the quad would never make it to him must have been playing out in his mind. It wasn’t going to be so! Brad had texted Jeff to get to Mile 280 and mount the lights that were in the trunk of Jeff’s car. We shouldn’t have needed them until Jeff’s section but this is baja and %$#%@ happens! He got in the car( his home for the last 10 hours), and sped towards Kenny at 280. Once the lights were on the quad it was off and racing again. Which started another race of sorts as Jeff needed to be back at his position before Kenny. Jeff is a professional stunt driver and I’m sure his estimates of 160 km/hr were conservative as he sped through mexican desert towns and highways, which are questionable to say the least even in daylight. Lets just say I’m glad the car was a rental and I wouldn’t be buying any cars from a Mexican rental fleet. He made it with minutes to spare and got geared up and ready for his turn. They gassed the quad up, checked the bolts( I hope) and Jeff was gone, still adrenalized from his drive through Mexican suburbia. His first order of business was a gnarly rocky, silt climb that had claimed many trucks and riders during the course of the race. In fact one of the Canadian solo riders, a friend of Jeff’s from Vancouver and fellow stunt man, had crashed on the hill. As he prepared to right his bike a buggy had ascended behind him and thought hey, free Canadian traction!!! The buggy ran right over Terry and his bike and carried on up the hill. I’m told Terry had some choice words for the buggy rider at the end of the race, which he finished by the way…solo…right behind the buggy!
It is around this time that we learned that there were 41 cars piled up on a similar, but bigger climb, at the mile marker 95 summit. This was on Kyes’ section and it required him to climb a crazy amount, over boulders, ruts, cactus and who knows what else, all the while climbing to over 4000 feet, into the heat. The climb was intensely technical, and I only saw it during pre-running. It was 10 times worse on race day. We later learned that many racers never made it past that point, including the entire field of class 11 cars( VW bugs). It’s a shame to have invested sooo much and to have your race end there.
Kye had pre-run that section which was well suited to his downhill biking background. What goes up must come down and the downhill was equally if not more challenging. During pre-running Kye had completed the section in three hours. Race day he did it in 2 hours and 30 minutes, with a 30 minute mechanical issue as the climb had loosened a previously mentioned shock bolt which was noticed by a volunteer at baja pits.They were the crew who were looking after our gas and our filter changes and they worked like dogs in the heat to ensure the racers survived as well as their bikes and their trucks. They provide food, water, gatorade, gas, tires, and whatever might arise. You pay a flat fee at the start of the race to have them support you. It is expensive but worth every penny.
Kye was passed by 2 riders while this issue was being resolved. He later caught and passed both riders which placed our entire class behind us. Kye had givin me the quad and the lead. Great ride Kye, you rock! My turn followed and as you already know, this set us up for a many an adventure.
Meanwhile, Jeff’s sole objective, became catching the 55A quad, a solo rider who was competing for our trophy. While Jeff was waiting, Brad had texted him and told him he had been tracking 55a on the computer and he was 20 miles ahead and Kenny was still 10 miles from passing the quad. Our race for the podium was over but there were still points to be gained by finishing ahead of our competitors. Our team leaders question was clear, CAN YOU CATCH HIM? The race was on again! When Jeff finally got on, 55 A was at mile marker 350 and Jeff was back at 323. It was pitch black at this point and the course was a mess of whoops, silt and rocks that had been exposed by all the traffic that had passed us while we were down repairing. Jeff was on the move but had to be cautious of booby traps and course changes. Earlier on in the day at 11:30 am, the crash had also jarred the light bracket, which in turn tweaked the way the lights were aimed. At this point Jeff is loving me as the cactus on the right hand side of the course were lit up perfectly, while the trail in front of him was a dismal blurr…sorry again Jeff( have I said that enough?). Jeff had also chosen to wear an open visor style helmet which had its challenges at this point in the race. There were 2 buggies that appeared in front of Jeff out of nowhere which means they must have had trouble and had to repair. As luck would have it, they got up and running again right in front of our quad. Jeff was riding with no goggles into their dust. If that wasn’t enough, a heavy layer of ocean fog had rolled in to mingle with the buggy dust to create a floating mud that made a visor crud up like Tammy Faye Baker’s face on a church collecting Sunday. Jeff had to ride all squinty eyed like Clint Eastwood in Outlaw Jose Wales( Pronounced Hosa of course). Challenges aside, he was miraculously gaining.
