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Old 03-31-2014, 09:35 PM   #1
Racinace OP
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Baja.... Baja.... BAJA!!!! 4 riders...1,100 miles and a lot of single track!

Not much more of a description is needed then Baja and Single Track...
Well, on March 22, four guys departed from Rancho Santa Veronica for an 8 day adventure that was scheduled to cover aprroximately 1,400 miles.

I just finished unloading the rest of my gear... but here are a few teasers. The guys will help to tell the story of this epic adventure over the next few days.













Day one coming soon... Stay tuned.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:26 AM   #2
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Thumb Pre-ride....

Prepping for a 1,400 mile adventure in Baja is a bit of a challenge in itself. What to bring... what not to bring... etc. Route planning, hotel reservations, and the mysterious fuel stops all present their own unique set of challenges for the perspective adventure rider.

Our original group had 6, possibly 7 riders scheduled. For various reasons (small man sack, cold feet, revoked kitchen pass) our final group was down to four riders. This definitely had its advantages. With a smaller more capable group, the routes could potentially be a little longer and knowing all the riders were solid B+ and above, we could select more difficult trail.

Steve C stopped by and shared some tracks from his recent adventure and I was able to make some modifications to our planned route that would add in a considerable amount of single track and a few more miles. THANKS Steve!!!!

We also elected to leave the chase truck behind and complete this adventure with what we could carry on our bikes.

The boyz at Giant Loop made sure we had what we needed to keep the load off our backs and on our bikes where should be. I chose to ride with a Mojove saddle bag and Buck-n-roll tank bag. The gear would not disappoint and we even found a new use for a broken Prong Horn strap! Stay tuned for that one.

I also chose to wear a Ojio Flight Vest to carry my water and a few other essentials. It also worked great!

My bike: 2006 KTM 525EXC. Equipped with a 6.3 Gal Acerbis tank, 15/47 gearing and some fresh Desert tires. Thanks to Alex Sherman for assisting in prepping my bike before the trip. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done.

Whitney K would be riding sweep on his 09 KTM 530EXC for this trip and be my co-driver from the PNW.
Me and Whitney:

We would leave La Center, Wa on 3/20 and head to Reno, NV where we would meet up with Rob F (AKA Floyd) and Matt N.
Floyd would be riding a 2012 KTM 500EXC and Matt would be on a 2013 KTM 450XC-W. The pumpkin fleet was complete!
Floyd and Matt:

Floyd sent us a message about 6:30pm stating that he and his wife had cooked dinner and if we wanted any of the remaining Elk Au Vin and home made Mashers we had better hurry up!
We arrived at Floyd's, ate one of the best meals I have had in years and got the rest of the bikes and gear loaded for an early morning departure.

3/21 Goal: Make it to Rancho Santa Veronica.
Morning came early and we were on the road before 5am to make the roughly 12 hour trip down to Baja. We were making pretty good time, so we elected to make a stop at Chaparral Motorsports. It is bit overwhelming if you have never been there. Whitney, Floyd and Matt all were first timers to the mega store and found a few things that they needed and many more that they wanted...


Back on the road and fighting a bit of Friday afternoon traffic, we made our way to the Tecate boarder to cross before dark.
After navigating to a Pemex for some fuel, we found our way to the ranch. Joan was there to greet us and looked great as usual. She claims that she is 74 years young, but she doesn't look a day over 60.

A few drinks, tacos and we were off to bed.


