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Baja 100

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Nov 18, 2005
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#1
The next dezert race is gonna be on Sunday May 20th. It's the Baja 100 2 person team race. Timed start, 2 riders at a time. Classes will be you and your partner. You must finish and leave the checks with your partner. Approx 35 miles X 3 laps.

For some strange reason Velo has agreed to be my partner again. Guess I better make sure to stuff some beer in his pack so when he's waiting on my slow ass he can at least enjoy a yummy beverage, lol. Better put some ice packs in there too.
 
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#2
So, race day finally came. We sign up, get some hot food, then start unloading and gearing up. We take the bikes for a quick 5 mile test to make sure everything is working alright. I quickly find that I seem to have forgotten how to ride in sand. Also start to notice how slick the trails are. And then really start to see how dusty it was. The last month or so I’ve been working on tight singletrack … not dezert stuff. Yikes, mental note … be careful during the race.

We head back to the trailhead and attend the riders meeting. The course workers said they tried to make the race as similar to baja as they could. Which meant silt, ruts, sand, high speed, and whoops. However they did decide to double mark the danger areas due to how dusty it was gonna be and said to take extra care when approaching these areas.

Now I’m starting to get a little nervous cuz I haven’t been riding high speed stuff. Since I do kinda know the area where we raced, I was fully aware of the nasty hidden holes and rocks that like to send riders flailing and flying through the air.

Anyways, the start is live engine. A pair of you is off every 15 seconds. Velo lets me off the line first and it doesn’t take long to hear him right behind me trying to stay out of my dust. So, I do what I always do, motion for him to blow right past me. No sense in taking the fun out of his race cuz I’m riding at a slower pace, lol.

I end up catching a pair of riders that left before us. Woohoo!! I’m a little stoked at this point, so my confidence level is more at ease … and then the tight wash opens up even more and allows me to smoke a couple more guys. Freakin’ sweet!! Then at the last second when the dust clears from the last rider I didn’t catch … I see a fuggin tight corner. Perfect. How the hell am I gonna be able to make this without crashing. I quickly pulled the clutch in, grabbed/hit the breaks, and leaned as much as I could to avoid major disaster. If yer allowed one pro moment every year … I just used mine. Damn, I came into that corner hot. The KTM at this point is in a controlled slide and just shot me out the other side. This must be what it’s like when the A or pro riders hit a corner at speed. I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder and see if anyone saw, lol. But I couldn’t see through all the dust. I so hope that someone saw my natural talent. Yeah … riiiight, lol.
 
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#3
I think after this wash was a fast, rocky, loose downhill. I smoked a couple more guys down this. You heard me right, I passed some guys on a downhill!! Never did that before. Now I’m feelin even more at ease and having a blast. But I know something is gonna come up soon. Come on, where’s the silt and sand and ruts?

Oh ****. I can see there’s a climb ahead and a small bottleneck of riders trying to get up it. It turns out it’s a whooped out, rutted silt hillclimb with big holes in it. I’ve never done a silt climb, so I quickly find out I don’t have enough momentum to get up it. Get stuck about halfway up. Damn. Well, I get the bike turned around and take a break at the bottom. I’m now watching all the guys that I passed go right by me. Sweet. When I’m ready I give it a second try and make it ¾ the way up and get squirrelly again. I can see and hear that off to my right a guy has managed to bury his bike to the swingarm, lol. I have no idea why he kept twisting the throttle. All he was doin was digging his self deeper. My immediate thought was … I know at least I’ll get out of my predicament before you will, lol. At this point the sweep rider comes up and helps me lift the front tire back on to the main trail and holds the back for me while I kick it over and get going again. I’m pretty tired now and quite pissed at myself for letting all those boys get their places back. I did however manage to give myself credit for never tipping over or crashing tho. Kept the bike upright the whole time.

So I finally arrive at the first check point and Velo and the check people were like WTF, lol. I then mention that I had to try twice at the silt hillclimb before making it up. By the way, this is only like 15 or 20 miles into lap 1. I still have another 15 or so miles to finish lap 1 and then continue for laps 2 and 3. Velo motions for me to ride in front. Poor me. I can’t be trusted in a race with a partner to ride behind them, lol. Sheesh, I suck.

At some point we get lead to some high speed jeep track and some singletrack. Awesome!! I’m pretty sure I was able to carry more speed on the single track stuff than in the past. It even had ruts and silt. Well, there’s a bit of a confidence boost that I needed.
 
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#4
Of course there are whoops and more washes. We eventually end up in more silt stuff and I proceed to underestimate how deep the rut was and get stuck. Velo pulls right up and get the KTM out and I’m off again. What a dumbass I am. Note to self … silt sucks, need more practice.

At some point we get into another wash that really whooped out and dusty. I had 2 slower riders in front of me that I just couldn’t get around. I couldn’t see a damn thing and was not feelin the love to try and get around them. Velo gets tired of hangin back and blows right by again. One of the guys he passed spazzed a bit and they bumped bars. I hung out until I could see and have no issues getting around them. Mental note again … need to work on passing in low vision areas and passing squirrelly riders.

We finally complete lap one and gas up. Velo says he’ll catch up, so off I go for another lap. I’m now more prepared for that fuggin silt hillclimb so I pinned the KTM and made it to the top … and quickly hit a hole or something and pulled in the clutch to catch myself before falling over. Still didn’t tip/fall over but Velo decides to ride my bike through the sandy crap. So I walk a few feet to where my KTM is. Damn, I’m so tired. I start to think of ways to conserve energy. I still have to finish this lap and a 3rd. I’m in deep ****.

I end up in the wash again where I was trailing the 2 slow riders, when some other guys come up from behind who blow by at mach 10. I didn’t realize that these were the leaders. I manage to be able to get out of the way for all but one of them. In fact I was so hard on the gas that I didn’t hear this rider come up. We bumped bars and I immediately let off the gas, but he just kinda hung there instead of making the pass. Weird, but it scared the hell outta me. I slowed way down to make sure I was under control and gather myself and got back on the throttle.
We head through more silt/sand washes and I struggle horribly. It’s so dusty I can hardly see. Velo at this point is in front of me and so are a couple other riders. Dang that powder stuff just hangs in the air. If I remember, there was another silt/sand climb that a rider or two was stuck on and all I can hear is Velo shouting something like go go go. Hmm … he’s never done that before. Well, I try to get on the gas as best I could, but I was hurtin pretty bad. I knew I was close to finishing the 2nd lap and started to be concerned that I still had one lap left.

Velo knowing we’ve almost made it back to the check/gas area really starts to try and get me pumped up to push ahead and keep on the throttle. I’m way confused at this point, but somehow find it in me to keep chargin. We roll up a little hill and I see the checkered flag … WTF, I thought we had 3 laps. Come to find out if the leaders lap you, you don’t get 3 laps, lol. I didn’t know the race was gonna be like that. I thought everyone got to do 3 laps. Velo said later that he asked at a check point and they told him once you get lapped that’s it. But he kinda forgot to tell me, lol. Oh well. I still woulda sucked.

All in all, it was really cool to be at a point now where I’m passin other riders. One would guess that now since I can keep up with some riders, passin should be more frequent for me and give me practice. It was also rewarding to see my speed increase in the singletrack stuff. However, it’s plain as day that I need work riding in silt.

Hopefully I won’t scare off any other future teammates with this race report, lol.