Pavey Dakar Diary: day 5

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With not one but two Paveys in Dakar this year, as veteran campaigner Simon is joined by son Llewelyn, the pair still has a hard battle ahead of them to complete the arduous 9295km race across South America.

With what many labeled an ‘easier day’ yesterday a distant memory, Team SP FiFTYONE riders Simon and Llewelyn Pavey were faced with a physically challenging but beautifully scenic stage today in Chile.

Both riders are settled into the rhythm of the rally and very much adopted the ‘marathon not a sprint’ mentality necessary on days like these to be successful in the Dakar.

Simon Pavey

  • Start position: 69th
  • Finish Position: 71st

“I’ve recovered surprisingly well. I felt good today but really I knew it was going to be a long day with lots of fesh-fesh, and I hate the fesh-fesh because I’m not brave. I’m not brave on the bumpy sections beside the piste or risking going fast on the fesh-fesh so I’m happy to say I just trail rode today and, as Llel says, cruised.”

“There were bits of it that were really enjoyable and beautiful today, no question about it. Really nice to ride like a lot of yesterday was but there were also bits which seemed to never, ever end. Bits where you thought, ‘I’ve just got to get rid of this’ and then thank God when you did!”

“There was so much across like the kind of braking bumps you find on a motocross track, not whoops but the kind of bumps that beat the shit out of you, just endless and with no rhythm. I must have done the same bump compensating movement with my legs four million times today.“

“It's one of the things that blows my mind about the factory guys, and you can see why they have to be pro athletes. To ride that stuff for 500kms at any kind of speed is mind blowing.”

“We had a bad couple of days there where we dropped down the order a bit too much but now we’re riding in the ‘safe’ kind of area of the entry. I think all of us know we could go dramatically faster but we know we would kill ourselves physically.”

“It’s funny that I have these crazy things going on in my head when I’m riding along, I was thinking ‘wow, those guys who ride the sections where the ground is so hard to find a rhythm on, are just incredible.’”

“I won’t think about the rest day yet – we’ve got tomorrow to get through first!”

Llewelyn Pavey

  • Start position: 73rd
  • Finish Position: 69th

“It was long but not a tough one for me at all. I started out with the mindset of not pushing because I knew that if I tried a bit too hard anywhere, like I tried a bit too hard yesterday in the start of the stage, I'd run out of energy.”

“You can feel it if you use too much energy, after about four or five hours you just feel low on sugar and start to get all that basic stuff wrong like read the road book or choose the right lines.”

“When those little bits of concentration go, especially when it’s really hot again today, unless you’re a super athlete you can’t push – it’s dangerous really.”

“I think I still haven’t got over being really dehydrated on day two so I really cruised it today and because of the dust no-one could pass you anyway so it didn’t make me feel bad!”

“Then when we hit all the fesh-fesh I picked my own line a lot and went through all the rocks because it’s much easier I think and I seemed to do really well. I kept passing people and I wasn’t trying to, I was half throttle everywhere, cruising and making sure I was following the road book. Because I was passing people I didn’t have the desire to go full-gas. It’s good for your ego to pass people without trying too much and that stops you from trying too hard like you would if it was the other way around.”

“The good thing is I came to the end without feeling too tired and I needed that. My hands and my bum are sore but apart from that I feel good. One more day to go and then I’m looking forward to being able to sleep for most of a day!”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer