2004 BITD Vegas to Reno Race Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by neduro, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

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    First, I want to thank a few people. My friend Greg sensed my determination to go, realized that if he didn’t come along to help he would probably never see me again, and dedicated a weekend to helping me out. It was absolutely critical to my success, and most appreciated. From this site, KtmNate offered to operate Pit 13 for me, and carried gas out on his bike and provided fuel and a smiling face when I needed it. Also from this site, Charlie (aka Lastplace) gave some suggestions that proved very helpful in the final reckoning. As ever, it is a pleasure to meet other riders.

    The race was amazing. The course was great- some miles were rocky and slow, some were smooth and fast, but all was top fun. My goal was to finish and to avoid being on course with trucks and buggies. I met that goal- I finished in 11:28, which seems to be good enough for 6th in class and 48th overall. Ironically, 2nd thru 6th IM Expert are covered by 14 minutes… but I refuse to second guess my race. Good on those guys for finding more speed than I did.

    For those who are curious, you can follow the advrider contingent’s prep for this race here

    Also, my apologies but there just aren’t many pics available from the race or the weekend as a whole. 2500 miles of driving and a 500 mile raceday don’t fit into 96 hours without casualties, and among the first things neglected was the camera. Let your imagination be your guide. :rofl

    Before we get into things, the first question that has to be addressed is why. Why bother with the hassle, the expense, and the risk? The best answer I can give is that racing is not about the outcome, it’s about the sensation. It’s about the nerves and excitement and fear and adrenaline that boil over sitting at the start line, and about the immediate mental calm that comes once the flag is dropped. It’s about suspending analysis and living absolutely and completely in the moment for the duration of the race. It’s about the satisfaction of a race well run, whatever the relative finish position. It’s about pushing hard, harder than there is ever a need to in “normal” life, and digging deep and finding the reserve to keep pushing. It’s about exceeding my own expectations, and finding out what kind of stuff I am really made of. And it’s about fun- the fun of sliding around on fire roads and lighting up wheelies over crests and generally doing all the stuff that you’re not supposed to do as a responsible rider but that is expected in a race.

    Now, everything has a price, and in this case, the price is risk. This race is one year exactly after I broke my wrist in an enduro (see my avatar for the aftermath of that crash). That cost me 6 months of riding, lots of money, and a few months of wondering if I’d ever get on a bike seriously again. In the end, I realized that while races certainly entail some degree of risk, I am in control of that risk. Just like guns don’t kill people, races don’t hurt them- the racer usually hurts him (or her) self through bad decision making. That’s what I did a year ago, and I was (and am) determined not to let it happen again. I’ll ride within my skill threshold or I won’t ride at all. Even so, I’m sure I’ll crash, and I’m sure I’ll get hurt again, but I think the risks are at a level I can deal with.

    Anyway, to the race and thru registration and tech:

    The amount of supplies needed is a little bit frightening, yes?

    [​IMG]

    I left work on Wednesday at noon to begin the drive from COS to Las Vegas. After picking up Greg in Denver, we made it as far as Cedar City before grabbing a hotel room. We stopped at Mom’s Café in Salina, as is my custom… and for the first time, it sucked. The food was mediocre at best and the pie wasn’t good enough to finish. A truly revolting turn of events. This put us in great shape in the morning- we took our time, ate a leisurely breakfast on the road, and still arrived in Las Vegas well before noon.

    Contrary to my fears, registration went smoothly and the XR passed tech inspection easily. I spent the afternoon drinking water, walking around the pits staring in wonder at all the big-money truck and buggy rigs, and doing chores like goggle prep and so on that just hadn’t happened at home.

    I did get a few (crappy) pictures from the afternoon:

    An average transporter to give you a sense of the scale of things, eh?

    [​IMG]

    Jimmy’s revolutionary 1920’s technology bike… (I felt a little cheated after all his promises of “really important”- did you ever sell software for Microsoft, Jimmy?) :D

    [​IMG]

    Dinner with Cody and Charlie (and many others, all of whom were very enjoyable) was a blast, and from that we went straight to the riders meeting, which took much longer than it needed to. There was plenty to cover, but we probably could have skipped the videos… and after finally getting out of there, I bought $200 of diesel and gas from the worst organized 76 station the world has ever known before driving the hour or so to Johnnie and the start.

    to be continued once I get some sleep…
    #1
  2. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    neduro,

    I am posting some pix of you at Pit 13. Sorry I missed you at the finish. I thought I left the directions at work and later found them in my tank bag. I had also erased your voice message and didn't write your number down. Anyway the first pix is what the the pit setup looked like. That 5gal can actually fit into my touratech with the lid off. We probably had the goofiest pit. Two guys show up on motorcycles (KTM and Ducati) with gas and water.

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    This is neduro getting gas from my good friend Shayne. If you could see inside neduro's helmet, you would see a big smile. This guy just rode over 400 miles thru the desert and was still happy.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    This is neduro about to take off.

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    And here is neduro gone. Total pit time was about 3 minutes. Not the fastest but we had limited resources. This was something that I wanted to do from the start. I didn't think I would even get the chance. As it turned out, I was going to be on vacation in South Lake Tahoe (about 115 miles from the pit). After a few mesages were exchanged, we were headed for the desert.



    ps- my trip report will be out by tuesday


    pss- sorry about the hijack.

    Attached Files:

    #5
  6. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

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    [​IMG]

    any more pictures of jimmy's little wonderful bike..

    is this your motozilla or somebody else bet you to the Line...
    #6
  7. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

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    'Tis no hijack- I'm psyched to see the pictures, and this is part of the story! Looking forward to hearing from the other advriders and how their races went... still haven't seen complete results to know if/how Charlie and Cody finished.

    I was worried that we missed you somehow at the finish- no worries, just glad you weren't put out by trying to come see me and missing it.

    BTW, you've got the quote backwards. This guy just rode 400 miles through the desert and BECAUSE of that has a huge shit-eating grin. That was a seriously fun day!

    Thanks again- you were an important part of support as I don't think my crew would have made that stop on time, and I needed the gas badly. Hope I can buy you dinner the next time I come out your way. :thumb

    Ricky- there's a couple more pics- will dig them up and post them as I have time. Now I have to catch up on work... so it'll be a few days.
    #7
  8. SST

    SST Lost again... Supporter

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    :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb

    Good Job Ned. Great ride! And under 12 hours too. I cannot wait until next year. I was thinking about you all weekend as I was trying to stay awake in my meetings.

    Any idea what happened to Charlie?

    How do I buy a T-shirt from you?
    #8
  9. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks.

    Full details to follow, but I passed Charlie a couple miles after the start and didn't see him or his crew again. The course was rough and rocky in that section, and the Rallye was NOT the hot setup for that particular stretch. Had our mounts been reversed, I'm sure he would have been passing me...

    I hope he'll post here and let us know that he's OK, etc.

    You should be able to buy a shirt at tirony.cafepress.com. They are sold at cost (no markup) but your name is on the back, so you should definitely pick one up.

    Sorry you had to sit in meetings. I bet that was painful.

    Anyway, will work on the actual race report tonight.


    #9
  10. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    neduro,
    we had a blast. We left shortly after you did. We didn't want to be around when those trucks came thru.


    Ricardo,
    I hav a couple of pix of Jimmy Lewis and crew from pit 13.

    Attached Files:

    #10
  11. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    Here is one of the rear.

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    #11
  12. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    I did manage to get one as he was pulling into the pits but it wasn't sharp. Here is the left side. I believe that when Jimmy pit, his dad took over to finish the race.

    Attached Files:

    #12
  13. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    It was already killing me that I didn't make it to the race. Now you guys rub it in with stories, photos, and smiles. Damn. Well, I'll just use it all as motivation for next year. Congrats to all who did well.

