Originally Posted by Iron Horse
It sounds like he's prepared and not lacking for physical stamina, but perhaps his training regime might be tweaked were he to go again.
Ned, chime in as well.
I felt like I was in pretty good shape, both from spending time in the gym and riding, but there's nothing that precisely prepares you for not only wrestling a pig thru the dunes, but also holding yourself against the wind and buffeting of a few hundred miles on the road, and the vibration of a single for hours every day, etc. It's not the big stuff, and it doesn't risk incapacitating you, its not the big muscle groups that necessarily suffer, it's an accumulation of little niggling motions that it is impossible to prepare for. I guess this falls under "Dakar is not easy or comfortable", no matter how well prepared you are.
My experience was that after the first week, all that fades... you ride yourself into shape so to speak. Either that, or you don't notice the discomfort anymore when stacked on all the other discomforts.