The alarm goes off at 5 am and I pop out of bed. Breakfast isn’t served until 6 am and supposedly the first rider out is at 8:00 so I have time. I text D2 and she says they’re ready.
We have a quick breakfast even though I’m not really hungry. I suggest to Kyle that the whole overheating issue could just be my stupidity, and that I never plugged in the fan.
So the plan for the morning would be to pull off the side covers, pull off the Flatland radiator brackets, then pull the radiator out and away enough so we can see if the plug is plugged or isn’t. If that is the problem, we’re golden!
Kyle and I attack it as all those around us are starting their bikes. It was very stressful but you do what you have to do.
It took a bit, but we were able to get the radiator loose enough to pry it away from the frame and get a camera in there enough to see. The plug is at the very top of the fan and impossible to see or reach unless you pull the radiator mounting bolts and pull it away from the motor.
Guess what we saw?
That’s an empty plug! I never plugged in the fan. DOH!
Problem solved, we bolted the bike back together, then rushed upstairs to get changed and drop all of my traveling gear with D2 in their car.
Ready to ride, we started just before 8AM. Far from being the first to leave but also not the last.
We followed a bunch of others out from the hotel as it zig zagged here and there until finally hitting dirt. The dirt road we were on was covered with dump trash. People drive out and just dump their old washer or dryer, or building scraps all along the road. At times it was like we were riding through an actual dump! People suck. I did not stop and take pictures of it but I did accidentally video it.
Yes, I had issues with my GoPro and when I put it back on my helmet it was upside down and pointing way too low. I suck too but not as much as the trash dumpers!
Kyle and I decided early on to skip the designated hard sections this time around. That first hard section came up at Section 8 to 9 and was a 23 mile loop. Not sure what we missed but we headed along with a bunch of others south on Helendale Rd into the Lunch Stop.
We looked for D2 but she wasn’t there yet. There wasn’t a specific place to eat, you kind of just picked a restaurant in the shopping mall and ordered. We ordered from the small Kountry Kafe. I had a sandwich, Kyle ordered a burrito. Both were good but it took a long time. Next time I’ll look for something more immediate.
We then gassed up at the station next to the market and hit the road.
Tracking suggests that we got to lunch at 11:40 AM and left right about 1 PM. Not that we really needed to rush but I think the 1 1/2 hours is just a little slow. Next time we’ll get it done in an hour or less.
Leaving lunch we were on the road for a very short time before getting back on dirt.
At this point we were mostly just following other guys. I could always pull the route up on my ipad and see if we were on or off course, but we were happy riding with the flow.
Looking at my tracking on a map I can see that we crossed Hwy 15 and then headed north east towards Stoddard Valley OHV.
That seemed easy enough. Looking at the official GPX tracks though I was surprised to find out we just did a HARD section!
Somewhere in that area there was a track photographer. They put out a sign so you know one is coming up. For this one I goosed it a little.
Congratulations Kyle! You did the HARD route after all!
After we passed through the OHV area we headed up into the hills. We found a nice hill climb that was a little chunky. I made it up but Kyle didn’t on his first attempt. I got off the bike and shot a little video of him coming up the hill.
We boogied in the hills for a while and then started coming down into Barstow. We could see the town in the valley below. This section didn’t have a single trail it had a million little trails. All sandy woops.
We were just picking any trail and keeping an eye out to make sure we stayed on the general course towards the hotel.
Suddenly I heard Kyle say, “Oh FUCK!” and then radio silence. I stopped my bike turned around to see him lying on his back. I turned around and parked next to him. I flagged another rider down and it turned out to be this woman we met in the lobby the day before. Joy was her name. For some strange reason we had bumped into her again and again and then again… here she was!
It looked like Kyle’s front caught on a rut and the rear did another thing and over he went. He said he whacked his head, and his shoulder and ribs hurt a bit. After a while he was able to get back on the bike and slowly roll into town. Tracking suggests we were stopped there for 20 minutes.
All of this happened just 3 miles away from the Hotel!
As we neared the hotel we had to jump on the freeway for just one moment, literally on and off at the next exit. Off the exit we were in a little bit of a traffic jam. The hotel is next to outlet shops and it was BLACK FRIDAY of all things!
We made a right and then another right and as we’re getting near the hotel parking lot I see a guy laying on his back. I ask if he’s ok and he says no. That’s when I saw the blood. He had a large puddle in the grass and flowing onto the sidewalk. Kyle and I both parked and I had Kyle call 911.
We were in the right turn lane. Here’s a Google Street view of the corner. The grass was actually green and lush.
Apparently, this guy had finished Day 1 and had just gone to fill up his gas tank. He was heading back to the hotel when a truck and 5th wheel trailer sideswiped him knocking him over. Before he could do anything, the 5th wheel ran over his right arm. He didn’t think the driver even knew what they had done.
He was saying that the only thing that hurt was his shoulder, arm and hand. He had a pretty good gash in the palm of his hand that was bleeding well – it was a gusher!
I couldn’t tell with his jacket on what the rest looked like. I ran back to my bike and pulled out my microfiber that I had saved for cleaning goggles. I applied direct pressure for a good long time while we waited for help. Tracking says it was about 30 minutes. I asked him his name, where he was from, where it hurt… he was awake and conscious the whole time. Others arrived to help including a woman from the organizing team. They had a trailer and loaded his bike on it. The police arrived first and did virtually nothing. They stopped traffic but never attended to him at all. A few minutes later Fire showed up and took over.
We stayed until he was loaded in the ambulance. The organizers that were there were awesome and made sure he had his phone and everything he needed. I saw the BC signal for a chopper but it turned out they decided to take him to the local hospital. Later at the hotel I heard that he ultimately was helicoptered to a bigger hospital where he got the right attention.
UPDATE: Hallie – the woman that stopped from the organizing team texted me that he had undergone surgery and was out of the hospital. She sent me this pic. I knew he was old but I didn’t know he was the oldest. He certainly was the Hard Luck Winner. Heal fast Patrick!
Back at the hotel, we checked into the hotel. My other Daughter (D1) showed up too!
The local Boy Scouts run a parking lot protection service. They’ll keep your bike safe overnight for $10. Also there’s a mechanic with a trailer that has a ton of parts, if you need it, he probably has it and can get you back in the game.
So everyone parks there. Everyone.
Good nite bike!
Kyle iced his shoulder and decided he couldn’t / shouldn’t ride the next day. Sorry Kyle! On the positive side you did great! Oh and you rode a HARD section too!
We all showered and decided Chili’s was the dinner place to be.
SCORECARD: I turned on tracking 30 minutes earlier but we didn’t hit the road until 7:52 AM. With the 30+ minutes we spent helping Patrick, I pulled into the Hotel parking lot in Barstow at 3:27 PM. 7.5 hours on the bike.