It’s not the most conventional way to celebrate a fiftieth birthday, but a South Shore veterinarian will be competing in a grueling seven-day long race across the Moroccan desert to mark her first half-century of life.

Brigitte Lacombe has been in love with motorcycles since she was 15-years-old and she said being on one now brings her back to that age. However, it was only two years ago that she actually started biking on her own.

“If you would ask me three years ago, would you do a rally in a desert on a motorcycle, I would ask you what you’re talking about,” she said. “I was doing tango and sailing.”

Her love has developed to the point where she has decided to compete in the Trophee Des Sables, a week-long race that will see 250 women from Quebec and Europe competing, mostly on quad bikes and off-road vehicles, in a course that will see them travelling as much as 250 km per day.

Lacombe will be one of only four women doing the course by motorbike.

“I heard we can do it by bike, and I just think, wow, I will do that,” she said. “I will do that when I turn 50-years-old.”

The nature of the race means she will have to pack light: energy drinks and energy bars and, with no GPS allowed, a compass and road book with check points marked off.

“I can’t wait for it,” she said. “I love the sand.”

While the course has its dangers, her friends and family have all expressed support.

“I think it’s a wonderful adventure for her and a wonderful example for us as 50 and more years-old people,” said friend Diane Lefebvre.

The race also has a humanitarian component, as racers will bring school and medical supplies to children in southern Morocco.

With the start date of Oct. 16 fast approaching, Lacombe said the excitement of taking her bike onto a plane to another continent is overwhelming.

“Sometimes I’m thinking, ‘Am I too old to do that?’ But it keeps me in shape.”