How to survive the Dakar
A beginners guide to spectating at the world's most demanding endurance competition
Posted: 22 Jan 2014
We've been all the way up to San Rafael, grabbed some biscuits and water, headed west a bit and now south again. Crumbs and empty bottles now litter the car. Gotta keep hydrated and, er, biscuited. The scenery has perked up - we've climbed several hundred metres through scrubby brown scenery and have popped out on to a high plain. On a distant hillside I spot a gaucho on a horse.
We home in on the Embalse del Nihuil. It's a lake. A dip would be tempting right now, even if our tee-shirts weren't sticking to our backs. We sweep down round a couple of hairpins and spot a bar overlooking the water. There are shady tables outside and people eating chunky sandwiches. I can sense droplets glistening on Coke bottles...
"Aw, c'mon", says Robert.
None of us reply. If we stop now, we'll never get started again. We've been in the car seven hours and have yet to see a Dakar machine at race speeds.
At the edge of El Nihuil there's a turning circle. That's how the road ends. Or rather that's how the tarmac ends. The Garmin is still insisting route 180 continues and certainly there are tracks spearing off into the desert. We clump up over the kerb and continue.