Solo Solo 2011 <Vegas to Reno> <Baja 1000> – Slow Man Racing for a charity

Discussion in 'Racing' started by pilo, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. wrk2surf

    wrk2surf on the gas or brakes

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    Matt is AWESOME...when you have the Frog in the pit he takes control... you had the right crew chief behind you!
  2. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    Whew...now that the ghost of Dakar has died down I can get back to winding down this story. I'm not sure it's even relevant anymore after the Nedscapade, but desire to finish the story like I finished the year of racing, here it goes.

    After pounding down the apple and losing some weight with the battery-dead GPS I motored away towards Ensenada thoroughly enjoying the sandy soil near Ojos. I passed the big water and mud holes and soon was blasting along the ridgelines. I'd missed most of this view on the way up from the mist and likely my tunnel vision, but now I was able to enjoy the ride and the views. The view of the ridgeline trails seemed to go on all of the way to the ocean. The drop down into Ensenada was easy to perceive.

    At one point the 600 truck that I'd passed off of the side of the mountain road back in Trinidad passed me back. I wasn't surprised to see a truck go by, but when I realized it was the 600 truck I blanked for a second as I tried to figure out how he made it back onto the race course. At that exact moment the course turned sharp to the left and dropped off a couple of feet. I blipped the throttle, but the landing had a covering of silt and the front tire buried. I chest bumped the bars but didn't fall over. I cursed myself a bit for losing my concentration and likely being a little too far over the bars since I was dreaming about the truck. It had been a while since I'd actually crashed so this was a bit of a wake up. I shook my head a little and told myself to stay focused until the end...I was so close (cue foreboding music here).

    I noticed the ridgeline roads had gotten very slippery in 24+ hours since I'd last been through. The dry weather and hundreds of vehicles had packed the surface down hard, but more importantly, the trucks created a fine layer of dust on the packed surface. I noticed in more than one corner the back tire would slide on accel and the front tucked in multiple times.

    I came up over a ridge and began accelerating down the left side of the road. Up ahead I could see the road continued straight so I rolled on the throttle...4th gear came pretty fast. Suddenly I saw a small rain rut beginning in the middle of the road and increasing in size and running ahead of me off of the left side of the road. The rut got bigger very quickly so I had no clean line to get across to the right. The road faded off so I was not able to see the end of the rut but I hoped it cut more sideways as it got closer to the edge. You've all been in this situation...in the slightest percentage of a moment you need to decide, brake and pound through it or gas it and hope to make it across.

    I's let of the gas for just a moment until I saw for sure the rut went to the left but was very parallel to the line of the road. I grabbed the throttle, cleared with the front but the rear caught and slid to the left. I pirouetted in sort of a slow motion 180 and then came off the bike backwards going down the road. In a weird moment of life going slowly I totally recall thinking, "keep your head from the road...you don't want to damage your helmet!" What a silly thing to go through your mind while you were crashing.

    I hit the ground on my left arm and back and heard "CRUNCH!" Immediately I knew what had happened. My LED backpack light had exploded and I feared the Sat phone in my pack was squashed beyond identification. My ambiguous Sat phone contract popped in my head and I was irritated I was on the ground 20 miles from the finish. I checked my body and bike though, and everything seemed to be mostly in order, so I dusted myself off, swept of the parts of my LED light and motored back down the road. Bars/forks were a little tweaked, but everything was still operational. Onward!
  3. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    We're still here; of course we want to hear the whole thing, so thanks!
  4. AngryShawn

    AngryShawn Punchbowl Pooper

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    Thanks for the almost final installment Phil, really appreciate you recounting the whole experience for us!
    I think I'm probably of the minority here that is not dakar crazed :lol3
  5. M.A.G.

    M.A.G. I heart Penalties

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    +1.
  6. nxdirtbag

    nxdirtbag Commuter Adventurer

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    I'm still here Pilo. And since I finished your book :deal, I am ready to read more about the baja. :ear Thanks again.
  7. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    While I was busy crashing, the crew was racing down the mountain into Ensenada to beat me to the finish line. Evidently I took my time since from the looks of these photos the crew was practically asleep waiting for me to show.