Meanwhile the rest of the team had gathered at the hotel where the finish line was and we were tracking the race on Brad’s laptop. We watched as Jeff gained on rider 200A as well as 55A and 215A, who were all out front. As luck would have it all three racers were faced with the same handicap as Jeff, they couldn’t see either. I was getting constant updates from friends who were watching the tracking channel back home, excitedly telling me that we were in third and gaining. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that of the three quads in front of us, only one was in our class. It was exciting to watch Jeff gain and pass 215A at mile marker 355, and then 200A at 360. He had one more illusive quad to pass before the finish. If you recall, 55A was at 350 when Jeff was at 323. By mile marker 400 Jeff HAD PASSED 55A!!! While 55A had taken 3.5 hours to travel 50 miles, Jeff had covered 75 miles in the same amount of time, in the dust, in the fog, at night, with lights that illuminated the top right hand side of the course.( I’m sure we’ll never hear the end of that one…but it gets even better). He was free and clear…so we thought.
Little did we know there was one more quad in the way. You see, not all racers are required to use the GPS tracking option. As Jeff rounded a dark corner in the desert, he saw lights and dust ahead…could that be a quad…yep! Quad 52A was up and racing but we couldn’t see him on the computer…but Jeff could…game on…again! Jeff started pushing to catch him and it could be what saved his life( and 54A as well). As he caught 52A and passed him at around 410 they course begins to enter the city of Ensenada. As you might recall areas that are highly populated are more prone to bystander interference and this was no exception. As luck would have it one last time, Jeff was still ripping after his unanticipated pass on 52A when he came upon one final booby trap the fine youth of Ensenada had taken the time to construct. He had 52A behind him with 30 miles to go and a cold beer and his team waiting at the finish…it was like a horse smellin the oats at home. As he progressed faster than prudent through the canyon outside Ensenada, he came upon a score marker that had been moved about 10 feet to the side. The marker had been put in front of an 8 foot cliff landing in the river (that was once a creek before they damed it to cause havoc earlier in the race.). As Jeff rounded the corner he gassed it only to find that weightless feeling Wiley Coyote must feel when road runner screws him over time and time again….hey maybe there is a nickname there somewhere for you Jeff. This didn’t fit his pre-run image of the track and instantly he knew where he was and he braced for the impact.It was a good test of his chest protector and he cursed a mutual friend to test his that his lungs were still functional. %$#@#$ Gerald! The quad had stalled but the lights were still on when Jeff realized he was being followed…oh oh! He got off and ran to the edge to prevent the slower rider from rolling off the ledge. Going over the cliff at a slower speed would have spelled disaster for a quad rider as the quad would have surely landed on the rider. After Jeff re-routed the rider he slowly made his way back to his quad…he was still racing after all. After a well played role of possum, ( yep I think I’m OK I just want to check for my first aid kit in the glovebox…keep your lights right there for me would ya…yep I’m fine…bye!) Jeff sprang out ahead of 52A again only to find that the lights had now come completely of the lower section of the quad. They were bouncing like a sprinting augmented babe on baywatch and Jeff now had one more thing to complain about at the finish( just kidding he never complained). The last 30 miles just got even more interesting. Now this last 30 miles is fairly wide open at 75 mph…Jeff normally loves that type of riding, but this was different. As he got up to 5th gear, his mind started to wander( probably from lack of Glutimine). He started to think of all the stress the quad was put under. Crashed, loose bolts, 400 miles of bouncing and bashing…and now travelling at break-neck speed…literally! Up to that point the riding had been slower, technical riding but now it was wide open. If something were to fail at that speed it would not only spell disaster…Jeff would be written all over the pavement so to speak. Training prevailed and he just ignored those feelings like all good stuntmen do…otherwise they’d never do anything worth filming right?
Just when your thinking OK I should be good now Jeff comes across 5 local teenagers looking to create their version of a snowball fight…something us Canadians can relate to. They were using mud of course and they connected twice, once on the quad and once on Jeff’s back. Normally during a race Jeff probably would have just kept going and cursed that mutual friend again, but this was different. Fuelled perhaps by the encounter with the cliff, or perhaps any of the previously mentioned events, Jeff pondered if he had time to chastise the local boys before hauling mail ( as he likes to call it) to the finish…yep he did! He did a quick u turn and raced directly at the boys, yelling in Spanish( of course he doesn’t speak Spanish but his jibberish version is quite entertaining and actually sounds pretty authentic). I would have loved to be there to watch Jeff race towards the boys, 2 huge trailtech lights blasting them, and hearing the piped 700 roar as Jeff stormed backwards down the course, yelling made up obscenities in some lost tribal language. He was probably the first racer to take the time to do so and they will probably remember the moment even better than Jeff.
