While I'm sitting here moping about the Paris To Dakkar Rally being canceled, check out this picture from the around-the-world New York to Paris race from 1908. Then check out the course under the picture. Then remember, this was before highways existed. So a good portion of the race was off road. And the cars were all open cockpit, so across the ice, through the rain, in the snow, and under the blazing sun. You often raced armed to fend of bandits and wildlife. Fording rivers was not uncommon. And you had to be your own mechanic, often improvising repairs. This is back when racers really kicked ass.