    The donkey
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    Frog flexing his back muscles for the camera
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    beechum1
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    Empty finish line
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    Meanwhile I was still trying to blow the dust off while racing down the hill...
  8. Just Paul

    Just Paul Pro Cat Herder

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    Still here and loving the story !
  9. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

    Joined:
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    Beside the reality that I was pretty irritated at myself for crashing so late in the race and possibly causing the cost of my experience to jump up by about $1000 with the destruction of my 1990’s looking sat phone, I was really enjoying the last legs of the ride. The slippery surface caused some caution and a couple of large ruts across the roads had me slamming on the brakes a few times. As I dropped down through the villages, I began to see more and more locals hanging out by the course. The density of spectators was probably 10% of what it had been over 24 hours before and in the eyes of some of the drunken or sleep deprived locals it seemed like they were encouraging the last rider on the course. I swear it had been so long since I’d seen another bike that I felt like I was the last guy left out on the course.

    The smell of the ocean crept up the further I descended and I could almost taste the finish line. I rolled around a corner and blasted across a bridge as hard as my right hand would take me. As I neared the middle of the short bridge and truck emerged over the short rise in the road on the exit side of the bridge. I have no idea how fast the truck was going, but he was flying backwards on the course. I gassed it an darted to the edge of the single lane bridge and just made it off the corner and into the shoulder of the stream as he blasted onto the bridge. If was a second later, or he was a second earlier it could have gotten really messy. It’s crazy that locals know what is going on but still speed backwards on the roads.

    Soon I was bounding around the outskirts of Ensenada and I was feeling the finish. The day was bright, the spectators seemed to be building a little, and I knew I was close. Before I knew it I was on pavement and sliding once again through the corners. One last turn and I dropped down into the wash for the final section of dirt. This really was a dream come true and as I was motoring down the now sloppy wash I was choking up and my eyes were wet. It would’ve probably turned into a full-on Barbara Walters moment if I hadn’t come across dam the spectators built under the last bridge that provided enough distraction to stem my flow of tears.

    The water/mud looked deep and the spectators had erected enough ribbon to direct all vehicles through the muck. Not knowing the depth of the goo I stopped in front of the lake and screamed at the locals enough so that they lifted the ribbon and let me scoot around the toxic waste.

    From there it was just a few more turns to the finish. Notice the reflectance from the ADV sticker!
    [​IMG]



    A few more turns on the pavement and the finish line was in site. I couldn't stop smiling.
    [​IMG]

    I got to the finish and met Sal who said something like:

    "You were one of the solo guys, right?"

    "Yep"

    "I'm really sorry about the course. I don't know how you guys do it."

    I laughed a bit, took my finisher pins and rode off of the mound. The crew was waiting in the bull pen.
    [​IMG]

    Here I'm pulling the parts from the transponder from my pack and trying to explain that "I'm sure it still works!"
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    Not sure what I'm explaining here...perhaps discussing the angle at which my body separated from the bike after my pirouette.
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    Per Frog's initial race strategy and advice, I saw that street, twice.
    [​IMG]

    So that was that. 29 hours and 4 minutes. I finished the Baja 1000, solo.






    Next up - the aftermath.
  10. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    I think it was something like, "You know, there were so many whoops, i don't even know how many whoops there were, maybe there were thousands, or tens of thousands, but there were just so many whoops."
  11. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    "Look away, I'm hideous...."
  12. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    And perhaps, just perhaps, that's why you are smiling.
  13. silverboy

    silverboy Bunny

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    Nice work! Finishing that race solo is a real accomplishment. Great job!
  14. Wyobrew

    Wyobrew Missed it by that mu

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    I still find myself shaking my head at how well you planned and executed this effort. Looking forward to aftermath comments. :clap
  15. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    I'm using his execution as a guide for my prep and training.
  16. trackhead

    trackhead Utard Wankster

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    Congrats Phil. Heck of a day of riding.
  17. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

    Joined:
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    We went back to the hotel -- just a block away -- and I took a little breath while taking it all in. There was lots of commotion going on all around and I was enjoying the buzz. I was tired for sure, but I wasn't spent. I expected to be just destroyed coming across that finish line...the proverbial tongue dragging on the ground, but I wasn't. I think the unknown about the actual juice required to finish the race had me riding pretty conservatively. A look at the back tire shows that regardless of the amount of sand, I wasn't twisting the throttle very hard. My tire looked like that at the 300 mile mark at V2R.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I sat on the curb and called my wife. She was surprised to hear from me and surprised at how well I sounded. She'd stopped watching the SPOT when it stopped transmitting and had taken the kids out for some lunch. Probably a good plan.


