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Racing the Baja 1000

Joined
Jan 1, 2005
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Austin
After much discussion and debate, JT and I have decided to race the 2018 Baja 1000 in November of this year. We are still deciding between the Pro Moto 50 (50 and over) class or the Sportsman class.

We will be racing my KTM 500EXC. It needs additional lights for night riding. Aside from that, I believe it is ready to go. (I have already removed all the "adventure" stuff on the bike.)
_MG_0002-XL.jpg


Our physical training has already begun. (That's not me or JT but that's what we look like when we are lifting weights. In Big Bend. Really. Except for the red socks. And the man bun. We don't have enough hair for man buns.)
_1110397-XL.jpg


This is what I look like when I'm in race mode :trust: (Truthfully, that photo was taken a long time ago when I was still racing motocross).
i-663tnGz-XL.jpg



JT is a lot faster rider than me. This is what he would look like racing motocross...if he raced motocross.
i-2mxZcfk-XL.jpg



Any advice is welcome. :sun:
 
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E.Marquez

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"I mean anyone can trail ride the thing for a 1000 miles, but to be competitive in doing it is whole different deal" -Scott Dunlavey
Dust to Glory
[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oR2j7QCd98"]Dust to glory (película completa) subtitulada al español - YouTube[/ame]

I took that to heart when I heard it many years ago, and decided I agreed..
I have trail ridden it, but never raced it..

Best of luck to you :giveup:
 

Tourmeister

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I expect you to capture it all in gory detail in pics and on video so you can share it here ;-)

Invest in Ibuprofen.

Start a GoFundMe campaign.

Update your will...

I look forward to it!

Do you already have a support team?
 
Joined
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The Woodlands
Logging tons of hours at the local mx track seems like it would be some of the best training. Congrats on the endeavor!
 
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Logging tons of hours at the local mx track seems like it would be some of the best training. Congrats on the endeavor!
We have been discussing that very thing. In addition to riding for extended periods on mx tracks we also plan to do lots of riding at places at Hidden Falls and CTOR. I can't think of anything better for training to ride for extended time/distances than by riding for extended time/distances in conditions with similar physical demands.

I have the bike loaded in my truck now and will be leaving shortly for Murphy's MX.
 
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Best of luck you two. This might just be what finally draws me down to Baja, it`s been on my bucket list since before the bucket list was thought up.. I would be up to help support also..
 

StromXTc

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How will you be navigating . Those rallies seem 1/2 physical as well as being smart enough without becoming endlessly lost . Hats off to you guys ! Will you have to mount up one of those roadbook tower thingys?
 
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"I mean anyone can trail ride the thing for a 1000 miles, but to be competitive in doing it is whole different deal" -Scott Dunlavey
Dust to Glory
...and if you're not really racing it any other week of the year would be 1,000 times more enjoyable and safer to ride it. Not to mention avoiding the traffic, crowds, no vacancies and jacked up prices.

_

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Joined
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Wow! That’s awesome you two! Talk about jumping into the deep end.

You asked for advice so I’ll throw out some random thoughts.

Stickers, stickers, stickers and more motorcycle stickers. They’re the Bit coin of Baja. Everyone loves them and you’re the hero when passing them out. I was at a military checkpoint just north of La Paz with an orange sitting in the drink holder next to the dash, next to me, that I had forgotten about. They asked if we had any fruit, etc. etc. I forgot about the orange sitting in plain sight and said no. No problems though, they were happy to keep us moving down the road for just a few stickers.

Is this a point to point (Ensenada to La Paz) year or the northern half of Baja year? The northern half races are shorter but are more of beating per mile due to the north half being used much more often (Baja 500, San Felipe 250) The advantage to the northern half races is that it’s easier to hook up with your crew from time to time. The southern half is smoother but they have open ranges and contain non-reflective cattle.

