Dead Men Don’t Tell Tales by Guy Martin

Guy Martin can’t sit still. He has to keep pushing – both himself and whatever machine he is piloting – to the extreme. He’s a doer, not a talker. We’re thrilled to share an extract from pub landlord and speed freak Guy Martin’s latest book, in his own words, on the last four years of…

Guy Martin can’t sit still. He has to keep pushing – both himself and whatever machine he is piloting – to the extreme. He’s a doer, not a talker. We’re thrilled to share an extract from pub landlord and speed freak Guy Martin’s latest book, in his own words, on the last four years of his life that make the rest of us look like we’re in slow motion.

Dead Men Don’t Tell Tales

The route turned properly brutal. There was the odd bit of pedalling, but the majority was walking, me traipsing on the goat tracks with my bike at less than 4mph. It was horrible. And I was getting lost, losing the trail, looping back to find it and all the while knowing I’d made my bed. Kearny was way back, I had to push on. I was getting water from the river, but I’d run out of food. It was bloody hot, over 30 degrees.

Once I got home I looked at the path that my Garmin plotted, because it doesn’t just tell me the route, it logs where I went, so I could see the route I actually covered on that day, and I could see that I’d lost my head. At times I was actually going in circles. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t follow the path. At one point I was in a valley and thought I wasn’t getting a signal for my Garmin, so I ploughed on, because I thought I was running alongside the route. When I realised I wasn’t and I couldn’t get out the end of this valley, because the sides were so steep that I couldn’t climb up, I had to turn back and retrace my tracks. It’s not what I needed to be doing. It’s not improving my mood or mental state. I had buggered it up. Did I say I was out of food and it was fucking hot? I almost realise I’m making stupid mistakes even as I’m making them, but I can’t do anything about it.

Things were getting serious, as serious as they ever have for me on a bike ride. I started thinking about my Spot Tracker. This is a little emergency device that events like this either make you take, or strongly recommend that you do. It’s a way of people tracking you, so it times you and plots your route for timing purposes. That’s how they can accurately time these kinds of races. The Spot Tracker is also used as an emergency evacuation button. Back-country skiers and snowboarders, who go way out in the wilds, are some of the people who use them. You press the emergency evacuation button and the global rescue, whatever is needed, get alerted to try to find you. It’s almost like Thunderbirds ’ International Rescue. You pay to register for the Spot Tracker service, then you pay the bill for whatever it takes to rescue you. It’s only day four (day four!) and I’m asking myself, If it came down to it would I press the emergency evacuation button?

I decided I would never press it. I’d rather curl up and die. You’re paying for your life, but I’m not paying that.

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