I drove, and Kevin called the turns. We raced to Mike's Sky Ranch - a rustic hotel in the mountains catering to off-road racers. Just past Mikes, the course gets really steep and really rocky. You can't take a civilian vehicle back there. Mountain switchbacks....up, down, turns. We come upon…
Victor and Dustin arrived at mile 289 in the night. Marie and I got back in the car and strapped in, and hooked our filtered air supply hoses to our helmets. We were off to take on Matomi Wash. Matomi is a wide wash that narrows and narrows to steep…
Ten miles after Kevin and Dustin got in the car, the left rear wheel fell off - or was broken off. When the wheel came off the axle dragged in the dirt and rocks, and ruined it, and the hub and caliper. In a crisis, communication is the key to…
Three hours in. The grade sloped up gradually, and then steeper. There were pine trees because at high elevation it's cooler and it supports different vegetation. We started going down. You could see very very far into the distance from up here. It got steeper, and rocky. Down. Switchbacks. Almost…
After much preparation of the physical, mental and mechanical variety, we were ready. I would start the race with Marie in the co-drivers seat and race to mile 155 where I'd give the car to Kevin and Dustin. That was the plan. The race started in the middle of the…
Pre-Running Pre-Running the course means you run it before the race so you can see the course. Typically you do not pre-run at night. You need to see it. There has been a lot of rain in Baja this year, and rain changes the landscape of the desert considerably. Washes…
The team of five - This year the race was 828 miles vs last year's 1124. I decided we needed only 5 teammates. I'd do most of the driving. My wife Marie would be in the passenger seat when I was driving. I needed two more to fill in for…
For those of you that are new to Think Daily, I'll catch you up. I ride dirt bikes. It's been a big part of my life. I raced them with my son in Baja - the 1000-mile-long peninsula on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. If you haven't seen them…
Eat, sleep, move - and do these things enough and well. The body keeps score - and from that, you can not escape.
I walk through workplaces including my own and I see people texting. While texts may be used for work, let's not kid ourselves, most of it is personal. Here's a story I heard from Zig Ziglar 35 years ago that I still remember - A fancy rail car pulls up…
Five on Four – Part 8 – the Finish
I drove, and Kevin called the turns. We raced to Mike’s Sky Ranch – a rustic hotel in the mountains catering to off-road racers. Just past Mikes, the course gets really steep and really rocky. You can’t take a civilian vehicle back there.
Mountain switchbacks….up, down, turns. We come upon a race vehicle – a VW Beetle stopped. The co-driver is out of the car and runs up to us. We stop, the nose of our car pointing up at a 35-degree angle. He asks us to pull him up the hill. No way we can do it. We apologize. We don’t have the power.
When I step on the gas our machine struggles to pull itself up the rocks and silt on a steep grade.
A few ridges later we see a driver carrying a wheel and tire down a steep hill. He did not signal for us so we drove by. We reckon we are 20 miles from the nearest ranch. Then we see a race vehicle. The spare tire fell off and the driver we saw had walked a long distance back up the hill to find it.
We get to the Pacific side hours after getting in the car. Randy was waiting for us. While he gave the car a once over, we ate a burrito and a cold Cappuccino drink without taking our helmets off. Heaven. Two minutes and we were gone. The course got smoother and faster for a while. But that is not permanent in Baja. I knew that.
Back into some really rough stuff, back east across the mountains. A few driver changes later Marie and I were closing in on the finish line. Marie had a coat on. I didn’t. I misjudged. I thought we’d be done by dark. We met our team at the finish, did our interview on the podium, and rolled forward and got out to celebrate. We had finished fifth of seven after losing four hours when the wheel came off.
I had done most of the driving, and I was beaten up, and sleep-deprived, It had been 30 1/2 hours since the green flag dropped, and we were up for four hours before that. But sleep deprivation was not my major problem. Hypothermia was. We took celebratory photos and I began quaking. Not just a little shiver, I lost control of my body. My legs didn’t work well.
I went back to the hotel room and got in a hot shower, but I still was shaking violently for a long time. The team wanted to go out to dinner. We got there, but I could not hold my head up and had to leave.
