Bike-urious does the Baja 1000 – Part 11

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done one of these posts. That’s because I been trying to avoid writing this one and I keep finding an excuse to push it off – but that’s not really the point of how sharing a story is supposed to go, is it? Last time I updated you on this, it was back in March. You can probably guess how it’s gone since.

Quick reminder: Part 10 was focused around something called Family Dirt Day. Jim Downs (RIP) planned a day at Rowher with a variety of the newest dirt bikes from Honda, Yamaha, Husqvarna, and more.

My KTM 450XC was at Metrik Moto waiting to get a new top end, and at that point I had been waiting two months for it to get done, so I was excited about getting back out on the dirt. What I intentionally omitted from that story is that Nathan had an incident in which he tore his ACL and sprained his MCL. He didn’t know the severity of the issue at first, so he took a few days off and once the pain had subsided, he continued to ride and even race! I’ve known Nathan for a couple of years now and I still cannot figure out if he’s brave or crazy. After a few weeks he knew something was up because the pain had not completely gone away, and that’s when he was given the official diagnosis that he needed knee surgery. It was pretty devastating, and at that point it was clear that we would not be doing any racing in Mexico this year.

While Nathan was busy racing, I was sitting on my ass waiting for Metrik Moto to finish my bike. All in all, it took 6 months for my bike to finally be ready. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper – especially considering one of the proprietors had the nerve to joke about how long it took to fix my bike when I could finally go in to pick it up.

My engine waiting to get a new top end.

My engine waiting to get a new top end.

In hindsight, my mistake was only trying to reach them by leaving voicemails – after a certain period of time I should have just shown up in person. Lesson learnt.

The culprit.

The culprit.

Because Nathan has no fear or understanding of pain, he kept delaying knee surgery so that we could continue to do fun stuff with motorcycles. Last month he rode the Ducati xDiavel S 1000 miles in 24 hours (story coming soon, I swear):

Last week we did a private supermoto day – here he is, about to get some air:

Hell, just a few days ago he completed a National Hare and Hound event at Spangler Hills in Red Mountain, California. Again, he’s doing all this with a bum knee:

During that time I’ve been trail riding, shaking the rust off, and trying to sort out a couple of issues that came up after Metrik Moto let my bike sit for 6 months (can you tell I’m bitter?)

I’ve met some new people that have shown me some new places – while Nathan was racing the Hare and Hound, a buddy took me up to the top of Santiago Peak as a shakedown run in the hopes that we had fixed an issue with my rear brake (we hadn’t):

I assume by this point you’re wondering about the featured photo up top and why I haven’t mentioned anything about it. Unfortunately, at the Supermoto day last week, Nathan had an off that resulted in a concussion and three broken ribs, so this whole project is on a break for a while.

While Nathan is getting some well-deserved rest, I’m trying to catch up on lost time for when my bike was out of commission. This weekend I did a little dirt bike camping at Gorman – my love for dirt bikes far exceeds my hatred of camping – so I got to goof around:

Photo by Billy Tinnell

Obviously, there’s still plenty of work to be done, but considering this was my skill level on dirt almost exactly a year ago, I’m pleased with our progress so far (especially Nathan, that guy is tenacious):

I guess if this is going to be the last post for a little while, I should take a minute for some thoughts over the last year:
1. Riding dirt bikes is amazing and I’m angry at myself that I didn’t start earlier in life. If you take away anything from this – go rent a dirt bike for a day and give it a shot. I think it’s much more fun than street riding, it’s just a pain in the ass to deal with as my only car is a tiny two seater convertible so I always have to wait for a friend with a truck or SUV to mooch off of.
2. If I had to do it again, I’d get a Honda CRF450X. In fact, I generally avoid buying brand new bikes but I might have to make an exception for the new CRF, if it can be plated in California.
3. Along those lines, spend the extra money to get a dirt bike with a plate. Yes, it means your bike will have a little extra weight due to the lights and such, but it’s worth it for the opportunities to do rides like LA – Barstow – Vegas.
4. The maintenance schedule that dirt bikes require was a bit of a shock to me. I’m too lazy to keep up with what I should be doing, but that’s my problem, not yours – I’m spending my time writing up posts instead of wrenching!
5. Seriously, go try a dirt bike. It’ll open your eyes to a whole new world on two wheels, and getting used to the constant loss of traction makes you a much better rider on the street. You’re not allowed to blame me if you end up buying an enduro or a supermoto, though!

That’s it for now. While Nathan heals (and eventually gets knee surgery), this story will be on hiatus. Until next time…let me know the next time you’re riding in the dirt so I can tag along!

Missed Part 10? We check out RideApart’s Family Dirt Day and try out the new 450s from Honda, Husqvarna, and Yamaha.