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Old 12-09-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
PacWestGS OP
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: A Worldly Traveller
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Eh? Pre-Race Jitters - No, not me...

Sleepless nights and distractions: This is quick synopsis of sleeping with a 20-month old and a wife who was experiencing great pain. I did get to sleep shortly after 11:00, it had been a long day, and a longer two and half weeks. By about 02:40 in the morning my wife was up and down and going to the bathroom frequently. By 03:20 I was laying in bed saying I might as well get up, there is no sleeping to be had, and I was going to be up at 04:15 to begin with. I started watching the video of the start (first 25-miles) I recorded on Wednesday and began the mental checklist to laying out my gear. I took a shower, and started getting dressed for the race. Everything was still a bit damp from washing the day before, and my wife had used the hair-dryer to dry some of the more personal contact items. For those of you not familiar with motocross or desert racing, getting dressed requires layers of body armor from head to toe, and each piece comes with or requires a comfort layer underneath. I had upgraded several pieces of armor before this event and had been wearing all of it everyday for the last couple of weeks. It was beginning to be a part of my ‘RoboMoto’ body. As I put on my new Asterisk ‘Germ’ knee braces, one of the pull cords snapped off the end of the laces, “Jesus Christ, why now, can anything else go wrong today”. I found the piece and put it back on. One layer at a time, one pant leg, one boot at a time. I can tell you that with each pull, push, tug, and buckle that was fastened I was thinking, this is the day – you are getting ready to start the biggest race of your life. I was still watching the video on the TV and that helped me to relax, seeing each turn, hill climb and canyon again. My wife was having a really bad morning, and the aftermath of her condition was alarming to say the least. At least my kid was sleeping through all of this. Between worrying about her and getting dressed, the time was ticking by faster than I had imagined. It was after 05:00. I was laying out and going over my backpack, what do I need in here, what have I been carrying around for two-weeks that I don’t need. Believe me, all the survival and rescue stuff got taken out; I didn’t need it. By the time I was done, there was a full bladder of water, four Hydrolyte drinks, a couple Cliff-Bars, my tool pack and my camera (DVR). It still weighed a lot, but was more compact than earlier. 30-minutes, where is Springer and the guys? They said they’d be here at 05:00 it’s almost 05:30, it doesn’t matter I’m leaving at 05:45 they can find me. Oh and lets change what you’ve been doing the last two-weeks when it comes to video taping the helmet cam. Lets take it out of the waterproof box and use the line with the microphone, that should be cool. I had already charged all the batteries, and made sure I had clean memory cards, the 8Gb SD went in the camera and everything was assembled for use, just need to plug in the batteries and push start. It’s 05:40, Time to kiss my wife and son and tell them how much they mean to me, and thank them for being a part of this whole event. I really couldn’t do it without their support, and knowing that if she had not been there with me, I probably wouldn’t be here at all right this moment. After that I opened the door and pushed the bike out onto the sidewalk. About this time, Springer, and Austin show up and more of the team are walking into the courtyard. I put on neck brace and give my wife another kiss. Then my helmet and gloves went on and we push the bike out of the hotel parking lot. I started it up this time with the ‘magic button’ and rode over to the staging area. The team found me, and we worked on getting all the electronics working: IMO trip computer, IRC tracker, GPS power (didn’t work) and what ever else was there. I remember asking Deano, if the bike had ever been jetted for 104-octane ‘Race Gas’ and he says, “Uh NO” Why, do you ask? Well I just thought if we get race gas from JRC ‘Honda Pits’ how’s that going to affect the bike, should lean it out a bit right? He’s in full on panic mode now, then we got word that they were using the same ‘premium’ 92-octane that we’d been running and all was good again. I also, didn’t have a full tank of gas, but it was pretty close, close enough to make the first pit. SCORE was marking off each bike number on the ground, and it went from the bike before us, to a class above us. Where are we? A SCORE official said I’m working on that, just give it some time. So we started our own little pre-staging to the staging area and all the 2XX numbers lined up behind us in the middle of the road. I kept looking for 201X but he never came. (We would find out after the race that he withdrew) Eventually we would have the second “Pole Position” across the street from the 1X bike of Robby Bell, right next to the starting gate. That was a little freaky but we got to watch each racer push or ride up to the starting line and get a hand-shake and words of encouragement from Sal Fish. NBC Sports was right there too, interviewing rider’s as they approached the start area. So I’m sure there will be some footage on December 14th when it airs. Both my friends and Airborne Andy rolled up in front of us, and we could wish them luck before they left. It was pretty cool to be standing where we were. I couldn’t stop thinking about my wife, what we had gone through the week prior, my son, my future, our future, how it all changed in the course of a week. Every once in a while someone would ask me if I was doing OK, or remind me that I was about to start the Baja 1000. I just simply said, “Yeah, I’m doing OK.” It seemed like the race was in another part of my head, and was so distant from the thoughts I was going through, that I was completely relaxed: I felt no anxiety, I felt pretty much nothing. My heart rate was normal, my breathing was normal – I was somewhere else, besides standing 50-feet away from the “Red Bull” Tacate Start line of the Baja 1000. I watched the rider’s and the bikes go past, I watched the people milling about, and I talked with my teammates. It was all so surreal – it’s just that I was somewhere else at the moment. Funny how that works, I wish I could bottle that in a “Non-Stress” formula, I’d be a rich mother f*cker…

The race is next, let’s see how it all turns out…
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Russ

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)
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