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From the mountains of Utah to the dunes of Peru. From snow powder to soft sand, the difference isn’t that big for Nathan Rafferty. A keen biker, the CEO of Ski Utah, in charge of the 14 resorts of his state switches from a passion to the other and believes both are actually very linked especially when it comes to riding in the sand. Having competed on the original route or the rally during last year’s Africa Eco Race, the American wanted to go one step higher and took the big step up to the Dakar, the real one. This father of three has three objectives in the following order: to come home in one piece, to finish and to be in the Top 40.
“The Dakar is the ultimate thing. I wanted to do what can be compared to a Grand Tour in cycling (like the Tour de France). I wanted to start by competing on the original African route of the Dakar. But I guess it’s like a disease. Once that was done, you want to do another. I was on a good role so decided to go for the Dakar. I was told: If you don’t go now, you’ll be one year older. And the fact it was in Peru made it very attractive to me. I believe there are many similarities between skiing and riding a bike, between sown powder and sand dunes. The faster you go, the easier it is in both. I think there’s a good crossover and it feels natural for me. The objective is to first be safe and come home in one piece, then finish, and I’d like to be in the Top 40. I don’t worry too much about my body or navigation. My main concern is having a mechanical issue because you have zero control on that. I guess in terms of preparation you really have to reduce the percent of things you can control and that means having the best bike and the best possible team. And of course I’m going to the Dakar to enjoy myself. I’m looking forward to this. Before, on my first races, I didn’t know what to expect. There was anxiety. Now I do and I want to have fun.”
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