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Old 08-23-2011, 10:03 PM   #121
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Start Minus 1:45

In the last post I forgot to mention how Casey spent quite a bit of time in the riders meeting focusing on safety. He talked to the bikers and quad riders about getting passed by the Trophy Trucks and he spoke to TT drivers about taking the time to safely pass the riders. Nothing can really prepare you for the moment of being overtaken by an 800HP desert tank, but at least Casey did a good job of trying to emphisize multiple times about the importance of safety, especially considering the TT tragedy in CA.

I should add that most of the pictures at this point were taken by Brandon, though I can stake a small claim for the low-budget post processing.

My alarm was set for 4:45 but my internal clock told me to wake up at 4:30 AM. The ruckus in the pits was audible and the tension in the air was palpable. Some pits were loud while most were quietly getting their last minute adjustments made and their gear donned. I've started many events yet have never been able to shake the slow tightening in my stomach as the green flag (or bomb, or gun, or gate, or flag or whatever) draws near. Friday morning was no exception.


In the days prioir I had made a morning checklist in an effort to not forget something crucial in the moments leading up to the start. After working with the boys to clean up the camp, I put on my gear and read through the checklist as I did a few minutes of stretching on the desert floor. I ate some breakfast, added fresh batteries to the SPOT before turning it on, loaded the earplugs, safety-pinned the tall socks so they wouldn't bunch in the knee braces, and on and on.

Here Kevin works on adding a few more tear-offs to one of the goggle sets and loads a little baby shampoo in the side (not face) foam.


Things were happening fast now and the sky was beginning to lighten every so slowly. We were supposed to stage about a half mile away at 5:15 in order to get all of the bikes and quads organized for a 5:45 start. Brandon captured a still moment while I was at the front of the van downing a banana.


Things were blurring. Brandon and Kevin were tiddying a few more bits away in the van and helping me get suited up to get to staging. I was going to head over and they would drive the van and find a spot to ditch it near the starting line. Below I was just a minute or two away from thumping slowly over to the staging area.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:47 PM   #122
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tires

Phil,
How did the Maxxis tires hold up? I'm sure you'll mention this at some point but did you change tires at all?

We were torn between the Maxxis Desert IT front/rear and the Dunlop M71 front/739 rear. We tested both setups and ended up liking the traction of the Dunlops better. However, my experience with the Maxxis shows that they last a very long time and there might have been a lot more left at the end of the race. Our goal was to give the bike anything that it might "ask" for like a new air filter if it began blubbering or a new rear tire if it began to show cords. None of that happened and we finished on the same oil, air filter, and tire set that we started on. It was a little slippery on the last leg but not a big deal.

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Old 08-25-2011, 11:53 PM   #123
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Tires Tires Tires

Tom,

A lot of people seem to love the 739 but for me they seem a little sketchier then I would expect, especially in the rocks. I did a back to back comparison with a well worn Maxxis and a new 739 and I was surprised when I didn't like the 739. I have a weird riding style to where I sit back pretty far since my legs are pretty long. When I'm standing I noticed the difference less, but when I sat in corners I was less comfortable. The Maxxis wore really well though I likely wasn't spinning it as much as you guys. I bet I had 300 more miles before it started to look like your tire. One other thing. I tried a Maxxis front a few years ago and was very unimpressed. I even siped the tire to try to get it to grab better (or at least wear faster so I could pull it off). It never wore out so I ended putting it on a DS bike for use on the road. After that I stuck to Dunlops for the fronts. Both of my wheel sets use MX51s on the front.

I really like the Maxxis rears. The last one I rode to the bone and it was still good enough to enjoy. I see no reason to change.

pilo screwed with this post 08-25-2011 at 11:58 PM
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:42 AM   #124
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Walking the line

As Frog pointed out a few pages back, waiting on the line to go is the hardest part for me. Like most everyone out there, I just wanted to get out in the dirt and ride. Once I'm moving everything else goes away, but waiting around is a pain.

In the video below I'm being called away from the staging area to hit the actual line-up for the race start. If you look closely you can see Brandons lips move before I pull out in front of him. What you don't know is that Brandon holds the #1 plate for our age group in the local Utah desert series and that even a rider like me who has been to a bunch of starting lines over the years enjoys a little conforting from a friend before an event like this. I think he was saying something to the effect of "this is a long one, keep it steady out there." It may sound awkward a week later, but at the moment it hit the spot. Thanks B.


