I want to add a little color commentary this year for those of us at home. Today seems like a great day to start. Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays!
What's it like to be one of the people destined for the start line in 12 days time? I can only share my own experience, but I imagine many people are feeling similar so here goes.
For years, you've dreamed of this race. For months, you've been absolutely dedicated to every aspect of getting to the start. For weeks, much of that effort has been behind you, so you find yourself in an uncomfortable place where there's nothing left to do, except fret about the details. With each passing day until the start, the feelings get stronger.
For me, and I imagine for many first timers, this calm before the storm is at least as great a challenge as anything in the race itself. It's easy to feel like there's been some mistake, like the whole plan that seemed so glamorous months ago when the first check went in is destined for failure. If someone had offered me a time machine, I would have been sorely tempted to undo the whole thing.
But of course, that's only half the story. The other half is the excitement of what is to come. You know that no matter what, you're about to do something you've been dreaming about, about to live big days you'll remember the rest of your life. And you know you're going to get to ride your motorcycle, and hopefully, that's something you love to do.
I can only guess how it is for the pilots who are returning. For everyone, I think Dakar is about pushing boundaries- of speed, of endurance. I imagine the guys at the front have a parallel duality to newcomers- both fear and the excitement for speed.
Whatever the halves are called, the reality is that they balance one another to some extent but don't cancel each other out. The trepidation is real and it's big, and so is the excitement, and the sum of the two means your nervous system is set to 11.
In a few days time, scrutineering will start and everyone will slide under the bubble that is Dakar... but for now, the bubble hasn't been inflated yet, and you are left to imagine. As any lingerie designer will tell you, the imagination is a powerful thing.