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History of the Baja 1000

Dennis Rogers Team Kidney
The start of one of Baja 1000

Since the inaugural event in 1967, Baja California has played host to a race that many people believe is nothing short of crazy. After all, who in their right mind would leave the comforts of home to drive some 1,000 miles across the barren Mexican desert? Anyone who has driven the Baja 1000 will tell you they do it for the same reasons thrill seekers climb Everest, jump out of perfectly good airplanes or scale frozen waterfalls – not for glory or fame, but for the extreme adrenaline rush.BM_MixUltimate_05

BM_MixUltimate_05

An admitted adrenaline junkie myself, my reason for soloing the race’s 50th anniversary this November is slightly more complicated. With only one kidney, I want to race not just for the rush, but to raise awareness about kidney health and funds to help the National Kidney Foundation.

History of the Race

The Baja 1000 allows drivers to compete in one of several vehicle classes – from such small and large bore motorcycles, stock Volkswagen, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, and custom fabricated race vehicles. The course has remained relatively unchanged over the years, alternating in a point-to-point race from Ensenada to La Paz, or a loop race starting and finishing in Ensenada. Here are a few more details about the race:Funny red dune buggy

  • From 1967 to 1972, the race was organized by the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA).
  • The Baja 1000 grew in popularity when ABC’s Wide World of Sports covered the 1968 event.
  • Over the years, the race has attracted noteworthy drivers including Mickey Thompson, Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones, movie actor James Garner, and Mary McGee, the first woman to compete in the event.
  • By 1971, major sponsors joined the fray, supporting the likes of Jones, Bill Stroppe and Larry Minor.
  • When the price of crude oil shot up 70 percent overnight in October 1973, fearful competitors abandoned the idea of competing and stayed home.Gas nozzle pump with knot and oil drop.
  • NORRA also abandoned the race – and held the event in Arizona.
  • The “Baja Sports Committee” (BSC) renamed the event the “Baja Mil” (Baja 1000) and ran the race on the original dates NORRA had chosen, effectively competing against the Arizona race.
  • Thereafter, the Mexican government gave exclusive rights to SCORE (Sanctioning Committee Off Road Events) to hold Baja races and reluctantly canceled the event for 1974 (when motorsport was curtailed in the United States because of the oil crisis).
  • SCORE took control of the Baja 1000. In 2012, the racing organization was purchased by racerRoger Norman, who remains president. Group motocross racer back detail view of the motocross boots

Red Bull describes the race well in their video, “Driving Dirty:”

“Nearly 50 years ago, the race that embodies all that is crazy and addictive about motorsport began…This epic endurance event has developed into a sort of a mix between Mad Max, the Dakar Rally and The Twilight Zone, attracting hundreds of racing legends, thrill-seekers, movie stars and rank amateurs to Northern Mexico to take on the longest non-stop point-to-point race in the world. Sure, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is hard going, the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 are also tricky, but those guys and girls don’t have to deal with oncoming traffic and fan-built booby traps.”

My Baja 1000 Goal

Crew Dennis Rogers Baja 1000

At 62 years of age, my goal to Ironman the race has earned me the nickname, Viejo Loco Chingon (Old Crazy Badass) by friends and fans alike. One of the reasons friends mock me is because I am a survivor of Chronic Kidney Disease. But I don’t let the fact I have only one kidney define me. I like to live life to the fullest and want to encourage others to do the same.

About Dennis Rogers

Please follow my videos learn from my experiences, laugh at me or with me.  I will share my knowledge of what in hopes I’ll be able to help others along the way. The best advice I can give is to get to know your kidney health. A simple blood test can reveal how well your kidneys are functioning. So, ask your doctor for a test. It will be time well spent.

Women & Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease Kills

Pink ribbon, fight against cancerBreast cancer sucks. No doubt about it! But I would be surprised if anyone living in the United States circa 2017 has not yet heard of the disease. After all, breast cancer awareness events are more numerous than crashes at a motocross race. In fact, cancer – in general – is an oft-discussed illness, with specific types celebrated every month of the year. Such is not the case, however, when it comes to kidney disease. Familiarity with basic kidney health is rare, although kidney disease kills 30 million American adults and millions of others are at risk.

What is Kidney Disease

Mechanic and air filter
Diseased kidneys don’t properly filter.

A diagnosis of kidney disease means that a person’s kidneys cannot effectively filter blood. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. Kidney disease can cause other health problems, such as heart disease. People who have chronic kidney disease (CKD) run a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and family history of kidney failure. For more details about CKD, read my recent blog post.

Preparation for blood test with pretty young blond woman by female doctor in white coat medical uniform on the table in white bright room. Nurse pierces the patient's arm vein with needle blank tube.
Kidney Disease can be detected with routine blood tests.

