There are two things that get mentioned in any Dakar discussion. The Danger and The Cost.
The conversation then goes on to focus on the suffering and tales of woe. The riders that never made it. The injuries and desperation. Well bollocks to that. Imagine riding your bike every day for two weeks through some amazing terrain, meeting people you’d never otherwise meet, in foreign lands. And challenging yourself every step of the way. That’s my Dakar.
I’m not going there to cheat death, to join an exclusive club of moto pilots or get a badge of honour, I’m going because it’s there and I want to accomplish it. Because it’s there. Because I can. I don’t say tame, defeat or be victorious – and certainly not ‘victorious’ in the sense of winning either – it’d most likely be a calamitous year if I were to win. I’d like to not be last of course!
If I thought there was a good chance I’d come home with some life changing injury or not at all, I’d not be going. I’ve done a little bit of climbing in the past, I like it, and I love being in the mountains, more than a little bit, but you’d not find me climbing Everest. The odds of coming home a bit rough are too high for me. I can accept that’s not for me. It’s strange, as there’s very little I’ll say no to, but I think that’d be one. Most unlikely the offer would come up of course, but it’s an example I often use when people question why I’m throwing a mountain bike off the side of a mountain, racing motorbikes, or even just riding a moto on the road. I can accept the odds of the danger in these situations, and the same is true of the Dakar.
Let’s not concentrate on the risk. Grant it the upmost of respect of course, but I’m not throwing caution to the wind on some romantic odyssey, heading to sea to discover once and for all if the Earth is flat here. Besides, the odds of day-to-day life are unknown to us. This is EXACTLY why I’m heading to the Dakar. Show me a dead man whose wishes he’d worked more.
For sure I want to be at the finish line. I don’t doubt for a minute that’ll it’ll be tough. I’m there to achieve a goal, not a holiday, or a jolly, but tell me you wouldn’t love to ride your bike instead of sitting in traffic on the way to work. I thoroughly hope I can navigate my way through the pitfalls, the danger and the sheer bad luck. My plan is to be as prepared, fit and focussed as I can be. Victory favours the prepared. Do you know I could tell you with a quick Google search how many people have died in Dakar, but not how many people have finished successfully. An interesting point. Hopefully though I’ll be able to write about overcoming that suffering at some point, without it being too dull!
Anyway, too late now, I’m here at the start. Here goes…