As I write these words I’m sat at the start of the second special stage in the leg from Chilecito to San Miguel de Tucumán. It’s 8.32pm and the sun is heading off for a G&T. In half-an-hour’s time it’ll be properly dark. We’re waiting for the Race2Recovery truck, which has been on the go since we left the bivouac together at 7.57 this morning.
Right now I’m veering towards the disgusting end of dirty. My arms have a bronze colour that might be a suntan or it might just be grit – I’ll have to wait for the rest day to know for sure. There are showers in the bivouac but they’re so densely populated with sweaty mankind as to be barely worth the bother. Even my toothbrush tastes funny.
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Yesterday Race2Recovery were reminded just how tough the DakarRally is. Losing both of the team’s Wildcat rally cars in a single day has been hard on everyone in this close-knit team. If you’re going to be successful in this epic event you have to commit a hundred per cent, which makes the knocks even harder to take.
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The question of clothing versus fashion fascinates me. Particularly in menswear, where even at the highest level the lines seem blurred. Clothing does what the name suggests. It clothes a body. But what does fashion do? It’s a noun and a verb. Perhaps fashion is about re-fashioning our bodies, or at least our perceptions of them. You could argue that’s what the pourpoint did – the fourteenth-century foundation garment worn beneath plate armour, heavily-padded on the chest to fill out the convex breastplate, which is acknowledged by many as the starting point of true fashion. Namely, when humans began to use the cut of the cloth to radically alter the shape of the human form. It still clothed the body, of course. But it also did something more. And it was worn by men.
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Not for no reason is the Dakar Rally the self-styled toughest motorsport event in the world. Today on stage 2, both of Race2Recovery’s Wildcat’s have retired from the rally, while the race truck is still battling through the dunes after assisting other competitors.
Last year Race2Recovery became the first amputee team ever to complete the Dakar Rally. This year, they’re back for another crack.
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