2006 Baja 1000 Race Day: Part 1 "I peed my pants"
It’s race day! The alarm went off at 4:30 am in our hotel in Ensenada. All four of us were up and at them. No problem getting up this day! We all scrambled around to get everything ready. My guys were headed to El Crucero which would be the first time I would see them during the race. That year it was about 350 miles in. I needed to be downtown in line by 6:30. I gave my boys high fives and they rolled out. I was all alone in the pre-dawn excitement of the Baja 1000. My big XR fired right up and I headed towards the start. It is amazingly cold in Mexico at 6:00 am so my bike died as I pulled up to a cross street a few blocks from the start. Then it wouldn’t fire back up. WHAT?? I kicked and kicked and it wouldn’t come to life. Panic set in! Had a fouled a plug? Did some electrical part fail? Was the motor blown up???? The scene would have been great to see from outside. Here is this novice rider who has no idea what he is doing, in a foreign country, getting ready to compete in a race that seasoned veterans shy away from and his bike won’t start. It’s a sad scene because it isn’t amid the crowds of people at the start who might be able to lend a hand. Nope, it's on a nameless corner in Mexico and no one knows he is there. His friends are already headed South and he has no one around for help. I was terrified and alone. After what felt like one million kicks the bike fired back up. “Thank you, God!”
I rolled over to the starting line and got into my spot. For those of you who don’t know, the 1000 isn’t a mass start. Riders leave every 30 seconds and you are racing the clock. I was way in the back because I was racing in the sportsman class so I had a while before I would actually leave the line. I ran up and found Anna and wished her luck and headed back to my bike. It is amazing how alone you can feel while you are surrounded by hundreds, maybe, thousands of people. I didn’t know anyone and my best friends were over 100 miles away now. Eventually, I got to the line and the green flag raised. I was off!
The very start of the race is really fun. You are racing through the streets of Ensenada and in the washes that run through town. The dirt is watered and the streets are filled with spectators yelling and screaming for you. It's exhilarating! Then, BAM, the dust comes in. As soon as you hit the real dirt, you can hardly see your hand in front of your face. Especially when you are like I was and WAY back in the pack. Amazingly I began to catch and pass people. I guess I wasn’t the slowest guy out there. The beginning of the race is nuts. There are tons of turns and intersections as you make your way out of town and with all the dust and spectators it is really confusing. But you make your way and finally, you are out in the desert. As the speeds picked up and people start to spread out, the dust settled a little bit and I was able to relax, SOME!
Now it was time to settle into what was going to be 36 hours on this bike. One of the first big landmarks is Ojos Negros. It is a highway crossing so there are tons of people there to spectate and it is a ZOO! I knew from the movie that it was going to be crazy but I had no idea. There were people everywhere, running in front of me, taking pictures, cheering. Honestly, it was AWESOME! Even though I wasn’t competing for a win or anywhere near the front of the pack I felt like a hero as I flew through the crowds and out into the open desert just past Ojos. As the morning wore on I began to deal with something I had never considered before the race but that Chris Blaise had warned me about back in Ensenada.
Chris is one of the heroes of Baja and I was fortunate enough to get to hang out with him because he was helping Anna get her bike ready. While we were doing some last minute maintenance at the hotel Chris asked me what I was going to do about peeing? “Huh?” “Yeah, what are you going to do about peeing man? Do you have a catheter?” “Uh, I am going to get off the bike and pee.” “No, you won’t.” “Uh, yeah I will.” Chris then explained to me that if I drank enough water I was going to need to pee a lot and that I would waste a mountain of time stopping to go to the bathroom and that since I didn’t have a catheter set up that I would just have to pee in my pants. NO WAY! I figured that since he was a fast guy that had won the 1000 for Honda that he didn’t understand how slow I was planning on going. I just nodded and smiled and went back to my race prep.
Well here I was now, out in the Mexican desert racing and I had to pee. I pulled over, got off, undid my pants and fanny pack, peed, put everything back on, got on the bike and took back off. DAMNIT! Chris Blaise was right! That took forever! Oh well, it would be a long time before I had to do that again, right? Nope, I swear it wasn’t 20 or 30 minutes before I had to go again. CRAP! I got off again and did what I needed to do. Every time I peed I would get passed by at least one person. This was ridiculous! I made my way down into Valle De Trinidad and onto our first highway section. It was quite a few miles of pavement so I sat down to rest. There is a speed limit on the pavement sections of the race these days so you can actually relax a bit. Then that oh so recognizable urge started creeping up again. I needed to go. Ugh, I didn’t want to stop and lose more time. Chris’ words kept echoing in my head, “You’ll just have to pee your pants.” After a few minutes of debating in my head, I decided that he was right and that I would just go. But you have no idea how hard it is to pee your pants. We have spent our entire lives training ourselves NOT to go in our pants and it is incredibly hard to do it. I stood up, sat down, shifted left, shifted right, I couldn’t pee in my damn pants! Finally after who knows how long, RELIEF! I overcame my parents' training and peed my pants! I couldn’t believe I was doing this. 60 miles an hour on a dirt bike and I peeing in my pants. It was the nuttiest thing I have ever done and I was going to do it A LOT over the next 36 hours.
Hahahaha, thanks for reading again. I know, I know, it's embarrassing but its real. Sometimes you have to pee your pants. I hope it doesn’t happen to you (unless you are racing the Baja 1000 or driving a NASCAR) but it happened to me! Ahhh the honor and prestige of racing!
Hope you enjoyed this long post. Next up will be some more craziness that happened early in the race. As always, if you like this then please share it. I would love to reach as many people as possible with my story. The racing part is fun but what comes next could maybe help someone avoid the pitfalls of life that I fell squarely into. Have a great day and don’t forget to be grateful! Today I am grateful for dirt bikes, good food, and my silly loud dogs!