Jan 24, 2011

My blokey secret...


by Nikki Logan

I have a few New Year traditions that are more entrenched than I realised until I was extended the proverbial offer-I-couldn’t-refuse in 2010 and I did refuse it. For me, New Years has become about the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (delightful again this year), the mother of all office clean-ups in the air-con on New Year’s Day (start the year as you mean to continue...) and the big one: The Dakar.
Ten years ago I never would have imagined that I’d get excited by synchronised drumming followed by spring-cleaning followed by a fourteen day car race.

What have I become??

Yet I find myself strangely drawn to that nasally, cockney voice on SBS who rattles on about sports-drivers Roma and Peterhansel and Sainz and Coma and Despres. I love the heart-stopping, gasp-worthy exploits of those crazy men in their crazy machines hurtling over the sand-dunes at death-defying speeds.

There’s a few things I love less about the Dakar (deaths, injuries, destruction) but I tend to block my ears and go la la laaa about that for this one race of the year.

For the uninitiated, the Dakar is predominantly a ‘desert’ rally/race held previously in East Africa but now in South America thanks to the big honking target drawn on its back due to international popularity and the tendancy for extremist activity. It is open to anyone with a vehicle, second-mortgage on their home or a entourage of sponsors to pay the entry fee and...well...a death-wish. Bikes, cars, quads and even the big support trucks get in on the action. Some truck driver a few years back said ‘hey, we’re out there anyway, we can go fast… let’s race!’ and so now the giant Kamaz trucks are an iconic and insane part of the Dakar experience. I can only imagine how tightly everything would have to be strapped down inside to stop every single spare part ending up like a jigsaw. 
Marc Coma
2011 Winner - Bikes
(& Spanish eyecandy)
The Dakar is about dirt and mud and sweat and endurance and speed and agony and triumph and loss. It’s about a whole bunch of men and the occasional intrepid woman—who (on the whole) are old enough to know better—hammering their bodies year after year and trying to get to the end of the run. Hundreds start. Handfuls finish. It’s about corporate funded super-teams with dozens of support crew going up against self-funded first-timers with the guy-from-down-the-street-who’s-great-with-bikes along to help out. It’s about camaraderie and adrenaline.

Nasser Al Attiyah
2011 Winner - Car
(& Quatari eyecandy)

It’s about me sitting on my air-conditioned sofa imagining I’m doing all of those things for half an hour every night the first fortnight in January. And maybe…just maybe…about smiling quietly to myself at all those dusty, sweaty, fit, riders and drivers with their lovely accents…

And to anyone who is wondering where the relevance is to a romance blog... You only have to watch half-a-dozen suited up riders walking in slo-mo to the dawn start line, or stripping off their shirts out in the desert to tighten a scorching hot muffler, or blowing a kiss to their wives from the winner's podium. The Dakar is romance for blokes. I promise...promise... that this is about as blokey as I get all year and we've gotten it out of the way nice and early.

Sadly the Dakar is over until New Year 2012. But boy do I have a corker of an idea for a story ticking over…!

So what's your secret, blokey vice? Football? Motor-racing? Air-racing? Do you like to peruse car auctions? Hang out in hardware stores? Come on...fess up... You're amongst friends :)

Nikki's current release 'The Soldier's Untamed Heart' has a heroine with a blokey job--security coordinator. Check it out onshelf now.


  1. Nikki, you had me drooling with the "suited up riders walking in slo-mo to the starting line" - LOL. I could so imagine this and with your visual aids, ahhhhhhhhh!

    Ok, you asked about my blokey vice. Hmm, I have to admit it's only a recent "interest" - MMA. For those who don't know the anacronym, it stands for Mixed Martial Arts.

    Lori Foster introduced me to the sport in her FIGHTER series of books. I'd never heard of it before then.

    After reading the first few books in her series, I started watching the sport on TV (and cringing because of the violence) but if you can get past that you can see what an incredible sport MMA is, not to mention checking out some of the most ripped fighters in the world. Sigh.

    Now you know my secret, blokey vice.

  2. Dakar this year has held me entralled. A young guy from the town I used to live in competed on motorbike. He's only 20, his first Dakar and he finished 32nd. Not bad out of 93 competitors or something. So I'm with you on Dakar, Nikki.

    I'm a sports junkie... married to a man who doesn't really like it. Go figure!! LOL


  3. Motorbikes! Used to ride (family life doesn't allow for it anymore), used to be a pit chick and change tyres, fuel up etc etc for my bike-racing dh, but now just watch the MotoGP. Also a bit of a fan of F1.

  4. Like Anita, motorbikes! (Touring, not racing.) Except that I don't have my license yet. One day I will, though!

  5. I used to be involved for years in motor sport, followed Rugby quite closely, (All Blacks & Auckland), and would love to shop at Bunnings & Mitre 10!!

    I had the most awesome girls toolbox, it was double decker, on wheels & had a handle that pulled out of it (like luggage), so you could wheel it to wherever you were working on a project.

    Had to leave it all behind, (sob, sob), when I moved overseas ....lol

  6. For me, it's surfing. I think surfers - male and female - are amazing, especially the big wave riders. But I also agree with Anita. Bikies rock too. She's been helping me with my research for my next book :). Haven't watched Dakar but you present compelling arguments, Nikki.

