For Deux North's Hunt 5, we teamed up with Specialized Bicycles to take a group of 7 hunters to Spain on their new Diverge. The hunt opens in Salou, a sleepy beach town just outside of Barcelona. Just a few miles from the coast the WRC, World Rally Championship, has set up headquarters and the air is vibrating with engine noise.
We rendezvoused with our hosts, two Irishmen who have dedicated their lives to the sport of rally racing. They show us to the Citreon team tent, explaining navigation, team cars, and crews to us along the way. Calmly waiting for us inside his trailer was champion driver, Kris Meeke. We spent the next hour leaning forward, hanging on every word as Kris casually described through a thick Irish accent hairpin turns on dirt at breakneck speeds, and skating a fine line between chaos and control. For him, comfort comes as the edge nears.
It’s the kind of stuff that leaves you wondering what he has that you don’t. Why do some people push the boundaries set by other people? What makes some people look at one thing and see something else? To some, Kris and his fellow sportsmen are simply adrenaline junkies fiending in between races then riding the high offered by every new course and record breaking ride. But the hunter sees something else.
In the spirit on every rally driver is the dreamer, explorer, inventor, and yes, adventurer. Their burden is the urge to push forward, to go into the darkness, to chase a future they only see. For these special few, these masters of moving forward, the weight of every unknown, dark night, and untouched gravel road is felt in the pit of their stomach. From the first rally driver who looked at the automobile to the hunters that inspire us today.
Kris’ words, the thoughts they provoked, and the feats we saw performed by him and his fellow drivers propelled us along our 300 mile route. Most of it was perfect. New roads led to breathtaking vistas, shared between laughs and revelations with new and old friends. But just that would have fallen short.
Because more than the beautiful views, pristine pavement, and good company it’s every unknown road, wrong turn, fall, and misstep that makes the Hunt. Kris’ words helped us revel in the opportunity to be brought closer to the unknown, to the adventure in this times, lost somewhere in a foreign country. It wasn’t always fun in the traditional “recess” sense. Truth is, in the middle of being lost, or falling, or at the end of a 140 mile day when you’re riding in the dark, morale can drop and it can be difficult to stay positive. Unless you are Rudy Melo, in which case you have never frowned or complained in your life, but not everyone can be a legend. As Chris Riekert puts it, “that’s the adventure, it’s the stuff that goes wrong.” And he’s right. It’s the hardships, the wrong, the tough, and the oh shit, that makes the adventure, that makes the memory, that makes friends, and that makes the ride.
Not everyone can become a championship rally driver, but everyone of us was a born a dreamer, an adventurer, an explorer, and a hunter.