Next up: Ride day #1 Rancho Santa Veronica to Mikes Sky Ranch.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:45 AM   #3
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This should be REALLY good!
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:37 AM   #4
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Thumb baja baja baja

After a great homemade elk dinner we huddled over the maps and Ace, my friend, our guide, and the co-owner of HDA, showed us the 12-1500 mile route that would engulf the next 8 days of our lives.
Not knowing what to expect I had a fitful nights sleep, woke up at 4:30 in the am and we all loaded up into his F350 and headed south. 12 hrs later we crossed the border into tecate and founded the biggest Pemex station available and dumped $140 or fuel into the truck and dirt bikes and in no time flat we were off again to Rancho Santa Veronica (rsv). This place was an awesome little hacienda / motorcycle off road haven. Weary from the 12 hr freeway ride, the end of the drive was topped-off with 16 K of washboard, rutted dirt roads and dumped us right into rsv, which was an oasis in the middle of the arid Mexican desert. We could see big trucks with all kinds of motos in the back and big enclosed trailers, that were likely filled with scooters or razors in the parking lot. This had to be the place and the excitement was brewing deeper and darker like a sweet cup of joe in the am.
As we walked into the restaurant I noticed it was pretty much a sausage fest, with a bunch of buffed athletic looking, middle aged guys wearing the requisite Klymb, Fox, Alpinstar gear, reminiscing about the trails they had ridden that day or the trails they were going to rip up tomorrow. There was nothing ordinary about this place including the smell of the food cooking and the fact that there were two cats roaming the floors looking for scraps. A few shots of tequila later along with a few rounds of Pacifico and the conversation was flowing, even though we had just spent the last 14 hrs couped-up together across the entire state of California. The food was phenomenal and the rooms were clean and well kept. Good thingNovak and I are good at starting fires as the room was only heated with a wood burning stove that we had to get pumping. I fell asleep half nervous and fully excited about the 240 mile day we had in store for tomorrow.
The alarm jolted me awake at 5:30--- I knew I had to get up early to get a Jump start on what was going to be the longest dirt bike ride I’ve ever been on. I headed to the trailer to start pulling out the bikes and got started on changing my front sprocket to a 15 tooth for the long, high speed rides. And wouldn't you know it, none of us has a long enough wrench to knock the bolt of the countershaft off...I think to myself "I guess it's not meant to. As everyone got ready, final packing, a quick twist on a wrench here, a tire pressure check there and a top off of the fuel, the excitement is tangibly building. Finally after about 2 hrs with the bikes and gear it's time to twist the throttle. We headed south from the gate and our Baja adventure officially began.
The riding out of the gate consisted of two-track (I like to call deuce deuce) with some fun single-track interspersed. As we moved though the countryside and different climate zones the scenery was breathtaking. I couldn't believe how much granite was strewn about just peppering the hillside as well as some of the trail. Luckily, less in the trail then on the hills. Our group had split into 2 separate groups of two with me and Ace up front and Novak and Whitney in the back due to the dusty conditions. Occasionally we convened to make sure we were on the right path and not lost and going around in circles.
2 hrs late and 50 miles south east of our departure we found ourselves in Ojos Negros. After traveling on windy mountain pass roads, Ojos Negros was at the end of a ridiculously long straight away surrounded on both sides with a good fence keeping hungry animals out of the verdant farm land that covered the landscape. It was here that Ace had the mentioned the word "drag race" and it was on! Unfortunately for him the '13 KTM 500 smoked him off the line and held steady up to 107 mph and pretty much embarrassed the 526exc. Poor Novak just so happened to be directly behind us when he heard the words “drag race” and before he could yell “NO!” we roosted him with a barrage of gravel and dust. Sorry Dude!
After filling up at the local Pemex station and passing through the requisite military checkpoint, which is a common theme here in mex, it was back onto more deuce deuce that had been used as the b1k race in '08. This turned out to be some serious whoops and high tech riding which dropped us out right out onto the Mex 1. We took a quick right and then a left to follow our GPS track into Valle De Trinidad (Valley T). Unfortunately there just so happened to be a race on our designated track into Valley T, which forced us to find an alternate route. We ran across another group of motos with the same problem and they asked f we had seen the Caselli monument. Apparently we were about 500 yards away from it and didn’t even know it. We went over and paid respects to the greatest American desert racer of all time and the moment was quite somber. It is very sad to think about how this amazing rider and fantastic person tragically lost his life here in the desert of Mexico. Ride strong, buddy!!!.
We had to figure out our new route over to the highway and into Valley T and this took us under some fences as we bushwhacked our way south. Unfortunately while crossing a small wash Novak was trying to climb out of a steep sandy section, got bucked awkwardly and came up yelling “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Having seen the mechanism of injury from the opposite side of the wash I assumed he blew his knee, but luckily it only turned out to be a pain in his ass... Literally. He pulled his ham string BADLY, something he had done some years ago and he knew it immediately. We were all worried that this could be a game ender and he would not be able to continue because he was in so much pain. Luckily for him I was able to administer some serious medical treatment which may have saved his ass. (See pic)
Eventually. After crossing under four fences we made Valley T for a fuel refill and some tacos. Damn! Those were the best carne tacos all four of us have ever had. Still, as I typed these words 3 days later in Baja, we had yet to have better tacos. After our belly was full with tacos and beer and our bikes were full of Pemex "rojo", it was off to Mikes Sky Ranch for the night via 12 miles of slab on Mex 1. One right turn and 20 miles of high speed uphill we climbed and climbed and climbed up to about 4000 feet. About 35 minutes later we literally rolled into Mikes(see pics).
After the nights festivities and the fact that I had just ridden 174 miles of Baja dirt I slept like a baby on Valium.
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ktmmd screwed with this post 04-03-2014 at 11:16 AM Reason: adding photos
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
Holaday
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Ace you gotta make those pictures bigger

