On the 1st day of Dakar
Chris' GPs quit working. That was the issue I guess. They tinkered with it and got it to work. He and Andy and Jonah finished great today! I was able to talk with Chris today (and Andy) while they were on the "boat" transferring to the next stage for tomorrow.
1/2/06 Chris just called. He sounds great and excited! He, Andy, and Jonah did great today... Andy's kicking butt!
They slept on the ferry boat last night, 3 people to a tiny cabin (about 10' x 5') and had to be up at 3AM. There is one day that they will have to wake up by 1AM to get going... yikes! (I think that will be Wed or Thurs)
Tonight they start sleeping in tents each night.
Keep in mind that there is an actual "speed limit" this year during the race. This is keeping the competition very close together and the 450's are able to keep up as well. They cannot go over 160km (I believe) which is about 100 mph. If they go over they get penalized. (1km = 0.621 miles)
1/3/06 I just heard from Chris. WOW! Lots of action today.
This is what happened with Andy;
Andy's fuel line broke causing him to lose almost 1/2 of his fuel out of his tank(s). The bikes have these quick connects in several places. One might have come off or the line got pinched, they're not sure. Anyway, Andy spent some time fixing the problem but then because he had to try and start the bike several times, the battery went dead. He got out his jumper cables waiting for someone to jump him. So here comes Chris. Chris stops and jumps him and just before he gets going again, 6 bikes pass him. He said he wouldn't have changed a thing (by helping his teammate) but was a little frustrated that all those guys got by him. Oh, AND THEN when Andy got to the last checkpoint he was completely out of gas! Jordi was pretty far behind so he took off his gas tank completely to dump some gas into Andy's tank so Andy could finish! WOO-WEEEE
Chris hit a big rut with a lava rock imbedded in the bottom of it, smashing the heck out of his skid-plate and busting a hole through it and smashing 1 of the 2 exhaust pipes almost completely. They had to replace the entire exhaust system.
With all that, they both did great!! I passed on all the good luck and well wishes. He's tired but can't go to bed until after the nightly 9PM briefing. Tomorrow they wake up at 3AM and Thursday, 1AM! YIKES...
They are both feeling good and eating lots. They have a KTM doctor there watching over them and making sure they are hydrated.
1/4/06 Chris just called. He said today's stage was nothing but rocks. He said it was really hard to pass. Everyone was freight-training in the dust. The first 30+ bikes are all within an hour of the leader. He said it was a tight, close, fun race today. Tomorrow they'll be in the sand which will spread out the field.
Today he broke his swingarm and smashed his rims pretty good. He's going to get only 4 hours of sleep to be up at midnight to get going. He and Andy are feeling good though, just tired. Ya think?!
1/7/06 Chris just called us (his parents) a little bit ago. He came in loud and clear on his cell phone.
He is tired, you can hear it in his voice, but he says he feel real good. We were laughing at a few things that were brought up. He is in good spirits! We told him he is doing great and it is so exciting to see and hear about him on OLN daily.
Mainly he has been dealing with a sore throat and cough all week and sounds like it is getting worse. He was coughing during the phone call. His hands are fine, no blisters, but his feet are bothering him. But otherwise he is feeling great and going to try and hopefully finish in the top 5. We told him to do that safely and he said he's doing his own race, so he has his race strategy intact. That's our Chris; we don't have to tell him how to play the game, because he already has it planned out and knows how he can win before he makes his move.
He said they have been able to get hot showers every day, which he said is much nicer than last year. We told him to go to bed and get some needed rest. He wanted to know how his brother Nick was, after he heard that he broke his wrist at the Parker 250 race.
It was so good to hear from our son so far away racing this tough and dangerous race. We are proud of him, as we have told him many of times.
1/8/06 Chris did AWESOME yesterday and after the penalties given, the results have changed. He is now in 8th Place Overall! WOO HOOO. I spoke to him a little while ago (today is rest day). He's feeling great and is still happy and excited to be there. I keep him posted on all the good luck wishes from everyone (thank you!).
He had heard that his name and results were mentioned over the loud speaker at Supercross last night. Very cool!
1/9/06 Just heard from Chris. Everyone is really sad especially since Andy Caldecott was on the same team (KTM Repsol). They've spent a lot of time together each and every day. Chris said Andy is an awesome guy and he said he was glad he got to know him. He did not realize how old Andy is (41). Andy has a wife and 3-yr old daughter - and his wife is pregnant. When Chris told me that I lost it - this is just so sad.
They probably won't race tomorrow and just might take the day off.
Chris said Andy broke his neck on impact. It seems he was slammed to the ground and the bike landed on him then cart-wheeled another 150 feet. He died immediately.
Chris didn't know anything about Jonah today. He said he never saw him and not sure what the possible issue was (why he finished so far behind). Chris said they did the "reverse order" thing again today for the start. It's so that the privateers can start first, giving them a head start but Chris says it's making it tough because it's making for a lot more dust and having to pass many more riders which is dangerous.
Chris is taking it easy and said "I'm just riding and these guys are insane the way they are riding".
It's just Chris and Jordi now. Best of luck boys and please come home safe.
(Esteve is out of the race)
1/11/05 Chris just called. They are getting to bed early since they will start riding at 3:30AM for tomorrow's stage (over 800km = 500mls!)...
He fell over today and hit his head slightly but he's fine. He was only going 20 mph while looking at the road-book and hit a rock. Anything is possible people. Why would anyone be confused as to "why" or "how" someone crashed? These bikes weigh 450 pounds.
He feels fine physically, his butt is just really sore ~
I never care what position he finishes in each day. Of course a podium finish would be sweet, but I know he rides as best he can each day. I just want him to come home now.
1/12/06 Chris called. He is so excited about how his day went. I think if they told him he had to ride another 20 days, he would be fine with that. So funny... He sounds totally fine (except a cough).
He said there will be many more water crossings tomorrow, some of them almost 3-feet deep. The water isn't the issue, it's the falling over in the water that is screwing these guys up. Anything can happen. It's getting good!
I read some of the posts to him and told him about the phone-calls and emails we're getting, particularly one I got this morning from Cyril's brother. Too funny! They are impressed with "the American"!!
Chris wanted to send out a big THANKS for everyone's support, cheers, thoughts and prayers. He keeps saying "I'll be home soon" but he's been saying that since the first day. He trying to amuse me.
1/13/05 Chris just called a little bit ago. He's sitting pretty in 4th Overall! He didn't want to risk anything today and rode at a steady pace and will do the same for tomorrow. He said he is more than pleased with his position!
After the time adjustments, Jonah got 2nd in today's stage! Jonah had stayed with De Azevedo when he crashed for about 15 minutes and they gave him his time back! WAY TO GO JONAH!!
Sala kicked butt today. Since Sala is Coma's "water boy", he is not allowed to pass him "physically" and with the adjusted time, he won today's stage. Sala cannot win the overall because his purpose there is to support Coma (but he can win stages as long as he stays physically behind Coma).
Oh, and those water crossings?! Ok, so they weren't just creeks or streams, they were full-on RIVERS! Chris started cracking up talking about them. He was like "YAH, DID YOU SEE THAT (photos)? IT WAS CRAZY!!!"
Just 2 more days! Thanks again for everyone's support, reading the posts, and posting all of your own thoughts and wishes!!!
Chris and Jonah are doing so awesome!!! YEE-HAW~~