    Charlie had some bad luck. His story is on his web site here:
    http://www.charliedakar.com/index.php?id=32
    #13
  14. Ricardo Kuhn

    Ricardo Kuhn a.k.a. Mr Rico Suave

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    I'm going to start a new posting about Jimmy's bike

    HERE you have it this way we can keep Nerudo and the rest taking about the Awesome race...

    sound like was a Good idea not to go,If alex and Charlie crash that hard,my 950 will be gone in flames since my skills are not even 20% of theirs
    #14
  15. terry.mc

    terry.mc Stop ruining my vacation

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    My wife said to me on Thursday "Well why didn't you tell that man with the sidecar that you would be his passenger?" Thanks for the late approval there honey... Previous encounters on the subject of riding Vegas to Reno were not well recieved when I would be riding, but make me a sidecar monkey and everything is allright.

    It's good to hear Charlies story too, man that sounds really rough. Probably more the kind of race that I would have :freaky
    #15
  16. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    Congradulations Ned on finishing. And SOLO! that course was so beat I wouldn't want to do it. Afetr the first 110 miles, where I got off the bike I was thinking I wouldn't want to go much more of it. I figured it would get good from there on. But it didn't!!!! Then my second section was starting to get fun then it would go to crap and get rough. Physically that was worse than any single day on the Dakar!

    You must have used your head as we did through the bumps. One wrong throttle twist and you end up in Charlie's shoes. A broken wrist and you were going to give up dirt bikes! Forget it bud, you're addicted!

    JIMMY
    #16
  17. Buck in Flagstaff

    Buck in Flagstaff Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Well, I'm super impressed with Ned's race results.
    Thought I would take a brief history tour of 3 years ago when we conned Ned into his first race......this was his write up back then... titled:

    Of Cholla, Headshake, and Rental Cars...