Speaking of crews, how are you doing your pitting? Did you contract with someone? You need a lot of resources to pit yourselves. Back in the day, Honda charged about a buck a mile (race distance) for their services. This covers gas, two or three mandatory air filter changes, an emergency wheel (not because yours looks bad or is flat but because it’s square now) which you will pay them back for later. Leave a spare rear wheel assembly (tire change) for the pit crew near the halfway point and your lights with another pit crew where you expect to be at a little before dark. A Bib Mousse in the front at a minimum and better if you have one in the rear too. Good luck installing them, if you do it like me; you’re in for a work out.

The day before the race is Contingency Row. It’s quite festive, much like a parade that you pass through. Wear only stuff you can throw away the next morning because won’t pack it along during the race. And you’ll likely be alone from about midday on because your crew had to leave to get down to the rider change location a few hundred miles away.

Be prepared for dust, dust and more dust. Obviously the worst is in the beginning of the race before everything thins out. Put baby oil on the foam portions of your goggles so they will act like an air filter for your eyes. Know where you’re pits are. I repeat, know where you’re pits are. Mile markers used to be placed every ten miles. I predict you will get a sinking feeling in your stomach if the first mile marker sign you see (remember that dust thing) says 80 miles and you suddenly remember pit #1 was supposed to be at 60 miles.

Motocross has whoop sections. Baja has in places, miles and miles of whoops. Practice leaning against a wall in a seated position and see how long you can do this. Than do this again and again for the next 10 months.
Baja also has silt beds; there is no practice for this. Never go less than full throttle until you get out of it. If it’s a northern race only there are less of these.

It’s a very long race. Pace yourselves.

Remember you are not on a closed course. They try to stop traffic at intersections but it’s everywhere. You two know how driving in Mexico can be. It’s ten times worse during the race. If you want practice, I recommend going to downtown Austin during rush hour and ride into opposing traffic. Seriously, the worst is leaving Ensenada at the start of the race during their rush hour. A large portion is two lanes going out and two lanes coming in, divided only by a center stripe. Right as you first leave the pavement onto the dirt is where Team Kawasaki rider Danny Hamel died when a vehicle pulled in front of him. I think Danny was doing about a 100 mph at the time.

Bored locals, standing in the middle of nowhere want to see action. It’s not unusual for them to make booby traps during the race. This usually consists of building a jump on the course. Since they’re not building a jump for them to ride over they don’t concern themselves with some of the finer points of jump building. Like a longer ramp so the takeoff is less abrupt. Remember that dirt had to come from somewhere. Most locals are kind hearted enough and put the jump in front of the hole they just dug.

If it looks like a major league stadium is catching you, it just the lights from a Trophy Truck. I recommend you move over quickly.

It’s a very long race. Pace yourselves.

It can be more dangerous for the crews chasing the race on the roads than for the actual racers. To steal a line from professional wrestling, “It’s pandemonium out there!” And it’s not just the roads, someone could be driving the wrong way on the course too.

I know you plan on racing class 50 but there’s something to be said for riding in the open class. You may start almost an hour later than them and that’s a lot of daylight in the desert to give up.

I hope you get to do some pre-riding. There’s no way you can remember your whole portion of the race but you get an idea of what to expect. And, and it’s so darn much fun!!! Maybe more fun than the race.

Carrying an extra pre-oiled air filter in a zip-lock baggie inside your fanny pack isn’t the worst idea. They may however deform a little bit if you land on your back from going over the bars.

It’s a very long race. Pace yourselves.

Having some type of light on your person is good. I’ve seen them taped to the side of a helmet for example. Good for pre-riding at night and looking at a map for example. Also, should you crash on a moonless night during the race and kill your motor; you can use it to find your bike again.

The proper radios can be very useful.

You’re likely to see famous desert racers anywhere. Perhaps at the next table eating breakfast, standing in a line, stopped on the side of the course while pre-riding or asking if you if you need any help, etc.

If you want to know what it feels like to be Johnny Campbell, Eli Tomac, or Jason Anderson at the end of the race, I recommend wearing your old riding gear. After crossing the finish line throw those old gloves, chest protector or jersey to some kids. Instant celebrity!

It’s a very long race. Pace yourselves.

This is a lifetime experience about to happen. It’s awesome, enjoy every minute guys, I’m jealous.
 
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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
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Today's training report:

I loaded the bike in my truck and drove over to Murphy's motocross track. The goal today was to a) assess my level of fitness, b) determine how the 500EXC handles on a motocross track, and c) get in my first Baja 1000 riding workout.

Before I left, my grandson put on my helmet then told me he was ready to go.
2018021014020556-IMG_0115-XL.jpg


Unfortunately, he couldn't come with me. Maybe sometime in the future he will be able to join in the fun.

I was at Murphy's for the better part of 2 hours, during which I rode for about 40 minutes total. The good news is that I'm in better shape that I thought I was. My stamina was good and I was able to ride at a reasonable (for me) pace without undue fatigue. My grip endurance needs to increase. A lot. Especially on my throttle hand. I am expecting that will happen with additional training.

Here's the bike after the first 20 minute moto.
2018021014022517-IMG_0117-XL.jpg


The bads news is that I crashed during the end of the second 20 minute moto. I came out of a right handed rut and highsided. Instinct kicked in and I executed a combat roll to my left that actually worked - even at my age - and kept me from breaking a collar bone (though it is getting more sore by the moment).

I would have been fine except for the fact that there was a fast rider passing me on the left who couldn't stop before he plowed into me immediately post combat roll. I took 90% of the hit on my right buttock and the impact sent me rolling into another left handed combat roll. Luckily, I emerged unbroken but I have a large cherry on that cheek and some deep muscle tissue bruising that is going to be extremely sore for the next few days. The KTM, unfazed, just lay there laughing at me.

The 500EXC is a fine motorcycle but it's a bit heavy for riding motocross at a fast pace. In particular, at 260 lbs you have to be very alert on jumps - hit one wrong and I could see it would be tough to recover from before landing. Aside from that, she was competent everywhere else. I desperately need a proper set of knobbies on her. The TKC80 front and Heidenau K60 Scout rear are not great choices for riding motocross.

By the end of 40 minutes I had sped up quite a bit and was easily able to clear all the jumps but I'm not sure the street legal parts (rear fender with license plate, front blinkers, and front headlight & shroud) will survive long-term if I keep jumping like that. Maybe I can pick up a used motocross bike and use it in lieu of the 500 for these types of training rides.

I have one of those new mid-sized Chevy Colorado trucks and the 500 EXC fits nicely in the back.
2018021014022517-IMG_0124-XL.jpg


Next Saturday I'm headed out again, hopefully with new knobby tires installed.
 
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greeneggs&ham

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WOW...WOW... Mrs. C, where did you get the Bourbon??? I think it's bad..

I am hallucinating... Can you hallucinate reading something??? :shrug:

Youse GUYS are CRAZY... WOW... "Youse guys", isn't that how Joe Pesci would say it?

Over 50+ class..what is that??? You ride 500 and take the truck to the finish... :pray:

:-P No Really, I applaud your bravado, question your sanity, but... :ponder:


Really... I know you both will do good, but talk about jumping in the deep end, WOW.
Each of you is going to ride 400+....? OUCH!!!

If you go to HF's stay off the trails, stick to the park roads. Try to do 3 hours of solid riding averaging 40+ mph. That should get you to at least 2 gas stops. If the forest is open, go down there and try to find as close to a 40 mile ATV loop as you can get. Try to do that and each time you come around to the truck, fill up and do it again till you have 150 or more miles, again try to average 40 mph on the wide ADV trails. That should get you friendly with the sand and whoops. :puke:

Situation changes quick at 50+, 60+, 70+.

Years ago Honda had a rent a bike/support deal. That was back in '90's. Maybe someone is still doing that. It keeps you from trashing your own equipment. Fly to San Diego, cross over, Race and return. Just your gear and personals. Back in '93 I was offered a chance to do this with two other A riders from west Texas, I believe it was $650 from each of us, but I passed. I heard they came in 3rd in class. But that was Three 30 year olds. They said it was a great time. :clap:

I would second the need for Bibs, I hate them, but would not run a desert race without them. Yeah, get some knobbies on that bike, much easier to ride on dirt than 50/50 tires.

Good luck, keep everyone posted about your experience.

Sam

I am going to go pour that bourbon down the drain now. :giveup:
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2014
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Texas
Wow! congratulations on your decision! You guys will do great. I think Tourmeister touched on it, documenting your race would be cool. I followed the Dakar Rally this year and followed Lyndon Poskett in which documented his entire race then posted 20 ten minute episodes on youtube. Lyndon entered in the Malle Moto class which he races and supports himself meaning he did the entire race and wrenched on his bike!
Great videos and might be good information in there. Here is the link to the first episode. [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByUwxaf0dvk"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByUwxaf0dvk[/ame]

Looking forward to reading about your adventure!!!

Joe
 
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Joined
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Colbert, WA
Read everything Macdaddy wrote, about 20 times, good stuff in there. I would also recommend getting off the motocross track and race every hare scrambles or hare hound race you can afford to get to. I raced National H&H, ISDE and 24 hour events until i was 52. I live where there is a lot of public land, and I rode at least 15 hours on the weekend, and when a 24 hour race was approaching, I would get up and ride before dawn and time to go to work. If you have never raced at night, you don't know what to expect. Find a 24 hour race and enter it. Who cares if you finish, just race for at least 12 hours, especially at night. Heck, take breaks just like you would in the Baja 1000.

Buy a wood dowel, tie a rope to the center, hang a weight on the rope and roll the rope up and down for hours to condition your forearms. I've finished races with such bad arm cramps I needed help releasing my fingers from the bars. Get your forearms in shape or you won't be a happy camper.

practice riding with glove liners or mole skin to keep from getting blisters during the race. Don't try anything new on race day, only things you have done a lot.

And lastly, stay hydrated, again, stay hydrated. My racing days ended when I got extremely dehydrated practicing for a 24 hour event in 100 degree heat and had a stroke. I also helped recover a body in a National H&H when an expert level rider who tried to race in 105 degree heat without enough water.Don't take hydration for granted...

Be as prepared as possible, and you guys are going to have a blast...
 
Joined
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Is this a point to point (Ensenada to La Paz) year or the northern half of Baja year?
This year's race is a loop course, presumably run on the northern half of the peninsula. That much we do know. We will know for certain about a month prior to the race when the official route is published.


Speaking of crews, how are you doing your pitting? Did you contract with someone?
We will be contracting with a crew, such as Mag 7.


A Bib Mousse in the front at a minimum and better if you have one in the rear too.
Thanks - I was leaning in this direction already.


I hope you get to do some pre-riding. There’s no way you can remember your whole portion of the race but you get an idea of what to expect. And, and it’s so darn much fun!!! Maybe more fun than the race.
We are planning on doing some pre-running a few days before the race.


Finally, thanks for the advice. We will take it all to heart.
 
Joined
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Read everything Macdaddy wrote, about 20 times, good stuff in there. I would also recommend getting off the motocross track and race every hare scrambles or hare hound race you can afford to get to. I raced National H&H, ISDE and 24 hour events until i was 52. I live where there is a lot of public land, and I rode at least 15 hours on the weekend, and when a 24 hour race was approaching, I would get up and ride before dawn and time to go to work. If you have never raced at night, you don't know what to expect. Find a 24 hour race and enter it. Who cares if you finish, just race for at least 12 hours, especially at night. Heck, take breaks just like you would in the Baja 1000.

Buy a wood dowel, tie a rope to the center, hang a weight on the rope and roll the rope up and down for hours to condition your forearms. I've finished races with such bad arm cramps I needed help releasing my fingers from the bars. Get your forearms in shape or you won't be a happy camper.

practice riding with glove liners or mole skin to keep from getting blisters during the race. Don't try anything new on race day, only things you have done a lot.

And lastly, stay hydrated, again, stay hydrated. My racing days ended when I got extremely dehydrated practicing for a 24 hour event in 100 degree heat and had a stroke. I also helped recover a body in a National H&H when an expert level rider who tried to race in 105 degree heat without enough water.Don't take hydration for granted...

Be as prepared as possible, and you guys are going to have a blast...

Thank you for the excellent advice. :clap:
 

woodsguy

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Read everything Macdaddy wrote, about 20 times, good stuff in there. I would also recommend getting off the motocross track and race every hare scrambles or hare hound race you can afford to get to. I raced National H&H, ISDE and 24 hour events until i was 52. I live where there is a lot of public land, and I rode at least 15 hours on the weekend, and when a 24 hour race was approaching, I would get up and ride before dawn and time to go to work. If you have never raced at night, you don't know what to expect. Find a 24 hour race and enter it. Who cares if you finish, just race for at least 12 hours, especially at night. Heck, take breaks just like you would in the Baja 1000.

Buy a wood dowel, tie a rope to the center, hang a weight on the rope and roll the rope up and down for hours to condition your forearms. I've finished races with such bad arm cramps I needed help releasing my fingers from the bars. Get your forearms in shape or you won't be a happy camper.

practice riding with glove liners or mole skin to keep from getting blisters during the race. Don't try anything new on race day, only things you have done a lot.

And lastly, stay hydrated, again, stay hydrated. My racing days ended when I got extremely dehydrated practicing for a 24 hour event in 100 degree heat and had a stroke. I also helped recover a body in a National H&H when an expert level rider who tried to race in 105 degree heat without enough water.Don't take hydration for granted...

Be as prepared as possible, and you guys are going to have a blast...
I agree, forget the mx and hit the TORCS and TSCEC races, especially the TSCEC because of seat time.
 

greeneggs&ham

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West Texas TSCEC events. Much more high speed open sections. And ride the Long course, again, not needing to stay on time but get the most miles in as possible.

Sam
 
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On a bike, down by the river!
Have you two lost your minds? I had a chance to be part of a four man team a few year ago. At first I jumped at the offer............then I got to thinking about a 50 mile cross country race and how worn out and used up I was after one of those. I called the team manager and said I'm out and it's a good thing I did.

The guy riding the first leg crashed and broke his sternum and some other parts. The locals stole the bike, the rider went to a Mexican hospital and while he was there some of the drug cartel guys raided the hospital and shot it up, trying to get one of their guys out. Needles to say it was a cluster.

But what the hey.............go for it before you're too dang old.
 

greeneggs&ham

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That's exactly what I wuz thinking. Hey, when are we riding Mexico again? :mrgreen:
Next week! Heck you and Richard should have winter homes down there. You know the roads better than most of the locals! :doh:

But when y'all go you "smell the roses".

I do wish you both all the best. If you get thru this unscathed you will unseat Nolan as my "old man hero". :thumb:

Sam
 
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Next week! Heck you and Richard should have winter homes down there. You know the roads better than most of the locals! :doh:



But when y'all go you "smell the roses".



I do wish you both all the best. If you get thru this unscathed you will unseat Nolan as my "old man hero". :thumb:



Sam


Do a isde qualifier if you can iv done two both were silver then sleep for a weak aft words lol


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Joined
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Congratulations fellas! You are doing the grand daddy of all the North American desert races. Boy do I ever wish I could join you guys!
 
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Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. I wish both of you and your crew Good luck!
 
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Good luck guys. Sounds fun. I'm no expert but those who are have convinced me to mount Dunlop at 81 rc on the rear. Rc for reinforced carcass. Nutech tubliss rather than mousse. Don't know if that is wise for a race. But buddies say mousse can disintegrate in the desert. No biggie...swap it out in the pits. Tubliss can get flats but you can plug them. Or run them flat. Benefit is 6 psi vs 14 mousse? Headed down to bay of la next week for 900. I'll update you after. Btw, Front is Dunlop geomax mx52. Would love to ride hf with y'all sometime.

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I think the Texas Desert Racing Association races would be great conditioning for the 1000. I will be out there for the April, July, and October races. Hope to see you out there.
 
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This year's race is a loop course, presumably run on the northern half of the peninsula. That much we do know. We will know for certain about a month prior to the race when the official route is published.

That sounds right, I read somewhere that last year's race was the point to point year. The loop race is much easier logistically and a great way to start your Baja career. Like Lays potato chips, you can't do just one. :lol2:

Back in the day, the loop race was laid out more or less like a figure eight and you repeated the bottom loop a second time to gain mileage. I say this because it presents another challenge in that during your second loop, you will be running with the buggies, etc. that started the race well behind you and are now making their first loop. Don't get me wrong, its all doable but they kick up a lot more dust and take up a lot more of the course. Just another challenge to deal with and add to the memories.

To get around them, just ram the back of their vehicle once or twice with your front wheel and they'll move over as soon as they can. Okay, I made that last part up, don't do that. :rofl:
 

Rsquared

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I will likely make the trip to support JT and Rich and see what all the hoopla is about. For anyone wanting to tag along, buy a plane ticket to Phoenix (where I live) and I can handle getting you over to the races. I have a small herd of DR350's and WR426's we can take along too.

My first Baja trip is in late March, after uncles. Looking forward to new adventures on this side of the L48.
 

Vinny

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Impressive feat. Kudo's to both of you!

There's a 24 hour race in a couple of weeks if you're looking for a warm up. http://www.thegutbuster24.com/

My son will be racing it again this year and he uses the Task Racing Lights. He has a light bar on the bike, but says the helmet lights are the most important. He runs two on his helmet and calls them the Mickey Mouse lights...

http://www.taskracing.com/moto-adventure-helmet-light.html
You guys should definitely do this race .
 

Vinny

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I will likely make the trip to support JT and Rich and see what all the hoopla is about. For anyone wanting to tag along, buy a plane ticket to Phoenix (where I live) and I can handle getting you over to the races. I have a small herd of DR350's and WR426's we can take along too.

My first Baja trip is in late March, after uncles. Looking forward to new adventures on this side of the L48.
I might just take you up on that .
 

SpiritAtBay

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Pending getting the time off work, I’m in too! (Scurries over to start checking airfares to Phoenix)
 
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I will likely make the trip to support JT and Rich and see what all the hoopla is about. For anyone wanting to tag along, buy a plane ticket to Phoenix (where I live) and I can handle getting you over to the races. I have a small herd of DR350's and WR426's we can take along too.

My first Baja trip is in late March, after uncles. Looking forward to new adventures on this side of the L48.
Peter, What are the dates your looking at???
 
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We have been discussing that very thing. In addition to riding for extended periods on mx tracks we also plan to do lots of riding at places at Hidden Falls and CTOR. I can't think of anything better for training to ride for extended time/distances than by riding for extended time/distances in conditions with similar physical demands.

I have the bike loaded in my truck now and will be leaving shortly for Murphy's MX.
I can take you guys through the ... more interesting bits.... of CTOR if you'd like.

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Enter the pro class. IF your looking to finish (tough to just finish). Then you will get to take off first. Just enter whatever class that gets you out of the gate first. IIRC the pro MC bikes go first. That will put more distance between you and the trophy trucks.

When those things pass you it pretty beastly is my understanding and you won't be able to see for a while due to dust.. I know a few who have raced it. I have also seen and heard those things in person. I really want to drive one, but just don't want to sell my house and raise money to buy it as it would be kinda hard to live in.
 
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Also, if your looking to ride for longer periods you might hit up some of the west texas enduros. With little measurable rain in 99 days, more open trails, cactus and thorns it might be better to simulate what you will be seeing. LTR has a two day coming up. Enter a B class or above to get the long course. 70 miles or better. Just eat your Wheaties.
 
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