BILL “BARNACLE” BRYANT
I’m the fattest, oldest and have one of the shorter inseams on our team. I knew I was going to struggle with this bike in these conditions, but I made sure I got my share of hard sections and long days. In the six months before the race, I changed my diet dramatically and hiked a local trail with my friend Aaron three days a week, religiously. The only two days I missed were days we were testing the bike in Barstow. I dropped 25 pounds and felt great before, during and after the race. I know our guys might have thought I was crazy along the way, when we had to do something twice, three times or whatever. Test, refine, test, etc. In the end, the plan worked out.
Many moving parts contributed to our success, and one wrong decision or a stroke of bad luck could’ve easily been the end of the race for us. One sad illustration of this was the death of Jake Batulis on day five. Westy was one of the first guys on scene and called me at the next pit, where I radioed in the report and tried to help get medical attention out to them. I didn’t know Jake, but I know his type. A strong, hardworking, independent desert racer who liked to go fast and have fun. Things can go from fun to deadly pretty quickly in the desert, and my heart aches for his family and friends. Stay strong!