My breath was short, my body completely relaxed, my mind screaming. Eighteen hours into what would be a twenty-two-hour, thousand-mile race I gripped the handlebars of my motorcycle and kept the throttle wide open. I felt dull and tired as hypothermic conditions crept in. A miscalculation at the top of the day meant I only had my vest and the occasional rush of blood from physical exertion to keep me warm as the Baja Peninsula desert dropped to below-freezing temperatures around midnight. It goes without saying now but at the time I had to remind myself that the faster I went, the faster I’d finish.
Arriving at the last pitstop for a hundred miles was momentary relief. I only stopped to refuel before continuing up the mountain, the terrain was the roughest imaginable and trying to explain it does no justice. The temperature plummeted until even my sweat sent shivers through my body. Sleep-deprived and fatigued, me against the Baja Peninsula. It was the last round of the proverbial matchup and only one of us could be victorious.
It’s at this stage, the final stretch that you go deep into your mind, the darkest hour, a psychedelic experience sans the ayahuasca. A place you promise yourself you’ll never return. The hours fall away and eventually Ensenada City emerges, glowing against the deep black of the Pacific Ocean and the darkness in your mind subsides, relief wraps around you like a warm blanket. The crossing of the finish line is the ringing of the bell, the fight is over and just like that
the struggle is already a distant memory.
“Can’t wait for next year”
I said to the crowd, I probably meant it too. A handshake, a finishers medal, celebratory beer with my teammates and the satisfaction of knowing we did it. 2nd place Pro Motorcycle - 2022 Baja 1000.