Day one of the Baja Rally is complete. Most of the riders have arrived at the overnight stay in Colonet.
It was a great day of riding and quite an experience for me. As my first ever day of rally racing, it was mostly a day of learning and trying to keep the mistakes to a minimum. We covered a wide variety of tracks today, everything from 80mph roads to bar banging single track. Okay, the one tight single track was pretty short, but it was well overgrown.
The day started on tracks that I am familiar with. I gave me a good chance to start to learn the rally process. All of my equipment worked perfect throughout day. In many ways it just felt like an enduro, but it took me a while to get familiar with all the symbols to look at on the road book.
There were a couple of fast sections where I made up time. With a late start, I had plenty of riders to pass along the way. The bike was good and I rode well. I kept making time all day, but would end up giving much of it back with some navigation difficulties late in the stage.
With only twenty miles to go to the finish, the entire field got lost. Coming off the mountain, the navigation instructions became rather vague. It wasn’t that they were entirely wrong, but they were confusing and failed to show a couple of obvious road intersections, leading the rider to feel he was on the wrong track. It was a bit of a crap shoot as to how long it took each rider, or group of riders, to find the correct route. I lost about 20 minutes here and let a whole group of riders catch me. But I think many of the front riders lost equal time or more in the same spot.
There was one more tricky bit to figure out before the end. I got the first half of it right, including having to bushwack across a sandwash, but I mistook a right turn for a left as we came out. That cost me another ten minutes and it was entirely my fault. Live and learn I guess. But overall I am feeling comfortable with the process and equipment now. I have learned much in just one day.
It looks like the preliminary results have Quinn Cody leading, Andy Grider in second and Cameron Steele in third. I hope to have better results by this evening.
I am working on a very slow connection, so full photos will have to wait.