275km special stage41st position overall
Based on yesterday’s result I had an 8.59am start, 1 minute behind teammate Pablo (Guillen Rivera).
Today it was straight into the big dunes again for 10km! At least it was only 35 degrees when we left.
After yesterday’s bad day with penalties and getting lost, we wanted an error free day.
The dunes were quite big and tricky, but when I came out the other side I had caught up with Pablo again. A short sand river section followed, and then another 60km in sand and small dunes.
Navigation was tricky but we made very few mistakes and arrived at the end of the first stage in Erfoud. A quick refuel and then we started the second stage back towards Merzouga.
I didn’t think it could get any more difficult than yesterday, but it was sand and more sand in smaller dunes and then we had 3 hours of weaving in and out, up and down through massive dunes.
Quite a few riders were getting caught with the steepness of the dunes, and there were some big accidents requiring medical assistance.
The reflection coming down the other side of the dunes, and not being able to see the vertical drops, was bad. Many times I had that weightless feeling for 3 or 4 seconds before the bike hit the sand again and I’d have to sit on the rear of the bike for another 80 or so metres of near vertical descent.
The last hour in the dunes was very bad. Both Pablo and I had run out of water and so had many others. It was 50 plus degrees and the sand was soft.
Having no water meant I had to be very smart with big dunes and pick the right lines. The amount of energy used trying to get the bike turned around on a near vertical dune while buried up to your knees is crazy!
I rode back into the finish line and was on the verge of passing out from dehydration. I collapsed in a chair while Katie and Abdul poured water over me to reduce my body temperature. Pablo rode in a few minutes later in the same condition as me.
Today was a very hard day, and the organisers seem to find bigger and longer dune sections each day for us.
All up, it was a good day moving up to 33rd position and Pablo to 34th. It’s time to collect tomorrow’s roadbook!