My 2020 started with quite a bang. As it happened I didn’t have huge plans for February and March…
I spent most of February catching up on post Dakar admin, tidying up the van, cleaning my gear and rearranging the workshop – shuffling nuts and bolts back into the rightful places etc. This was about my limit. I mentioned before the huge toll that a Dakar preparation takes and I wasn’t joking.
And then Coronavirus. Fast forward six weeks and if I’m honest I’m quite relishing the lockdown. I make this point without irony, despite not having earned a penny personally or within my business, or possibly doing so for quite some time (No flights? No travel and have you seen the price of oil?)
If you followed my blogs for the last year or so you may well be surprised to learn that I do actually have a proper job, and I don’t mean writing for RUST. I’m mostly now a consultant engineer in oil and gas – I spent 20 years postgrad working my chops off and convincing myself I was the subsea world’s answer to Alan Sugar. I got a little lost – started out on my consultancy route, then started employing more engineers, then more offices, ever confident I would have more time to play out and enjoy myself….
Whilst I was doing this there was a catalyst that was both good and bad – I qualified for the GS Trophy (2018 Mongolia), meaning I’d have to take three weeks out of the office (not a hardship I grant you, but unheard of for a good few years…) and oil the price of oil tanked. Big time. It was time for an adjustment and a significant one. I realised that even with the best laid plans there are things that happen that are way out of your control and actually you can make as many plans as you like and life will simply laugh at you. And here we are. Again. This time I’m more prepared.
There’s always plenty of reasonable excuses for not doing things, usually many more so than there are drivers for actually getting off your bum and doing them. I’m so pleased I got my 2020 Dakar in, there were bags of reasons to do it in 2021 instead. Let’s see how that pans out. I’m not convinced we’ll see any racing before the new year. 2021 will be mental, with people playing catch up, riding and racing everything and everywhere – we hope!
I’ve embraced the lockdown. I’ve mostly spent my time extending my workshop, something I started quite some time ago. I’m a firm believer I can do anything. And to this end I got the chisels out and made some lovely traditional doors. Pretty pleased with them too. They’ve taken a while though. We should have perhaps spent more time on my haircut, assisted by my able (doctor/medical professional) wife. In her day job she does some very delicate stuff, incredible really how badly that transposes into wielding clippers. I’ve a VLog to do for RUST, and rest assured I’ll be wearing a cap!
I’ve so many projects – cars, bikes, trucks that we could be locked down for a year and I’d not get through them. I’ve had a sneaky peek at what my retirement will look like, and I’ve to say I’m quite looking forward to it – hopefully much more riding though.
I’m at a crossroads – today in fact, as JB chases this very blog, as to what to get stuck into now the extended (the dirtier part) of the workshop is water tight – options are:
- ‘72 BSA Victor scrambler/trials bike (filled the gearbox casing with engine oil a few years back, and has been waiting very patiently since).
- VW Caddy pick up – used it to build my house with, promising it a full restoration once we’d moved in. Awesome local bike carrier. Also a patient queuer.
- ‘72 Rolls Royce. Need the brakes looking at. We know there’ll be more in that Pandora’s box…
- Service the tractor.
- Dust the sand off the Dakar bike (vlog coming).
- Rebuild the Husky FE450.
- Convert the Sprinter to a camper…
I’m always out cycling, pandemic or otherwise, but have taken it easy of late. I’ve popped out of the end of my post Dakar training (where I did a minimum of an hour of full intensity cardio everyday, even if I was racing that day, riding or working in a remote tub in the middle of a random ocean). I like to focus on an event – have a goal, so just ‘not get fat’ isn’t really an incentive. So what am I looking forward to? Who knows? We had plans, and life is absolutely pissing itself now!