Originally Posted by Nitro
damm my internet sucks, this is the 4th time i tried to post this
Hi there guys
Here we are,one week later at the rest day.
It is great to be here after a hectic week at the "office".I had a slow start to it all.I kind of always get so intimidated by all the action around me and need to settle in.The quality / ability of riders has improved tremendously and the advantage I thought I might have in the dunes , did not materialise.I did catch up in the dunes but lost it on the high speed sections that I absolutely hate with a passion.The first week had a lot of really fast sections in it,and dust was a major problem.The stage from Calama to Salta was so fast that the average speed over 276km of special stage was 110 km per hour................that is insane.One could ride the bike at full "taps" for the first 120km, then it slowed down, but the dust was so bad that you could not overtake.
My dislike to quads increased by a 120% ( just joking ) ,because I got stuck twice behind a quad in a stage and had to follow the guy to the finish with a fright train of riders following me.We were all "luss" to wring the guys neck..........bloody fooooool !!!!!
Riding over the Andies was very cold again,but I was prepared for that.I should have duct taped the air vents on my helmet, because the only part of my body that froze was my sculp...........wish I had some hair.But luckily the "solar panel"of mine survived the freezing temperature.
I was very shaken by the tragic accident of the young French rider.Most of us were infront of the rider,so we did not know about the accident until the finish of the liaison.Rumers has it that he fell asleep,because he hit the police car on a bend on a downhill ( he was either going to fast and lost control or fell asleep ).We had past a hight of 4975 meters and on the way down I suffered from a headache and also had to pull over because I was feeling very tired.It is just tragic and it gets you to think how dangerous this is.
The last 2 days were a marathon stage where we as bike riders don't get to see our service crew.It was 2 long stages and the organisers had it in for us.The bivouac was in a gymnastic hall and we were all supplied with sleeping mats/blankets/shoes/t-shirts/toothbrush........you name it, to keep us comfortable.We were only allowed to work with what we could carry on us,but in extreme cases there was a service truck were on could lend tool from.
Yesterday was for a change my day with some magic riding terrain.I felt so at home and was able for the first time to ride the way I know I can.Major luck was involved, I have to add that,but that is all part of it,I guess.The day was devided into 2 special stages,but due to lots of rain the night before the organisers were forced to cancelle the first part because of the rivers that were overflowing.
The cool thing was that the most part of the special was wet,so dust was not an issue.The ride was very technical and very tiring .Lots of riverbeds with rocks,small choppy dunes,fesh-fesh that was wet for a change,but still difficult to ride.I passed a lot of riders. We got to a riverbed were there was mayor confusion with the navigation.The American,Casselli was the culprit ,he headed off in the wrong direction and everybody followed him.The top riders were riding in circles and lost at that time already a good 20 minutes in race time.I followed my road book and took the correct route and just rode on.
I am in absolute shock guys...............15th overall for the day.........I am lost for words.
I am "kakking" myself ( sorry for the French guys ) to start among those super fast guys tomorrow.At least I have Brett there to hold my hand ( he finished in an awesome 17th for the day ) and we made out that we will ride together after the start.
My bike is running like clockwork and for now we are not changing the engine.When Jan does the oil changes he takes special care in studying the oil sieve for metal pieces,and the oil was super clean up to now.The bike is not having trouble to start and is not smoking,so for now we will monitor the situation closely.One gets penalised for engine changes,so we will only do it if it is really necessary.
Having Gilly here is such an amazing experience.She is Daves and my Dakar mummy.She does washing for us every night, see's to it that we take our pills and" buzzes" around us to keep us happy.There is nothing like a women's touch to keep us kids in control.
Charles is taking care of passport / customs when we need to pass borders.He downloads all the Go Pro footage and helps with everything.He is our daddy to the equation."Jannemanne" and Onno are in control of servicing the bikes,changing tyres and driving endless hours.We are a really cool team and have no issues what so ever.
I believe that "Lisa Lips" is in her element of keeping you guys updated.Thanx my bock,I really appreciate that you do this for all of us.
To all of you out there, Thanx for routing for me. Makes me feel special that I can represent our country at this level.Week 2 is upon us, the harder part of the rally, so lets see what lies ahead.
I want to stand on that podium in San Diago.
You all take care and hold thumbs.
All the best