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Discussion in 'Racing' started by Cornbread82, May 2, 2012.
spotted the boys on Coyote Cal's FB prerunning northern coastal baja..
That's good to know. We had our ror ride the last few miles with a cast on her leg because she was told ror had to start or finish. Although for me this year it won't matter one of the many perks of soloing.
Got in this morning about 04:30. Had a great time. Hopefully the guys will post up some comments and pics. Should have some great video soon and lots of pics.
The compadre trail turning into a river with two feet of raging water running down it was pretty cool to see.
Is that 450 any easier to ride than the SL350? Stay safe and win big, we are pulling for you guys!
Scott here (a.k.a. "Baja Basketball")
Brett and I are still driving back from Baja. The truck smells like bigfoot's d*ck. Couldn't find a hotel last night so we just slept in a Denny's parking lot. Crossing into Lousiana shortly. Will be home tomorrow.
We have hours and hours of GoPro footage and hundreds of pictures. I took daily notes and thoughts for this thread. We'll be posting tons of pics and video very soon.
We had an absolute blast down there. No major injuries and no major bike issues.
Almost forgot...we also want to thank John and Allen for meeting us down there and being so patient with a couple of noobs.
I'll post a lot more very soon.
A little video I put together until I get the bulk of the footage.
Hey Rick, thanks for the support and the donation.
Made it back to Brett's house.
Gear is clean-ish.
Total number of truck miles door to door = 4,368
5 days on dirt in Baja.
I'm organizing my photos and videos right now for the shake down pre-pre ride report.
Trip of a lifetime.
Awesome video man! I just finished downloading my pics and videos to my computer. Working on the shake-down daily report. I'll post "Day 1" tonight or tomorrow night.
Well we are back and licking our wounds from the trip, I thought I would put a quick video of some of the riding. I will be posting more in time but right now this is all I have ready.
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4L8toVotYoo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Great video! Gettin fired up.
" Is this thing blinking"?
Scott here. I'm finally back at Brett's house and thinking of how I can sum up our bike and gear shake down ride in Baja. It was such an amazing experience. Truly a trip of a lifetime. I'm sitting here in Georgia at Brett's house wishing I was back in the saddle
.filthy, near heat exhaustion, dehydrated, low on fuel, on the cusp of disaster, and smiling ear to ear.
If you've read my bio on our website (www.raceforthewounded.com), you'll know that I'm in WAY over my head on this endeavor. I know I'm the most inexperienced rider on the team
but I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm also the most inexperienced rider in the entire 2012 Baja 1000 line up. So you're reading a shake-down report from noob
from a dude who has rode a dirt bike only once in his life
from a dude who bought his first bike (BMW F800GS) Nov 2011..from a dude who only has 2,400 road miles..and a dude who only has about 75 miles on dirt. Brett said my learning curve wasn't going to be steep...it's gong to be vertical! Hahaha.
So here's where it started...
I rode my F800GS to Brett's house from Jacksonville, Florida on 3 August. We spent that day and the next working on the KTM and Elvis the race bike. We worked fast and with a purpose. No joking around. No beer. Nothing but business.
We left for Baja on August 5th. Funny thing
we didn't realize that we left 1 full day earlier than planned until we were somewhere in Louisiana a few hours later. I guess we were so excited to leave that we left 1 full day earlier than planned. Oops. So
leaving a day early was a 'mistake' that actually helped us along the way. The KTM had a leaky petcock and fouled needle jet. We lost about 2" of fuel. So an emergency hotel parking lot repair was in order.
We stopped somewhere in Texas to fuel up the truck. We let some guy borrow a few tools to fix his car. Brett was under the hood helping this dude fix his car and I was standing there being useless in the heat, I noticed a familiar logo. He had a TCB Logo tattooed on his arm! Said it was his family motto and got it when he was 14 with his dad. Pretty cool! He was stoked to see our shirts.
The team (lite) met in El Cajon, CA at crack whore central. Allan picked the closest hotel to the border and it turns out that it's also hosting a crack whore convention that weekend. Seriously
crack whores were plentiful. We considered setting up a guard rotation for the bikes but decided to take the chance and leave them be.