Standing on the bridge by our hotel, I watched the 2 buggies that Jeff had followed come ripping up the ramp and around the corner and onto the pavement. I filmed every one as I didn’t want to miss Jeff’s Grand entrance. He told me no matter what, he was coming in hot and he sure did. I had shared parts of the story on the bridge with some riders from San Diego and it was them who informed me there was a quad coming( although they also had said that a dead body had been buried right under the bridge just that afternoon by the front end loader that had dug it up prepping the race course…creepy). Lights bouncing, throttle pinned, Jeff slid up the ramp sideways, almost hitting the 8 inch cub and accelerating past the hotel and on to the finish 3 blocks away.I heard rather than saw the last 2 corners as the tires were howling on the pavement and the crowd was cheering him on at the finish. I ran the 3 blocks to the finish( my last breath of energy) to find Jeff shaking hands with Sal Fish. Our race was over. 17 hours, 43 minutes with over 4 hours of down time due to the roll over. We’ll never know how things may have turned out if I hadn’t have rolled but first place finished only 4 hours ahead of us??? So I’m off to buy a quad and am dreaming of the 1000 in November…its about 3 times the distance…and maybe three times the fun. You never know what Mexico will throw at you next. It seems to conspire against you at every turn and then at the next, you find exactly what you need to continue. It was everything I imagined and a pile of stuff that I couldn’t possibly imagine. Thanks for the adventure boys, it’s one I will never forget…Darin Bullivant…6th place finisher of the baja 500…ya baby!
I have lost track of time. It is Thursday and today we hooked up our gps and preran the start finish. We rode about 150 km through enesenada and it was crazy…locals on the course, dogs and cows and the locals have been building dams at the river crossings to try and make it hard to cross…it really is like no other race. I got to meet sal Fish, the race organizer today. He is a great guy and was very supportive of the Rancho Santa Marta Project from last year. He loves the people down here and he loves that we make a difference to the community. Then later while I was riding I came across Robby Gordon and his crew. I spoke with him about racing, and prerunning and he has a busy life. He got here today, was going to do the entire course today and he just finished another race and is on his way to a Nascar race. He was awesome as well and then we watched a lone Ostrich of all things run across the road…weird. Lastly at supper we had pasta to carb load for Saturday and who sits down beside me but Johnny Cambell and his team. Cool. I got to meet all the Icons of the sport in one day. Tomorrow is Contingency which means we spend the day in line to have our quad and our gear inspected. Then its to bed early and up at 5 am race day to get to our positions. I actually takes longer to drive on the highways than it takes to ride the course to some spots…500 miles is a long way. We are confidant that we know the course well and will win if all goes well. We have fuel in bottles at strategic places and have started the hydrating process…it is going to be 45 celcius on race day( even hotter in sections on the sea of Cortez side. Don’t forget to follow the race on Saturday…got to www.racetheworld.net and click on the sportsman class. We are number 54 A. and Brad Maclean is our team leader… we are actually on one of the shirts they are selling to people here…yahoo. See you tomorrow…Darin…ps Life is Beautiful!
I am missing my family and have skyped them today. It was great to see their faces. I didn’t factor in the cost in the time away from them and Kelly is really coming through to help out. Her parents are both fighting cancer as well so there is added stress. She is strong and I love her for supporting this. Today is a regroup day. I bought a tire off a fellow racer as my tire is completely gone. I am going to change that and go for some hill repeats on my mountain bike to train for the trans rockies. I also am facing temperatures of 140 plus for my section on race day…thats over 40 celcius and I am riding a difficult section that works my upper body a lot…my goggles filled with sweat during prerunning 2 days ago and it was only 28…race day is going to be fun.
Woke at 5 and headed out to do the coast run we rode 120 miles along the pacific coast, half was on Jeffs quad which was awesome…gotta go the guys are heading out for food…and I need it after that day…Darin
Up at 5 am and we headed to mile 40 outside of Ensenada as you can prerun the course inside the city until Thursday. Kye and Brad( our fearless leader) headed out and we met them at mile 80. Brads quad was broke and Kye was spent from riding a piece of crap so I continued on to mile 155 to run my section with Duane. We were truckng along when an angry mexican larch tree jumped in front of Duane . The tree wrestled him to the ground and left him for dead. When the bell rang he woke to find his gas tank had been punctured and the left side of his bike looked like bark factory…his rad wasn’t so rad anymore either. Magiver engineering rigged up a camel back gas tank the hung from the breather hose…he plans on giving the used camelback bladder to his buddy Terrance for race day. We limped back to the truck at mile 196 and got on the sat phone to find a tank in San bernadino…tank cost 250 sat phone cost 250 plus the cost of mexican fuel 2.50 for a total cost of about 502.50…not to mention the rad…camel back will be gifted so it cant be considered in the equation…rad day and now I’m off to fight night for supper.Viva La Mexico!
