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BRUTAL BUT FUN Pro Moto Ironman Winner Edgar Cota Kept Moving Forward By Mike Vieira Photos By Get Some Photo Riding this second-longest race in SCORE history in SCORE’s Pro Moto Ironman, and finishing the more than 1,310-mile course in just over 38 and half hours, is obviously quite a feat. Nonetheless, Edgar Cota said the journey on his No. 723x GasGas bike went pretty smoothly, all things considered.   “I took it easy in the morning, in the dark,” Cota recalled, “and when the sun came out, I pushed my pace up a little bit once I could see. I kept a strong pace until the second nightfall when I just tried to keep the bike on two wheels. I got the second sunrise in San Felipe, and knew I was so close, but still so far. I had been training for this one race all year, and so I’m very happy with the way it went.” A couple of minor problems did come up for Cota on his ride, but only one led to a repair during the race. A rear shock blew near San Felipe. “We were so close, and my body was so beat up,” he said. “I really didn’t think by putting on a new shock I could go twice as fast, so I just took a step back and tried to keep the bike moving. My team said that we had built a pretty good gap, so in my mind I stayed cool and kept doing my thing, riding my bike through the Baja Peninsula.” A bit farther along, near San Matias, a rock caused what Cota calls a “small tip-over” that damaged his fuel tank. At the next pit, the tank was quickly switched out, and he continued on his way.   “I was hoping that the track was going to get a little bit easier as we got further north, but no way,” he said. “They decided to take us through the roughest, bumpiest terrain all the way through Ojos Negros. I was like, ‘wow, this is fun!’ It was a great experience overall. I was glad I was able to do it.” The win capped off a pretty good year for Cota, even though he was unable to run the season-opening SCORE San Felipe 250 due to a crash while pre-running. At the SCORE Baja 500, he was able to bring home a third-place class finish before his victories in the SCORE Baja 400 and this SCORE Baja 1000. Although he was expecting to be first on the road in this race, he ended up starting 13th, meaning he had to do a fair amount of passing of other riders early on in the race. After those first couple of hundred miles, though, he was mostly running by himself with only occasional passes to deal with. “I wasn’t looking for any battles,” he said. “All I was trying to do was find a good flow and maintain it.” As an off-road motorcycle instructor, Cota teaches other riders the ins and outs of just about every type of moto competition, and his knowledge and experience certainly helped with his ability to find the strength and stamina needed for his own Ironman race.  He also gives great credit to his crew for his successful efforts. “Because you’re riding by yourself for 1,300 plus miles, you’ve got no space in your brain to think of anything else,” he said. “I have a great support team that has everything ready at every single pit, so you just get to the pit, pass on the bike, and work on yourself, from eating, to hydrating, to stretching, and doing whatever you have to do. Knowing that your team will have your bike dialed in, and will be there in the next spot, is a big, big help. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.” He’s also very grateful for the people cheering him on through the days and nights and sending him encouragement through text messages during the race. “Even though you’re tired and you might want to quit, you always want to push a little bit extra just to keep everybody happy around you.” Cota’s plans for the future are clear. “Obviously, you know you could do better in certain sections, and because we know that, it will be a good push for me next time I do the SCORE Baja 1000 by myself.” SJ

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