The next day when we went to see the official results, we had been disqualified for going backward on the course. I was so disappointed. In the end, it didn’t matter much. We finished. We weren’t racing for points and we would not have gained or lost any positions in this case anyway. It was still disappointing.
We didn’t have a great result, but we did make great memories and had a great experience together. To win, you have to get into the game. If you don’t get out there and try, nothing happens. And most times you will not achieve glory. But you got in the game. You did something. You tried. You learned.
Thanks to my team. The longest continuous off-road race in the world, the Baja 1000, in the books.
An extraordinary life of shared experiences.
Five on Four – part 7
Victor and Dustin arrived at mile 289 in the night. Marie and I got back in the car and strapped in, and hooked our filtered air supply hoses to our helmets. We were off to take on Matomi Wash. Matomi is a wide wash that narrows and narrows to steep canyon walls. There was a lot of rain and Matomi can be a violent torrent of water at its throat, moving boulders and changing the landscape. It is very technical to navigate.
Marie and I went fast where we could, and crawled over boulders when we needed to. Chris told me not to turn on ALL the lights at one time for long because the battery would go dead. We remembered – but just how long we could run the lights we did not know.
We made a 40-mile crescent and turned sharp left for another 55-mile crescent. We had company. One buggy, not in our class, was dogging us and made a pass at one point. We passed him back, playing a game of who could find the best shortcuts where the wash made a wide bend. Sometimes you’d cut the corner and pay a price by having to drive over bowling ball-size boulders for 200 yards. Other times it worked out.
This was where we lost Tanner when we were prerunning. He ran out of gas. There are no gas pits set up for pre-running.
This chase truck meet-up point was tricky. Only one chase truck could come in. It was 20 minutes off the paved road in soft sand. Four-wheel drive was a must to get into the wash at Race Mile 360. We didn’t see them where we were supposed to. We stopped and doubled back. Somehow we went past them in the 200-yard wide river wash. I shut the machine down and Victor and Dustin got in.
Victor turned the key. Nothing. Dead. Apparently, I found the limit of how much you could run all the lights. Victor knew there was a second battery. Press a button on the keychain to access it. I did not know anything about this. Bad communication somewhere. Whew. Thanks Victor!
They took off up the course. In a few miles, they would be at the scene of a fateful accident that occurred with two motorcycles involved – and one of them was my son Tanner’s. I’ll fill you in on the amazing story of his race later. But this scene involved two broken arms, a broken back, a broken femur, seven ribs and a hip.
We drive back out to the road. It was far. Back north up the highway. Through the small city of San Felipe, we stopped at a taco stand. Timing is everything. They were the best tacos I ever had! 35 miles north, through a military checkpoint and 30 more miles to San Matias. We waited for Victor and Dustin.
The sky got lighter, and slowly daylight came again. We were in front of a little store – the only store in the tiny town of SanMatias. Coffee was a cup of hot water with a scoop of Sanka powder. Nasty but great at that moment. Everything else they sold was in cellophane.
Marie was pretty beat and tired. So was I. We talked about it and decided to put Kevin in as codriver with me for a brutal seven-hour 200-mile loop over the mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and back.
The car arrived. Kevin and I climbed in while the mechanics walked around looking for problems.
“See you in seven hours – God willing”….
Five on Four – Part 6
Ten miles after Kevin and Dustin got in the car, the left rear wheel fell off – or was broken off. When the wheel came off the axle dragged in the dirt and rocks, and ruined it, and the hub and caliper.
In a crisis, communication is the key to understanding what is going on and what to do about it. They were in the desert 50 miles from us. Darkness dropped on the landscape. At that point, we didn’t have a complete list of all the parts they would need. We looked for what we had in the chase truck we were at. We had the axle – the left rear one! We had the nut! We had a caliper! Wow! Thanks to Jamie and Chris who prepared.
Now how to get it to them? We decided to take the prerunner that was on the trailer. We loaded the parts in and Victor and Jason McVikar got in it and drove towards the race mile they reported they were at to find them.
