Ask a fool- answers part 1

 These are some really great questions- here
goes with answering them.


solution have you ended up with for the skid plate?


After a ton of experimentation with enduro
bikes, which are probably harder on the plate than a rally  bike, I’ve come to love the stock plastic
plate. It’s easy on, easy off, and rocks and such seem to glance off rather
than sticking and peeling like they can on Aluminum. The only breaks I’ve seen
have been in cold weather, and I don’t think that will be my main issue in
South America.


How have
you solved the 3 liter water rule?


This is our last fabrication battle. I had a
bunch of ideas, none of which worked how I wanted them to, so we’re going to
weld an aluminum tank that goes on the left side of the bike, beneath the fuel tank,
and protects the front of the oil cooler and lines, the bottom radiator bib,
and the petcock on the gas tank.


Do you
have enough fuel capacity?


I think I answered this in my last post, but
yes, I believe I do.


How are
you carrying tools?


There will be a mix of locations for tools
and spares on the bike. First, Wolfman Luggage is making a couple of custom
bags that will tuck inside the fairing, on top of the gas tank. This will be
for light stuff rather than tools. 
Second, I’ll put some parts inside the airbox, hose clamped to the
subframe (like tire irons and spare chain links). Finally, there will be a
small tail pack, and I’ll carry the balance in the Klim Rally Jacket. I won’t
have a massive amount of tools- just the basics that you can get through most
problems with.


Can you
keep the engine cool?


I suppose it remains to be seen, but the
indications are good. Radiator fan + CPW Oil Cooler (thanks, Steve at Adventure
Moto Australia!) should mean I’m OK. It’s been good so far, anyway. :-)



Ned, I
think I spotted you wearing the new Klim Badlands jacket in a previous post?

Would be
interested to know how you are finding it?


Again, see my last post. Short answer is,
it’s great. Very nicely made, very good circulation and materials choices, very
comfy. I have tested it in heat, but not in rain so far.


what kit you will be taking and why?


This is going to be a post all itself with
photos, so I’ll beg off for the moment.


curious about your daily/weekly training routine. What specifically do you do
every day to get your physical endurance, strength and stamina up to Dakar


My physical
fitness training is breaking down into 4 basic parts.


First, I’m
seeing a trainer 2-3 times every week and she beats me to a pulp, focusing on core
and upper body. Loads of reps, usually done on a ball or unstable footing so
that you have to balance and stabilize as well as lift the weight. She’s
awesome but kind of heinous in how bad she makes me feel.

Second, I’m
also doing a hard bicycle ride or hike (here in Colorado Springs, we have one
particular hike called the Manitou Incline which is 2500 feet of climbing in a
mile. It hurts!), sometimes twice a week.

Third, I’m
getting out on the Moto, especially as fall has been so gorgeous.

Finally, as
I alluded to in the mountain biking post, I’m trying to get an Epic long
duration low intensity workout every week or 10 days.


And of
course, it’s key to take a couple days off to let my body recover.


I’d be
interested in how you are training? Whats your schedule and are you doing or
going anywhere special to train as Race Day gets closer?


interpreting this as more to do with riding than physical training, please
correct me if that’s wrong. See above for the fitness side…


I’ve been
working really hard for the last 10 years to improve my riding technique, and
at this point, I think I’ve got what I’ve got, and won’t have any new tricks to
show between now and then. So, I’m not going anywhere special, beyond trying to
get enough time in the desert to stay sharp.


I also think
the best training for racing, is riding. There is so much mental to riding and
the only way to get at that is in the saddle, and then there are the “minor”
physical things like well calloused hands, and so on. I intend to keep riding
right up until I leave for SA.


We who
ride motorcycles understand that there are certain risks that we take that
those who do not ride are not exposed to. By deciding to ride the Dakar, you
take that level of risk to a whole different level. Chance of serious injury or
death is a very real part of the race. My question is,’has anyone close to you,
tried to talk you out of doing the Dakar because of concern over your safety?


This is a really great question. To answer it
concisely, no one has tried to convince me otherwise, but honestly, it’s in
keeping with my lifestyle for the last few years, which has seen unsupported
rides in Africa and Mexico, racing in lots of places, and so on. From a risk
standpoint, the Dakar has so many safety measures in place, from the GPS beacon
to helicopters and so on, I’m not convinced it’s more dangerous although the
potential for risk is clearly there.

At another level, I don’t intend to do
anything stupid in the race- I can’t if I want to finish. I won’t be on the
hairy edge of traction if I can help it, I won’t be blitzing into stuff blind,
I won’t push my luck in dust. I’m going to do my damndest to make that race


And I’m going to fill out my will and wishes
before I leave. It’s that kind of event and that’s OK with me.


I am
wondering if you have a favorite story of the Dakar or other rally?


One story
that sticks with me is from James Embro, who finished in 2006. He was
exhausted, stuck in the dunes, in a hole he couldn’t get out of. He called his
wife on the satellite phone to tell her he was quitting, and she told him she
did not support the decision. In the end, he dug a ditch/ tunnel all the way
through a dune, so that he could push his bike out of the hole, and wound up
getting to the bivouac that night and the finish a week later. Over and over
again, I’ve heard stories of people who had every reason to quit, and didn’t.
That is fascinating and motivating and exciting to me, and I wonder what
stories my race will create.


unusual things are you expecting to encounter in South America that you
wouldn’t find Say in Northern Texas?


Loads of
things- 16,000 feet for one, and giant enormous dunes for another. I’m told we’ll
have pumice dunes in Peru, although I haven’t seen them (yet). What I’m excited
for are the sustained distances of incredible country. Nevada starts to have
some of this, but only in Africa have I experienced it in full scale, where you
run mile after mile after mile in the most incredible and desolate
surroundings. I can’t wait for that.

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