Your 990 is still well cared for. Looking forward to your Baja report
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:19 PM   #6
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Pictures for Floyd:

Here is a picture of Matt shortly after going down after attempting the short cliff climb. It was a serious situation, but it was difficult not to laugh.

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Old 04-01-2014, 06:27 PM   #7
ktmmd
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Cool2 Whit crossing river in loop around Mikes

Racin Aces' broken brake
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:29 PM   #8
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Talking

Whit somewhere near Mikes
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:31 PM   #9
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problem solved!! Baja ingenuity!!
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:11 PM   #10
Racinace OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holaday View Post
Your 990 is still well cared for. Looking forward to your Baja report

Thanks man! Not many bikes I regret selling but that 07 KTM 990S is one of them! The Concours I replaced it with didn't last only 2 years and we only put about 4,000 +- miles on it. Just wasn't as fun to ride. Glad she is well cared for!

Oh... and I fixed the pictures. Thanks!
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4 time Baja 1000 finisher (08-11) 2x, 305x, 313x, 202x
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:29 PM   #11
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Bits and pieces....

Floyd summed it up day one pretty well.... a few details to clean up..
Before the ride... everyone is ready to rip.


We found some single track on the way out but given the length of the day, we stayed mainly on the two track and tried to make time.

On the way out the Compadre Trail, we found a long stretch of graded road that was begging to be shredded. I was itching to see what the old 525 was giving up to the newer 500 so I got Floyd to give me a run. He got the jump and stayed dead even about 8 feet off his rear wheel. I was getting sand blasted the entire time, but eventually started to pull him on the top end. At about the time I was to pass Floyd shut it down and I blasted past. Apparently he got a taste of what I was receiving and one of the rocks I roosted him with also found its way to the red bull that was stored in the right side of his Coyote GL pack. It was dripping red when we stopped.

After fumbling around and searching for a way around the 40 mile loop race that was on going and spending a few moments paying our respects to KC66, we made tracks to Mikes via the pavement.

This was necessary due to the injured rider we were packing in and the lost time we incurred trying to find a way around the on-going race and a route to the pavement. Unfortunately this cut out about 25 miles of single track to Mikes.
On the way in, I felt my rear brake pedal creeping up. Hummm adjuster bolt coming loose? Will need to inspect upon arrival to Mikes.


