|04-01-2014, 02:35 PM||#1|
Joined: Aug 2006
1000 for a Mustang
“So, that’s what I want to do”, I said as I looked across the table at my seven month pregnant wife. Shockingly, her immediate response was, “sounds exciting!”
It’s not often you tell your significant other that, within five years, you want to complete the worlds longest non-stop off-road motorcycle race, solo, in a foreign country, and their response be one of genuine excitement. But, thankfully, that was the reply.
The TECATE/SCORE Baja 1000 is a race steeped in history. My first consciousness of it came in the early eighties when I watched Malcolm Smith in the documentary On Any Sunday. Somehow, “the lone dust cloud across Lake Chapalla was Malcolm Smith, and his motorcycle”, was a statement that etched into my brain, even though I had no idea where Lake Chapalla was located.
I’ve spent over three decades riding and racing dirt bikes. At the end of my fourth decade, my goal will be to have finished the Baja 1000.
Along with the aforementioned completion of the race, my hopes are to support a fundraiser for my local school where I teach, hence the name of my journey, 1000 for a Mustang. Mustangs are the mascot.
This website and accompanying blog will, at times be tedious, and at times be very broad reaching. I want to document, in detail, my efforts, while not boring you to tears. Sometimes updates will be fast and furious, and sometimes they may not come for months.
Either way, I hope you come along for the ride.
I've started a website at www.1000foramustang.com but really hope to mirror that website here.
Not many pics at the moment, so I'll give you this one to wet the appetite maybe.
trampaslake screwed with this post 04-01-2014 at 03:38 PM
|04-01-2014, 02:40 PM||#2|
Have you seen my bike?
Joined: May 2005
Location: Planning my next ride...
In for the ride!
Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk
Trust, but verify...
|04-02-2014, 02:09 PM||#3|
Joined: Aug 2006
Warning: There are photos of injuries on this page. To be exact, there are x-rays of broken bones and lacerations. Just a warning if you're squeamish.
I was born in 1977. That makes me 36 for those of you who don’t want to do the arithmetic. My dad had been a motocrosser since the early ‘70s. ￼
So it wasn’t long before a Yamaha PW50 showed itself, Christmas of 1980, to be exact. At that time, there was no such thing as training wheels for a motorcycle. The shop owner where my parents bought it fabricated a set made for bicycles.
Helmets didn’t come in my size either, and that was the only piece of protective equipment that was made for anybody under ten anyway. I can remember my head practically spinning in my open face helmet when I turned my head. See, I’m not the biggest individual. Even today I’m only 5’ 6”. At almost four years old, my feet would barely touch the footpegs, much less the ground.
We lived in a rural area, with quite alot of land around. Pasture riding became my pastime. Anytime there was a free minute I wanted to ride. And ride I did.
As the years progressed my speed increased and the training wheels had to come off, but my feet still wouldn’t touch the ground. I spent quite a while riding around the house while dad was within earshot. When I was ready to stop I’d ride close enough to yell, “Daddy I’m comin’ in!”, and I would ride up and he would catch me before I fell over. If I was starting, we’d do the same thing in reverse. He would hold me up and I would give it all I had until I was moving and he’d let go.
A bit cumbersome, but it got the job done. ￼Around the age of 6, I grew enough to finally get my feet on the ground.
Racing never really was in my mind in those early years. Dad had practically quit racing, only competing maybe once a year, if that. Doug, my brother, had been been born in 1982, and there was plenty of things to keep my parents busy besides loading up stuff every weekend. In retrospect, I’m really glad there was never a mention of the prospect of racing. My parents never made motorcycle riding anything other than something to have fun while doing.
Around 1986, I had grown enough to move up to a Kawasaki KX 60, a larger bike in every respect, but still not big. Around that same time we went to the Dallas Supercross at the Cotton Bowl. I remember not knowing who anybody on track was, but being really excited to see all the colors. By this time I had been to several Cross-Country races with my dad and could tell that racing was something that was worth checking out.
