Page 25 - AZ Extreme - AEM Volume 7 Issue 4
P. 25

    stumbled to my feet gasping for air and   were stupid rough and endless whoops.
 scared my race could be over. I started removing my helmet, chest plate and stuff to check my condition. I had a mouth and eye full or dirt, still dizzy, my right wrist was in piercing pain and my mid-back had sharp shooting pain making it hard to breath. I gathered my broken-off hand guard and my go pro (which had gone flying). My helmet visor was tweaked. As I sat on the bike facing the wrong direction, one bike flew by on a different line not even noticing I was there. #729 came up on me and he yelled “Mike are you OK?” He may have asked a few times, I was still super buzzed and I yelled out “Wednesday!” He said What? A few seconds went by and he asked again and I said “Alright, Go Ahead.”
I spent a few more minutes getting myself together and thinking keep going, nothing is broken, keep pushing to RM- 340 and do a longer pit. My right eye was so scratched from the crash it was hard to see. My back and right wrist was the worst pain at this point. I could feel my head was warm and scratched or swelling on the right side. I got moving again and
really struggled to find a groove to RM- 230 where Joe Ramos and crew were at. It was daylight now and they had Gatorade ready and taped my wrist up just before BajaPit 5. I pushed through the pain just counting down the miles to my longer stop. I arrived at RM-340 at 10:23am Thursday about 1.5 hours behind schedule. The team knew I was in really bad shape. My back hurt so bad and my wrist was barely able to hold on. Sandra and Brandi continued to flush my eye and others iced my back and wrist. Sandra got some vitamins and minerals in me and after a 32-minute pit stop, I was moving again.
RACE MILE 350-610
After a long pit stop at RM-340, I pushed through the pain and did my best to forget about it and focus on racing from pit to pit. My biggest issue was my right eye. It was so scratched it was blurry and was really sketchy in the silt colored sections. My right eye is dominant and this proved to be the hardest obstacle of the race for me. I had zero depth perception, rocks on my right side at times were not even visible. I skipped pit 8 (Bay of LA, RM-390) The next sections
Pain level was at ten, and I’d hit the first big wall of absolute exhaustion. The whoops were worse than any San Felipe course and the sand was so deep mixed with silt. It was first gear in 2-3 feet of silt whoops for 80 miles. It was like riding through water and was so soft and dusty, I was riding in my own dust. The front tire would create a dust cloud forward from the soft dirt. It seemed impossible and remember yelling out in pain as my chest would continue to bottom out on the handlebars. The whooped/silt lasted another 100 miles. The rock section leading up to RM-610 were some of the hardest miles of my life. It was several miles of bowling ball rocks uphill after water crossings at the bottom of each section. Cliffs on both sides didn’t allow any smooth or sit-down time. This was the start of the hallucinations. I continued to see a flash of a round black/white rope like a lasso on my left side. It would be clear as day, I could see the hairs the rope was made from. It would flash in front of me for 3-4 seconds and disappear. Then a few minutes later it appeared again. As I came through smooth dirt sections, rocks would move from the side of the road to the center. Sometimes they would move off the course. I just told myself they were mice. About RM-605 the trees and cactus on the sides of the course would fall down as I went by. I slowed way down once and saw one tip over to a 20 degree angle, kind of felt like they were falling on me and really gave me the creeps. I saw so many grim reaper looking people, I lost count. Animal shadows jumping in front of me making me flinch were just normal after a while. There were about six terrible rough-rock sections of hell leading up to RM-610 and my body and mind were so shook up and junk, I’m sure that’s why this section caused some mind games. v

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