It was a great stage for the team today with the end result being that Cyril (Despres) was able to increase his lead at the top of the race. I was feeling good and I was able to catch up to the front early because the soft mud was creating an easy track to follow.
For the last part of the stage I got together with Cyril we were able to ride out the rest of track together. I wanted to try and find my own way so I pulled out in front a little bit. I wanted to test myself with the navigation I’ve been learning and prove to myself I could make it back okay. It was satisfying to pick up the waypoints and not get lost like I had before.
I’m here to learn and the best way to do that is to take the initiative and put myself out at the front of the race. Now tomorrow I’m going to open the road because of today’s stage win and that’s going to be another challenge. I’m happy to be in this position because I have not come here to just follow everybody else. If I did that I would leave this race not having really tested myself and that would be a disappointment.
Today is another stage win for the team and that’s always good. Things are looking better for us now then they were in the first week of the race. The start of the race was a little dodgy for us but things are starting to smooth out and we’re all feeling better.
It’s not just the navigation that is new for me at the Dakar. At this race you are on the bike so much because of the long liaison sections before and after each stage. At the Dakar you’re on the bike all day and your butt gets very sore. There’s nothing easy about the Dakar, in terms of mental fatigue I have done anything like this before.