So I had the most amazing day. I randomly decided to go to the orphanage today as it was a day off pre running and when I got there and met the owner he was astonished. It turns out that he didn’t get help getting the bicycles across from last november and so he brought them down one at a time. And last night he brought the last 2 after their church service today they had planned to give them to the kids he had kept them a secret until he could get them all down it was incredible watching them ride(and crash) around the orphanage. What an experience. I recorded it all and I can’t wait to get back to show you what it was like. I delivered more letters as well as a bunch of donated shoes and some cash. Thanks for all you did and endured to get those bikes there. You are awesome! I am prerunning the coast tomorrow. Yahoo. Leaving at 5 to beat the pesky trophy trucks. Chat soon and don’t forget to check the website blog. It has been one adventure after another. Bill
Jeff went down today about 30 miles into the course and we had to rescue him. Luckily he was riding with Duane a fellow Canadian stuntman, who has a Satalite phone for just such an occasion. I drove in with Duanes wife Laura and had a great talk about life and then we rescued Jeff who had a big hole in his rad as well as a sore hole out the back so to speak…he walks like a good old fashioned Alberta Bronc rider now…makes him look tough! Tomorrow we head out again( minus Jeff who will visit a local proctologist) to ride our sections and then the next day we are all going to ride the startline through Ensenada…I can’t wait for that
Bill from Rancho Santa Marta( an orphanage and school by San Vincente) plans to meet me tomorrow to drop off some shoes and letters from Calgary. Last year my friends brought 50 bikes down for the kids and I am excited to meet them and drop off the pen pal letters from Hunters school.
I went for a training ride this am on my peddle bike and did hill repeats…the hills are incredibly steep here…life is great! Today is maintenance day and we need to replace the rear window of the truck…it smashed yesterday when the truck flexed going down a ravine to the dry lake bed.
Got up at 4:45 today to have breakfast and get to Kyes section. I have beeen following Ashleys diet recommendations and I really feel great. It is great to know what to do pre and post run…thanks Ashley. I ran Kyes section over the summit and onto the dry lake bed. It is about 80 miles and very technical in spots and also Very fast in spots. I need 3 more gears on my bike. It took about 3 hours. Then I got on the race quad and ran my 70 miles from borego to mile 225. It is extremely hot on this side of the penninsula and my section is mostly whoops. Apparently it is going to get worse as the trucks chew it up during prerunning. It makes for a good workout. I did my section in 2 hours and 20 min but I got lost for about 20 minutes so I hope to go under 2 hours on race day. The quad is absolutely rediculous and is like wrestling a very powerful and very short hippopotamus. I had to sit a lot but I am using Brent Blackshaws pattented riding method and I am getting faster. I am nursing a few blisters but so far am feeling pretty good…I can almost feel my fore arms again…haha. Thanks to Ron Jarrett for getting my core back and shoulders ready for this…wow I needed that!
May 25th 8 pm
We ran 125km today in about 4 hours, just outside Ensenada. I had tonnes of fuel thanks to Ben from Just Gas Tanks…thanks Ben. The riding was awesome and we saw Larry Roesler pre-running the Crystal bay trophy truck…he passed me right after I crashed…super fun…tommorrow its up a 5 am to ride from mile 80 until mile 230…its going to be a long day but fun. It’s not too hot and the riding is awesome…looking forward to it…love to all…Darin
May 23rd AM
Our number is 54 A and you can wacth us race day( June 5th and 6th) Goto www.racetheworld.net and then go to atv then sportsman and you can track our progress during the race. We have a gps tracker that makes sure we stay on course and don’t speed when we are on public roads.
Arrived in San Diego at 1:30 am on the 23rd…have been driving, driving, driving…but having nice talks with race team co-ordinator Kenny Lehmann…heading into Mexico tomorrow night…going to Chapparels in the am…yahoo
Drove through the night and slept in the truck on the side of the highway. Arrived in Puyallup today and awaiting the race team. I dropped off Hunter and Piper at Grandmas…thanks for helping out Gramdma.
May 19, 2010
Getting ready to do the Baja 500. Packing up and leaving to Vancouver and then driving down to Mexico.
We are just leaving Orange County, CA from the 2010 Score international Awards and the news is out. The Nutbar racing team has won the championship as well as the 2010 Baja 1000. It was a great team to be apart of and we had a great time at awards sharing the experience with Fellow Canadian, Terry Peregoodoff who soloed the 250, the 500 and the 1000 this year. All our wives were on hand to support us, this time not in the background but right up front and looking gorgeous. It was great to share the fun with them as their support is huge and key in the pursuit of such an epic title. Thanks Ladies! As for Nutbar….they claim retirement from quad racing but there is already talk of next year. I’m always open to ideas but I have a tingling in me that wants a victory in the bike class, my first love and passion….and if I win the lottery and theres any left after I fulfill my charity goals…look for a Bill Nye trophy truck in the future. What an adventure! Thanks for the memories boys. 2010 Baja Champions, Brad, Kenny, Jeff, Kye…and me!