Pushing beyond the pain barrier

Dakar 2021 | Stage 8 | Sakaka > Neom
January 11 th 2021 - 11:15 [GMT + 3]

Audrey Rossat, a skilled enduro rider, is taking part in her first Dakar. The Frenchwoman is finding it physically tough and begins the second week trying to hang in there and complete the rally.

Again yesterday, Audrey Rossat reached the finishing line of the first special on the marathon stage with gritted teeth. The Frenchwoman, in sixty-ninth place, 3 hours and 39 minutes behind the stage winner, took the time to sit down with the organisers at the finish to have a bite to eat and drink a little, enjoying a hand massage from the doctor in charge of checking the competitors’ state of health. After clinging to the handlebars of her KTM for more than eight hours, Audrey admits she is suffering more than she would have imagined. “I was told it was easy and I let myself be fooled…” jokes the lady rider who threw herself into the adventure on the recommendation of her trainer. “It’s long and technically difficult. At the start of the special, I can ride well and even manage to overtake other riders, especially in the sand, because the pain isn’t as insistent. However, on rocky ground as the kilometres start to tick by, I have trouble keeping hold of the bike and find it difficult to accelerate. And when I have to pick the bike up, it’s very tough”. Nevertheless, with several French and European championship titles under her belt, as well as team world championship crowns, this police officer by trade is not unfamiliar with all-terrain riding. “In enduro, even on six day races, we don’t ride as much,” she points out. “During stage 5, I spent more than fifteen hours on the bike. I’d never done that before. I think you have to be a bit crazy to do this...” In spite of the suffering, Audrey will not be throwing the towel in. “I’m hanging in there for all the people who are supporting me and because I’ve made a big effort to be here. I’m not enjoying riding anymore or admiring the landscapes, it’s now all about pushing beyond the pain barrier – it’s a purely personal thing now”. An attitude that the Frenchwoman shares with many other competitors…

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