My first race ever on a motorcycle. Skip to 1:57:35 for my crash. As luck would have it, my battery ran out a minute later.
I've never raced a motorcycle in the desert. Shoot, I've barely ridden the thing since my father-in-law gave it to me a year ago. I've taken it to the sand dunes a few times, but I don't imagine I've put more than 30 miles on it. The last time I had a dirt-bike was close to 15 years ago. This race seemed like a safe way to try out desert motorcycle racing. 50 mile loops, a good time buffer before the SxS and limited car classes, close proximity to access roads were all positives to me. I pre-ran the course the day before for one lap and felt pretty good about racing, though I wasn't sure how different it would all look when we started in the dark. (darker is what I assumed).
We started at 5am and paraded to the start point in the sand. I was happy that bough a pair of Task Racing helmet lights. Between the HID headlight, halogen spot light and the two LED helmet lights, I couldn't have asked for better coverage. I had entered the Novice class, though I should have entered Sportsman to start farther back. I think I gave ample room for those that passed me. I tried to play it smart and not ride faster than I wanted to crash. I have a lot to learn about bike set-up and what speeds work best for the bike. The guys that passed me impressed me, appearing to skip across the bumps while I rode up and down each and every one.
I had a good first lap. I didn't set any speed records, but I didn't crash and I felt like finishing was possible. I stopped at my pit to fill up with gas and ditch my helmet lights. Sixteen miles later, I was on the ground with my bike on top of me. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? I had hit a rock in a bump in the edge of a shadow while sitting down. It had kicked me up and forward and my bike traded places with me. I got up and heard the sound of a drone, I wish I would have thought to ask if they caught the crash. A kid walked up and offered a bottle of water. I took my helmet off and he saw blood pouring from my nose. He yelled over to his group and a guy came up with a roll of toilet paper. He offered some tissue for my nose. In looking at my camera footage, it looks like my hand and face landed in the same spot on the ground. I punched my goggles into the bridge of my nose. I took some tissue, blew the blood out of my nose and picked my bike up. My custom bracket for the Stella tracker broke, so I needed to zip tie and gorilla tape it back on. I noticed my gas petcock leaking. I dug a socket out of my tool bag and tried to tighten the bolts holding in the tank, but one was stripped. Since it wasn't on the exhaust side, I figured I'd keep riding and keep an eye on it in case it got worse. As I was about to get back on the bike, a race official walked up and asked if I needed assistance. I declined and said I was going to press on. At that point, the Stella started beeping and a message showed up asking if I had a mechanical issue. I pressed the button for "no" and started back on course. A few minutes later, the Stella started beeping again and asked if I needed a doctor. Again, I answered "no".
I continued on, I got passed [lapped] by a few riders and started to make more and more mistakes as I got more and more fatigued. I knew that if I didn't make it to Check Point 2 by 9am, I'd be forced to stop. I made it through the checkpoint around 8:45, so they sent me on to my third lap. My pit was about four miles after the checkpoint. I stopped and decided I wasn't going to continue. I didn't want to be on course when the front runners of the next group started coming through.
I'm going to work on my riding, my bike settings, and try again next year. It was a fun race. Can't beat the scenery.