Originally Posted by neduro
Have you ever had an intense period in your life where the sensation of time became non-linear? That's how Dakar feels. Even though it's only Day 2, the extended buildup, and the organization that came together in the days before the start, the people who are a part of the race are already settling into a timeless feeling, where everything you can remember is the race and everything you can foresee is the race. You are part of a living breathing moving thing, and it is all consuming.
The rhythm of the bivouac is very simple. Its strength comes not from what is done there, but from what is not done there- anything not related to getting thru the next day, to going fast. Morning comes early, a mediocre meal at the food tent, getting dressed, and trying to wrap your head around the details of the day- how many K's to gas, the GPS code, start time and liaison details. The liaison begins, and it's a beautiful ride, and a beautiful chance to reflect, all alone in the helmet.
Then there's the special. You'll get there a little early, refill your drink bladder, eat some food, prep your goggles and let the pre-race jitters build. The first few days are the worst, but it never becomes normal to leave on the stage. A million what-ifs bounce around while you try to pee. I watched Marc Coma attempt to pee on 7 different bushes last year, so it's not just me... eventually you are off, and the worries fade. Now you're doing what you love, what you came to do, what you've dreamed of. It feels like where you should be, because it is.
When you finish the special, it's a huge feeling of relief and elation... but it doesn't last long, because now there's work to do. There's another liaison, finding your team in the bivouac, and getting ready for tomorrow. A long time ago is measured in hours, the farthest ahead you can see is tomorrow.