Our mate Craig is getting ready to ride this years Dakar in the iron man class (Malle Moto).
We are going to be follwoing his progress every single day and you can check in here to see how things are going over the next few weeks. Tamsin will be keeping everyone updated here is her first and second installment.
Hi all - Happy New Year!!!
Thanks again for supporting Craig in the Dakar. I will sending out a daily email to you all on how Craig is getting on. If you dont want to receive it please let me know.
Craig and Paul Jay flew to Lima on the 30th and after along flight went straight to pick up their bikes. Craig said it was the quickest they had got the bikes through customs etc - sometimes this takes all day where you are queing in the hot sun with lots of other Dakar competitors. They are staying just out of town where they met up with Pauls mechanic Mike Rowley. You maybe aware that Craig is doing Malle moto which means he will be doing all the mechanics himself on the Dakar, whereas most of the other competitors have a mechanic and team behind them. There is a trophy for Malle Moto which Craig would love to win - fingers crossed he will have no problems. He finished the Dakar on his first attempt, becoming the first Welshman to do so, on his second go he had engine problems on the second to last day which put him out of the rally where he was running in the top 20. On his last attempt he crashed out on day 5 and dislocated his shoulder. He feels he has got demons to face and really wants to finish.
Training has gone well throughout the year with us doing lots of mountain biking etc and for the last couple of months Craig had a personal trainer with Elite Fitness, Cardiff which was sorted out by Elite Cymru - who support the best athletes in Wales. We have also just been out to Namibia sanddune and navigation training which went very well.
If you have eurosport you can watch daily highlights but if not you can subscribe to eurosport http://tv.eurosport.co.uk/ and watch it on your computer. You can also go on the Dakar website where you can track the competitors throughout the day - be careful though it is very addictive and you may not get any work done.
I will be speaking to Craig most days so if you want to send any messages that I can pass onto him - please do.
Hope you have a fantastic 2013.
Just had a quick chat with Craigo - he's been working on the jetting for the bike so it runs right at altitude - always a tricky thing to do especially as the altitude changes quite alot day to day, with the heat and deep sand it can make a hell of a difference getting it right. On day 3 in 2010 over 20 bikes went out of the rally in Argentina as their bikes wouldnt pull in the sand. I was nearly one of them and literally had to push the bike for miles. At midnight I was still out on the stage and the only way I could get up the dunes was to drop the bike in front of the trucks and get them to help push me up. I got in at 2.30am and had to start the next day at 5.30am. The next day the bike was running fine.
Tommorow is scrutineering which is a really swanky affair - not in the back of a trailor or caravan like some Brit enduros and they will have their first taste of the crowds of spectators. It's great to be amongst the bikes, cars, buggies and trucks all looking brand new and shiny, with people shouting for your autograph. Its a real relief to get through the final check with is normally the sound check. Craig has a story of stuffing some wire wool up the exhaust to muffle the sound, when he started the bike the examiner was looking up the exhaust and it shot out and hit him in the face. I think he was so shocked he just let it go.
Craig said to say thanks to everyone who has supported him and who believe in him - he's going to try his best.
Remember everyone - DREAM BIG - It can happen.