Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet)
Hi DD - thank you, I do appreciate your concern - and I'm sure you're not the only one thinking the same?
The bottom line is that if I don't do it this year, it is unlikely I will ever have sufficient 'spare' money to even contemplate it again... another year older, both me and the bike, and a million other things I should be spending my money on.
Regarding fitness - by 'bike fit' I mean the ability to get back on the bike every day, and ride it expending the minimal amount of effort, to conserve energy...
As for only reaching day 4 - that was nothing to do with fitness - I didn't retire through fatigue, I had an almighty crash (as I'm sure you'll recall!) - Oliver Pain crashed the day after me, and Craig Bounds was out on day 7 - the point being it can happen to anyone, with any amount of preparation? - you need the 'Dakar Luck' along with fitness!
Of course had I made it to rest day, I'm sure I would have started to feel the pain of riding such huge distances each day - but the one thing I did learn from this year's event, is not to get wrapped up in the 'buzz' and excitement, and not to pay attention to your standings each day (other than to know your start time for the following morning of course x)... Patsy summed it up with "Treat every day as a trail ride..." simple as that.
Having done so well on stage 1, I foolishly thought [as a first timer] I might make a dent on the standings...I admit I was guilty of thinking I could make up some ground early on, capitalize on my strengths and build in a safety net of a few minutes here and there - when there are only half a dozen riders in the women's category, these things can make the difference to placings... The bottom line is that typically a third fail to finish, it just happens that this year I was part of that third.
Obviously I am nowhere near the ability of the top riders, or even those mid-fielders who are vying for position, therefore it is a different kind of fitness I require - along with core strength, mental strength is fundamental, but I admit I need to improve my cardio to increase my chances...
If I go back, it will be to finish, as simple as that. I considered my self strong enough last year, and with a bit of training, consider myself strong enough to have another shot... I'm not in the habit of pissing money away you know!*
*erm, those that know me know that isn't strictly true, it's just I have a lot less to piss away now!