Team TPP met for breakfast in Barstow at the Harvey House on Friday morning. It was amazing to me how much food these guys can shovel in prior to race day!! We discussed our race strategy and pit procedures with our team. We seemed to have it all figured out at that point, which was good. The quad was ready to go and no last minute prep had to be done (Thank God). We caravanned to Baker and then past Dumont Dunes, Shoshone, and onto Pahrump.
Sign up and tech went quickly. We hung out and mingled with our race buddies, talked some more strategy, and made sure everything was ready to go with the quad. Todd got a little too excited about meeting Ivan Stewart and all I wanted to do was to see Doug Eichner and say hello. (I never saw him at tech but I did eventually hear he won the race!) We went to our hotels to check-in, program some race radios, discuss more race/pit strategies, and then finally on to dinner. We then attended the “standing room only with mosquitos” rider’s meeting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people (or mosquitos) at a rider’s meeting. Then, back to our hotels for more discussions, map reading, and the usual 2-hour night’s sleep prior to race day!
We were all awake, excited, and ready to go by 5 am. I sent my boyfriend off (CHRIS BLAIS #N14) with a good-luck kiss and a “be safe”. We had to do some re-arranging of parts/gear/tires/tools with our two chase trucks at the start line. We also realized that one of our chase trucks had a screw in one of the tires. We plugged the tire right away and hoped for best! It held all day. WHEW!!! Todd got ready, we plugged him in with the radio and harness, we patted him on the back, and left him in the dark as he would be the first rider of the day for Team TPP.
My driver and I would head straight to Pit 1 which would only be a “visual” check (so we thought). I heard Todd on the radio just as he approached Pit 1 that he was having issues. He pulled into the pit a few minutes behind schedule, jumped off, and started some repairs. At Mile 4, he had hit a G-out with a huge rock imbedded in it and derailed the chain. He said he broke a few tools from his pack trying to remove the chain from the counter-sprocket without busting it. He was successful with that and was able to proceed. We also noticed that the skid-plate was almost smashed into the rotor and had to be bent back out. He had also knocked the two rear tires of their beads which caused them both to go flat. We changed one tire and filled the other with air, smacked Todd on the back again with a “GO GO GO” and watched him take off again, hoping he’d make it to Pit 2.
I radioed Pete (rider #2) and told him to keep his eye on the skid-plate and tires when Todd came into his pit. My driver and I then proceeded to Pit 3, where I would be getting on. I hoped and prayed for the best. We lost quite a bit of time with the first set of problems that at this point, all I really wanted to do was to FINISH! That is always our goal no matter what. Todd came into Pit 3, handed me the quad, and off I went. After about the first 15 miles of that section, the course got rocky. Not anything I’m not used to, however. The rain ruts were a little hairy but luckily I did not crash in that section, like a lot of others did. I was playing it safe, trying to save the skid-plate and myself. Pit 4 for me was a “flying check” which is always fun!
After the paved road crossing before Pit 5, I had a blast. The silt was easy and I was flying (at least I think I was!!). I got to see my friend Heather in that section (all girl’s bike team). I pulled into Pit 5 and handed off to Pete. Everything was good at that point so off he went. Pete rode all the way to Pit 8 like a Mad-Man. Man he is fast!! I think he was ready to go all the way to the finish, but reluctantly handed off to Todd for the finish, as was planned. Our only issue after our first set of problems was that we were way off time-wise. We were about 45 minutes off the pace.
We hung out at the finish with our quad buddies, waiting for Todd to arrive. He rode in a little hot (and got a talking to by Casey…sorry Casey!!) After his “15 seconds of fame interview”, we all hung around the finish and discussed our race stories over and over and over. Considering our first set of issues, we were pleased with our finish.
We finished 12th in the Expert Quad class out of 22 entered. This was our 2nd finish as team TPP Racing in as many races together in 2005! We are now looking forward to the Nevada 1000 and getting excited for it. That one is going to be a good one!
Thanks to our team for all their hard work, dedication, and great riding; This also includes a big THANKS to our chase/pit crews, Jose Olmos, Stacy Doerksen and to Pete’s girlfriend, Melissa. Another fun race for Team TPP!
By Patty Moore
#Q70 – Expert Quad - TEAM TPP RACING
(Todd Johnson, Pete Garcia, Patty Moore)