Once you get up to the line however, you have another wait but things start to move quicker as the bikes in front of you start to disappear. The starting line here was all uphill so pushing your bike did a good job of keeping you a little distracted. Here Kevin had caught up to me and was giving me some casual chat to keep my mind free. Kev, an Expert level downhill mountain bike racer who designs mountain bikes for a living, was keeping the conversation light. He knows what it is like to wait to race in the dirt.


Kev stepped away and it was just me, the bikes ahead (which just happened to include Quin Cody's rocket-fast sister, Anna), and the dust in the distance.


You can see the direction the wind was blowing when I reached the starting line. Casey held up his sign of encouragement, I thanked him for his work and I waited for the light to change.


Oh yeah, and about 2 seconds before the light changed the Honda died...you can view my glorious start in this video and hear Kevin chuckle.


Before I knew it I was blasting off into the dust and sunrise towards pit #1.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:05 AM   #125
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This is better than TV :-)

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Old 08-26-2011, 08:10 PM   #126
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TV, Really?

I guess TV is pretty bad these days. I bet you wouldn't say it's better than Netflix...
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:18 PM   #127
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this shot gives me butterfly's ..love the first light stuff! the way the dust hangs... bet you werent ready for the sand wash right away huh?
Nice work dude!
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:59 PM   #128
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Time to ride

The boys had committed to be at pit#1 at the least to just watch me ride by on my way to pit#2. I blasted off into the dust hopeful to set a pace and be comfortable by pit #1. The dust was pretty thick, but it was no match for the rising sun in the east and the trails that all seemed to point east. It was a balance trying to keep the visor low enough to block the sun but high enough to be able to see. About 10 miles out I got passed by my first attacker and soon after a train of bikes came by. I have no idea how they rode so fast into the sunny dust.

I rolled into pit 1 and rolled out again on the other side with no sign of the boys. I figured that was a bad sign and it might take them a few minutes to realize I had already gone through the pit. There wasn't much I could do about it though, so I continued riding.

The route to pit 2 found a lot of the dust cleared out and there were a couple of speed sections that I found 5th gear and wide open throttle. This was also my first taste of wide open for 3 or 4 miles at a time. My GPS indicated 93 though it was actually pretty distracting knowing my speed.

Pit 2 arrived soon and Brandon was out near the road flagging me down. They had the stand out but besides that I could tell they had beat me only by a minute or two. That first real gas stop was a little frantic as we were trying to get into our groove, but I got gas, a goggle change, some go-juice for the Camelbak and took the time to pull off the GPS. Seeing the speed was too distracting and I knew there was really no reason for me to know.

I was settling into a nice groove after pit 2 though in hindsight I realize fighting the wind in some of the high speed sections was causing me to sit down more than I usually do. I was getting some soreness in my cheeks that would definitely catch up to me later in the day.

Arriving at pit 3


Fuel and goggles and Hammertime, I was on my way. Here I was just arriving I think. Machtig's crew chief is in the background.


A couple of miles from pit 3 I was daydreaming and I missed a danger sign on the trail and hit a square edge in 4th gear that I swore should have folded the rear wheel in half. Before the race I noticed a small crack in the rim and as I was riding after the impact I envisioned the crack slowly working its way around the rim and coming apart at the wrong moment. I also had a couple of small crashes in this section. One from being in the dust and going off the trail and another from finding a big rock hidden in a 4th gear sweeping berm. I rode the swapper down like a cowboy but the bike was going quite a bit slower when it finally bucked me.

By pit 4 the boys were in the groove and I felt like I was a NASCAR driver. They were checking the items on the bike I had put in a list and I also called out that they needed to check the rim because of my surprise impact. Everything checked out and I was sent back out.

I made a small tactical error here and waved off Kevin topping off my Hammer mix. I ran out soon after the pit and switched to my other bladder that was just water. I felt pretty good as I rolled past them in pit 5 but soon after I was getting a bit hot and a little fatigued. I was doing fine but as I rolled into pit 6 I joked about who was I handing off the bike to for the next section. It sounded funny to me, but I think in reality it sounded like I was ready to get off the bike. Kev got me loaded with fresh go-juice and I was on my way.

The boys took a detour to Tonopah and we skipped 7. I just rolled on through. The sun was beating down strong and the temps were definitely peaking.



We met up again at P8 and I was telling the boys I wanted to get to Reno. I was happy to be past the half way mark and knowing the rest was on the downhill and I knew I could finish the ride. Later the boys remarked how the energy was totally different than the time I ran out of the goop. Lesson learned...keep the bladder full of the goop.

This pic below is either pit 8 or 10. It looks like I'm about to collapse but it was really just taken mid movement or something. It would be better if I had a great story about how I got sick or something, but it didn't happen.

pilo screwed with this post 08-26-2011 at 09:05 PM
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:51 PM   #129
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Leaving Pit 8

By this time I was having some severe trouble with feeling in my right hand and I could tell I was gripping too hard because of it. There wasn't a lot I could do about it so I tried to stretch it out a ton but I only had feeling in my ring and pinky fingers.

Pit 8 to 9 was my favorite section. Smooth, sweepy and then an awesome mountain pass with trees and a smooth flowing road. I passed quite a few bikes on the sides of the course along the race, but everyone gave me the thumbs up when I slowed and asked if they were ok so I never needed to stop and help anyone out.

I rolled through 9 and the boys waved me on as I gave them the thumbs up and waved my hand indicating how hot the wind was blowing on me.


Heading out of the pits. Notice Angryshawn's setup right next door.


Pit 10 was where we separated. I knew if I was in good shape physically that I would head on to Rawhide where I had gas and the boys would cruise to P14. They loaded me up with fuel, a full bag of Hammer and a Hammer bar hidden in my pack just in case.

The speedy sections kept getting longer and the miles just clicked off until I made it to Gabbs which is a small town that waved the riders through at full speed. On the pavement in town I had the 450x bouncing off of the rev limiter. It was very cool to be waved through town by the locals.

The road to P13 was straight and very fast and I could tell the trucks would be catching up soon. Arriving at Rawhide Craig 'goinridin' and his crew flagged me down and topped me with fuel and a little fresh water. They told me the trucks were less than 30 minutes back...time to roll.

There was a 1/2 mile rocky whoop section coming out of Rawhide that made me a little grumpy but after that it was high speeds with 200 foot tall rollers. Weeee

The sand coming into P14 was welcome after the ridiculous high speeds for the past 80 miles. It was 5 miles or more of deep sand that flowed really well. I thought of the guys on the 650r's and that the sand might not be as much fun for them.

My crew welcomed me with open arms at P14 and Brandon's cousin Wayne, who is a recent transplant to Fallon NV even came by to help get the light mounted and see what this silly desert racing thing was all about.

As we mounted the light we heard a jet engine sound beyond the hill and saw the first Trophy Truck roll through the pits. I got out right behind him and told Brandon and Kev I'd see them at the finish line.

About 10-15 miles out of P14 Monster Energy TT passed me in a torrent of dust and sage brush. At the end I got passed by 9 trucks and buggies (one in the pits) but passed two back in the rocks (they had flats :) )

The rocks in the last 20 miles were vicious and frankly were 1st gear for me. They were big boulders with fist sized rocks all around so charging them kept putting me in the bushes, especially basically holding on with one hand.

I had one scary/amazing moment in the rocks when I heard a TT behind me and pulled over. When I quickly looked back I found that it was two TT's and the leader had pulled into the trees on the far side and the truck behind was going for the pass and I WAS IN THE PATH of his path even though I was off of the course pressed up against a tree (there was nowhere else to go). He passed me within 18 inches and I got to watch up close what it was like for the trucks to go through the rocks. A half mile up the course the lead truck was off in a field fixing a flat.

With five miles or so to go the course crests a mountain pass and you can see the lights of town. I worked my way off the mountain with the ebbing light and rolled through the timers at 14:05.



My guys were there to greet me and give a yippee.


I thanked my friends for crewing for me and my family and rolled off of the podium.