While we were in the hotel parking lot Chris installed and mounted Elvis's race lights (Cyclops Motor sports). We fired them up for the first time and were definitely impressed. We did a little last minute bike maintenance and finalized our packs. We were spending 5 days in Baja with no chase trucks or sag support. Only carrying a backpack per rider and whatever we would carry in our Moose fender bags. We'd soon realize that Moose Bags were not designed for the harsh Baja terrain.
Allan, John, and Chris parked their trucks on the US border and rode their bikes into Mexico. While Brett, Scott, and Randy drove their trucks across the border. We decided to stage a few trucks on the Mexico side in case we needed them for emergency extraction. Luckily they were not needed.
We parked out trucks at Rancho Ojia and then suited up. Chris was so proud of his bike ramp. "Hey Allan, you want to use mine? You can just ride your bike off the back of your truck." 5 seconds later Chris was the first person to dump his bike. Not sure if it really counts as the first crash
but I'll count it as one. Even the Mexicans were laughing at him.
There were 6 of us riding
Brett, Scott, Chris, Randy, John, and Allan. Allan and John were our resident Baja veterans. For the entire 5 day ride, Allan was our point man leading the way while John rode rear security giving me pointers along the way.
So I suited up and kicked over my bike. Note
I didn't have an electric start. This will never happen again! We rode about 5 miles on the hardball then we made a right and hit dirt! I'm thinking
"Holy sh*t! I'm riding dirt in Baja!" It's safe to say I was excited.
After a few miles Allen stopped at our first 'hazard'. A pavement slick as ice water crossing. No big deal
no turns and no throttle. Slow and smooth.
Now let me remind you of something. I've never done a water crossing. I've never been on a dirt bike while it was wet. This water was only about 6" deep but I was pretty nervous. I was afraid that I'd dump the bike and flood something or whatever.
Back to the story
Allan, Chris, and Randy went through without any issues. It was Brett's turn to cross. And yup
Brett dumped Elvis right after he cleared the crossing. It was a minor dump but Elvis's first time laying horizontal.
Lets fast forward 5 hours. 25 miles of deep sand whoops. Silt. 114 degree heat. Miles and miles of baby head rocks. Single track deep sand. And by noon everyone was out of water with no hint of water refill any time soon. This was the "Black Diamond" route. The "expert" trail. The GD hard way! Around noon we had to stop and cool off. 4 of the 6 riders almost went down as heat casualties. It was insane. I think it was about 75 miles before we stopped for water at the ranch.
This day was the single hardest day I've had since Mountain Phase of Ranger School. I was completely exhaust and on the brink of heat exhaustion. And it was only noon the first day!!
After we cooled off and discussed our situation, we headed for the closest ranch (Rancho Rodeo del Ray) that sold water. It was about 20 miles away. We pull up to the ranch and my entire body is twitching on the brink of a full body cramp. All I wanted as a giant bottle of water. At this point, I'd drink tap water in Mexico.
This is when Allan found out how inexperienced I was. He thought I'd been riding dirt bikes since last November. He didn't realize this was my 2nd time ever riding a dirt bike. He felt like an ass for taking me out on the Black Diamond route.
the dude at the shop only had 1 bottle of water left for sale. Seriously
1 bottle of water for 6 dudes near heat exhaustion. We split the water and drank Cokes. At least the sugar in the Coke would get us to the next water stop.
After about 30 minutes on my back at the ranch, it was time to go. I tagged the ranch with a Wounded Warrior Project sticker and moseyed on over to my bike.
20 miles later we came across another shop on the side of the road that sold water. By the time I found a place to lean my bike on (I didn't have a kick stand either) every one else already had their helmets off and were drinking ice cold refreshing water. This was the time my entire body decided to cramp up. I was kneeling down getting some rehydration salts out of my pack and my entire body locked up
both quads, calves, entire back, hands, forearms, everything. It didn't really hurt but I was stuck like a statue exactly where I was. It was actually pretty funny. If I wasn't in pain, I'd be laughing at myself. No one realized that I was stuck immobile because they were drinking water and laughing like maniacs about the route we just took. After a minute or two Allan realized that I was still kneeling down and brought me some water and helped me up.
