I'm still a Baja newb, this being my second Baja 1000, but thought some of you might be entertained by my story:
Last year I ran a 3 man team to La Paz and had a cake walk. Wanted more seat time, so decided to jump into the deep end and go for a solo attempt! The plan was to prerun with a buddy the entire course in 4 days, doing it entirely out of back pack, no chase support. I won't bore you with the last minute stresses getting bikes ready into the wee hours barely pulling it off. Being from Washington, the Saturday rain storm, the week before the race, was tolerable, but definitely not the conditions we hoped for! By the time we got to RM 200, my buddy's xr650L had beaten him pretty bad. We slabbed it to San Felipe where fear of the dreaded whoops forced us to skip the entire San Felipe loop. As the race would prove, It probably would have beat me down and forced me to not be able to even start. So we finished off the rest of the course and had a great time. Prerunning is almost as fun as the race! Some special, generous folks helped me by bringing my gal from San Diego Airport to Ensenada the day before the race, so I had some karma pay backs.
Race morning, my boots finally dry from the rains, the plan was to ride a fun, fast pace, but not full race pace. After a couple little mishaps and lost time in the first 80 miles I got my first real break with helmet off and some food from my support crew (Megan and Bob) at hwy 3 crossing right on time at about 9:15AM. Next stop RM 200. Came in about 45 minutes ahead of plan 1:15PM, and put on headlight and helmet light, ate a big lunch and took off. Had a good pace going until after Diablo where all the whoops started. Amazed to see my gas boiling after the long lake run at full speed. This is where I got humbled (Bully Beatdown really!). I couldn't, and still can't believe there are really that many miles of whoops! Hit Baja Pit #8 at 6:00pm, had a pulled pork sandwich rested, drank, ate more and finally left with the trucks coming soon. Into the dark in territory I hadn't prerun turned out to be bad voodoo later. I stopped to help several guys. Carnage was building on the course. 1 Kawasaki with a burned up Rekluse, helped another guy with no lights to follow me. Found a quad that had gone from RM 390 to RM 340 where I found him out of gas and asking where he was! Spent way too long showing him gps and then filled his camelback with gas from my tank to get him to next pit, all while the trucks started roaring past. Amazing show with the top three trucks real close!!! Somewhere past RM 410, I followed the trail, marked with ribbon, and started to get real happy as it smoothed out... next Race Mile marker I see is RM 50!!! From some other race obviously. This trail dumped me onto a graded road within sight of a highway. As I'm looking over my shoulder for marker signs, I hit a washout that body slammed me. dinged up shoulder, but bike still ridable after bending the shifter back. Pull GPS out of pack, find I'm 10 miles off course and start across desert to the real course. Finally back on track, but keep losing the course with all the different markings and trails. Maybe I was getting loopy in the head too! I've now become pretty far off the pace I thought would be reasonable, but still way within time limits. Figured to gain some time through the Mike's loop and over to the Pacific, but the Mike's loop literally froze my hands. I had to stop twice to warm them on my pipe just to be able to grab controls! About 5 or 10 miles before Valle de Trinidad meadow, I lose all lights. There must be a short somewhere, but as I tear the whole bike apart, I can't solve it. An hour and a half of futile searching and the sun is coming up, starter won't work, kick start does!, so off I go. My crew was worried sick at the meadow pit, but some quick calculations and we figure that I should still be able to make it within the time limit. Pretty uneventful ride to the Ojos crossing where my knee gave out (too many whoops). I was in screaming pain every time I changed from standing to sitting. I limped/crawled towards the finish. I had to choke back the emotion as I came into town and realized that I was actually going to make it coming out of the wash onto the street. Fun to pin it around the last couple of corners and pitch out the back end coming into the finish. They peeled me off the bike, and handed me the best beer I've ever had.
Back home a week later and my fingers are still numb and weak. I guess this is what the retirement years will feel like, having my kids cut my food!!! Still can't wipe the smile off my face thinking of Baja. I've quit trying to explain to non riders "why on earth someone would WANT to do this". Can't wait till my kids are old enough to ride it with me.
Any of you guys that have ever thought about soloing this, but worried that it would be too much? I'll bet you ate far more turkey than you ever thought you could. Same thing, I never thought I could ride that much. Give it a go and lets push Sal to make this a class!