We had to chase a trailer away parked from the back of the van at the finish parking lot before we could load up. I was so hungry I wanted to go out and eat something really greasy and nasty. We found a bar that served burgers on our drive into Reno.

pilo screwed with this post 08-27-2011 at 09:28 PM
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #130
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Damn proud of ya, Phil!
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:30 AM   #131
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Great pictures!
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:47 AM   #132
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Great report all the way around Pilo. And great job in the race too. All your work really paid off. I have really enjoyed following your story.

Thank you, NX
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:38 PM   #133
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Always an adventure...

I have to say again how excellent the support is from the ADV community both on this thread and in PM's. It is excellent and fun to know it is a shared adventure.

Something a little different from this past Saturday. It's hard to see in the back of the van, but there are three bikes inside. One electric, one gas and mine is pedal powered...

We had a fun time playing around in the dirt.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:52 PM   #134
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Food

I've had a few people PM me about some of the preparations and details associated with the latest race. I figured I share some of the details here in the thread in case someone else might benefit from the things I've learned, both good and bad.

I figured out my nutrition for race day from trying out some different combinations during some of my training days and from a previous multi-hour race. The basic thing I've learned is that the tri-athleon guys have the nutrition thing dialed into a science. You don't have to Google far to read about guys that have figured out their nutritional needs to the minutia. The common thread is that they all use some type of nutritional mix. Likely all of the series athlete formulas will work for us riders, you just need to train with a certain brand to make sure it will jive with your digestive system and taste reasonable to you.

I found the Hammer products worked for me, but as I said, likely any of the good ones would've been fine if I would have tried them. As you read more about multi-hour events you'll learn that a two-hour event is about the magic time when your body changes from just needing sugar and salt to needing more protein and other goodies to maintain. You can read the details at multiple places, but basically your body starts to consume your muscles after a couple of hours of hard exercise and you need more than just an electrolyte mix. Hammer and the others make electrolyte mixes (much easier on my stomach than a Gatorade or similar big name product) and various versions of multi-hour mixes (one Hammer product is called Perpetuem) that are milky and pasty, kind of like a protein shake. Also like milk, these mixes tend to have a shelf life once they are mixed so you can't make a bag good for 12 hours since it will likely go bad.

So on race day my diet looked something like this.

Pre-race: Banana, Hammer Chocolate bar and about a liter of water

Race: My plan was to stop about every other pit for fuel, so I knew I did not want a huge bag of Hammer goo to carry around and potentially go bad. I mixed up 40 oz of the paste at the proper ratio for 190 pound guy (a little more than 3 scoops). Also, I love coffee in the morning and was a little concerned about getting my caffeine so I used the Caffe-Latte Perpetuem mix until about noon. It tastes pretty good I think. I also carried about 40oz of water in a second bladder hidden in front of the main bladder and fed up the other side of Camelbak. The water was a reserve in case I ran out of the mix or got stranded somewhere.

This system worked pretty well. The guys mixed my shake in a Nalgene bottle and then just opened up my bladder an poured in the mix. Every stop (save the one mistakenly skipped refill) I got a fresh load and consumed just about the right amount before the next pit.

What didn't work well: The Perpetuem is supposed to be able to provide the hydration you need, but I think since it was so hot and at the high speeds I was consuming a little too much and not enough water. I ended up fighting through some major stomach gas for 3 or 4 hours. When I hit the pits I drank more water than I thought I would need. The next time around I'll drink maybe 20% less of the mix and at least twice as much water as I was consuming. I think I just had too much of the goop sitting in my stomach with not quite enough water. I never got de-hydrated though. I just could have used a bit more water.

In the morning I downed a banana at one of the stops. That put something solid in my belly. I also had a very generously spread PBJ in the afternoon. That was fantastic for a quick jolt. At pit 14 I grabbed another banana and was on my way.

The banana and PBJ routine was great. I've used that in the past and will continue to go for the combo in the future.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:56 AM   #135
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Pilo...once again, great job and congratulations. I loved the photos, the writing, the details on your preparation, and seeing you finish. My desert racing "career" is slowly fading into the sunset as I spend most of my time and money supporting my son who is quickly becoming considerably faster and a better rider than me, but I still love to read and be involved where I can.

Glad to see you finish safely and with a smile on your face.

I just picked up a 950 on Saturday to compliment the other steeds in the garage so anytime you're up for a big bike ride, let me know.
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