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Old 01-10-2013, 05:57 AM   #223
PackMule
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: New Hampshah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neduro View Post
OK, one last post, sorry for piecemealing them, not trying to climb the leaderboard here.

The pics that I saw from today's stage seemed very familiar, not saying we were there, but it sure looked like what I remember. Assuming that's the case, there is some absolute dogshit riding coming along to compliment today's serving of it. What is coming is not necessarily particularly challenging technically, but it's also not technically pleasurable.

For miles, the roads are covered in silt, sometimes shallow, sometimes deeper. The silt is totally without form, it just covers what is beneath and obscures it from view. Unlike sand, it doesn't seem to have any density, it just melts around your tire.

In Baja, what lies beneath is typically ruts, but not here. In Chile, it is rocks, and you are riding along just waiting for the hidden rock to kick you. Imagine riding across a dirt parking lot that has baseball -> watermelon sized rocks strewn about, and you have a blindfold on. You wind up just bracing yourself for the next impact, unsure when it will come, and hoping that the interval from one unexpected hit to the next is long enough to get the bike collected. The reality of the hits is generally not as bad as the anticipation of them, if that makes sense.

I started calling Chile "the land of hidden surprises", that isn't meant as a compliment.

Lyndon and I share taste in trails pretty closely, so I feel a reasonable degree of confidence in predicting that his least favorite riding will be the next few days, and his most favorite will be in Argentina. Obviously, I have no perspective as they go further South into Chile, maybe that part will be strawberry shortcake land... but I doubt it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by neduro View Post
When I got oil from a spectator on Day 7, I chose the car with the most hot babes around it. And it was a debate, which one to choose! South America definitely has it all over Africa in that very important respect!

And that reminds me, I wanted to add a note about outside assistance.

From a rulebook perspective, it is very hard to legislate the difference between the mustachioed man, ie a team member in a non-assistance zone, and a random stranger along the course.

The top teams do have "ghost cars" full of parts and expertise, cars that are not entered in the race and are not legal. This is what the rules against assistance are trying to address, at least somewhat unsuccessfully I would add.

Since the very first editions in Africa, stories of resourceful entrants doing whatever it took to continue are legendary. I do not believe the ASO wants to end this practice, it is part of the adventure of the event. But they need something on the books to deal with the mustachioed man... and how do you define him differently to a fisherman loaning a competitor some bailing wire? It's a bit different to a "fisherman" loaning a competitor the exact billet carbon fiber part that he needs...

Along these same lines, I was also very concerned about carrying an iPhone, as there are numerous rules against having a gps, etc. I asked at scrutineering, and they said it was no problem at all, after all, it didn't have the route in it so it wouldn't do me any good.

My experience was that the ASO are trying to enforce the intent of the rulebook, which is that competitors are on an individual adventure and challenge, not the letter. Which is worth keeping in mind when watching the coverage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by troy safari carpente View Post
it's actually not that difficult Ned... by incorporating a couple of sentences into the rules governing outside assistance, the key words being; pre-arranged, by proir arrangement and/or pre-meditated... the intent being that any team who sets out to circumvent the outside servicing regulations, is guilty of a breach of the rules. Wether you use it or not is irrelevant.

You are quite right... there IS a big difference between a rider plugging away in the rear third of the field, who fenegles a few liters of fuel from a moped riding fisherman, on the off chance that he stumbles across such an individual while he is lost for the umpteenh time on that particular leg/stage. Or for that matter a car driver who having tore the front radiator support panel out of the front of the car in a nasty sand gully, fixes it using bailing wire and a stick welder procured from a defunkt roadside workshed in some godforsaken desert shanty town.

On the Oz Safari this is referred to as "living off the land"... and while it is not ENCOURAGED... it is not penalized either...

BUT it IS significantly different to the mustached homre getting around the course (and seen repeatedly over several different stages) in a plain clothed Toyota landcruiser, coincidentally loaded smock full of KTM 690 Rallye parts, wheels and accessories.

The charm of rally competitors finding "creative" ways to keep themselves in the race is as old as the DAKAR itself... and that should continue... but not at the expense of the rules developing into a free for all, of unregistered clandestine service vehicles all over the show.
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