Page 24 - AZ Extreme - AEM Volume 7 Issue 4
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stay in riding condition. My Wife, Sandra,   everyone the next day, to be safe and they
  kept my nutrition in check and I ate clean most of the year. My best finish in 2017, before this Baja 1000, was in August at the Vegas to Reno 550-mile race where I earned 2nd fastest overall Ironman, 11 hours 56 minutes, 27th Overall out of 95 total bike teams. After the Vegas race, I choose to skip the last round of the BITD series and focus on long ride training and avoid any injury. I did a few all nighters, working 12 hour days, getting home prepping the bike and riding all night and pushing through the sleep deprivation feelings. I read a lot on sleep deprivation and got advice from other Pro riders who soloed long races. It helped a lot and got better at staying focused for dozens of hours without sleep. The all night sessions were good mind/body tests and proper bike tests also. I was able to learn a lot about the bikes lighting output and purposely killed batteries to prove the limit the stator would be able to keep up and maintain 14volts for 40 straight hours. The goal from the early discussions on this race were to finish. As a competitor, in the back of my mind a solid finish was always the objective
We departed Phoenix early Saturday morning arriving just outside of Ensenada. The plan was to rest on the beach for a few days before all the chaos would start. We choose to only pre-run the first section and learn how to get out of town safely. Sunday we went into Ensenada to tech, register, check into BajaPits, get tracker installed. We had a few minor issues with the Stella tracker main wire, but after a new wire was installed the tracker checked out fine and we were clear to start. Sunday evening,Irodefromthestartlinetorace mile 40 to make sure the lights were adjusted and fine tune anything. These 40 miles went great and no adjustments were needed. Monday and Tuesday were a nice relaxing day. Tuesday night was the Riders meeting at Papas and Beer and it was incredible. Score had a huge crowd and a full-on street party with Monster energy representing everywhere.
were off. The rest of Wednesday was just quiet time, resting, stretching meditating and visualizing what’s to come.
Chase Truck 2 (Steve, Brandy, Tori, Hunter) headed to the start line for staging. The start line was mobbed with thousands of people. The people of Baja treat all racers as celebrities, asking for autographs, taking pictures, talking and wishing luck. I worked my way into the Ironman group and staged in thrid position next to Viking Mike #729. We talked strategy and about what’s to come in the next few days. I did my research on every rider in the Ironman Class and there were eight riders who had done it before or had at least won it solo before. So, a top ten would be a huge win in my book. My nerves were real. The excitement and fear was intense. It felt as if I was going to battle. I didn’t throw up as I have done before other long challenges. I think I felt so prepared mentally, the bike was absolutely perfect in every way, I was just lacking in physical conditioning. I did train as much as I could, ride, ate really clean etc. But really, how do you train for 35 straighthoursofabuse?IknewIwouldhit the wall a few times and had a great team and strategy to keep me going.
I was the 41st bike to leave the start line. Each bike was one-minute apart (the Open Pro Class was two-minutes apart) I was third off and were 19 total Ironman in class. As I inched to the green flag, I remember telling myself in the helmet to breath, be smart, be strong, and I can do IT! The five second countdown started and I could feel my heart pounding about three beats per second. Green flags dropped,andIspedoff.Thefirstfewmiles were speed zone restricted at 37mph, the course dropped into the wash and was wide open until the next road section. From mile 6-14 was 37mph speed zone. The dust was thick and couldn’t do much for this section. I charged past Ojos Negros (RM-40) and quickly saw the Noffz Family with the 778x sign.
The plan for the first eight pit stops was to charge hard and use my fuel range as a time saver. I was to skip pits 1, 4, 6, 8. We would have the Noffz chase truck chasing and doing visuals on every pit from 1 to 5. They also had plenty of batteries in case we had electrical issues. I choose to carry both helmet light batteries, a jumper box and several tools needed to strip the bike if needed. At some points I would be alone with no support and wanted to be sufficient to do any repairs and even change the fuel injector or pump if it failed. I maintained the 3rd position until RM-120-ish and passed the two lead bikes in the pits. I wasn’t aware of this until pit 3 and the BajaPit guy said “Your hauling ass, you’re the first Ironman” I smiled and tore out of there with new energy. I stood up and kept a great pace to almost pit 4 - RM-189. I was standing up charging hard in the silt beds and whoops. Just as I was getting out of the big whoops, the front wheel caught a silt rut at about 80pmh and slammed the ground. I slid several feet before coming to a stop slamming my
  Wednesday was race day, we had the
Dodge truck with Sandra, Kids, Buddy,
Markus, Michelle headed south to El
Crucerio. (This was race mile 360). This
would be the first time I would see them
during the race and I was estimating to
see them about 8-9am. We packed the
Dodge up in the morning and the they
left about noon for the seven-hours
drive south. The plan was to either get a
hotel room for the night or camp out at
the track. Before the truck left I had all
the team members gather in the garage
to sign the rear fender of the race bike.
Jeremy and Dakotas wrote encouraging
words on the hand guards for me to see
during the race. This was a very emotional
hour for me. This whole event was
thought about for several years . . . all the
preparations, planning, training, money
spent, emotion, months of primary focus
. . . and it was just hours away. This was
also the first race ever that Sandra would
not see me actually start the race. She
would not see me until eight hours into
the race. Some team members said a few
nice words and Buddy said a nice prayer
that gave us strength. I promised to see   head and right face into the silty earth. I
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