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Old 01-18-2013, 12:47 AM   #463
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Austria
Oddometer: 10,161
This is why we do it.

Originally Posted by K_N_Fodder View Post
I tell you guys, I've had a shit attitude for the last few months with all the crap going down in the US, little kids getting shot in school, etc. Just starting to weigh me down, getting pretty brittle actually. Clinging hard to my family, having a tough time controlling my emotions like a normal grown man would at times. Giving lots of long hard hugs to my kids. Probably not enough long hugs to my wife :).

But then the Dakar comes along and I get to follow a bunch of people I don't know, struggling mightily every day. One of them walking in the dunes right now, 1:33 AM in Chile, pushing a 150cc bike for crying out loud. A guy who probably hasn't slept more than 4 hours a night since early January, and keeps going. Watching one of them who we know well after many heartbreaking failures, telling his wife on a satphone that he's just too old for this after getting run down by a truck. Another, with no expectations, making a top ten finish and then a few days later repairing a potentially race ending failure with zip ties and liquid steel. All the while taking his time to call in to his friends and report every night. A young gal, one of only two on bikes and back of the pack, stopping to help other riders when nobody else would. Another guy, a star, stopping to help a mid pack rider with a broken leg, and then that rider going out of his way to show appreciation from a hospital bed in a foreign country. A snippet from the wife of a rider, relating how her husband was breaking down because he missed his little girl's first day of school. And a million other human stories in this contrived, yet very real drama.

And then... the massive community of people supporting them, shouting for them, scrounging around on the internet looking for scraps of information because this huge, human enterprise, in one of the most spectacular areas of the world, isn't big enough news to be given more than a few minutes in the middle of the night. Providing high end analysis based on years of following racing and for some many years of actual racing. Building sophisticated tracking software and sharing it for free instead of sleeping. Juggling a family and running interviews for the F5 crew, and then soliciting funds so the riders aren't burdened by internationally sized phone bills. Finding a tire mousse for a kid who has nothing but still managed to get there. Finding and communicating information for hungry fans and worried friends and spouses. Postulating endlessly on why this person is 10 minutes late and that 10 minutes early. Cheering foreign TV streamed on a small laptop screen and screaming when the deadly "snooker" appears.

It's an interesting deal and one that I simply can't fathom why isn't a BIGGER deal in this country. I'm very glad to be part of it, even if barely hanging on after another 11 hour work day. Thanks a bunch you guys and gals, it's going to be weird when it's over. Now, time to do my workout (ugh), get to bed, and do it all over again...


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