Dakar: Face to Face, day six

Face to Face The Dakar Magazine January 5, 2005 Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind... Rodolphe Devedija - Africa Raid Aventure - 078 "I had to ride...

Face to Face
The Dakar Magazine
January 5, 2005

Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind...

Rodolphe Devedija - Africa Raid Aventure - 078

"I had to ride 280 km with the front of my bike in my hand"

The French Gendarmerie came with big expectations on the Dakar : 2 motorbikes, 1 car and 1 assistance truck started the race in Barcelona. In the bike category, alongside the experienced Vincent Puren, a newcomer decided to live his dream: Rodolphe Devedija. This former French javelin champion in the junior class discovered yesterday what the Dakar really was. After a big fall during the stage, the rider had to hold the front of his bike for almost 300 km.

"It was a really big crash in the rocky part of the stage, as he said just after crossing the line. Luckily, I didn't hurt myself, but when I rose up the bike, I saw that the head of the fork was unsoldering just under the handlebar. I wasn't sure at all to continue the race, but I tried to and it works. But that was very uncomfortable, because I held the handlebar with a hand, and the wheel protection with the other during 280 km." Added to that, he had to wait for an hour and a half on the bivouac before his assistance arrived. A long while for a man close to giving up! In fact, just the time to realized that he was very close to give up.

At 35 years of age, Roldophe Devedija is an enduro specialist, who is used to ride with the throttle wide open, and although he knows that the Dakar is a race of patience, he explained his fall was due to too his risky riding. " I know that it was my fault, because I trusted myself to much. It's a shame because I would have liked to ride with Vincent, but it isn't possible. The difference in level between us is too important. He has a huge experience and I'm just a beginner. He knows the good pace to ride at and I don't."

Indeed, his team mate is an instructor in the French motorcycling 'gendarmerie' and has ten Dakars behind him. So he knows perfectly what to do to make it to Dakar. An experience he is tried to give to Roldophe Devedija during their common preparation on the fantastic training camp of the gendarmerie called 'la mer de sable' (the sea of sand): 70 acres of sand an dunes in Fontainebleau. But not quite Mauritania yet...

-aso-

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