2007 Baja 1000
We left off from the last post with me heading to Mexico a second time in 2 years with a broken scaphoid in my right wrist, no money, a brand new employee to watch my shop and my wife with a 1-year-old to take care of by herself. Really solid work Morgan.
The 2007 Baja 1000 was quite an adventure. This year we had a team to race instead of the solo effort from the year before. While it was going to be physically less strenuous, the drama and logistics would prove to be much more of a pain. The forming of our team is a very long story in and of itself but basically, 2 teams came together because of dropouts on both and consequently, half of us had never met the other half and I wouldn’t even meet the kid I was handing the bike off to until during the race.
I am not going to go into deep detail on the race in this blog because it didn’t impact my life quite like the other race had. If you are interested in a much more in-depth account of the 2007 race and what it took to make it happen, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I get enough response maybe I can write up a recap for anyone who is interested in what a team effort looks like. But I will give you the 20,000 ft view version with some funny stories.
The night before the race I had to get down to the Bay of L.A. which is where I would be getting the bike from my buddy. My co-driver and I headed South in the late afternoon from Ensenada in my friends truck with our trailer. The roads in Mexico are super narrow and they have no shoulder. I was driving and as it got dark, we came up over a rise to see a semi parked in the other lane aiming at us with is hazard lights blinking. While a little surprising, it really isn’t all that out of the ordinary when you are driving in Mexico. I slowed down to go past and I noticed the driver walking back up to his truck with a big smile on his face. In my mind, I thought, “why is he smiling about being broken down?” Then I saw the dead cow laying in the road that he must have hit. “Ahh, he must have hit that and how he is going to eat for a few weeks for free,” I thought. My friend and I giggled for a second until BAM, another cow stepped out right into us. Fortunately, I wasn’t going fast but I was still going fast enough to punt that poor cow out into the desert! I slowed down for a second then remembered stories of Americans killing cows and being charged for them by their owners. I didn’t have time or money for that so after making sure our headlights were working, I pinned it! We got to our hotel for the night and checked the damage. It wasn’t bad, the truck had a big grill guard and it had done its job.
The next day was race day! We were over 400 miles into the course so we didn’t expect our team until that evening so we had some time to get set up. After finding a spot to park and getting ready we waited. As the sun was going down the first bikes started coming in. The factory Honda boys were killing it, way out ahead of everyone. One of the most memorable bikes to pass us as we waited was the 199 of Travis Pastrana! He was making a solo attempt and when he turned out onto the pavement in front of everyone he rode the longest wheelie I have ever seen into the Mexican night! SO COOL!!
Later than we expected, our guy came rolling in. The lights on the bike were a shambles. They were barely hanging on and pointing all over the place. Fortunately, we had another set so I grabbed them and as our Honda pit crew took care of the normal stuff I re-wired the new lights on and took off. It was at this moment that I made the biggest fool of myself. After freaking out about the lights and being full of adrenaline, I fired up our fire-breathing 650 and pinned it. What I didn’t think about was that I had a brand new rear tire and I was on pavement. YEP, down I went in front of EVERYONE! My team ran up yelling, EASY, EASY! I got the bike back up and settled down as I rode the long pavement section down to the actual Bay of L.A.
My ride went well. I was on the bike for about 350 miles and I got us into 3 place in our class. I was having a blast and going fast. It was the middle of the night and I loved it. I handed off the bike to the next rider and off he went. He was a young kid and he was all fired up. He went like stink for a long time but ended up wadding the bike up and costing us a ton of time as our boys beat it back into shape. As the checkered flag flew, we were in 6th place out of 75+ teams and we were stoked. Yeah, we had lost a bunch of time and positions but it was still a solid effort and we got to stand on stage at the awards ceremony and get trophies! It was so cool to be on stage in front of all of those racers and fans for the 40th annual Baja 1000. It was a special race too because it went all the way to Cabo instead of La Paz so it was almost 1300 miles. We partied like rock stars for a couple nights and then packed up the gear and headed back North.
After 3 days of driving, we made it back to Montrose and I was happy to see that Highland Cycles was still standing! My guy had done well and everything was still in working order. There were some upset customers because we couldn’t get much work done while I was gone but we were still in business and things were still relatively busy.
I was stoked! I had pulled it off again! I was on cloud nine honestly, telling everyone about the race and showing off our battered and beaten race bike! I was full of hope and excitement for my shop and my family. A big adventure that goes well is always a confidence booster for me but if I had known what was coming I wouldn’t have been so happy. If I had had any idea what 2008 would bring I wouldn’t have been so cocky. The American economy and my life were about to completely unravel in the space of 1 year!
Thanks again for reading along. Get ready for the really nasty stuff! The next few posts are going to be really hard to write but I am excited to finally share some of my darkest hours. I am excited because hopefully some of you can relate and because they are what lead to my rebirth and recovery into who I am now. If you don’t want to miss them, subscribe via email or RSS below.
And don’t forget to be thankful. Today I am thankful for good coffee, writing inspiration, and my boys!
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord ."