Cody Schafer TEXAS Blog - Imagery Kyle Schafer
Hey everyone this is my blog brought to you by Dango’s Damping and Race Tech! Over the past two weeks I have raced in Texas as well as New Mexico. Two races that couldn’t be any further apart in styles. The first of the races was a RMEC/TSCEC co-sanctioned race in the small Texas town of Quitaque, and the second was a NMDRC race in the wind blown desert near Las Cruces.
The Caprock Canyon Enduro and Grand Prix has always been one of those things I look forward to every year. Its a race that I have been going to since before I can remember and have raced I am pretty sure every year since I have been on 50’s. Before I was as big into racing as I am now this was usually the first time of the year I would get to ride so I think that excitement from the days when I was a little kid has never really worn off for me. This year was certainly no different when I checked the forecast a few days before the race and I saw it was supposed to rain Friday and Saturday and be clear and sunny for Sunday. It was going to be EPIC and I couldn’t wait to head down there! So after getting the bikes all prepped Ian Blythe, Kyle, my parents, and myself all piled into the Sprinter and we were heading south. The old man drove all night and we pulled into the town around 7 in the morning. There were puddles everywhere and it was extremely humid. Ian and I caught up with some people we haven’t seen for awhile and headed to the little Diner in town to get some breakfast. After that we drove and watched some of the kids races going on and just tried to stay dry as long as we could. Around 4 in the afternoon was the Expert Grand Prix. I headed to the line and tried to pick a good start spot but since it clay everywhere but the beaten trail was really slick. The expert class was only 5 people this year I think because everyone chickened out and didn’t want to get their bikes muddy. In my mind the thing is a dirt bike and can be washed so why would I drive all the way down there and not race every chance I could get? When the flag wave I got a great jump and spun all the way down the start into the woods. Ian got the Holeshot since he was the early bird to the starting line and lined up right in the main path and didn’t spin like the rest of us. I was right on his back fender off the start but that didn’t last long and he left the rest of us fairly quickly. I felt terrible the first couple of laps trying to get used to what the dirt was like. It would be like ice in some spots and then would be perfect in others. I found myself pushing in the bad stuff and getting out of control then getting scared and not going hard enough in the good dirt. Not a good combination for going fast in my opinion. By the end of the race I had some things figured out and felt a whole lot better about how I was riding. I cruised in for a second place finish at the end of the GP. After that it was getting kinda dark and I was cold so I went straight into prepping my bike for the Enduro Sunday. The Barlow family had rented a house in the town for the weekend so we all piled into the living room to watch the main events of the Daytona SX and tried to get to bed pretty early. I have to thank them for letting me sleep on the floor in the living room and feeding me breakfast!
The sun was shining Sunday morning and you could just feel the excitement in the air from everyone knowing how great of day it was going to be! The first test of the day was a lap on the GP course from the day before so I was very confident from the practice I had on it the day before. Everything went smoothly this test, I didn’t set the world on fire, but I didn’t crash or do anything stupid, so as far as I was concerned I was off to a good start! The next 3 tests were in a different location where the dirt is mainly sand so it was absolutely amazing to ride on. You seriously couldn’t brake late enough or keep the front tire on the ground coming out of the corners. It was the most fun I have had on a bike in a long long time. The only setback I had was my rear brakes kept getting hot from the tight turny track and kept fading and then would work and then stop again. Not exactly a confidence booster for pushing hard and trying to race for me so I just decided I wasn’t going to touch the rear brake and just do all my stopping with downshifts and the front brake which kinda sucked but I got used to it! After the third test it was the gas stop so I blead my rear brake and was determined to kill it in the last test just to see if I could come close to matching the pace Ian had been riding all day. I told myself I was going to win this last 9.6 mile test and I rode with that attitude and intensity. I made a few little mistakes but nothing too major so I felt pretty confident it was going to be close since it was a little more of an open test. That was the end of the race besides a long ride on a road back to town so I waited for Kyle, my dad, and Ian to come in so we could ride back together. I checked Ian’s scorecard and he still got me by about 20 seconds so I did everything I could but he was just at a different level then me for the day! I ended up about 3 minutes back from Ian overall at the end of the day and around a minute ahead of third place.
