Nerves got to me – first rally -Qatar International Desert Baja

What’s it like taking on your first rally, first road book rally and first desert race? Here’s my experience doing the Qatar International Desert Baja with QMMF. The nerves full on got to me, it was tough. But here’s more on my first rally:

That was the toughest thing I’ve ever done, bar my accident recovery. As my first ever roadbook event, first time in the desert and first time in the dunes it was definitely a dive into the deep end! The Qatar temperatures is what made it quite so brutal…with day two’s temperature peaking at 55 degrees the heat was overwhelming. Riding, focusing on the navigation, reading the terrain and trying to keep the pace up with a body battling overheating meant for an intense race. Pausing or slowing even slightly resulted in near unbearable intensity.

At one point, deep amidst the 80km of sand dunes, I had to ride 2km at a time. Focusing just on making it another 2km. And then another 2km. I knew if I stopped the heat would be worse, I also knew I was not going to quit! So I dug deep and kept going!

I’d say it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. There is so much new information and regulations to get your head around, it was hot, a new type of terrain and a complex navigation system using road books, and did I say it’s hot!? 39 degrees and humid. HOT. I went through moments of sheer panic, stress levels escalating, anxiety and even moments questioning everything I’m doing, am I mad?? In these moments I worked to break down what I was tackling. Taking little chunks at a time, deep breaths and trying to calm my mind. I realise these emotions are normal and I’m certainly not going to be quiting! But yikes I’m nervous.

Here’s my ranking in the Qatar International Baja desert race, my first rally:
🥈 2nd place in Women’s
13th in class of 26 riders
22nd overall of 40 including moto and buggies
Only 25 finished the race…!

Qatar International Baja
Qatar International Baja

Shattered would be an understatement!! But I would rather be completely exhausted from the hard times that breed success and see me grow, than well rested from achieving nothing! The Qatar rally was a serious push on my body, my mental capabilities and required some serious grit to keep pushing on. I genuinely didn’t realise it was possible to sweat so much or use so much brain capacity all at once. There were moments of pain. Moments I questioned if I could make it. But fighting on meant that the satisfaction at the end was just that much more epic! I did it!

I’m on a mission to prove that I can, even with a slightly reconstructed body! No excuses! Fight on!

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and

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