Jason is from British Columbia. He has the distinction of being the human being who has crashed at the highest speed and lived to tell about it. He crashed a motorcycle at 240 miles an hour. You can look it up on YouTube. There is a graphic video of the crash. Unbelievable. Jason is a great mechanic and we were happy to have him on our chase team.
Time went by. We waited for another message or call on the Sattellite phone. When we got it, it said they needed another part. We were losing a lot of time. We figured out we had the other part but it was in another truck that was 50 miles away and we had no communication with that truck in the location they were at. So we drove, and hoped he was there.
He was. He had the part. Meanwhile the four guys out on course made an executive decision not to wait, and to take the part off the prerunner to fix the race car. They got going in the race car, and Kevin got a $100 cab ride from a local ten miles back to the road, got the part, and got a ride back to the stranded prerunner. They fixed it and drove out to the truck, loaded it up and caught back up with us at Race Mile 211.
We had some bad luck, but some good luck in getting it fixed. We lost four hours. Now the pressure to race the other guys was off. We just needed to drive smooth and fast and finish.
Victor and Dustin took the car through the infamous San Felipe whoops – 50 miles of waves in the sandy cobbled desert floor.
We raced down the highway in the darkness to meet them at mile 279.
The stars in Baja sky were magnificent and all part of the beauty and danger that is the Baja 1000.
Five on Four – part 5, the "Summit"
Three hours in. The grade sloped up gradually, and then steeper. There were pine trees because at high elevation it’s cooler and it supports different vegetation. We started going down. You could see very very far into the distance from up here.
It got steeper, and rocky. Down. Switchbacks. Almost straight down on one side, and almost straight up on the other. Boulders to go around. Where you could not go around them, you had to pick a line and place your wheels carefully. Rockcrawling a section. Past the boulders step on the gas. Steep down, step on the brake. More boulders. Consequences on one side. Hundreds of feet down to the next step or plateau. Don’t look.
This is the “summit” crossing. A race vehicle was stuck here and 20 race vehicles backed up behind him. I sailed right through, making several passes of race trucks busted up on the rocks. That’s Baja racing. Go as fast as you dare. How do you know when it’s too fast for the terrain you are on? You crash or break your machine. Now you are where no civilian vehicle can get to. You are sleeping there. Hopefully, you don’t freeze.
We descended. Cut back right. Descend. Cut back left. The valley floor got closer. Mountains turned to hills. Rough rocky hills. Jagged rocks long since forgotten out there, daring you to go faster and so they can show you what they can do to your futile machine.
Finally, dirt. Sand. More rocks. Dirt. Some of it suspended in the air. Miles went by. An hour since the top of the summit. Sand dunes approach us, sucking the power from our drivetrain. Five miles to go and someone pushed to pass on us. We shift to the side. Someone in our class. Damn! That was only the second one in our class to pass us so far. We had passed two. I reckon we are in fifth place out of seven starters. It’s the same position we started in. We stayed on him. It turns out that driver would not finish this race.
We were close to the road and where we’d meet our chase team. I call in on the radio giving them a heads up that we were close, if they didn’t know by other means already. 300 yards from the pit a trophy truck is on our butt. I pull over and he passes with a 1000-hp roar. I make a huge mistake. I pull back onto the course too soon. A baseball-size rock is flying through the air like a bullet from his roost. We have no windshield.
I watch the meteor fly right into my face. I had just paid $80 for a new shield on my helmet because the last one had microabrasions that caught the light. Now I realized why they cost so much. The rock hit me square between the eyes. The sound it made inside my helmet was a violent bang. It did not break the shield but did gouge and dent it. The rock fell into my lap and onto the floor where it rolled around for 400 miles. It’s tight quarters in the cockpit and you cannot reach the floor while you’re sitting in the car strapped in.
If that rock hit me in the chest….
I pulled up to my team and Marie and I unharnessed and crawled out the windows – beat up. No doors – roll cage instead.
When I first considered racing a UTV I figured it would be a lot easier. The top class of racing trucks have 40″ tires and 36″ of travel on their suspensions. They glide along the rough terrain without the driver feeling much of it. But not UTVs. We feel everything. It’s like being in a giant popcorn machine. It beats you up. Neck, back, kidneys, elbows and knees even.
When I rode in a UTV as a co-driver from Vegas to Reno with Driver Jamie Campbell, I was supposed to be in the car for 500 miles. I didn’t make it. I prayed to get out or I’d puke in my helmet. I was getting bounced around in there and had no control over what the driver was going to do. I was calling the turns from the GPS which only increased the motion sickness.
I got out at mile 250, took a 100-mile break, and got back in at 350. Fortunately, there was another registered driver on our team and he was there to take my place. The finish line at mile 500 could not have come soon enough. I had to get out – right then. A couple more miles and I was going to barf.
My wife Marie took all that abuse and never complained. I felt bad when we’d hit something big or violent – which was often. She’d just grunt and groan as I did, and we carried on.
Kevin and Dustin got in. Kevin driving. But the team found an axle joint (CV) boot was disconnected in the rear and the grease for the joint had spun out. This will lead to overheating and failure. We had to fix it. Randy and Jason smeared grease into the boot, slid it back on, and used a heavy wire tie to secure it. Would it hold? We’ll see.
We lost ten minutes. Off they go from mile 155, headed to 211 where we’d see them again. We headed 60 miles down the highway, racing to get there before they did. Once there we got a text message from Kevin’s spot tracker –
“Mile 165 Left rear wheel fell off. Need axle nut, axle and hub.”
We looked at each other wide-eyed as we processed the message…
Five on Four – part 4
After much preparation of the physical, mental and mechanical variety, we were ready. I would start the race with Marie in the co-drivers seat and race to mile 155 where I’d give the car to Kevin and Dustin. That was the plan.
The race started in the middle of the city of Ensenada, the largest city in Baja California, Mexico (besides the border city of Tijuana). This way the fans could see the race start and finish. In years past they went off the start line on city streets, left then two blocks, left then one block, then drop into a mostly dry river wash, which provided a conduit under bridges to get about halfway out of the city congestion. But this year it was different.
They did a “ceremonial start” where you raced one block, around a corner, then stopped to regroup everyone. Then the police escorted a long parade of race vehicles through the city to the outskirts, where they started everyone again, at 30-second intervals. Five miles on a closed highway and off into the dirt you went. From there, the course was different each year.
The motorcycles started at 3:30 am. Four-wheel machines got started 6 hours later, and by the time we got off racing for real, it was 11:30 am.
It’s always an exciting feeling to finally, after all the months of preparation, to be finally in the race – racing….wind in your face, your competitors in front of you, and hunting you down from behind.
Since my first experience racing a four-wheel machine as a passenger a couple of years ago, I was freaked out about passing. Four wheels on baked and pulverized dirt and silt can put a lot of dust into the air. So much that the vehicle behind you can’t see – and the closer they get the thicker that dust is. If I had one real worry, it was this – how can I ever pass without charging into what I cannot see?
In this race, I wanted to ride more aggressively. I wanted to go faster without breaking the car. That’s the challenge with these machines – go fast, but not so fast that you hit the rocks and whoops (big bumps made by racing wheel traffic) so fast and break a suspension component. Hurting my body was not what I was worried about. I was fastened into a roll cage with a five-point harness and neck restraint. Hurting the machine was my number one concern.
On a motorcycle, getting hurt was the big concern. Self-preservation. A motorcycle is far more dangerous – except in the case of fire in the UTV – but we had fire suits and a fire suppression system.
I made two passes in the section before the first dusty little town. I was happy to break the ice. If you can’t charge “into the dust”, you can’t pass. You will only be passed and finish last, if you can finish at all.
We were going pretty good, and Marie was hanging tough, calling the turns she saw coming up on the GPS screen that was in front of her. At race mile 70 we came out to the road, crossed it, and went back into the desert. They changed the course last minute because a landowner was complaining. They took 3 miles out and added 4 miles. There was a GPS “patch” that we loaded on our GPS. Tanner lead me on the correct way during pre-running, and I knew where the new turn was by sight.
A mile after we made that turn, we had a problem. The race line disappeared from the GPS. Just an arrow in the middle of a blank screen. What to do? We continued. I knew I was on the course, and we were.