    I started pulling off my gear and got some help with the from the crew.

    [​IMG]

    Once the layers came off we got a nice view of the needles stuck in my arm. Those things are nasty and after digging at least a couple of dozen of
    them out with pliers I found only about 1/4 of them are sticking out. The rest is buried in the muscle...ouch! Just yesterday I was digging out a left-over piece of cactus in my right arm.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    With the help of the crew we got everything packed back into the van and immediately went out for burgers. I was dying of hunger. I polished that beef down with little pause.


    [​IMG]

    Back at the room I slept for a couple of hours and woke up in time to watch more trucks and buggies coming back in and then grab a dinner with the crew. Ahh more good food.

    [​IMG]

    I was back asleep by 9:30 or so and slept great. By 6 the next morning I was up looking for coffee. After finding some brew I enjoyed the calm of the early morning and waited a bit for the rest of the crew to wake. We went and took a look at the official results.

    [​IMG]

    In the end it looked like I finished 3rd out of 6 solo finishers (18 started) and first solo (7th actual place) in Sportsman over 250cc. Not too bad for my first time south of the border on a bike.

    We bummed around a bit in the morning and then made it over to the awards presentation. Sal specially recognized the solo finishers and gave us all a chance to speak to the crowd. Flashbulbs and Tecate girls made me feel like a rock star. I truly was enjoying the moment. That was the one time I really wished my family could've been there.

    [​IMG]

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    The solo guys...notice the guy with the injured foot. He finished first solo and busted up his foot at mile 100. Wow.
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    We blew out of Ensenada and tried to sneak across the border at Tecate. No chance.

    [​IMG]

    A huge line meant we had time to kill so Frog and Dumbgirl entertained everyone by distributing Alta Ski resort skickers. Frog climbed every pole and sign on the border and slapped on a sticker. Look for them when you are leaving through Tecate.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Dumbgirl made friends with the Federales and had everyone begging her for more 'star' stickers.


    [​IMG]

    We made it home the next day with no issues and no fanfare or ticker tape parade. My family was waiting at the front door and my kids wanted to see the trophy (Sal had no trophies for us yet but promised to send them in the future - nothing has arrived as of yet).

    I blew everything out of the van and packed it away. The party was over, but the adventure is just beginning.

    [​IMG]

    I sincerely want to thank everyone that followed along with me this past year+. It's been amazing and I'm still reflecting on what it's done for me personally. I've learned a lot about myself and my ability to accomplish something important to me outside of school, work or family. I'm not sure what's next, but I'm sure something is...

    Thanks of course to the people that supported me and the YWCA. I raised some $$ and brought some awareness to them locally. Thanks also to Konflict Motorsports, Highway Dirt Bikes, Sidi, MSR, Local Hero MX graphics, Wolfsnout and Warp 9. These sponsors helped me achieve a dream.

    My family gets kudos for their support including my wife who loves me despite my addiction.

    Lastly, thanks to my crews both at V2R and Baja. Kevin, Brandon, Matt, Michele, Jeremy, and Jim. I absolutely could not have done it without you. You guys were all superb and I would roll with you in a heartbeat. I hope I can return your support one day.

    Let the next adventure begin.

    [​IMG]
  18. izom

    izom Been here awhile

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    ..holy shit!! :huh

    [​IMG]
  19. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    Loved every minute of it Phil. You have reason to be proud and thanks for taking the time to finish up the race report.
  20. nxdirtbag

    nxdirtbag Commuter Adventurer

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    Great job Phil. Riding and Writing!!!!!

    Thanks again for taking us along,
    Wayne