Dakar 2011 Cyril Despres final day Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Photofiles

Cyril Despres is back in the saddle and gearing up for Desafio Litoral, a six-day rally raid in northern Argentina…

It’s always easy for me to get excited about coming to South America to race. The place has become so important in terms of rally raids because it’s now the home of the Dakar Rally. It’s been a while since I have raced so this trip to Argentina is the perfect way to get back into action.

The Desafio Litoral takes place in a region of Argentina that I have never even seen before. I don’t know how the track will be or anything like that. This feeling of stepping into the unknown gets me excited to find out what I’ll be facing. I’ve got to know the deserts of South America from riding the Dakar but I’ve been told this race is more about twisty muddy tracks through forests.

Apart from the race conditions another factor I enjoy about these races in different parts of the world is coming up against talented bikers on their own territory. I enjoy the challenge of going to another country and trying to be beat the local riders on their own track.

I’m looking forward to introducing my buddy Taddy Blazusiak to my sport during the Desafio Litoral. Taddy is the current EnduroCross world champion but I also remember him being a great trail rider. I think those trail riding skills will help him out a lot in Argentina. The main thing for anybody racing rally raid for the first time is the navigation but Taddy’s a smart guy so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Something else to consider is the physical aspect of racing a six-day rally such as the Desafio Litoral. It’s been a while since my last serious race but I have been doing my best to stay fit and in good condition. The Tour de France came near my place in the Pyrenees the other day for the toughest stage of the race. That’s my training circuit!

I took part in an amateur bicycle race last week that took the same route as that really tough stage of the Tour. The race I did was 200km and went up and down the five biggest mountains in the Pyrenees. It was a great day out, I went with my team-mate Rubin Faria, my mechanic Benji and my brother-in-law. The race so tough and was happy to get it finished in under nine hours. I’m sure this training will help me when the Desafio Litoral gets started.

Until next time,

Cyril

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