We stayed there for about 30 minutes then pushed on
.10 more miles to the hard ball. And yup
more sand. I kind of figured out sand by this point. I was cruising along at a pretty good clip when I passed Brett coming out of the bushes with Elvis laying on his side about 10' away. He later told me about his spectacular crash. Said the bike went sideways then he flew over the handlebars.
I crashed A LOT on this 5 day Baja Boot Camp trip. I liked crashing in sand the best. So when I passed Brett I knew he wasn't too badly hurt. Sand is very soft. And besides, my hands were cramped around the grips and I didn't want to stop and pry them off. So I motored on.
After we hit the hardball we filled up on gas and headed for our first hostel in Valle de la Trinidad (I think). We arrived at the hostel, licked our wounds, and had our first meal as a team together with some ice cold Tecate. I fell asleep the moment my head touched the pillow. Then got up to pee 10 times because I drank about a gallon of water with dinner. Despite how exhausted I was
I was having the time of my life. And this was only day 1.
Scott arriving at Brett's house...time to get to work!
Putting gas in Elvis for the first time while Rocco the quality control manager glares with approval. 1st beer. Thanks again Taco Lu's!
Somewhere in Texas on the way to Baja. Saw a familiar logo. TCB Baby!!
At the crack-whore hotel in California. Brett and Chris installing Elvis's race lights from Cycloops.
Crossing the border!
This is where we had to split 1 bottle of water per 6 dehydrated riders. This is where Allan realized how inexperienced I was. This is also where I realized how hard this race is going to be.
I have a hours and hours of GoPro footage to follow along with the story. I'm still traveling right now and will upload some very soon.
Thanks for reading and I'll be posting "Day 2" in a few days!!
One thing that you didn't talk about is that night at the hotel, Allan and John were in a room together. About 02:00 John hears a strange noise, it sounded like something was rubbing on something at a fast pace, then a OOHHH.....OOOHHH, John is thinking no....NO WAY.....HE ISN'T.....is he????? At this point Allan is just about crawling on the floor to his sleeping bag, shaking like a leaf trying to warm himself with his legs cramping so bad he couldn't walk!! We all had a good laugh at this in the morning when the Turbo Donkey (John) was telling the story!
Omg! Don't tell me I forgot the most important Baja lesson!!!!
What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico! Lol
Seriously it was pretty funny in hindsight but scary when it happened. When we went to bed it was hot as hell so we cranked the ac and I was sleeping on the floor under the ceiling fan. The ac must have decided to run in hyperdrive cause when I woke up I was convulsing and shivering like a mad man. Both legs cramped up so tight I wanted to scream! I literally crawled across the floor to my backpack, retrieved my sleeping bag and willed my legs inside!
Only in Baja!
I had no idea what I was getting my self into when I said I would lead the Baja introduction for the team now affectionately known as Baja Boot Camp. I got off work at around 4 and drove 500 miles south to the link up point. I was the last one to arrive but was bearing gifts in the form of a sorely needed petcock for a sick KTM and some Maxima oil.
The boys were outside drinking beers and saving me the very last parking spot in the smallish lot. I knew I was already on strike one because on the ride down John called me to complain about the hotel location and lack of parking. I literally picked the hotel by looking at Google Maps and putting my finger on the hotel with the least turns to Tecate. I knew we were going to have a 5 truck convoy in the morning to Mexico and I wanted to keep it simple. I was going to be doing enough navigation once we hit the dirt.
Everyone seemed nice enough, we made our introductions, Brett and Scott affixed the new petcock and everyone was off to bed with Baja dreams in their head.
So the morning went well and we found a place to dump off the trucks in a semi-secure lot north of the border. After exchanging money at the Bancomer(bank) I led the boys to el Mejor de pan de Tecate. My fave little bakery on the way to Rancho Ojai where we all got heavenly chocolate muffins to eat before we hit the trail.
I like to use Rancho Ojai to stage from because it is secure and also offers hot showers as well as good changing facilities and a motorcycle ramp. For 5 dollars a day and the peace of mind I get it is a good deal.
