Behind the Scenes: Bivouac Facilities

15 January 2009 | 0:00 - By Christophe Barriere-Varju

Competitors have access to a number of facilities during the event.


The obvious one is the canteen that is accessible for breakfast starting at 3:30am and dinner from 7pm. The food is pretty good and balanced.

Each morning after breakfast we are given a ration bag for the day. Inside we have nut bars, pate, salad can, biscuits, and orange juice. Some of the food is not really practical to carry in our jacket so it is important to carry your own supplies as well.

We also have access to massages (15-20 minutes per day). The therapists are really good and after 800km of effort, massages feel really good and relieve much of the muscles tension. Motorcycle riders suffer from numbness in their hands after about the fifth or sixth day. Our hands get a little puffy and it becomes difficult to make a fist. Massages help.

There is the obvious medical tent - that we all try to avoid - with really knowledgeable and helpful doctors, and including x-ray facilities.

Doctors will let you race if the injury is not too dangerous long term. They understand the sacrifices we all make to participate in the event and will help in any way they can to make you cross the finish line. In 2007 they were able to help me get rid of a hand infection that had affected all my tendons. For five days I was being cared for at 4:30am and 10pm at night.

This year, planes have been replaced with two trucks that carry a set of spare wheels and one trunk.

Every day, motorcycle competitors have access to an area called "Malle Moto" to access our trunks. Elf is a major oil sponsor as well, and competitors get free oil and Loctite (duct tape, nut glue etc.). There is a team of people always willing to help.

This year we had internet facilities (10 Euros for 20 minutes or 4 Euros per 100kb). This area still needs major improvement for the future, as the satellite connection is not only too expensive but extremely slow.

Showers and toilets. Just one sentence to describe it:

"Be the first to use them!"

Christophe #205
Team Rally Australia

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About this Blog

Christophe Barriere-Varju is riding for Team Rally Australia in Dakar 2010. Follow Christophe's story and feel the emotion and inspiration through his blogs for SBS during his South American adventure.

Christophe Barriere-Varju Christophe Barriere-Varju is one of the world's leading off-road motorcycle racers.
He competed in the 2006 and 2007 Dakar Rallies, and is set to take the challenge once again in 2010. Christophe also runs a charity foundation called Dreams Do Come True, which helps others - especially disadvantaged children, achieve their goals. Born in France, raised in West Africa, and completing his education in California, Christophe now resides Down Under and is a rider for Team Rally Australia.