The Texas Cross Country Racing Association is an organization that’s been in existence since 1972 and promotes races in the north-east area of the State. TCCRA races are pretty much standard Cross Country races. Each class has it’s own line and the lines leave one minute apart, started with a flag. The tracks are woods, rocks, roots, and a motocross track every now and then. A lap can range from eight miles up to thirteen miles. Races total fifty miles for the intermediate and experts and about forty for the amateurs. Experts can typically expect to race for an hour and half. Swan Raceway, near Tyler, TX hosted one of the TCCRA’s races yearly. My dad had ridden several so I knew what that type of racing was like.
TCCRA races have a practice day on Saturday. The track is open all day to ride as much as you like. After I moved to the KX 60, we went to the practice day. My dad mentioned that if I liked the track we might go back on Sunday and I could race in the mini class. The thought just sent my head and stomach spinning with butterflies.
￼ Practice went pretty good. I really liked the motocross track the best, mainly because it required the least amount of skill. It was pretty smooth and there were no roots or rocks to look for.
At home, I started saying I didn’t want to race. At first, dad was ok with the decision. Later on though he told me he thought I should race, that it’d be good for me. I agreed.
I can’t tell you how nervous I was. To this day, I’ve never been more nervous for anything in my life. Hyperventilation was a distinct possibility, but when the flag dropped most it went away thankfully. I made it a little over half a lap before my ten year old body gave out. But I was proud of myself.
Late the next year, sometime around 1989, my dad got me a Kawasaki KDX 80. It was a detuned racer, but I could get the feel for what a full-fledged race bike would be. I had grown some by this time and was quite comfortable on the bike.
We went to two races that year, one at Flying P Cycle Ranch, near Weatherford, TX and one at the Waco Eagles M/C club near Waco, TX. I finished both of those races. And I was hooked.
In 1990, I moved up to a 1988 Suzuki RM 80, a race bike. We went to more races and instead of just trying to finish, I began improving my finishing places. My first trophy was at Swan Raceway in the mud. I was fourth.
By 1991, the mini class in TCCRA had been split into Amateur and Expert. My times were fast enough to make me an expert rider. Several races into that year, at Lake Whitney MX, I won my first race.
My size at this point was actually getting too big for an 80 cc. So in late 1992, my parents bought me a 1993 Yamaha YZ 125.
￼ Also, about this time we were branching out and racing not just Cross Country, but motocross, and even an Arenacross thrown in for good measure.
Surprisingly, also, I didn’t go to as many races during high school. I was involved with other things but always would ride and race a little bit.
After high school was over, I attended a local junior college and started racing fairly heavily. By this point, my brother was racing and it was a family affair. TCCRA races happened every two weeks and for several years went to almost all of them.
I was still riding the YZ 125 in the amateur. I found my speed pretty quickly and won several races.
In 1996 my dad bought a new KTM 300 MXC. He rode it for several races and one day asked if I wanted to ride it. We were at Fort Hood, near Killeen, TX. I immediately loved it. It was obvious that I wasn’t a “revver” and the 125 wasn’t really suited for me. But the 300 was. At the end of the day, dad said, “just ride it tomorrow.”
The TCCRA would allow anything over 250 cc’s to be ridden in the open class. So that’s where I went.
Quickly I was way faster than I was on the 125.
The next year, I won several races and winning the overall amateur award as well. (Overall amateur is the person who posts the fastest time of any amateur class.)
I was leading the class in points by mid-year. ￼Unfortunately, my times were too fast and was moved to the expert class with half the year left.
The expert class was a shock, to say the least. It definitely took a while to adjust to the mentality of hard racing for fifty miles. I spent the rest of the year adjusting. By years end, I was getting close to the leaders times.
1998 and 1999 were both really good years. I won quite alot and, like in the amateurs, won several overall expert awards. Unfortunately, I was never able to put together an entire season and win a championship.
In 2000 I graduated from Texas A&M in College Station. I also got married to my longtime girlfriend Meredith. The next four years saw me racing very little, the commitments of finding a job and place to live taking most of my attention.
