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Going the Distance Alone 2018 SCORE International Pro Moto Ironman Champ Francisco Septien talks about what it takes to win solo By Stuart Bourdon Photos courtesy Francisco Septien Francisco Septien began training for the Pro Moto Ironman Class in the 2014 SCORE Baja 1000 almost immediately after he attended the SCORE Baja 500 that same year. It was at the June race Francisco decided he wasn’t getting any younger and had to do the “1000” solo that year or he likely would never do it. “One of my idols, when I was very young, was Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, and I have always had a lot of respect for those racing solo in their classes (trucks, buggies, or bikes) in the past or now in the Pro Moto Ironman Class,” said Septien. That year, the SCORE Baja 1000 was a peninsula run that stretched approximately 1,200 miles from the start line in Ensenada to the finish line in La Paz. It was a race that would require more than just an ordinary amount of preparation. It would require all that, and inspired dedication to doing it solo. Septien was no novice to solo competition and had been riding in short races for many years but came away from watching the 2014 SCORE Baja 500 motivated to pull out all the stops and go for it. He set his sights on running alone for more than 1,000 miles. “I started working with a personal trainer and came up with a nutrition plan and workout routines that would help me build the physical endurance needed to do the 1000,” said Septien. Francisco was determined to do well in the race, but it wasn’t all about winning. “It was a personal quest,” he said. “I have a strong mind, but I wanted to test my body to see if I could take it all the way, not necessarily beat them, but to see if I could measure up to the top professional riders.” Septien, however, had an ace up his sleeve. “I live in Baja (Ensenada) and know the terrain pretty well. It’s my backyard.” He also came up with a way to manage the distance and hours on the bike mentally. “It’s 70-percent mental and 30-percent physical,” he said. “I divided the course into sections, learned those sections very well, and just focused on completing each of those sections one at a time.” Short breaks in between were important, too. “I would try to do each section in four to five hours, then stop for four or five minutes to eat something, take supplements or vitamins. Then sort of checkout myself and the bike, make sure everything was okay and start the next section. It was like finishing a bunch of shorter races all in a row. I have to admit that the last 50 miles were tough, though. I was almost numb, but I just pushed myself, and finished first in Pro Moto Ironman and eighth overall (motorcycles).” After that 2014 SCORE Baja 1000 Pro Moto Ironman win, Septien competed in other motorcycle classes on and off for a few years, but by the end of 2017, the Ironman bug had bitten again. He had decided to go for the brass ring. With help from a friend to cover entry fees and related expenses, Septien was set to go after the 2018 SCORE Pro Moto Ironman Championship. “I started my training routine again, and we began with the SCORE San Felipe 250 and won that race,” said Septien. “We continued to do well in the next races, and then had a perfect race at the SCORE Baja 1000.” Again, he believed the way to finish the race was to focus on measuring up to the top riders and beating Baja, instead of beating other racers. “Carrasco was the class champion then, so I just tried to focus on keeping up with his pace. I figured he was 10 years younger than me, so I was going to see how this ‘old man’ could measure up to him,” said Septien. “I got first place in the 51st SCORE Baja 1000 and ultimately won the 2018 SCORE Pro Moto Ironman Championship.” Septien offered this piece of advice to anyone seriously considering competing in the Pro Moto Ironman Class. “The most important thing that I can share with someone who wants to do the same thing is to begin training months before their first race. Start doing lots of 100- to 200-mile solo rides to build mental and physical endurance and focus. Your mind and your body will need to be very strong.” SJ

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