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Old 12-09-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
PacWestGS OP
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: A Worldly Traveller
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Day #2 (Pre-Ride)

Day two RM120 to breakfast (broken chain) to RM220: The day began with a beautiful sunrise over the dump, it was the best looking dump I’ve ever slept in.

The little black dog that showed up the night before had found somewhere warm to sleep and as the day let on it became apparent that an early start was not possible. After we got Deano’s bike repaired and put back together and then it went into a truck we were getting farther and farther behind schedule. Jimmy and Mike showed up and we loaded the truck with the camping gear and then drove/rode into La Rumarosa for breakfast at the same restaurant as the night before. Huevos Mexicanos was much better than Huevos Rancheros but the pancakes looked pretty darn good too. After we had all gotten our fill, we returned to the parking lot. Dean was standing there and just by chance was looking over his chain to check the slack. Whoa, that ain’t right, there were two separate link fractures about six-inches apart. Stress failure from something. We got on about fixing it, but then thought better of that and I had a perfectly cut chain to replace his with. It was a bit confusing to count the master links needed after a hardy breakfast and we had such a long ride ahead that it was better to put on a new chain and keep his for spare sections. At least we’d still have a bounty of master-links should we need them. Anyway, it could have been a disaster waiting to happen going down the La Rumarosa grade.
(file photo - blue line is race course)

Straight down a zig-zag of 180-degree switchbacks dropping 4000-feet in five-miles, with sheer cliffs on one side and jutting out rocks and cliff on the other side, don't forget to throw in lots and lots of rocks.

(File photo from Google Earth - And I think this is one of the better parts of the course - 'read' less challenging)

We topped off the tanks and headed back through RM120 and then down the mountain. So far the day before Dean and I hadn’t crashed yet, it was my turn coming up or is that down… After stopping to give everyone a chance to make any last minute fixes, we started down the trail. I was setting a comfortable pace about 27-32mph and getting into a zone, the others were setting their own pace behind me – a bit slower. As we got further apart I decided to stop and video the guy’s coming down the leg over me, this wasn’t such a good idea. The second time I stopped and then got started again, I was not in the zone. I hit some big ass rocks about 200-feet later and the rear end swapped out, I couldn’t get on the gas to correct it and the damper was set to high to get the front from burying itself into the rocks (adult heads). Choosing the better of my options at the time, I just went ahead and crashed on the trail. It’s a great video sequence of rocks grinding along my head, feet, arms and legs flying through the air, and a cloud of dust. The new bike is not new anymore. I had to stop after banging the bark-buster back into position and loosen the triple clamp to reposition my handlebars. I could not ride down that hill with the way they were. After that I slowed up a bit, but then got back into the zone chasing the guys down the hill, video taping as we went.

Just so you know, the trucks and buggies can’t make the 180-turns without backing up, but the bikes have no problems.

(This is the new section Hwy 2 'Toll Road', but you should have an idea of what the terrain is like dropping down a mountain of rocky sheer cliffs with a 4X4 only trail cut into the side of it.)

As we neared the bottom, the trail got more like a rough hard pack rock, ‘fools gold’ and there was good traction. Danno, had found a small short cut and the rest of us followed him. Shortly thereafter, he was rewarded for his decision. Following Dean at a pretty good pace the front wheel locked while braking into a turn. The rock covered trail had some deep rain grooves cut into it and the wheel tucked under hard and he went face and chest spread-eagle over the top. Again, a great video sequence of impending pain. This mountain was kicking our arse, and we weren’t even done with it yet. Danno, got up a little dizzy and his jersey is ripped to shreds, thankfully his under-armor protected him very well, ‘cause that’s the only thing that kept his chest hairs intact.' We rested for a few minutes until he was ready to continue. I told him 'jokingly' that was for taking a short cut, at least he laughed.

We rode slowly down to the bottom and then got back to some flatter faster roads down in the wash. I should have been paying better attention to this section because although it was fast there were some dips that had a bucket load of baby heads strewn about. (I didn’t know at the time I would be racing this part… more later.)

We got through it and over a slight rise to the highway underpass at RM130. The mountain had taken its toll,

but we were all good and still riding. The team was waiting there under the bridge and shot some photos as we railed under it, then stopped for refreshments and a rest. After a bit of time, we each started back out onto the course after a few more photo sessions for Austin. (It was very hard for the chase vehicles to follow the race course, so take ‘em when you can.)
(Photo by Ratty2Austin)

The next part of the course was fast sandy whoops and sections of deep sand. It was dusty so keeping good separation was necessary. This was also the beginnings of hitting buried rocks at forty and fifty miles an hour. They blend in with the surrounding sand and before you know it you’ve pounded a few of them. If you see me looking down at the front wheel it's to see if it's round and still holding air. Danno, made a mistake entering a fast corner and biffed. He was alright but the Baja Designs spare race light had a new configuration to it, it pointed left…and the rock shield was toast. Danno was getting frustrated with his effort and was time to back it down a lot.

Again, maybe we were riding too fast, don’t know. Deano and Danno took a break and I went to chase down Dean. The sand went away 200-feet past where Danno had crashed so I came back to tell them, they were through this part - for now. Then I took off again, I caught up to Dean, half-undressed under the second underpass near RM145 (it was hot maybe in the low 90s)

and we took a break waiting for the other two. A couple quads went by, and someone on an unmarked Honda, dropped in off the highway to run the course into the dry lake. He was smooth and fast and running the parts he wanted to. Don’t know who he was, but he ran into the support team later, I think it was one of the factory guys 1X or 2X.

Danno and Deano arrived a short time later.

and we all got underway again. I found a liking to this section, carving through the sandy berms and the low whoops so come race day when I was going to ride, I was ready. We got to the top of the first dry lake and opened it up a bit, but not all the way, it was nice to ride over something close to the “Bonneville Salt Flats”. However, that didn’t last long. As we neared the edge of the mountains the trail turned into rock covered and baby head loose rock whoops. There was the occasional arroyo that would drop four-feet, go across a small wash, and then climb back up a four-foot embankment back into the whoops. Danno was out front, followed by Deano, and Dean and I were riding side-by-side in the left and right tire tracks, it was a good day, each of us feeding off the other and giving space as needed. After an hour or so, we had all stopped along a wash that had shady cliff, and rested a bit. Watched a TT team pre-race with a Pre-Run truck and then got started again.

This river wash was the deep large granular sand that just sucked the power out of the bike and kept you bouncing off big rocks and small rocks before it got back to a distinguishable trail again. Nearing RM190 we encountered a long silt bed, and had wait for each rider to get through it before following. Then it was back out over a service road into the dry lake. I ran out of gas through here, but knew I was close to the support team, I thought I should chase down Danno, and let him know I was running low just in case I ran out behind everyone. After we got back onto the lake I wanted to see how fast the bike would go, so I opened it up. 97.5mph not bad. Then I passed the ADVrider sign and had to double back for a picture.

I ran out of gas before reaching the support team, and dumped my extra liter in, not tempting the mud field we stuck to the graded road. We got to RM220 and filled up, it was decided that we would all head down the highway (5) into San Felipe for the night and bacon wrapped shrimp.

Got on jackets as the sun faded over the mountains and beat feet at 65-mph down the highway… 70-miles of highway and Dean was running without any lights next to my pitiful 35-watt headlight. The military checkpoint could care less about what vehicles pass through and this time no one was checked. By the time we got to San Felipe it was very dark.

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. (Albert Einstein)

PacWestGS screwed with this post 12-27-2008 at 05:21 PM
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