Nathan Rafferty’s old flame is the mountain. The president of the non-profit Ski Utah works tirelessly to advertise the state’s ski and snowboard business.
But in recent years, Rafferty has discovered his consideration turning from snow to sand.
“Skiing is what I’m married to,” he stated. “Motorcycles are more like my mistress.”
Earlier this yr, Rafferty’s interest took him to northern Africa, the place he become the primary American to complete the grueling, 12-day Africa Eco Race — a 6,500-kilometer pageant.
The 46-year-old has competed in different staying power occasions. As a part of a Ski Utah promotion, he as soon as completed 60-runs all the way through a 12-hour in a single day tournament. Nothing Rafferty has carried out, he stated, in comparison to his two weeks in Africa ultimate January.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he stated.
Rafferty grew up using mountain motorcycles however wasn’t allowed to journey bikes as a result of his folks felt they had been unhealthy. When he became 30, he purchased one for himself. Now he owns 4 motorcycles (“if you ask my wife, she’ll say we have way too many and if you ask me we’re just right,” he stated) however he competed on a rented 2015 450 KTM Rally Replica.
The Utah racer skilled for the grueling pageant at a crossfit fitness center in Park City, however stated the psychological side of the race was once his biggest problem.
“Going into it, you understand there’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions,” he stated. “It’s so tough mentally.”
Over two weeks, Rafferty and his fellow racers traversed sand and wilderness throughout Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal.
“You can hum along at 85 mph and start looking around. There’s a camel, some clouds,” Rafferty stated. “And then you remind yourself that you’re speeding on a motorcycle and you should start paying attention.”
As he had ready for the endeavor, Rafferty was once incessantly met with the similar query: Why?
“The fun is in the finish,” he stated. “That sense of accomplishment. I suppose that’s why a lot of people do these crazy things that are really hard. It’s just to see how much you’re capable of.”
Only one different American rider ever entered the race, Rafferty stated, however he needed to pull out midway thru with engine troubles. So when Rafferty crossed the end line in 6th position out of the 33 riders, he had made a little of historical past.
“It really is a huge feeling of accomplishment,” he stated. “That’s why I went and what I was looking for. In my day job, I’m dealing a lot with government and relationships. There are definite wins and losses day to day. It’s nice to dig in really hard and you either win or you lose, you finish or you don’t.”
Rafferty returned house, his head nonetheless humming from the focus and energy he’d wanted in pageant, and shortly discovered his largest takeaway.
“At the end of the day, if I’ve got something hard at work, I’ve got so much more confidence,” he stated. “You get to the end of something like that and you feel like you can do anything. You gain this confidence that stays with you for the rest of your life.”
Maybe that explains his subsequent plan.
After completing his race in Africa, Rafferty concept he’d checked a field on his bucket checklist, that he’d by no means do anything else like that once more. But he quickly discovered himself taking a look at the sports activities different main staying power race, the Dakar Rally in South America this January.