A buggy came up on me from another class and pushed their pass button, which lit up a blue light and siren in our car alerting us that a faster car was behind us and wanted to pass. Etiquette was to pull over where you could and let him by – so we did. A good thing about this is I figured his GPS was working, so I’d just follow him until…I don’t know yet…until our GPS picked up the race line again. I figured it had something to do with the course change and maybe when we got back onto the regular course the race line would show up again on our GPS.
The buggy took a hard left at an intersection of dusty trials in the bush. Then he stopped. He waved for us to back up, as we were right on his bumper. I thought he took a wrong turn and knew it because his GPS was working. He took a hard right instead. I followed him. This was a big mistake.
He found the course because there were signs every quarter or half mile. We went three miles down course. But when we got to a checkpoint at mile 703 we both knew we had gone the wrong way. You see race mile 70 and race mile 700 were about 100 yards away from each other at one point. One going out, the other coming back in.
He turned around and I followed. It was then I remembered that you get disqualified for going backward on the course. I tried to get to the side. Even 20 feet off course is not on the course. But there was thick brush and drop-offs. I drove back to try to find race mile 72 ish and get back on course, all the while having a panic attack that we’d be DQ’d. So early in the race! Damn!!! Damn!!!!
I consoled myself that the nearest race vehicle was at least 300 miles from here at race mile 400 perhaps, and maybe this rule didn’t kick in until it was a “live” racecourse.
As we got closer it was clear the buggy did not know where he was going. The blind leading the blind. There’s a lesson. Don’t assume. If you don’t have the answer and feel like a dummy, don’t assume someone else does and follow them. Make sure.
I could have stopped to think about it. Sometimes spending time to stop and think is a wise investment of time. I was in hurry-up race mode. I made fast decisions. But fast and good are two different things. A good decision is better than a fast one. A good fast decision is even better, But a fast bad decision is the worst.
We found ourselves going the wrong way from a fork in the dirt road – one of thousands that lace the Baja peninsula, the off-road racing capital of the planet. We looked left and could see the course, but we could not turn around because of giant berms on both sides of us. We went straight looking for a way. A barbed wire fence was between us and the course, and we were going up hill and the course was in a level wash.
When I could see a way, I picked through the brush and came to a cliff. It was a four-foot vertical drop, a flat shelf of 20 feet and then a six-foot vertical drop. I saw tire tracks. Someone else had done it.
I slowly dropped the front end down the four-foot drop. I was on the shelf. So far so good. I inched my way to the next drop which was completely vertical – six feet. Marie pleaded with me not to do it. Then she was yelling.
I couldn’t go backward and up the four-foot step. I was committed. I reasoned the wheelbase was at least 11 feet – and the wheels were pushed all the way forward and all the way back. I can do this…can’t I? Just keep it perpendicular to the drop and you won’t roll it.
I slowly teetered the car over the cliff and…I was impressed! I wanted to do it again! We were on the course! I look to the left and who is coming – the dang buggy who messed me up! I scurried in front of him to protest his incompetence, dismissing my own.
I had to put this out of my mind and race again. We blasted toward the dreaded ‘summit” crossing, the site of my great struggle in the freezing night in 2020, and Tanner’s great struggle when he finished the race in 2019. This time we’d be going down the summit pass and not up, in the day not the night.
Three hours of violence had passed so far, and we had 722 miles to go…
Five on Four – part 3
Pre-Running the course means you run it before the race so you can see the course. Typically you do not pre-run at night. You need to see it. There has been a lot of rain in Baja this year, and rain changes the landscape of the desert considerably.
Washes are basically the remains of temporary rivers. They are filled with rocks of varying sizes and sand in varying densities. Boulders loom just above and just under the deep soft sand. Some you see, and some you don’t.
Square edge ruts form, and are particularly treacherous when the ground slopes from left to right or vice versa. You could be racing along otherwise smooth terrain at high speed and hit a 12′ deep by two-foot wide rut and you’re race is over.
You want to try to see all this, and take note of the hazards when you pre-run. You also pick rider change spots, pit and refueling locations, and plan who will be in the car for which sections.
We pre-ran with Tanner. One four-wheeled vehicle and one motorcycle. This way if anything happened to him, we could help, and if anything happened to us he could help, or go get help.
