Day 11 – breaking from the pack

The house through the night was deathly silent, as the team
had collapsed exhausted from the crazed twenty hour day. Once
people started to stir the sprint for the one bathroom commenced,
but in such a cool, slightly run down Italianesq home that none of
us really cared. It always amazes me how far peoples personalities
swing during time of complete exhaustion, to total preparation to
embark on a day of ordeals again. Talking of bringing out ones true
personality! Breakfast at eight was a simple affair of breads, ham
and cheese and rich dark coffee and the pace seemed worryingly
slow. We’d missed 200km of riding the day before (that is in the
right direction!) and we knew we had to make it up, and we’d just
heard the organizers had planned a lunch break that realistically
we had no time for. The first 200km of the 750km day ahead involved
some sand and off-road and now the pack had divided as many of the
team had lost inner faith to ride it. So we split and a team of
five of us set off to face the raw elements and the others took a
longer but safer route. Their choice was a good one, for within
300yds of the start of the dirt we hit four sand pits four feet
deep and a hundred yards long. Again gunning the bike and
dismissing all logic was the only way to cross these patches and I
launched my 1200 GSA headlong into the obstacle with unaware of
boulders or trenches. The bike thrashed side to side like writhing
snake and my training of loosening my grip, leaning back and just
riding quickly to skim the surface proved critical and I appeared
safe at the far end. Others weren’t as fortunate. Three casualties
and one performance by Rafael, that would have gained him a seat on
rodeo bull rider hall of fame ensued. I’ve never seen a bike shoot
180degrees time after time so quickly and then rocket out of the
sand into the bushes. To be honest it would have made for a superb
piece of video footage and we all roared with laughter, amazement
and cheers as he appeared safe, covered head to foot in sand from
the bushes! Once resettled, rode on swiftly, reaching our lunch
destination to discover, as suspected we were an hour ahead of the
others and our grilling meat was awaiting an infestation of flies
if didn’t eat soon – which to our dismay we didn’t. That’s when
reality hit home and Michael and I looked at each other, grabbed
mounds of bread and declared our departure to our next place of
rest, San Juan. How the hell the organizers planned to get such an
exhausted team out, on the road and safe, totally bemused us – the
writing was so on the wall. The six hour ride ahead was amazing!
Twisting roads, easy to navigate packed dirt and more screaming
locals accompanied the full ride, landing us safe at our target
spot just pre dusk. As suspected the rest of the team rode in
exhausted at 11.30pm – pissed and bewildered on why the start of
the day had been planned so poorly. Hmmm, I won’t go
there.

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About willindakar

Every few years I try and embark on a trip that takes me to places, both physically and mentally, far beyond anywhere I have been before, as a CEO or father. Climbing the highest summits of Antarctica and Europe, diving with Great White sharks, Motorbiking the highest road in the world are a few of the boxes I've ticked - but the trip i am about to depart for should be one of the most testing. Riding with the hardest land race in the world - The Dakar 2011.
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