On the Piste?
First off – remember the sandy ‘piste’ of a road in the Blue Stones video? if you didn’t look at the vid – just think soft, loose, shifting sand with occasional lumps, bumps and rocks and lots of cursing and the odd pulled muscle.
Following this little bit of piste, a long discussion took place between myself and Dennis with some contributions from some of the other riders. To sum it up, it was plain to see that some of the others weren’t sure whether “roads” such as this were going to be viable for either Bikes or riders. Most were happy to give it a go regardless – fair play to you lads. I however knew some things for sure;
1./ I had absolutely no experience offroad. (i don’t count the afternoon playing on the strand at Dollymount in Dublin nor the hour I spent up the mountains, twenty years ago on a DT 175).
2./ A ‘piste’ to me meant an ‘unmetalled’ road – but a road nonetheless. Not a track worn into the scenery by the passage of vehicles over it! I was wrong. Maybe I should have …. “sought clarification” before we left. (n.b. the last sentence is heavy on sarcasm and if read aloud would be through gritted teeth.)
3./ If or when I fall off on the proposed route of 800kms piste through Mauritania I will break. Did I mention I have Osteoporosis? That I need to inject myself daily with the male equivalent of H.R.T. treatment to combat this? There is no doubt about the break risk. I can break a rib pushing a Bike. I have literally done just that – it’s easy, just stop suddenly and insert elbow into ribs and ‘click’ – broke rib. While I have taken every possible precaution to protect my fragile bits with head to toe armour, to attempt such high miles over such low grade ‘road’ would be foolhardy and not only would it feck up my trip, the inconvenience that it would cause would feck up EVERYbodys trip! (Oh – and I might be in pain… a bit too.)
4./ Does anyone know where these 800 kms of piste are in Mauritania? because as far as I can tell – there simply isn’t that much piste on the route through the country!
Dennis was not happy as it had been his dream from the start of Scooters in the Sahara to do just this and on the two previous trips it had been vetoed. Now I go and stuff another spanner in his works ensuring it wouldn’t happen on this trip either. I refused to do it. He made the observation that he didn’t think I’d make the trip – that I wasn’t capable of completing it if this was my outlook.
This did not sit well with me as you can imagine. His opinion of me was low. My opinion of him was… subterranean.
The issue came up time and again, with Dennis hell bent on going on the piste. Until we actually got to Mauritania and we didn’t.
We did do some piste further on in the trip – about 75 miles I think. More about that later.