At race mile 620, deep in the sweeping hills of baked red clay and rocks Tanner, on his motorcycle, stopped and waited for us to catch up in the pre-run UTV (four-wheeler). As we were closing on him going up a hill another rider cut in front of us and went ahead as we slowed to check in with Tanner.
As we got going again Tanner caught up to him and passed him. The rider, pre-running like us, seemed to be trying to stay with Tanner. I rode aggressively to stay with them both.
After fifteen minutes of this pace, we had caught up to the motorcycle rider. We were about 100 feet behind him in his dust when Marie yelled as I saw simultaneously that he was down in the dust close in front of us. I was going pretty fast and could not stop in time. I had to turn, but there were 18″ high berms on both sides of us. If I just turned into the berm and was on the brakes, my machine would skid and slide to the middle and run him over.
Instinctively I jerked the steering wheel right, then left to set the suspension. The wheels on the left side of the machine made it over the berm and hard braking had me stop in a shocking position. We unharnessed as fast as we could and got out to find the rider knocked out cold, laying next to our rear wheel, his shoulder just two inches from our rear wheel.
I had nearly run him over.
He was not breathing normally, his chin strap digging into his neck. He was snorting through his nose, with long intervals between tiny breaths. I unbuckled his chin strap and observed very closely for improvement in his breathing, which would tell me if I needed to take further action, which I was prepared to do.
Slowly he began to breathe a little better and better. After three or four minutes he began to wake up. Broken sternum. Out there in the desert hills above Colonet, we were thankful for what we did not witness.
Five on Four – part 2
The team of five –
This year the race was 828 miles vs last year’s 1124. I decided we needed only 5 teammates. I’d do most of the driving. My wife Marie would be in the passenger seat when I was driving. I needed two more to fill in for us when we took a break (this would be at least a 24-hour race) and one alternate in case a codriver got car sick (a common thing) or one of us could not perform for any reason).
I chose my friend Kevin Koval from New York who could drive or co-drive. My friend Dustin Gebers from Tennessee had never raced there before, but he raced cars for a lot of years. Lastly, my friend Victor Abitia was a Baja local who knew lots of people and spoke the language and could drive or co-drive. Kevin and Victor were on the team last year and provided some continuity.
Team is important. You need your team to mesh well together – to get along and not compete with each other. They have to have skills and competence, but humility and good judgment too. It turns out we’d need the mechanical skills of Dustin and Kevin.
Besides the team IN the car, there was the chase team out of the car. Six of them. Then there was the team even before that who built the car months earlier. We’d be relying heavily on their work and they weren’t even there! This 1000-cc Honda Talon was stripped down to its frame and rebuilt for racing in extreme conditions. Besides the stock engine, it was completely customized and partially experimental. What could go wrong?
Meanwhile, my son Tanner, who has now moved to Hurricane Utah decided he would solo to Baja 1000 on a motorcycle for the fourth time. He finished the Baja 1000 twice, and DNF’d once due to, of all things, a peanut allergy. His best finish – 2nd place in 2019. He hadn’t raced it since. It takes a while to forget the pain and suffering.
This time he was going for a win. That was until he saw the competition. Because of our movies, riders showed up from all over the world to enter the Baja 1000 Ironman class (solo). It’s perhaps the hardest feat in motorsports just to finish. 22 riders entered, and one got hurt in pre-running the course and was out. The remaining riders included the best in the world. A roster of previous winners and finishers and some talented first-timers. Still, getting on the podium and doing his absolute best was his goal. He simply didn’t not want to come back to do this yet again.
Little did anyone know what would happen to him…
Five on Four – Part 1
For those of you that are new to Think Daily, I’ll catch you up.
I ride dirt bikes.
It’s been a big part of my life. I raced them with my son in Baja – the 1000-mile-long peninsula on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. If you haven’t seen them already, there are four movies you should watch on YouTube. “Into the Dust”, and ” Into the Dust 2, 3, and 4″. That will catch you up to 2018.
