“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”
When you’re skipping across the desert approaching triple-digit speeds, you don’t get many thoughts of literature popping into your head- but this one pops into my head frequently while I’m trying to keep my bike rubber-side down. All three of these sports have only two similarities- they are difficult and can absolutely kill you.
In fact, most of the guys immortalized in these sports met their demise when a final attempt to cheat death went awry. Since I’ve got no experience with bullfighting, I will leave that out of my thoughts until I’ve formed a more educated opinion- which is unlikely in this lifetime.
On the topics of Mountaineering and Motorsport, I would say I’ve been a reckless amateur with enough experience to respect the craft’s potential to kill me. I’ve also done both enough to know that the finish isn’t the best part- it’s a bittersweet and often anticlimactic ending. When my team took 3rd place in our class at Vegas to Reno, I was handed a beer, had a picture snapped, and ushered away from the line.
The adventure of the unknown before and during the race captivates you. Now, adventure doesn’t necessarily need to bring you dancing with death. Still, a good one should give you at least one opportunity to meet your maker should you misstep. A shady backroad in parts unknown, an unknown river crossing in Africa, or, in this case- a sandy wash just west of what our team named “taco town” in Baja, Mexico.
Upon my return from Baja 500, I desperately wanted to tell the epic tale, to sum it all up in an epiphany that changed lives and perspectives as it had altered my own. The hope of this race was to conquer, inspire, and LIVE with friends, making it all happen. I couldn’t find a way to do it when the pen hit paper or fingers hit keys. I couldn’t write a damn thing that could capture the adventure, and that became the point entirely. The race was worth doing not for the ability to tell the story but for the ability to have lived it.
Brent Phillips is the founder and CEO of SOFlete. In a former life he was a Raider, and Reconnisance Marine.