The next weekend I headed down to New Mexico, for the Corralito’s 100. After the success I had at the first round of the NMDRC 2012 season I wanted to see if I could duplicate that again at a different site. This was my 4th ever desert race so I am still trying to get everything figured out on how to race them. I geared up and went out for the pre-ride and everything just felt wrong... It was so so so slick! I was really having a hard time adapting from how epic the dirt was in Texas to how little traction there was out here. It was also really weird going from a race that was all mainly first and second gear to fifth gear wide open stuff with very little turns! After the pre-ride I was a little worried about how Sunday was going to go. I was forced to start on the 3rd row this race since they went 5 riders at a time based on series points the year before. I knew I had my work cut out for me if I was going to be able to make up the time I needed to win this race. I got to the line with about a minute to spare and completely spaced out that I was wearing a GoPro and forgot to turn it on. I was on the same line as Kyle and we were side by side going down the first straight and like a good little brother he let me go so i could try to move forward as fast as I could! I reached up down one of the straight aways and turned on the GoPro that you can see here(http://vurboffroad.com/theatre/corralitos-100-cody-schafer-gopro/211/). I had to work my way through all the dust from the riders in front of me and there was no breeze blowing to move the dust so it was really frustrating knowing how much time I was wasting going slow waiting to be able to see. I had to stop for gas every lap and go slow through the pits which was really sort of a handicapp since the guys in front of me only had to stop once and didn’t have to ride first gear through the pits. I still don’t know how they don’t need to stop like I do. I pushed up to 3rd overall by the end of the first lap and had very little dust to contend with from there. I wasn’t catching the guys ahead of me as fast as I did at the Tarantula so I was getting a little frustrated and started pushing even harder. I started to see dust ahead of me towards the end of the second lap and I knew I was at least catching someone. I got into the pits right behind Matt Jonasson and had a little quicker stop then him and got by. I thought I would just drop him because of the dust and I could focus on catching the leader but I was very wrong. Nearly that entire 25 mile lap he was within 5 to 10 seconds of me, even though I felt like I had picked it up another level to try and drop him. I was impressed he was going that fast in the dust behind me! Matt finally dropped off and I was able to get some breathing room to try and catch Nick Blatt on the last lap. I had over a minute to make up on the last lap and I knew that if I rode as hard as I possibly could and Nick fell off the pace a bit I could make it close. I was riding so hard the entire race I was starting to feel a little fatigued and didn’t know if I could sprint another 25 miles. I just kept yelling at myself saying, “I don’t fade, I DON”T FADE, he is going to, not me!!!” It sort of worked and I was riding way way faster then I did earlier in the race maybe even faster then I probably should have been. With about 6 miles left in the loop I was going through a whooped out sandy corner about 4th gear wide open when I tried to sneak a little to the inside to miss some of the bigger whoops that were on the outside. I got a bit overconfident with how close I could get to a cactus and tagged it with my handlebar. When that happened it snapped the bars to the right and knocked my feet off the pegs and my new course was straight into a group of 4 foot tall cactus. I hit them wide open falling off the bike and somehow jumped off of them and flew about 30 feet hitting another patch of those cactus before coming to the ground. When I was in the air I went to the right off my bike and put my shoulder through one of them and knocked it to the ground, my bike took down another one as it flipped through them! After a quick check to see if everything was still where it was supposed to be I found my bike and tried to get going again quickly! I tried to get right back onto my pace and pushed the remaining 6 miles until the finish. I still hoped somehow I went fast enough to make it close. Even with my crash my last lap was my fastest but it wasn’t enough. Nick Blatt beat me for the overall on the day by 36 seconds so there is no telling if i wouldn’t have crashed how close it would have been! Oh well. I can say that I am quickly getting more and more confident in how hard I can attack fast sections which is really something I need practice at! I am really enjoying getting to race in new places that I haven’t done before so I am excited to see what else the NMDRC series has to offer.
These past two weekends have been so much fun for me. I can’t explain how completely opposite the races were but I am learning to adapt quickly! I am sorry that was a little long but hopefully you enjoyed reading it. I have to thank God for keeping me and everyone else safe at these two races, as well as my parents for even getting me to them. I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without all of my sponsors so i would like to thank MotoAdventure Kawasaki, Dango’s Damping, Race Tech, Fly, Dirt Tricks, IMS, FMF exhaust, Motorex, Hinson, DT1, Enduro Engineering, Leatt brace, Dunlop, A’ME Grips, Topar Racing, Acerbis, and VurbOffroad. Thank you for reading!