2009 Baja 1000 Pre Run, 11-6-09 - 11-8-09
The www.kendallrace.com team consisting of Adam, Noah, Dave (DGP Photography) and I went down to pre run for the Baja 1000 on Friday. Since I will be racing at night I wanted to pre run at night so we left Avondale at 9pm and hit the trail at about 3:30am. My pre running plans looked like they were drawn up by a strung out crackhead. I tried to sleep in the truck but I only got about 3 hours of sleep. We unloaded under the moonlight and hit the trail by 4am. I had spent all week getting my quad prepped and fixing stuff that broke during the previous weekend’s race so I was looking forward to riding.
The single 8" HID was putting out plenty of light although I could use more of a flood beam. The first twenty miles from RM390-410 were brutal. Nothing but big whoops without a break...made me want to cry. We met up with the chase truck at RM 410 at the highway and made our way up the wash. The wash section was fun but there are quite a few big rocks exposed. Then suddenly my light went out. I waited for the others and followed behind them to get up to the truck. Turns out the light was fine but the switch was having problems. So we waited for dawn and hit the trail again. A few miles onto the dirt road to mike's sky ranch I noticed a crew of army guys on the side of the road and they had a rope across the road. They waved me through and I ducked under the rope. I guess they put the rope down when they want to stop a vehicle. Noah who is 6 foot 3 almost got clotheslined by it, LMAO.
I was hauling ass in 5th gear about 7 miles into the dirt road when my quad fell out of gear. Basically 5th gear was gone. I used 4th for a while then slowed down to wait for Adam and Noah. Going down through the gears I heard the familiar crunching sounds of metal on metal contact in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. So I decided to use the cut over at RM433 to cut up to Valle T where my chase truck was waiting. Along the way I had more bad luck, first my rear brake locked up for no good reason and started smoking. A few miles later my rear shock reservoir broke off its mounts and starting banging into the swing arm and chain. The hose didn't break but the reservoir is all beat up. I zip tied it up and made it back to the truck without blowing anything else up.
We loaded up and headed back to mike's turn off where I switched over to the 05 trx450R. Unfortunately this meant Adam couldn’t ride anymore. To start off the ride Noah had me ride his fairly new KTM 525XC I was happy to try it out since I had never ridden one before. I hate thumb throttles but it was still a blast. The helmet cam footage and GPS heart rate tracker starts here. He needs a taller sprocket to use all of that power coming from the 540 stroker kit. It turns great but the suspension is not as comfy as my desert Cadillac. I am sure a shock revalve and re spring would fix that.
When I switched back to my Honda around RM 435 I noticed a tire was going down so we stopped and plugged it and filled it with C02. We came up to the first creek crossing went through fine, the water is only about 18” deep currently but you can see how easy it is to dam it up to make it deeper like the spectators tend to do.
From there on the trail is a lot more technical and rough. Like a jeep trail, there are landslide leftovers, boulders, erosion and many more creek crossings. My average speed was way down through there. We stopped for gas in a brown valley and I snapped a few pics. A pair of cool 4 seat pre runners passed us here. Good thing I stopped for gas because the tie down strap hook had worn a hole in the tank and I was slowly losing my extra fuel. My helmet cam footage stopped a bit before this section.
Once you hit Rancho el coyote the trail is a lot of fun. There are a few miles of course that appear to be brand new, freshly dozed. There are some cool elevation changes and turns. After that I was getting pretty tired and my monkey butt was killing me. Eventually we made it to t he dreaded Simpsons hill climb which we went down…slowly. This reminded me of a rock crawling course, you have to go slow to avoid the giant rocks and crevices. I will never know how the stock VW guys make it through.
We made it back to the smoother graded road and came up on a broken 4 seat pre runner, we stopped and talked with them for a while and they warned us that their chase truck and trailer would be coming the wrong way down the course so watch out. A few miles later I came up on an army truck full of army dudes and the driver was waving at me to slow down but the guys in the back were waving me to pass. I waited a bit and made the pass. From here on in to Valle T is a lot of fun, high speed stuff with sweeping switch back turns. Of course there is a 50-100 ft drop if you fly off the edge but that just makes it more interesting.
We loaded up and headed for San Felipe, luckily the highway improvements are all done all the way to San Felipe so we were able to get there fast. My friend Jeff and his bosses at Pinnacle Restoration ( [url]http://www.pinnaclerestore.com/[/url] ) hooked us up with a really nice condo in a gated community in San Felipe. Jeff told me the place was nice but I had no idea it would be this nice. We had a 3 car garage and a 50” flat screen in every room with dish TV. I was looking forward to watching the Fedor fight on CBS but the basic US local channels weren’t available, stupid $650,000 condo!
We walked down to the beach and I was dreading how cold the water would be but it turns out the water was pretty warm. The only downside is all the jellyfish. We saw several washed up on the beach and while we were walking around in the 2 foot deep ocean one of them stung Adam. We offered to dump pee on him but he stubbornly refused. lmao
We went to town to get something to eat and hang out at one of the bars down there where we know the owners. They had HBO boxing on, it was only 6pm but it felt like midnight to us. We had about 3 hours sleep over the past 36 hours. We headed back to the condo early and hit the sack. The next morning we headed back home, the border crossing took an hour which sucked but everything else was fine. Also we learned the mexico version of maxim magazine is like playboy light.
Thanks to joe ramos for the GPS, Eric Neidhardt for the helmet lights, and Ken George for the helmet cam!
Here is a link to the garmin GPS player for my data log that shows, speed, elevation, heart rate, etc. It is pretty cool. Says I burned 6100 calories on this segment, not sure how valid that is.