So, why am I announcing my intention to go to Dakar in July when the race isn't until January? Because I have to. The short story is, I can afford to make the start line with a bare minimum effort (I use the term "afford" loosely here
Without making this sound like an NPR fund drive, I need your help to go beyond the bare minimum (and a big thanks to those who have already donated!). In the next few weeks, I have to make a critical decision; whether to have mechanical assistance or not. That decision depends on how fundraising gets started, because while I'm going to dig deep and invest everything I can to be there, I simply can't afford some of the elective costs (that greatly improve the chance of a finish) without your help.
The decision to take a mechanic will have to be made by August 5. The mechanic's entry and truck seat are about $25k (split between entry fee to the ASO, truck costs, and travel). To take a seat in Rally PanAms truck, I need about $15k in commitments by that date (we're at about $3k as of this morning). If we make that number, it will be a huge improvement over what I can afford alone. So, if you're interested and able, please take a look at Neduro.com
and see if something fits for you sooner rather than later.
I can't say enough good things about the sponsors that have stepped up to help me. I approached only those companies that I truly believe in the people and the product, and then I made the pitch that by providing discount codes, we could create a win/win situation: they'd help me get support from you all, and you would get products at an amazing price that offset your donation.
OK, enough of that. Today's purchase was tires, can't afford the risk of them being out of stock, so when I got a confirmed source for 9 606 fronts and 9 908 rears at cost, I jumped on it:
It seems early, but in fact it's not so much- A quick review of the timeline involved: The bikes are available for pickup about December 28 in Buenos Aires before a January 1 start, which means they ship from Europe in late November. US competitors are not obliged to ship via France, but it makes sense to do so, as the cost is included in entry and our bikes and gear receive the same attention in customs as everyone else. Shipping to Europe is cheaper than shipping to South America... so that means my stuff has to ship to Europe in October.
I'm a big believer in testing, and that means planning on the chance of failure. So, the tests need to occur with enough time to address whatever lessons I learn and retest. Two cycles of this at a month each (about the quickest you can rely on getting or making specialized parts, etc) means for an October ship date, the first draft of the bike needs to be done in August. It's mid July, and I just bought the bike... so I'm already under the gun. This is just an extension of how the race will be, and at a philosophical level, how life seems to be. There's always more to do than time to do it in, so I don't perceive this pressure as hardship, simply as reality. In fact, it's one of the things I like best, because it brings a focus and a commitment.
Support trucks operate with roughly the same timeline, hence the need for commitment in early August as they try to fill their seats and cargo capacity before making the investment to have the truck where it needs to be.
Last weekend, we got started. Here, Ganshert and GSNorCal look at the first mockup of a fairing:
And here, C.Vestal, Aurel (visiting from France!) and GSNorCal discuss how to best mount the rear tank.
Our progress deserves a proper post all its own, and I'll get that done soon. As it sits today, the bike is in a lot of pieces, waiting for stuff to arrive. I think it will come together and look like a rally bike very quickly, though. It better, because I'm going to bring it to the Wolfman Luggage
shop for the grand opening party they are having on July 30.
So, this is the first post of many to sign off with a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in (ALTDANALOTTDII- isn't that handy?).