03 JANUARY 2005 – SLEEP DEPRIVED
Rabat to Agadir (666 kms)
Liaison 122 kms
Special 123 kms
Note – Click here for the CMG Dakar Glossary (just in case you don’t understand some of the terminology used)
Although I had four hours to sleep I only managed to sleep for two – I just couldn’t relax. I was too wound up about all the little details I needed to take care of. I staggered through breakfast like a zombie, and wondered what I had gotten myself into. We hadn’t even arrived in Africa yet and I felt like I was already starting to fall apart …
But things were about to look up. The day’s special was a smooth and fast “road course” track built in the middle of a huge field and I loved it as much as I hated the beach in Barcelona.
I was in my element – clipping apexes road race style, whilst sliding both wheels – catching and passing riders who had started over a minute ahead of me. I had to keep telling myself to take it easy, as there was more to lose by crashing than there was to gain by going fast.
|The day’s special was enjoyed by all.Photo: maindruphoto.com|
I finished 60th out of 230 bikes and I was taking it easy – it was just fun to be on the bike. I really enjoyed it and it completely lifted my spirits.
I met up with my family again in Parc Assistance, and changed to the low front fender for Africa – giving away the high fender and fork guards to passing kids as souvenirs. After all, it would be cheaper to buy new ones than it would be send them back home.
With the European section done, it was time to say goodbye to my family. We were all able to hold back the tears – except for my Mom – and I set off for the boat to Africa on my own.
I reached the port of Algeciras to see the whole Dakar caravan being loaded onto ferries. Once I had my bike aboard and parked up, I ventured up on to one of the decks and made myself a little nest and tried to sleep.
I slept for a little while, but staying asleep was becoming a problem. In fact it was becoming a major frustration as I knew that I had to sleep as much as possible because the days were only going to get longer from now on. Of course, the more I worried about it, the harder it was to fall asleep.
It was dark when we docked at Tangiers, Morocco. While on the boat, Kevin and I, along with Charlie and Dave Rauseo, had decided to ride the 300 km road section to the Bivouac together.
I was one of the first to get off the boat and parked my bike to wait for the others to disembark. I walked over to Scot Harden to have a chat when suddenly there was a huge crash behind me; I spun around to see my bike lying on its side on the asphalt!
|Stress. Photo: Bob Bergman|
KTM 660 Rally’s are built like tanks but someone snoozed when it came to designing the side stand. They’re flimsy aluminium units that have a tendency to snap like a twig under the slightest load. Mine was no exception. I picked up the spring to use later and kicked the remains across the parking lot in disgust.
By the time we reached the Bivouac, it was well past 11:00 pm, and it had been a long cold ride. This was my first Bivouac and I had to figure out how it all worked, where the bike boxes were, where the KTM truck was and when exactly was dinner. All in all, just more things that added to the general stress level.
Finally, I managed to get myself fed, my road book prepared for the next day’s stage and, with my alarm set for 5:30 am, slipped into my tent.
Next day …
Dakar related Links:
Official Dakar website – Daily updates of the 2006 Rally.
Maindru Photo (who graciously supplied us with pictures) – Check out their daily update of pics from the 2006 Dakar.
Eurosport – Dakar 2006 coverage.
Total Motorsport – Latest news from a Dakar sponsor.
Adventure Rider website forum on racing – Lots of Dakar threads going on.
ODSC website – Read all about how Bob prepped his KTM 660.
Bob would like to thank the following people for helping make his Dakar adventure possible:
Jim, Colin, Richard and the crew at Cycle Improvements.
Michel, Paul and Jocelyn at Kimpex.
Guy, Patrick, Bill and Mario from KTM Canada.
Digby and the ODSC posse.
The Harden off-road crew.
Everyone on the U.S. Red Bull KTM team.
And of course Sharon McCrindle.