Basic Kidney Disease Facts

  • Ten percent of the global population suffers from chronic kidney disease.
  • Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
  • Two simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a simple calculation doctors can make using a patient’s blood test results, to estimate kidney function.
  • Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
  • Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
  • Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
  • High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Seniors are at increased risk.

Since kidney disease is the ninth most common cause of death in the U.S., more should be done to educate people about it. That’s why I plan to Ironman the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 this November – to raise awareness about kidney health and funds for the National Kidney Foundation. Since I’ll be racing with just one kidney, I hope to call attention to the disease which is more often diagnosed in women than men. I believe CKD deserves to be recognized as often as the cancers that target women.

“In the general population it is well known that women have a lower mortality risk than men, however we showed surprisingly for dialysis patients that there is almost no such survival advantage for women,” says Friedrich K. Port, MD, a research scientist and past president of the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health and a lead author on the study. “This international observation will be a focus for additional research.”

Symptoms of Kidney Disease

Bored pretty woman in the office working with a laptop. Tired of office life
People with kidney disease are tired.

Whatever your sex, don’t allow kidney disease to go unchecked. Ask your doctor to run a blood test, especially if you:

  • Feel tired and/or lack energy.
  • Struggle to concentrate.
  • Consistently have a low appetite.
  • Can’t sleep.
  • Experience muscle cramping at night.
  • Deal with swollen feet and ankles.
  • Notice puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning.
  • Have dry, itchy skin.
  • Need to urinate often, especially at night.

Dennis after a 12-Mile Bike RideMy Story

Since I am 62 years old, the goal has earned me the nickname, Viejo Loco Chingon (Old Crazy Badass) by friends and fans alike. A survivor of Chronic Kidney Disease, I don’t let the fact I have only one kidney define me. I like to live life to the fullest and want to encourage others to do the same.

Please follow my videos learn from my experiences, laugh at me or with me.  I will share my knowledge of what in hopes I’ll be able to help others along the way. The best advice I can give is to get to know your kidney health. A simple blood test can reveal how well your kidneys are functioning. So, ask your doctor for a test. It will be time well spent.

Summer X Games

Motocross rider performing a high jump. Cartoon styleExtreme Sports Rule

I’ve been into extreme sports my entire life, having raced everything from trophy trucks to buggies to motorcycles. Along the way, I’ve been battered, blistered and bruised. But I wouldn’t trade racing for anything else in the world. Like many extreme athletes, I run on adrenaline. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some details about other extreme sports that depend on sheer grit, daring and determination.

Summer X GamesCute little kid boy in a helmet playing with Computer steering wheel. Future driver. Getting ready for professional driving. Child driving a car. Funny toddler boy indoors. Boy and a car.

jump on skateboardThe Summer X Games, which will be hosted this week in Minneapolis. Since Austin, Texas, hosted the past three X Games, it will be fun to see what Minneapolis brings to the table. Aired by ESPN starting on July 13, this year’s events will include skateboarding, BMX riding and motorcycle racing for competitors ages 12 to middle aged. A concrete skateboarding course BMX features a Viking ship, in tribute to the stadium’s home team. Most competitions will be held downtown at U.S. Bank Stadium, although flat track motorcycle racing takes place Thursday outside the Mall of America.

MTBThe event will feature more than 200 of the world’s best action sports athletes competing for medals and prize money in BMX, Skateboard and Moto X disciplines. The games will also feature world-class musical performances from A Day to Remember on Friday, Flume and Minneapolis’ own Atmosphere.Extreme motocross racer by motorcycle

Live Streaming Extreme Sports

For those of us who won’t be traveling all the way to Minnesota to watch the events live, I’m psyched that three of this year’s event will be the first ever to be streamed live in virtual reality exclusively to 48 countries on Samsung Gear VR through the Samsung VR app: skateboard vert, BMX street and skateboard street amateurs.

My Story

An amateur motocross racer, I plan to Ironman the Baja 1000. Since I am 62 years old, the goal has earned me the nickname, Viejo Loco Chingon (Crazy Old Badass) by friends and fans alike. A survivor of Chronic Kidney Disease, I don’t let the fact I have only one kidney define me. I like to live life to the fullest and want to encourage others to do the same.

Please follow my videos learn from my experiences, laugh at me or with me.  I will share my knowledge of what in hopes I’ll be able to help others along the way. The best advice I can give is to get to know your kidney health. A simple blood test can reveal how well your kidneys are functioning. So, ask your doctor for a test. It will be time well spent.

Viejo Loco Chingon Baja 1000

Dennis’ experience battling kidney disease and working with the folks at USC Medical Center, who skillfully helped him through surgery and recovery, impacted him so significantly that he desperately wants to share what he has learned and use his racing acumen to raise awareness about kidney health.