Monday, November 25, 2013

The Flag Drop, Baja Blog 3

As the flag dropped and I took the first sharp left, I looked down and noticed I had forgotten to turn the lights on. Not only that, but I had also forgotten to start my GPS watch so I could track my miles. Not off to a great start, but here we go.

The nights in Baja had been beautiful all week during our pre-running. Moonlit, dry and not too cold. Of course, it was not to be tonight. Pretty thick fog had rolled in with the darkness, as the moisture hung in the air.

I made my way down a few streets and dropped down into what was known as “the wash.” The wash, of course, lived up to its name and had some water in it. When I had pre-run earlier in the day I had gone around these water holes, but there was no time now, so I cracked the throttle. Following motorcycle lines, I hoped bikes that just left before me would have scouted out any booby traps locals might have set in the dark. Traps are always in your mind as you come up on larger crowds of people. Sometimes they are looking for a show and if the course is not giving it to them, they make their own.

Getting out of town was a nerve-wrecking experience; the first thing that comes to my mind is some kind of "spirit world" scene. Fog, darkness, dust, dogs and the campfires from locals lining the course, all combine to give you a type of sensory overload. I had to slow down, calm down, and get through without wrenching the bike.

I had a lot of light on the bike. I had so much light that when I had the high beam on and it hit the dust and fog it looked like a white curtain. I decided to keep the big light off and work my way through the darkness.

After falling on a nice little hill climb, I was starting to get in a small rhythm and repeating to my self,"Just get the bike to Kelly."

I was clear of Ensenada.

We had planned for the chase team to be at the first highway crossing to check on me as I came through. But I never saw them and they never saw me. Thankfully, the spot tracker was working at that time so they moved to the next designated rider swap spot.

The section to the rider swap was about 40 miles from the highway and I had a pit stop to breathe for a few seconds. The terrain was so much softer than when I had pre-run it earlier in the week. The big trucks and buggies had been through on their pre-runs, so I had try to go fast enough to be able to steer and stay on the top, but slow enough to not get my self in trouble. "Just get the bike to Kelly."

I made it to the rider swap and I was glad to see the chase team. Kelly Huffman was pumped and ready to go, he was going over the summit, a large task.  I killed the bike and checked the oil. Crap!! It was a little low…NOT GOOD!! I had only gone 80 miles. I added oil and told Kelly to check it again as he ripped off into the darkness.

Tim and Rafa, our northeast chase crew, and the two riders, my brother Clint and I, loaded up in the Tahoe to meet Kelly where I was going to get back on the bike.

A few miles down the road Tim looked down at the dash, the Tahoe was not charging!!! We have miles to go before the next rider swap, it's the middle of the night, and we are on a dangerous winding road. Without a properly working alternator, we will drain the battery, lose lights and eventually lose power to keep the truck running. I told him don't use the high beam, and drive faster. Tim said a prayer and we all said, “Amen!!”

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