  7. I'm with Kim here, rugby...All Blacks and the Fiji Sevens Team! Flying Fijians.

    And if a man, a builder comes by with his power tools...:)

  8. Motorbikes! Have my licence! But I love being a pillion even more - my muse loves being stuffed in a helmet not having to talk to anyone!

    Love the DVD of Ewen MacGregor and Charlie Bormann in Long Way Round.


  9. Look at us all coming out of the closet with our secret blokey vices. Love it!

    Kylie - oooh, martial arts. Forgot all about that. I've never heard of Mixed Martial Arts (assume men and women pitted against each other??). Would love to see whether strength beats cunning.... ;)

    Catherine - yes! A fellow Dakar enthusiast. How exciting to actually KNOW someone competing (tho how frustrating hoping for a glimpse on the broadcast). Though I have to admit it's only the Dakar, really. Turn on any other motorsport any other time of the year and I go water the garden.

    Kim - our first ball-sport and our first hardware fanatic. You and my other half can go hang out at Bunnings together any time you like. Never understood it. Definitely understand popping in for a couple of things and out again quickly, but he stays for hours... and hours...

    Lovely to see you all here, ladies...

  10. Zana - ah yes... surfing. I've never seen 'proper' surfing live (only your average Sunday morning grommets) but I love to watch the occasional televised competition. I figure we're only seeing a hint of what it's really like out there (size-wise...talking about the waves here...). But all those wetsuits... *sigh*

  11. Nas - thank you for mentioning the tool belt. Now I have that image in my head for bedtime. And if I didn't know what country you came from before I do now. Carn the All Blacks!

  12. Saved all the motor-heads for last :) Anita & Sharon, could have picked you two out of a lineup as the petrol heads, but Anita... a pit-girl!?? Are there photos? i've seen pics of Sharon doing the round-australia-thing on their bikes, all kitted up in leather, so that one shocks me less. But pit girl must be seen...

    But...nothing could shock me as much as Miss Emily May, Regency extraordinaire, also being a rev-head. Touring bikes vs race bikes... I'm thinking that's a sprint vs marathon kind of thing? Where stamina trumps speed?

    I've been on a couple of motorbikes in my life but the best was riding pillion on a Harley in the mountains of Pennsylvania back in 1998. I wrote a poem, I was so moved... want to read it...?

    Next post...


    Suck it in.
    The cry that wants to explode out
    The fear that takes my insides in a fist and twists until I can't see

    Suck it in.
    The stench of exhaust,
    ours and everyone else's
    The terror-sweat and terror-threat
    of breakfast revisited

    Suck it in.
    The air so cold, it hurts
    So fresh, it’s like cut-glass in my mouth, air-blasting the smile to my face

    Suck it in.
    The thrill of staring it down
    And winning.

  14. Nikki

    Loved the post I have never watched this one maybe I should next year I do love the cricket and in winter rugby league and some of the guys are very nice eye candy

    Have Fun

  15. Nikki, MMA is a mostly male dominated sport and combines a variety of martial arts styles into one - looks like kick boxing with wrestling and every martial art you can think of in between. The fighters enter a cage and earn points just like a boxing match.

    Very high discipline to incorporate so many styles and the training for it can be brutal but when you see a skilled fighter in action it's a pleasure to watch.

  16. Hi Nikki, this sounds like a fab idea for a book or movie :D

    I, however, have no secret blokey vices here that I can think of... except i LOVE the airshows and sounds of the iroqoui's going THWAP THAWAP... mind you it probably cause I grew up with TOP GUN hahah...

  17. The Dakar sounds very cool - will keep an eye out next year :)

    My blokey vice is not exactly a secret - I've been a Fremantle Dockers (AFL) member since 1997 and attend all of their home games. I absolutely love it! I've even been known to fly interstate for games :)

  18. I have my motorbike license too, though haven't used it for ages =((
    I'd love to go and watch the Crusty Demons, or world champion trick riders!

  19. Well, hello Marc Coma =) Why have I not heard of this race?? Particularly when my dh is into every - and I mean *every* kind of sport.

    I'm not much into blokey stuff, I'm afraid. After working years in TV sport I've had enough of balls and crashes. However, I am a little partial to Forumla One now. Could have something to do with the World No. 1 =)

    Thanks for the great post Nikki!

  20. Hi Nikki --
    Wow, you made the Dakar sound sexy! Looking forward to reading your story (with a sexy Dakar driver hero no doubt).

    I LOVE action movies. I'll turn my nose up at the latest chick flick and head straight for the movie with the most explosions, car chases and gun fights. My hubby knows he's a lucky man -- he rarely has to watch a rom com!

  21. Nikki, I'm afraid the Dakar doesn't do it for me, but it's got to be said that you did make is sound veeerrryy sexy :-)

    My blokey vice -- the English Premier League. Ever since I saw a game live in 1998, I've been hooked! Oh and I'm hooked on car shows -- Fifth Gear and Top Gear. I would love to be able to drive a car seriously fast around a track -- what fun!

  22. I've watched some of the Dakar, but always wonder why they don't just take a perfectly serviceable plane to get to their destination. I'm missing something, yes?

    (Starting to wonder now if I'm willing to get into a 4WD driven by a Dakar fan in March, even if it is to get to a gorgeous writing retreat...)