    In which I attempt my first Desert Race, the Best in the Desert
    >Laughlin Hare Scramble...
    >
    >Ever since I first read about desert racing as a little boy in
    >illicit under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight "Cycle World" reading
    >sessions, it's always seemed like it should be one of my favorite
    >sports. By nature, it has staggering logistical difficulties, large
    >amounts of apparent risk, calls for massive amounts of endurance,
    >and all the action takes place far from any spectators.
    >
    >This is the kind of sport I like best. I'm a sucker for any kind of
    >endurance challenge, probably because deep down inside, I figure I
    >could eventually win these types of contests by digging into my
    >innate bullheadedness, and overcoming a life long lack of
    >coordination and athletic ability. I'm also good at logistics-
    >motocross doesn't have enough of those to keep me interested for
    >long. And last but not least, I like the fact that desert racing is
    >not mainstream. No one recognizes the names of the people who are
    >best at it, and no one gets rich promoting or participating. People
    >go desert racing because they like it, not because they are going to
    >get rich or famous. For these reasons and more, I've always wanted
    >to give Desert racing a try.
    >
    >Therefore, when Buck, a friend from Flagstaff, asked if I might like
    >to join a team to do the race at Laughlin, I jumped at the chance.
    >Buck and his friends are all very Fast (capital "F"), and thoroughly
    >smoke me every time we ride together, so it felt like an honor to be
    >asked to go racing, even if they knew that I would blow any chance
    >they might have had to actually win. After some negotiation (I'm not
    >only slow, but also young, which means that I have to race in the
    >most competitive classes) I wound up with an offer to ride with
    >Chris, a former 125 Supercrosser, and Pat, a former pro-level desert
    >racer on Pat's Dad's shop bike, a very nice and nearly new KTM 400
    >M/XC. My desert racing debut would be well padded with sandbagging
    >teammates, it would seem...
    >
    >By any reasonable measure, the idea of renting a car, driving it
    >2000 miles in a 3 day period, all for the privilege of riding 40 or
    >so miles on an unknown motorcycle on a whooped out, overused, loose
    >and dusty trail crowded with other riders, does not really make very
    >much sense. Throw in the expense of hotels, food, gasoline, tires,
    >rental cars, entrance fees, and great physical risk, and any sane
    >person would quickly begin to wonder just what the hell you are
    >thinking.
    >
    >But strangely enough, the decision to throw caution (not to mention
    >sensibility) to the wind and undertake such an expedition never even
    >seemed like a question to me. I hope that this is because I have
    >come to the realization, much like Ferris Bueller, that life is
    >short, and you have to take it by the horns and make something of
    >it, or else it will slip away from you. But, there is the distinct
    >possibility that instead of being a visionary hedonist who
    >understands my own mortality and therefore seeks to maximize my life
    >experiences, I am just crazy. Whatever... I'm O.K. with crazy- it's
    >mundane that scares me silly.
    >
    >I decided that I would be in need of a sidekick, someone who could
    >(it turns out later) pull cactus needles from my face with linesman
    >pliers, help me pull off the silly amount of driving, and provide
    >comic relief. I found just such a sucker in the form of my good
    >friend Terry, who no doubt saw through my thinly-veiled attempts to
    >badge the trip in glory by likening it to Hunter S. Thompson's
    >journey to Las Vegas to see the Mint 400- Terry knew in advance that
    >my tolerance for controlled substances would preclude anything like
    >such an epic adventure as that. However, due no doubt to his
    >visionary hedonism, Terry agreed to come along. The adventure we
    >were setting off on was a trip to the Best in the Desert Laughlin
    >Hare Scrambles, in Laughlin, NV (see http://www.bitd.com for more
    >info).
    >
    >Fast forward a few weeks to a Thursday afternoon full of work that
    >wouldn't quit, four hundred million details, and a trip to the
    >rental car agency. This last, because I decided that putting 2000
    >miles on a rental car was a smarter idea than putting them on my
    >long-suffering truck... and also because I've always wanted to
    >conduct rental car handling research in a motorcycle race setting
    >(another side-effect of too-many Cycle Worlds, no doubt).
    >
    >Oddly, although the vast majority of time on the trip was spent in
    >the car, it seemed like a relatively insignificant part of the
    >adventure. Only the fact that our Hyundai would seemingly shift into
    >reverse before 3rd when the driver booted the gas really sticks with
    >me- the first time I did this and Terry and I almost went through
    >the windshield, there was a moment of silence, and then Terry said
    >"Umm, I'd really prefer not to walk all the way there". From that