My first attempt to liquid steel the part and then weld the bolt in only made it about 100 miles on the next day. That is when Whitney and I were sitting around brain storming and he offered up a broken GL Pronghorn strap. Yeah... I might be able to make that work. I zip-tied the broken strap to the brake pedal leaving a bit of tie to loop back to....and then looped around the frame and back to the zip-tie. For insurance I attached two zip-tys to the strap itself but I'm pretty confident that it would have stayed in place with out it.











After a long day in the saddle... It was time to relax.

Next up: Ride day 2. Mikes to Gonzaga Bay... Alphonsinas! EPIC!
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:28 AM   #12
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Awesome! In! Thanks for the heads up on FB Ace.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:25 AM   #13
ktmmd
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just a teaser--more to come

Matt Novak ripping up some sweet singletrack on 22 Day Trail
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ktmmd View Post
Matt Novak ripping up some sweet singletrack on 22 Day Trail
That is a very nice picture.....and looks like a great trail.
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:42 PM   #15
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DAY 2 Mikes to Gonzaga Bay

The next morning saw the required bike check and maintenance and Ace noticed his rear brake pedal adjustment screw perch had cracked. Some ingenuity and a little quick steel and problem solved. See pic
Since Novak was hurt and Ace had a mechanical disadvantage we decided the group should split up and meet in bay of Gonzaga for dinner. Ace and Novak headed out and Whit and I rallied the loop from Mikes around the preserve. The loop was fun and technical, reminding me of terrain I’ve ridden in Moab with tons of loose baby-head rocks on steep down hills with the occasional slab drop offs into tight corners that would have the average rider totally puckered. The 17 mile loop took us two hrs and then it was off to cover some ground. We hit pavement south for about 15-20 mile and then veered right across a dry lakebed that made me feel like I was speed testing on the Bonneville salt flats. The dirt was soft and as even as a pool table. My parents won't want to read the next line but I had my 500 xc-w pinned and was riding an orange roller coaster across the desert at well over a hundred miles an hr. As I kept learning Baja is a trip: near the end of the lake bed out in the middle if nowhere there appeared a 6 foot by 6 foot sign saying beer and soda 500 M ahead.
Whit and I both looked at each other laughing and rolled up to an encampment with a full bar for service but no one was home. When we met up with ace later he said "Oh yeah that guy lives out there and sells beer and bebidas to passers-by on motorcycles and atv's." Strange place to set up shop in my mind but “good on ya” if enough customers rip across the lake-bed to your shop.
From there Whit and I had some fun orienteering our way to San Felipe (SF). It wasn’t too difficult as we just had to keep heading South-East, but it was fun adventuring We eventual found another old race course that brought us into SF at about 80 mph along a garbage-strewn road. I learned later that this road is known as Zoo Rd because during the B1k it is absolute mayhem teeming with campers and locals and tourists. Ace said when he was racing the B1k he'd heard of riders having to dodge flaming car tires rolled across the road at racers...Sounded sketchy as hell to me.
In SF we hit a local taco joint, filled up and headed south towards Gonzaga Bay. Unfortunately I had forgotten that ace said you can ride about 35 miles of beach out of SF and we actually hit the old puertacetos road with its 30 plus miles of 3-foot whoops. Twenty miles into it we both said “F this” and scooted out towards Mex 5 for some slab riding. I never thought I would be so happy to ride pavement for 35 miles but 3 foot whoops take a toll on your body, your bike and your mind. In fact, it was on this torture-chamber of a road that I noticed the stock front-blinker mounting bracket I’d attached my lights to failed and my right, kick ass 2-inch Cyclops cannon light was actually swinging in the breeze. After we stopped and I quick disconnected it we were off towards Mex5 for smooth slab sailing.
Neither Whitney not I had any idea what we were pulling into for the night but when we crested the last hill into Gonzaga we were both super-psyched. It was such a beautiful quite little fishing, tourist spot right on the water and with the setting sun the aura was magnificent. Another night of beer, tequila, tacos and camaraderie followed and a 184 mile day was in the bag.
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