Originally Posted by doyle
I watched the Dakar each year through the 90's catching it on Speedvision, never religiously and at the time, my interest was in F1 and GT road racing. I used to watch Dakar for the cars and the trucks, those giant trucks.
In the 2004 coverage, something caught my eye, a KTM 660. WTF is that I thought. That looked cool so an internet search later I happened upon ADVrider and joined up to find out more about this bike...and then I was completely hooked.
Back then, the bivouac stories came three weeks later when Charlie chimed in with a post or two. Eurosport coverage was unobtanium in the states. and we would lap up every ounce of information we could get. 2005 was the first I followed with a real passion for it, the rules, the route, the riders. From that point on, the car race means very little to me. I don't even bother looking at the rankings. We learned the posis lists, the little tricks like when the French version of the list would update a minute or two before the english version as we formulated the early days of F5orce as a race to post the information of who was at what CP or WP. We had maps and tracks to see the route and the rider on that route (if it actually was working).
Charlie Rauseo and Roaring Horse, Scot Harden were our direct connections to the race as well as the rare post by Jimmy Lewis. It grew each year as we got better and more organized at sourcing the information, but it still mostly came from dakar.com. There was no twitter or FB or separate trackers, no Eurosport or France4, no youtube.
Now, quite frankly I've given up trying to keep up from a posting perspective. I lurk through every post, read all the information, but my output is usually twitter and my blog as so many others have joined the fray here and taken the reins. Quite frankly, the pace is that of the US debt, it has taken on a life of it's own and with my new job this year, I simply can't take two weeks of "inter-office personal days" as much as I used to.
I love every minute of it though between the real time aspect of knowing the exact moment that Chavo has stopped for McDonald's on the liaison, to video of RG rolling in the middle of nowhere getting posted to the web within 15 minutes, it is impossible to consume it all without being overwhelmed. I've come to discover that I enjoy writing about it, I try to keep up with my wrap ups and try to dig into stories that are a little more technical or that catch my eye as needing more depth rather than the play by play anymore although via twitter, I try to feed the minute by minute happenings and this year over other, the positive response has been both humbling and overwhelming. Like others, I have no one in the real world to discuss this with. My wife sees the obsession for two weeks each year and tolerates it, but it's my "hobby" and my little dork blog". People at work see my wallpaper and ask if it's me...if they only knew how much I wished it was.
This thread is so much fun each year and I am honored to have somewhat fallen into the old guard of starting it and it's such a great feeling to see how everyone has adopted into the process and have run with it. Just looking at the stats of how the thread grows each year over year is stunning. We are doing in a day what we did for the entire two weeks back in 2005 and 2006.
After all of that, I'll never forget Packmule calling me up on the first day of the 2008 rally as I was walking to my car for work and breaking the news that the whole thing was cancelled. Gutted.