Vegas to Reno

The Vegas to Reno race didn’t go nearly as well as I had wanted.  I am pretty disappointed in my performance in fact.  Looking back now I am happy that I tried it but sitting out there in the middle of the desert breathing in tons of silty dust and damn near getting run over from buggies and trucks as they flew there I hit a new low point.  I had just about decided that the goal of reaching Dakar was beyond me and was ready to sell the bike and give it all up.  After a few days to recover from it and some conversations with a few other riders I am feeling a lot better.  While my performance in Nevada certainly shows me how much farther I need to go I am still dedicated to my goal of doing the Dakar.  The plan of 2015 might be a bit of a stretch, perhaps a year or two after that makes more sense.   But Dakar is still the ultimate goal.

So, now for the whole story of my Vegas to Reno race….

As is typical before a big event like this I did not get a lot of sleep the night before.  Thursday had gone fairly smoothly with getting through registration and tech inspection on the bike with no issues.  I was done with all of that by 10AM.  I got to check out a lot of the other vehicles and met up with several other riders.  Then around mid-day Dad and I decided it was getting a little hot to hang around there so we loaded up the van and took a drive out to Hoover Dam for a little tourisim but mostly so we could be in the air-conditioned van instead of the hot parking lot.  On the way back we fueled up the van as well as all the spare gas cans for the bike and were back in plenty of time for the 5:00 rider’s and driver’s meeting.

Robby Gordon’s unlimited buggy waiting to go through tech. You don’t want to get in the way of this thing!

No big surprises in the meeting, mostly a lot of reminders to be safe, a few notes about some washed out areas on some roads due to recent rains.  Mostly it just got me really eager to get out there and race.  Just after 6:00 the meeting was over and we started to head out to the start area in Beatty (about 100 miles from Vegas).

The “JeepSpeed” class is one of the cheaper forms of off-road racing which I thought about getting in to a few years ago. But nothing compares to the affordable cost of racing on 2 wheels!

Unloading and organizing everything in the dark reminded me how many little things I had left to do.  Nothing major, just a lot of stuff that would have been nice to get organized well before so I could just eat something and go to bed.  I will need to focus on organization a lot more for future races.  I was in bed a little after 10PM and managed to get a few hours of sleep.

I woke around 3AM and managed to just rest comfortably until around 3:30 when I decided I might as well get up.  The alarm was set for 4:15 so this gave me plenty of time to just get mentally prepared, get geared up, eat a little for breakfast and be to the staging area in plenty of time.

Geared up and ready to go in the pre-dawn hours. Temperature was already rising, but that may have just been nerves!

Since I was to be one of the last bikes to start there was a lot of standing around.  I got to chat with a few other riders including Bill Conger who raced Dakar this year (but unfortunately had to withdraw very early due to an unlucky incident).  I had met Bill at Sandblast Rally earlier this year so it was cool that he recognized me and it was nice to chat with him.  He was riding in the ironman-expert class so I was looking forward to hearing his thoughts of how this compares to the Dakar after the race.

Just a few of the 100+ riders lined up for the start. With each rider starting either 60 or 30 seconds apart (depending on class) it would be a long wait for me.

Finally at around 6:30AM my start time was up and I was off.

Finally my chance to race!

… to be continued…


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