    >point on, until we returned to within sight of Colorado Springs, the
    >rental car transmission was treated with much more respect than it
    >deserved. The parking brake was not afforded the same treatment-
    >both Terry and I used it to great effect every chance we got.
    >
    >At any rate, we eventually escaped the sprawl of Colorado's
    >Frontrange and made all available haste to Flagstaff, with a brief
    >(4 hours or so) stop in lovely Grants, New Mexico. At least, I
    >assume it's lovely,but I don't really know for sure because I spent
    >our stay with my eyelids firmly shut. After a brief stop in
    >Flagstaff, in which I took a brief ride to acclimate myself to the
    >motorcycle (more on this later) and rearranging into Buck's truck,
    >we took off for Laughlin, where we checked into the hotel, got
    >registered for the race, got the bike and our helmets tech
    >inspected, and then spent a little time ogling all the fine
    >machinery in the parking lot. Then it was dinner, and bed, or maybe
    >I should say "floor", as that is where I was sleeping due to a
    >slight person/bed ratio deficiency.
    >
    >Raceday dawned cool and clear, with a strong wind blowing. Wind is a
    >fine thing to have in a desert race, because it cuts the dust, which
    >any desert racer will tell you is the enemy. Going full tilt through
    >a rocky and loose arroyo is scary enough when you can see where you
    >are going- with a thick layer of dust that never settles, it's
    >downright insane.
    >
    >Usually, the Laughlin Scrambles are run as a series of loops
    >starting from a common pit, but this year, the land manager had
    >asked at the 11th hour if the promotor could make the course one
    >loop only to keep the pits simple. Therefore, instead of 2 25 mile
    >loops, we had one 40 mile loop to play with- race distance was 4
    >laps for teams, 3 for ironmen (solo riders, of whatever sex).
    >Therefore, the pit lane was set up the long way through the gravel
    >quarry that served as a base, with a long gentle rise in the middle.
    >Spread along the length of the pit were crews who would refuel and
    >fix bikes before sending their riders back out for another loop...
    >
    >I was to be the 3rd rider of three, (Pat was starting, followed by
    >Chris, followed by me, followed by either Chris or Pat) which meant
    >that I wouldn't be riding until roughly 4 hours into the race. So, I
    >stayed in my street clothes and ambled over to watch the start- pros
    >went one at a time every 30 seconds, then experts 2 at a time at the
    >same interval, and then amateurs just like the experts. All too
    >soon, all the bikes were gone, and the pits became eerily quiet and
    >devoid of activity.
    >
    >After about an hour and a half of this lull, the warning went up
    >that the first rider was coming. No words were spoken- but
    >everyone's head swiveled to the north, to get a glimpse of what they
    >could already hear. I think it was Destry Abbott (but I'm not
    >altogether sure) who came into the pits first. Remember how I said
    >the pits were about half a mile long, over a gentle hill? My whole
    >impression changed as Destry came through... motor screaming, wheel
    >spewing roost, front wheel hovering in the air, perfect balance and
    >complete control in spite of his 70+ mph speed through chaotic
    >conditions- it was an image of bike and rider that I hope I never
    >lose. Suddenly, the gentle hill was a launch suitable for space
    >travel, so otherworldly was the speed, it seemed... Simply amazing.
    >After the first few pros came through, it was like the dam broke and
    >riders started to filter into the pits. Eventually, the first of our
    >bikes (Bret, riding Expert Ironman) came in for gas and took off,
    >and then the second (Greg, riding 35+ Open Amateur) and then at
    >last, Pat on our bike. Chris got on and took off, and all of the
    >sudden, the race went from being an interesting but abstract
    >exercise to a very, very real experience.
    >
    >I've no idea where the roughly 2 hours between Chris taking off and
    >then returning- all that I really remember is peeing about 350
    >times. But suddenly, he returned, and as the crew started the
    >process of refueling. The last few seconds before my turn on the
    >bike began were fascinating. Suddenly, everything stopped being
    >theoretical, and the realization that I, Me, Ned Suesse, was about
    >to go Desert Racing, became very scarily real. The flock of
    >butterflies squared and squared again, until the number of little
    >bastards fluttering around in my belly could compete with the number
    >of stars in the sky. And then, suddenly, the gas had dropped, the
    >bike was ready to go, and I was off. All apprehension disappeared,
    >and I was off.
    >
    >I think this is as good a place as any to go back to my ride in
    >Flagstaff, which was a very powerful experience. I'm shaking even as
    >I write this... here goes. As my experience in dirt riding has
    >grown, one of the most interesting lessons (one with rich
    >metaphorical possibilities, which we will not explore here) that has
    >become apparent is that difficult sections become easier the faster
    >one goes (presumably, there is an upper limit to this truth,
    >however, I've yet to find that inflection point...). I've got lots
    >of theories for why this is- probably, it's mostly due to the
    >increased gyro effect of the wheels as they spin faster loaning
    >greater stability, but one of you engineer/physicist types out there
    >might have a better informed opinion.
    >
    >The KTM I was on for this race seems to have disproved this theory.
    >When I rode it in Flagstaff, I took it up a relatively smooth fire
    >road in the mountains behind Flagstaff. On my way up the road,
    >moving at about 40 or so, I hit a small rock and the bike
    >immediately started to tankslap, which is where the bars slam back
    >and forth from steering stop to steering stop in an ever more
    >violent oscillation. The word violent is quite appropriate, because
    >as you can imagine, motorcycles don't react well to being steered by
    >an evil demon- I've never experienced this on a bike before, least
    >of all in a seemingly benign situation such as this, so I brought
    >the bike back with a huge degree of trepidation for the ride ahead.
    >I tried to stay quiet about it, but I'm not sure how much I
    >succeeded... my teammates all downplayed that the bike did this,
    >leaving me all the more worried.
    >
    >All this is relevant, because as I pulled out of the pits and got on
    >the gas to start my loop, I came into the first set of whoops
    >(periodic bumps formed by lots of dirtbikes each spinning and
    >landing in the same places- picture a sine wave made of dirt) and
    >experienced the most terrifying headshake I could possibly imagine.
    >Somehow, I lived through that section, crested a little hill, came
    >down the other side, and got it again. This time, I wasn't so lucky-
    >the bike high-sided me off in a most spectacular manner, directly
    >into a huge stand of Cholla cactus.
    >
    >Cholla cactus deserve their own paragraph. They are evil little
    >cactus balls, with barbed spines about 1/2 long, which have a mild
    >toxin on the end. What this means is that once they go in, they
    >don't come out, and they hurt like hell. Also, like a caltrop from
    >medieval warfare, they have spines pointed in all directions, so you
    >can't touch them without getting poked again. By and large, quite an
    >unpleasant little plant.
    >
    >After my crash, I had Cholla all over my body, including packed up
    >under my fullface helmet into my chin and lips, and all over my arms
    >hands, and inner thighs. I decided to ignore all but what was in my
    >hands, and spent 20 seconds or so carefully removing what I could by
    >scraping them against the fender of the bike. That done, I got on
    >the bike and set off again, determined to be more careful- only to
    >hit another set of wild whoops and repeat the exact same crash
    >again. In the end, I had 3 highsides in the first mile, each as
    >painful as the last... this easily trebled the total number of bad
    >dirt bike crashes that I've ever had, in my entire history of
    >riding. I'm not a crasher, but you couldn't prove it by this race...
    >
    >So, one mile down, 39 to go. Fug. I decided that the wisest plan was
    >to slow WAY down, much slower than what I would usually ride on my
    >bike, and be very careful not to crash or get lost. In this way, I
    >would return a functional bike to the pits. In the heat of the
    >moment, this is a very difficult choice to make, because your heart
    >is screaming "hurry up, you fool" while your head is saying "to
    >finish first, first you must finish". The two of them are coming to
    >blows inside you, and the only way to proceed is just to drop it
    >all, refine your judgement, and move on. I'm sure there's a lesson
    >in there somewhere...
    >
    >Despite my agonizingly slow speed, I had several more minor mishaps-
    >each time, I would pick the bike up, screaming obscenities at the
    >top of my lungs, and swearing never to make a mistake like entering
    >this race again. To make matters more interesting, as I was
    >beginning our 3rd lap, the pros were beginning their 4th, so every
    >so often, I'd get totally dusted off by someone in a major big-time
    >hurry, which was both fascinating and frustrating. Again, the bike
    >control demonstrated by pros is not to be believed- it's also
    >interesting that you never wonder if it's a pro that is coming by.
    >Amateurs bikes are quiet, and they hit all kinds of stuff heavily in
    >a way that you can sense even without seeing them ride. Pros bikes
    >are screaming their guts out, way up on the pipe, and seemingly
    >nothing that ever happens is not planned. So smooth, so light and
    >nimble is their touch that it just blew my mind.
    >
    >The passage of time in a race is totally non-linear. Seconds take
    >minutes, minutes take hours, and hours take minutes, in a fashion
    >that makes no logical sense whatsoever. The concentration required
    >is so intense, that I totally lose track of everything. The world