After off loading the bikes we had to change the oil in the KTM since John noticed the night before the oil was a little thin and had some gas smell to it. In hindsight this was a great catch because it probably would not have made it through the stuff we went through. that little bike had the piss revved out of it for five days straight rowing through all six gears. And it doesn't hold much oil to begin with. :eek1 The ranch hand at Rancho Ojai found us a suitable container so we didn't make too much of a mess in the sand.
Now to be fully candid here I had no idea this was Scott's second time on a dirt bike. I was told he had been riding 11 months and just assumed it meant dirt (like in prep for this race!). If I had known that I would never have taken him on the route I chose through the pine forest to and through Laguna Hansen. It was only like 50-60 miles but I included any and all single and doubletrack I knew about in a winding path towards our goal.
50+ miles of rough
Our route included sand road, a few water crossings, a little rocky road, some silty-sandy uphills, some sand whoops, deep sand at the bottom of three foot gullies and a bit of trailblazing thrown in for good measure. Normally I don't stop more than once going through there and we are eating tacos in ValleT by lunch. Well, this was not a normal trip.
Baja Tested and Failed
When I was looking over the bikes at Rancho Ojai I noticed and remarked on the fact that everyone had a Moose or MSR tail and fender bag attached. I also remarked that invariably those things are lost or destroyed in Baja but to make sure they were secure and put any heavy items in the backpacks. Thus giving them the best possible chance at survival. I also introduced them to the words "Baja Tested - and Failed", this would become a recurring refrain throughout the first day as piece after piece failed. In fact, I seem to remember Scott's fender bag as well as Randy's having a duct tape reinforcement even before we kicked off the sand road onto the rocky trail.....
Crashes and heat casualties
We ended up stopping a lot more than anyone wanted to fix equipment, re-attach fender bags, pick up Scott's bike from his myriad crashes. I didn't get to see any but I heard quite a few were epic. He did say he learned something from every one of them. We were slowly winding our way through the park when Brett told me at one of the stops he was "smoked" and shortly thereafter on a long rocky uphill they couldn't quite surmount they stopped for a long rest. I got on the radio after about 5 minutes and was reassured that they were fine but were stripping their gear in the heat and taking long pulls of water. This is about the time everyone started to run their 100 oz Camelbaks dry. I wasn't really worried as I still had a bit left but that was soon given over to Randy when he informed me he was a little dizzy and had stopped sweating. :huh
I plotted the quickest course for Rancho Rodeo del Rey knowing the caretaker there would at least have water and sodas. When the boys came upon us and were ready to roll they asked how far to water and I replied "8 miles!". Brett let me know I told him "8 miles" 5 miles ago and also informed me he wanted to punch me in the face! But also that this trip already was one for the memories. Running out of water was not good but it was still recoverable. There was only a mile or three of rough terrain before we were back on the sand road.
We arrived at Rancho Rodeo del Rey and I scared up the caretaker who sadly informed me he had only one 1.5 liter bottle of water and six cokes for sale. At this point I wasn't gonna argue and I handed over the 180 pesos he wanted for them....
After a short rest we motored on through the park eventually arriving in Ojos Negros where we got gas. in fact I ran out of gas twice near Ojos... once just short of town and the second time in line at the military checkpoint. At the fuel stop it was noted that my Yamaha Wr was extremely thirsty and took almost twice the gas as a few of the other bikes. This continued for the rest of the trip. Bot sure why but it was running a little rough in the mid range especially after I ran out of gas making it necessary for me to wring the right hand a bit to keep it smooth.
Valle de la Trinidad
Once we got to Valle T I wanted to make up for dragging the team through the extreme heat all day so i made a bee line for the Tecate store and trudged back in my boots and knee guards with a frosty 12 pack. I didn't get punched in the face so I guess the beer worked.