Each year on Think Daily I write about my Baja 1000 race experience. Now I realize some of you may not care to read about racing in the desert. But each year is guaranteed to be a story in the longest off road race in the world, in a wild land, racing for 24 hours straight or more (up to 53 hours in 2020!) I always learn things. And these lessons apply to life in many other ways.
I’ve been back from the race since the week before Thanksgiving, but I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet. So here I go. I don’t know how many posts it will take, but when I’m done, we’ll get back to our short self-development Think Daily posts that you have come to know.
“Five on Four”
Five teammates on four wheels.
Why? I have ridden a dirt bike about 70 times a year for 26 years. It’s hard work, takes time, and can be risky if you don’t keep your head. But when you love doing something the work seems like fun. I think most of us have a sport, hobby, or pastime that others wouldn’t think about that we do for fun. We all have different interests. And some of us take our interests to the extreme.
For off-road racing on two or four wheels, the place where it gets extreme each year is at the Baja 1000 race.
I won’t give you much of the setup and drama as many of you I think have seen the Into The Dust movie series. But let’s say, it’s serious business – before and during the race.
I love racing a dirt bike there. But I had my knee replaced two years ago now, and it still hurts. I haven’t been able to train like I would need to for this race. I did solo the San Felipe race in April this year on my new knee and finished the 320 miles in about ten hours. I’ve raced a few other races on teams where we shared the riding duties. But the Baja 1000 was the mother of all races, and I just wasn’t physically ready for it again. After racing it five times in a row, I just knew the suffering it brings even to a perfectly fit younger man.
I don’t want to get old. But it is happening. My mind says go and my body falls behind. At age 58 I think I’m doing pretty good, except for my dang knees – both of them. (Oh and in September I separated my shoulder jumping off a 16-foot-high Quarry wall into the water in Manchester VT. Who would have thunk it?)
I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. I don’t want to not be able to do it anymore. I want to use my knowledge as a Baja racing veteran and compete. So last year I had a UTV built for racing. Four wheels. Easier on the legs, muscles, and easier on the knees.
They say that’s what happens to old motorcycle racers. “With age, comes a cage” (roll cage that is).
Last year we did well in the 1124-mile race. We finished 4th out of 12. My knee isn’t healed yet. Can’t run, can’t bike, can’t squat, can’t do a treadmill or do much on the elliptical. So, here I am again, on four wheels, when my heart wants only two.
We need to understand WHY we are doing something, and it needs to resonate with who we really are and what we really want. For me, I wanted to have a great adventure and unique experience with Marie, (now my wife) and some friends.
My personal mission statement is “an extraordinary life of shared experiences”. This would be extraordinary, and it would be shared.
Motivation – check. Ok, let’s rock this.
This year, I wanted to go fast and see what I, and we, could do…so let’s find out!
The body keeps score
Eat, sleep, move – and do these things enough and well.
The body keeps score – and from that, you can not escape.
Do you work for the company you work for?
I walk through workplaces including my own and I see people texting. While texts may be used for work, let’s not kid ourselves, most of it is personal.
Here’s a story I heard from Zig Ziglar 35 years ago that I still remember –
A fancy rail car pulls up the tracks and stops alongside a large group of men laboring in the hot sun. The window of the coach opens and a voice calls out – “Bill! Bill Stafford! Is that you?”
One of the men, dripping with sweat, stands up straight, pick in hand, and looks at the face in the window.
“Yes it is Ron. It’s me.”
The man in the coach invited Ron into the beautiful air-conditioned rail car and they chatted for a while over some iced tea. When the man emerged from the car to grab his pick again, the other men looked at him, astonished.
“Bill do you know who that is? That’s Ron Davidson, the president of the railroad!”
“Yes, I know” Bill said.
“Well how is it that you know the president of the railroad?”
“We started work on the same day 20 years ago” Bill told them.
A minute passed. Then one dirty-faced coworker spoke up.
“Well now Bill, if you started work on the same day 20 years ago, why is it that Ron is the president of the railroad and you are still out here working in the hot sun?”
Bill looked at them sheepishly and thought for a moment. He finally spoke.
“Well you see 20 years ago I went to work for 75 cents an hour, and Ron Davidson went to work for the railroad.”
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