In 2005, I picked up an AMA magazine and read a small paragraph about something called the Trans-Am Trail. I showed it to Meredith and and she immediately said, “we have to do that!” I was a bit shocked. The Trans-Am Trail is route across the U.S. using only secondary roads, dirt for a majority of the time.
We are both teachers and that gives us plenty of time to enjoy our summers. We spent the next several years riding the Trans-Am Trail and doing alot of Dual-Sport riding. Dual-￼Sport is a mixture of pavement and dirt. Between 2006 and 2011, we rode the Trans-Am Trail twice, the Continental Divide Ride, the Copper Canyon area of Mexico, and Baja twice.
I kept racing Cross Country, when I had the chance, which wasn’t much. I probably rode one race a year in those years.
In September, 2009, I went to a TORN (Texas Off-Road National) race in Edgewood, TX. Their races are much like the TCCRA races, except shorter.
I had just purchased a 2009 KTM 300 XC-We. The bike was wonderful, with great handling and smooth power delivery. I hadn’t been on a bike in a while and was really enjoying myself. Unfortunately I was a riding way above my head, for the amount of time I’d spent riding in the last year. Coming into a tight section of woods, with way too much speed, I clipped a downed tree with my front wheel. It sent me off course, into another standing tree I remember seeing the the big tree coming and thinking, “I’ve got to get this bike between me and that tree.”
￼It was not to be. Instinctively, I stuck my leg out. I can still hear my femur break. Kapow.
I spent most of the next year recovering. Thankfully, it wasn’t horrible. They inserted a rod and I never had a cast. But it was a while before I started riding again.
Not long after I got on the bike again I started thinking about the Baja 1000. Of course I had seen the documentary Dust to Glory, and had ridden there several times. Part of my brain said it was stupid to even think about attempting it. Part of my brain said I could do it. I’ve lived long enough to know that the truth is probably somewhere in between. I could go through all the platitudes about how we only live once and all that. Truth is, I like a challenge. I work best when I have a goal. With Meredith’s enthusiasm I decided to give it a shot.
In the meantime, Philip, our son was born in November, 2012. All the things that new parents go through were gone through. At one point, I really wondered what we had done to ourselves.
I kept riding sporadically. In October, 2013, Dad and I went to the Poolville TCCRA race. It was a good track and I was enjoying myself. On my last lap of practice I got hung on a slight uphill and gunned the engine. The bike looped out and as I was falling off the back, I fell on the rear wheel. My ￼right hand was sucked into it and jammed between the spokes and brake caliper. Almost immediately I couldn’t feel my ring finger. And, I couldn’t extract my hand. The track was fairly empty and I sat there several minutes until someone came by. The wheel had to be spun backwards for my hand to come out. The ring finger was cut and smashed badly.
It’s taken a while for it to heal. The bone was crushed pretty good and the joint does not work well anymore. It’s a bit crooked now. But doesn’t hinder my day to day activities. I haven’t ridden off road with it yet. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve set several short-term goals going forward. I want to ride at least two Cross Country races before summer. I have consistently worked out since I broke my leg in 2009, but I need to up my game. I would like to complete a mini-triathlon in the fall.
My dad has 2008 KTM 530 EXCr. It has officially become my Baja “practice” bike. We spend our summer in northern New Mexico and I’ve made a 600 mile loop that is approximately 450 miles of non-pavement. My goal is to run the entire loop, solo, by the end of the summer, just to see what twelve to fourteen hours will feel like. I know the real race will be well more than that, but if I can’t do that, then this is all an exercise in futility.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. It might be a heck of a show!
|04-02-2014, 02:31 PM||#4|
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: NORTHERN UTAH, PLANET EARTH ITS ALL THE SAME!!!
Excited to follow along.
around the world
|04-02-2014, 07:22 PM||#6|
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: personal hell
first off. I was eating when i got to the finger. not good. second that first pic. I raced under that number in SERA. I wish you luck.
When I die bury me upside down so the whole world can kiss my ass.
"My mind jumped off the high dive into the deep end of the gutter and took scuba gear with it" Me.
|04-02-2014, 07:39 PM||#7|
Joined: Aug 2006
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