I think the thing that was killing us was all of the stops, it seemed like every 20 min something was braking or someone was hitting the ground. Again it didn't help that it was 115 degrees out and we all started the trip not eating enough, along with the 2200 mile drive not moving in the truck for four days and jumping into the ride with 3 hours of sleep might have been a bad call. But hindsight is always 20/20, looking back we all made it out and got a good look at just how hard this race is going to be!! When Scott and I first decided to run this race I thought it would be tuff but I had know idea just how tuff. I have been riding all of my life and never thought that it would kick my butt like it did that first day!:eek1
I have never been in riding in deep sand and didn't even know what the hell a sand whoop was..."I did tell you that Allan" The riding in Baja was like nothing like I have ever seen!!! I have so much more respect for the guys that have been running this race, and the solo guys are just nuts!!!! After some great teaching points from John and Allan, getting the rear suspension setup right, and knocking the rust off it was so much better!!! We also found that the bars needed to be raised about 3" to help with standing riding position on Elvis. We also got the GPR in now so that is going to be a big help with the sand.
After the first day everything started to fall into place, we started getting in the grove and everything started clicking for us. I would like to also add that by the end of the ride you would never know that it was only the 2nd time Scott was on a dirt bike!! It was amazing to see, every day was like a new guy on the bike!!!
A few pics for ya, first Allan showing off he carb
John the Turbo Donkey working on Allan's carb
Scott and I
Good report Allan. I'll be posting up day 2 in the next few days.
"Where are you guys at?"
"We're ok. Scott's back here making love to a bush." hahah
Day 2 started out painful. I woke up being sore in places I didn't know could get sore. I may have underestimated how physically demanding this endeavor was going to be. But there's no time to be sore so jumped out of bed and started the day.
We all decided since day 1 was so difficult that we'd all sleep-in and have an 'easier' day. I try but sleeping-in doesn't really work for me and I was up at 0630. Everyone else mosey'd up shortly after me and we then waited for the adjacent restaurant to open. It gave me time to stretch and re-pack my backpack. I ditched some 'extra' food I was carrying…ounces equal pounds.
While we were waiting for the restaurant to open, it gave Allan time to work on his bike. He got ahold of some bad gas or something.
We ate breakfast at "Mi Pueblit" and I tagged it with a WWP sticker before we ate.
So Allan put his bike together and we packed up our bags. We rode mostly dirt roads through the mountains to Erendira. It was a pretty cool route. Lots of sweeping turns with ruts and 'ball bearing' size rocks. Pretty slippery stuff. But I'm good with ruts now.
About 1/2 way through the ride, Brett almost had a head on collision with a truck going too fast around a blind curve. The truck was gong WAY too fast and came to a sliding stop in the middle of the road. Luckily Brett kept the bike on the road and upright. It would of been a long fall otherwise. It was pretty sketchy. But that's Baja riding I guess. Strangely…this wouldn't be Brett's only head on collision with a motor vehicle that day…wait for it…
We stopped at a road side taco stand for lunch. It turns out that they have some excellent Mexican food down there. My bike didn't have a kick stand. I usually just leaned it against one of the other bikes. I had just taken my Fox armor off when I saw my bike and Randy's go over like dominos. I was imaging seeing all of the bikes going over like one of those cheesy biker movies. So embarrassing… I tagged the taco stand with a WWP sticker and we were off.
The last 2 miles of the route were amazing. It would be the first time we rode next to the ocean. There were 100' sheer cliffs dropping off into the ocean. Really pretty stuff.
We ended the day ride at the legendary Coyote Cal's. Lulu greeted us and put us all together in the basement room. If you haven't been to Coyote Cal's, you need to check it out. A really cool place.
After everyone was settled we busted out a map of Baja. We did a map recon of where we think the course is going to be this year. We talked about rider change locations, pits, and which sections we'd be riding. Allan proposed one of my legs be along the "Cliffs of Death." The cliffs were immediately re-named to, "Fuzzy Bunny Cliffs.". The "Fuzzy Bunny Cliffs" sound much less intimidating.
We ate dinner at Glorias in Erendira then hurried back to Coyote Cal's to get ready for our first night ride. At dinner we ran into some family members of McMillan Racing. Very nice people. We rolled out of Coyote Cal's at dusk and planned to ride north for about 30-ish miles along the coast. This was my first time riding at night and admittedly I was a little nervous. Only a few of the bikes had lights. I had my Cyclops helmet light…which was ridiculously bright.
