This is part 6 of our continuing series on our big offroad motorcycling wager.
You can read part one here.
There is no more time left to prepare. No more scheming, plotting, or psychological warfare can occur. The race begins in less than 24 hours now. All the equipment and parts have arrived, tire changes and roadside repairs have been practiced, now all that is left is to be punched in the face by the reality that is the Mojave Desert.
For a year now my competitor Gary and I have prepared for this. Five rear tubes, 20+ crashes and countless mistakes later, we are hopefully wiser and somewhat prepared for the two day solo trek through the desert. Neither of us should be anywhere near the other competitor as we have independently chosen our routes and we are starting roughly 50 miles apart. With no GPS allowed, each of us will have to memorize, chart, and follow our own route on paper maps and rally notes. Water, food, and camping supplies will have to be packed in. Same for spares and tools should anything go wrong.
The winner will be crowned the Better Man because he will have had to navigate the desert, deal with the eventual problems, and do it all at a quick pace. There will be no do-over of this bet and at no point will another “who’s the Better Man?” challenge be accepted between us. This is for life.
Speaking of life, it has occurred to me that there are some strange incentives to this bet. This is not a case of “the best revenge is a life well lived.” Say that I win (because if I don’t I’m moving to Europe forever), then the best thing I could do to shove it in Gary’s face would be to ruin my life. Let me explain – If I become a trillionaire who own modeling agencies, private jet companies, and an opium farm while Gary becomes Asst Kennel Cleaner at the local animal shelter, then obviously I truly am the Better Man and I really didn’t need the title to rub it in. And if we both become trillionaires then the title is just an asterisk to denote between equals. No, the best thing to do after I win is to become a syphilis-riddled street shambler who yells at seagulls and attempts to trade his shoes for a can of Four Loko at the corner store near my cardboard dream home. Only THEN will calling up Rich Gary every day to remind him that I’m the better man have any actual sting to it. So I guess that’s my plan.
As I prepare to buy my final supplies of water and food, I’m filled with competing emotions. I have a deep lust to be out in the middle of the desert, completely alone for hours in every direction, and soaking in the beauty of it. However, I am also aware that it is going to be 100 degrees in the middle of the Mojave and surely not all of my planning will go off without a hitch. Things will go wrong, as they always do. In a race it is difficult to “enjoy the journey” in those times and remember that you are making memories. I will have a stopwatch in my head for two days and will only relax after I have checked into the hotel with a time stamp of my arrival. I will attempt to appreciate the journey as mush as possible, but in the end this is a race through the Thunderdome that is the Mojave Desert – where two men will enter, but only one Better Man will leave.