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Old 12-09-2008, 06:31 AM   #10
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Joined: Aug 2005
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Last day's Pre-Ride the Start 50-miles -

Pre-Running the first fifty miles: I drove out to Casa De Boar early the next morning (The first day of running the start, Wednesday the 19th) and picked up and Dean and Ace, (who had just arrived the night before, and was dying to get on a bike).

A little update, for those of you who knew what the original ‘concept’ was, so you can see a clearer picture of the ‘new’ plan. I would be starting the race, Dean would be finishing the race, and Ace was going to ride the San Felipe loop. Danno and Deano, were going to fill in the spaces in between with a chance to take a short break between rides (or leapfrogging). This is what developed during all the pre-running thus far, and from the information, we learned along the way and the difficulty of various sections over others. It was a solid plan, and one that would see us to the finish line.

Getting back to the hotel, we unloaded bikes, topped off the tanks and departed – looking for the starting line. That proved a bit more difficult than it sounds, but I knew where the river wash was, and so we started there.

By default, we entered it from a few of the first few paved turns and roads. The wash was busy with construction and the building of the “Red Bull” jump. Traffic still had the ‘right-of-way’ on about four major thoroughfares so crossing the roads was something to watch for – cars and trucks. A couple buggies went passed us and they cleared the traffic ahead better than we could, so we followed them until we were clear of the traffic that crosses this wash. I figured for race day they would be controlled or closed – they were. This wash goes straight up the middle of Ensenada for about two-miles, and then you exit to a paved section of town, make a few turns and then head out of town at the East end.

Here is where following the racecourse gets tough. There are numerous trails and roads crisscrossing up and down the hills, you are riding through quarries, houses, active construction sites, and channeled by fences and the terrain for about five-miles. This is where all the locals come out to play on race day. And, by playing I mean watch the race, and try their best to participate in the race, by adding a little unscripted action of their own. Getting you lost, causing you to crash, burying things in the road, or making jumps a little to allot bigger than they would be today.

After we got through this part the roads open up some and wind through the hills, past some villages, and then into the mountains East of Ensenada towards Ojos Negros. It’s more of a dirt roller-coaster ride as you go up and down into and out of the valleys and hilltops.

There was this one turn, that can, and will sneak up on you, and it did take Ace down and into a draw or ravine. It’s a downhill 90-degree right turn following a few high-speed rollers. Ace went over the edge and down into the bottom of this 75-foot drop. Thankfully, he wasn’t the first – a buggy or truck had preceded him and turned the whole place into a motocross track, knocking down all the vegetation and leaving some discernable trails leading down and back up. I had to remember this turn on race day! Once, we got clear of the rolling hills about RM20 we were riding down some more typical Baja service roads. The muffler clamp fell off the bike Ace was riding (Deano’s bike) and Dean stopped to retrieve it. I slowed to a stop, and Dean says the muffler will be next to come off – picking up the ‘carbon fiber’ bracket from the trail. I put it race mode and chased down Ace.

This was good, as it cleared the cobwebs of pre-running (at a moderate pace) and gave me some better understanding of what I could be doing out here on these roads. Ace was hauling butt, and was almost a half-mile in front of me. It took some time and distance but I caught up to him and waved him to a stop. Dean arrived shortly after and we did a roadside repair to reattach the muffler with 6mm seat bolt and zip-tied the seat and number plate on. While repairing the bike, we noticed a helicopter flying along the course low and following what sounded like an IRL (Indy car), about the time the helicopter was over us, a full-on pre-race buggy was tearin’ it up coming down the road. Mang, that thing sounded sweet! A four seater to boot. We got back out after the dust settled and continued on our way. The next little hill climb had a concrete wall with a big iron gate in the middle of it where the road exited. On the other side you were to make a 90-degree left uphill turn. Dean kinda missed this and rode straight across to a big empty lot on the far side of the gate. From there it was more of the lane and half dirt gravel road until beginning a descent into the farm lands of Ojos Negros. The little trails got more sandy and winding and eventually we had to open and close some wire gates to continue. After the last gate, at RM30 we had reached the farm roads: Straight ass hard to semi-soft sand roads with the occasional peaks that would go for a half-mile to over three miles, and only changing directions at intersections dividing the property lines. There were a few shorter sections that had hard 90-drgree left’s or right’s and on race day a few riders missed these and went off into the fences. The last one of these was the main road leading into the north end of Ojos Negros and was a wide open throttle hold on to your seats for a few miles kinda road. We arrived at the intersection near RM40 and stopped. A few other races came through, some going on to RM45 and others going straight through and in towards town. I was a little confused and the GPS couldn’t give me the straight scoop as to where highway 3 was, but after we took off towards RM45 I remembered being on this the first day when we got turned around at the start. We made a U-Turn and headed for the highway and gas. (Remember I said the Ojos Negros ‘Pemex’ was in a key location, this would be the third time I needed gas here.) We topped off and headed back into Ensenada. After getting to town, we broke up, Dean and Ace headed for La Bufadora and I headed down the hill for the hotel.

I tried something new with my helmet camera, raising the resolution from 3Mp to 5Mp, unfortunately that ate up the 4Gb SD card before the batteries were dead. I have all of the start until I was chasing down Ace for the muffler clamp issue. Would have rethink race day footage.

I was very happy with today’s ride, Dean and Ace are comfortable riding mates and we set a good pace without too many issues. I felt the team was capable of making it through the hard parts with experience and through the other areas with fresh riders. I was really beginning to believe we had a damn good chance to pull this together and get it done. (That's not saying that Double D'os had not improved greatly from day one, they had, but anything can happen and it happened to them a lot.)

This would be almost the last ride before race day. Dean, Deano, Danno and me, we’re done. Dean would be the only one to ride the entire 600-miles from start to the finish of the pre-ride. I missed Mike’s Sky Ranch and Valle De La Trinidad, and Double D’os would miss the last two days from RM510 and the start 40-miles. Ace had one more pre-ride in store. The next day he, Whitney and George departed for the San Felipe loop at o’-dark hundred and returned later that afternoon. Ace had to see it once before the race, and apparently kicked some ass. (Having just returned to Ensenada)

I love that kind of dedication. We were a team, all six of us, plus the support folks who came down. (Oh, did I mention this is a team of drinkers with a riding problem? ) (Except Danno, he's too young... )

I’ve got a few more installments and then the race to recap. Stick around it’s not over yet!

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 12-23-2008 at 11:26 PM
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