Just to keep the bal rolling here is another excerpt from the book. Again I hesitate to put any of this "out there" as it is a first draft prior to any editing so please take it as what it is.
From Chapter Three - The Race
The racers on the RPA team all have a different agenda. I expect that for Jonah the expectation from many and from himself is to achieve a respectable finish. Ned has indicated he just hopes to just finish, although I am sure deep down inside he has a position in mind as a goal, after all he is a competitive person and experienced racer. I havent checked with Bill yet but I assume he falls into the same category as Ned. Whichever mind set they are in, one thing is true and that is that they are racing against time. For the top racers like Jonah this is an obvious thing to say, after all his time decides his placing at the end of the race. What is not obvious is that the privateers (racers without a full sponsorship who cover their own costs) are also racing time. Terms like the snowball effect or the trickle effect are used to describe this race against time. On the surface it looks like someone could set a gentle pace and finish each day near the back of the pack and in turn get a finishers medal. The reality is that this is not true. Every minute or hour they spend on the track is a minute or hour they don’t have at the end of the day to rest, eat and prepare for the next day. This is compounded by any misfortunes they have along the way. A crash or a breakdown that must be dealt with adds to the delay in getting to the days finish line and again eats into a racers time to properly prepare for the next day. The lack of preparation can and will begin to compound on a racer. Not enough sleep, lack of time to prepare their road book, lack of time to have their race equipment prepared and a lack of time to get enough food into them all lessen the chances of a successful finish not to mention that it begins to add to the danger factor to both racer and machine. The bike racers also have the cars and trucks to deal with. The top racers, like Jonah, probably don’t have this issue as the cars and trucks don’t typically catch up to them but the rest of the competitors do. The cars and trucks create massive dust clouds and pose a serious risk to the bike racers. The bikes are equipped with an alarm system that warns them of an approaching truck. This enables them to pull off to the side to let the truck pass safely, seems good but if you factor in that this adds time to their day then you begin to realize how the slower you go, the more trucks will pass you. This can contribute greatly to the snowball effect. So how does a racer not succumb to the dangers of the snowball effect? The answer seems simple and obvious, speed. Many privateers talk of riding at 80% of their top speed. At first I thought heck that sounds like a nice comfy trail ride but after giving this a lot of thought I realized that most competitors are very accomplished racers and their version of 80% is probably my version of 150%.
Charlie Rauseo has this advice in regards to the snowball effect “Ride Clean and Fast. Ride as fast as you comfortably can with very little risk of falling. Be opportunistic. When you can, twist the throttle to the stop. When conditions are tricky, slow down and survive. Save yourself and your bike, but don’t lose focus. Keep eating miles voraciously. Remember that falling wastes time on the trail and in the bivouac, so stay upright at all costs. When you get to the bivouac, take care of business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Don’t waste even a minute on a non-essential item. Make and follow a schedule of daily bivouac tasks. Get to sleep, and do it again. If possible, have an efficient, competent and dependable support crew”. The more I learn about the Dakar the more I begin to understand just what it takes for someone to get to finish line. People enter the race to challenge themselves; it is becoming very obvious that to get to the finish line means pushing your body, machine and your mind to the limits of what they can endure.