I've been working hard on getting the opening chapters of the book complete prior to leaving for the race. Things seem to be coming along quite well. I hesitate to post anything from the book as its all in very rough draft so take it with a grain of salt of please....
A snippet from Chapter Two - The Team
A fellow who goes by the handle of Neduro on the internet will be the second rider on the team. Ned Seuse is a well known personality on the web and in the dual sport world. He has created a couple of how to videos for folks to learn proper technique while riding dual sport bikes. A few other entrepreneurial endeavours of creating pieces of equipment for dual sport bikes have contributed to his notoriety. This would be Ned’s first stab at the big one after several smaller sized rallies and desert races. I hadn’t met Ned before although I had read many of his race and ride reports on the internet and by all accounts he has a reputation as an all around nice guy. Ned had started a website and blog dedicated to his bike preparation and offering sponsor swag in exchange for a few bucks to help him with his finances for this race. I had already purchased some goodies from him a few weeks before and was eagerly anticipating following his attempt at the race, having him on the team was a great surprise to me. When I asked Charlie if he had met Ned before and if so what qualities he had that would lead to a success of crossing the finish line, Charlie had this to say “I've known Ned for years. He has called me constantly over the years pumping me for information about rallying. He started clueless, but now I think he is one of the most knowledgeable local people in regards to rallying. We met in person when he came out to one of our team testing sessions with riders Jonah and Casey McCoy at the Dumont Dunes (near Death Valley) in the summer of 2006. Ned is a very solid rider and very well prepared. I'd give him a great chance of finishing well. His most amazing talent is in self-promotion. He probably has a bigger fan base and more supporters now than Jonah. Ned and I have ridden together lots and we are both part of a small clique of American rally fanatics who run private rallies as often as we can”.
I have gotten to know Ned a bit over the last few months via emails and he comes across as a very friendly person. When asked what his goals were for the race his answer was “For me, the challenge of the Dakar is personal, not competitive- I want to finish, and if I'm dead last, that's fine with me”. Ned started a blog about his preparation for the race and began posting up information on his bike build and his physical training program. To say that attention to detail has been put into his bike is one heck of an understatement. He, along with a couple of his good buddies have built an extremely well thought out bike. Custom made fairing and aluminum support brackets amongst other details are engineering feats. I began to consider just how much prep Ned was doing for this event. The Dakar is full of clichés, one of which is “just getting to starting line is half the battle”. I knew this but watching the preparation Ned was doing really made this sink in. The list of details that go into being a competitor are mind numbing.
Based on all the preparation Ned was doing to get ready I had to ask him what was making him nervous going into the race. “The thing I'm most nervous about is having the chance to test myself taken from me, by a bike failure or navigation problem. I know that it will be an incredible test, and also an incredible joy to do the race, what I'm worried is that something unforeseeable, like a 5 cent seal, could fail in the bike and leave all the sacrifice of preparing for naught. There's nothing for it but to try, though!” I believe it is safe to say, based on what I have seen and read that Ned is about as prepared as a person could be.