    >could end, and I'd never know unless the trail I was on
    >disappeared... at which point, it would take me 5 minutes to figure
    >out that yes, the trail really was gone. Because of the Cholla
    >cactus in my mouth, I couldn't drink, and in the intense heat and
    >dust, that was a major drag. Eventually, I passed an expert rider
    >(the color number plate defines which class the rider is in) picking
    >up his bike out of a pile of rubble where he had crashed. For the
    >next 45 minutes or so, he would scream past me making really good
    >time, and then I'd putt past him as he was picking himself out of
    >yet another crash or missed turn. In a most satisfying turn of
    >events, I got back to the pits before him... see tortoise and hare
    >under "wisdom of ages".
    >
    >After what seemed like an infinitely long and yet impossibly short
    >time, but was in fact about 2.5 hours measured in more normal terms,
    >I arrived back at the pits and turned the bike over to Pat, who tore
    >off for our final lap. I felt defeated in a major way- I knew I'd
    >been slow, a liability to my team instead of an asset, and I was
    >ticked at myself for letting the bike get the better of me.
    >
    >I passed the time by pulling cactus needles out of myself, drinking
    >about 200 gallons of water, and comparing notes with other riders.
    >Evidently, as I'd pulled out of the pits, Pat had remarked to Terry
    >that "He'll learn to ride headshake, or die trying!"... so I guess
    >the problem wasn't all in my head.
    >
    >When all was said and done, we wound up 2nd 4-stroke Amateur, due
    >entirely to the 3 laps ridden by my fast friends. Later, I learned
    >that my split time between checkpoints on the race course was only
    >about 4 minutes off the faster folks, which means that as slow as I
    >felt I was going, it wasn't all THAT slow, which was a major
    >relief... I need to get faster, not shift to a whole new paradigm of
    >speed to meet my personal goals. And the feeling of comradeship that
    >I enjoyed that evening with anyone else wearing a green
    >"participant" arm band was really neat... until at last, somewhere
    >around Albuquerque, on the drive home, I started thinking to myself
    >"when's the next race?".
    >
    >Racing is funny stuff. As much as I hated it in the middle of the
    >course, I'm sitting here thinking about the things I'd change and
    >how much better I could do next time, and how much I have to learn
    >about riding motorcycles. In the end, it comes back to the fact that
    >racing forces me into a mental groove that nothing else seems to, a
    >place where all attention is entirely on the present, where nothing
    >exists but the next 60 feet of trail. Not even Cholla cactus in my
    >face could impose themselves into my consciousness.
    >
    >Diane Ackerman, a pilot, scuba diver, and horsewoman writes in her
    >book "On Extended Wings" that she likes "that moment central to
    >danger... when you become so thoroughly concerned with acting
    >deftly, in order to be safe, that only reaction is possible, not
    >analysis. You shed the centuries and feel creatural. Of course, you
    >do have to scan, assess, and make constant minute decisions. But
    >there is nothing like thinking in the usual methodical way. What
    >takes place is more akin to informed instinct. For a compulsively
    >pensive person, to be fully alert but free of thought is a form of
    >ecstasy."
    >
    >Well said, sister. Much better than I would likely ever succeed, and
    >this, combined with the adventure and joy of experience that goes
    >along with it, is why thoughtful people go racing.
    >
    >Until next time,
    >
    >Ned "Cholla Killer" Suesse
    >
    >PS- So complete was my about face, that the first day in which the
    >motorcycle dealership was open after the race, I traded my favorite
    >motorcycle ever (my Honda Superhawk, the most easy and fun bike I've
    >ever ridden) for a (to me) demanding, high strung and nervous KTM
    >300 e/xc, so that I can go try it again. And true to form, the new
    >bike is madly challenging and frustrating and the reward of riding
    >it is that much better for the pain...
    #17
  18. lastplace

    lastplace Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Hi Guys!
    Congrats to Ned and all the other finishers. Well done!
    This was not my best showing, by far. Oh well, that's racing.
    Next time!
    Maybe I'd have done better on Scott's sidecar!
    fun fun
    Charlie
    #18
  19. lastplace

    lastplace Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Oh yeah, one last thing. I still had a blast! Got to ride my dirt bike for 301 miles. The only bummer was that my pit crew had not iced the beers yet when I stopped.

    Rookies.

    Charlie
    #19
  20. oio

    oio Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Colorado Springs and Leadville, CO
    Ned:

    Good work, congrats. You proved you could chase those broken wrist demons away with a level head and riding maturity that is unusual for somebody as young as you are. Now, what's next? Paris-Dakar next year? :thumb

    Dave
    #20