Riding at night was pretty cool. I almost think I was faster at night. Since I couldn't see all that well….I just stayed on the throttle more then I should of. Probably should of rolled off the throttle more than I did. But since I couldn't see I just motored on.
I was cruising along at a pretty good clip when I hit the uphill silt bed. I'm thinking, "I know how to do this." Get as far back as I can in the saddle, throttle throttle, head up, and steer with your feet. I was about 1/2 way through the silt and the bike just wanted to lay down. I think it was tired. I fell A LOT the first day but none of it really hurt that much. This fall hurt pretty bad. I fell into a ditch and got a mean charlie horse on my quad. It also knocked the wind out of me and I lost my 'good time' for a moment. After I gained my composure, I picked my bike up and kicked that silt's ass.
I rode another 100 meters and everyone was waiting for me. The fog was getting extremely thick and we decided to turn around. I'm thinking, "Great…I had to go back through the silk that just almost broke my leg".
We arrived back at Coyote Cal's and immediately started drinking beers at the Barefoot Bar. We lit a campfire and this is when I learned about Brett's 2nd head on collision. Brett and Chris both had the same bike lights from Cyclops. They are insanely bright. Somehow Brett and Chris had a (low speed) head on collision. It was ridiculous. They were literally the ONLY other vehicle for 30 miles. I guess the bike lights were like tractor beams because those two idiots ran right into each other. Brett has it all on GoPro and Chris went over the handle bars…and flies over the camera. Hope is uploads it.
A little later on that night was the (non-riding) highlight of the trip for me. If you don't know Lulu, she's the caretaker for Coyote Cal's. Brett saw a guitar behind the bar and made her a deal. He told her that he'd play a song if she'd sing one for us. She agreed. Brett tuned up the guitar and strummed a few Zeppelin songs.
Then Lulu got ahold of the guitar… She sang us the most beautiful song I think I've ever heard. Her voice is angelic. I was hypnotized. Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was my aching, throbbing leg. Or maybe it was just the whole experience. I have no idea what she was singing about but I was speechless. I am quickly falling in love with Baja.
After a few more beers I pounded a few glasses of water and went to bed.
ok ok ok….I was going to leave this story out but I think it's too funny not to.
I only brought 1 pair of board shorts, 3 pairs of underwear, and 2 t-shirts with me. And everything was in the washing machine. I spent most of the night wearing a towel and a t-shirt. No one really seemed to notice or even care. When it was time to go to bed I just took the towel off and slept in a t-shirt. I was thinking that I better at least wear a t-shirt. I didn't want to be completely naked sleeping in a room full of dudes. I kept the towel handy in case I needed to get out of bed.
It's 3 or 4am and I've gotta pee like crazy. I didn't feel like getting out of bed so I tried to go back to sleep. I couldn't fall back to sleep. It was just too uncomfortable. I'm thinking, "Damnit…I have to get out of bed." I'm on the top bunk with Randy sleeping below me. The beds were all very very close to one another. Unnecessarily close.
I try to put my towel on and shimmy off the bed but I just don't have the room or right angles. I'm also so sore that I can't move all that much. I felt brittle. So I ditch the towel idea. I can't lower myself off the bed like a normal person because it's just way too tall and I'm way too sore. So I have to lay on my stomach and slide off the bed…feeling with my feet for the lower mattress or floor.
I'm thinking, "Oh God, please don't let Randy wake up." My manhood is literally dangling right in his face as I'm reaching for the floor. And don't let Allan or John wake up either…they are in the bed next to me. My bare ass is eye level with them as I'm reaching for the floor. Could of been a somewhat awkward encounter. It seemed like an eternity before I found the floor.
Allan working on his bike at our first hostel.
Restaurant attached to the hostel. Fantastic food.
Tagging Mi Puebli with WWP sticker
Roadside taco stand.
Gear off...still 1,000 degrees.
Just arrived at Coyote Cal's
After our night ride and before Lulu's song. I'll try to get her song uploaded soon.