Only two days left before the start of the Hellas Rally in Karpenissi, Greece, and I finally got here. After shipping my bike from Chile to Poland, all that was left to do was ride it to Greece. I expected a quick and smooth ride – it’s May, after all – but I was in for a big surprise, mostly in the form of snow. After a few thousand wet and cold kilometers through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania, I’m finally here, and this is what it looked like:
On the way, I managed to forget half the navigation equipment on Dirt Bike Jesus‘ bike (he is kindly lending me his roadbook navigation setup for the rally), surprise some skiers in Davos by showing up at a closed mountain pass on my bike, and generally just barely make it due to dodgy Balkan border crossings and the never-ending bad weather. Still, I’m here, and I’m ready to race… almost.
After getting some help to install the navigation tower on Lucy, getting off-road tires, and doing a quick oil change and (hopefully) passing scrutineering tomorrow, all that’s left to do is ride and survive. Although I’m told that the terrain will not be too treacherous, the special stages are going to be long, and the navigation, technical. As rally racers begin to arrive to Karpenissi, I’m realizing how out of place I am; people are talking about cool techy things, gadgets, techniques, sponsors, nutrition, and speed. I’m just here with my DR650, some Powerade, canned tuna salads from Lidl, and optimism, but I figure, as long as I keep showing up each day, I might just have a shot at finishing this thing. Whatever happens, this is an amazing experience among some kickass riders from all over the world, and I’m grateful to even be here.
Let the games begin.