Stage 2: 38K
The sun usually rises here just before 6am but there was no sunrise this morning. We woke to a sandstorm, just what we didn't need to kick off a 38K stage. I'm sharing a tent with Jay Batchen, who has done the race eight or so times: he said he had never seen such windy conditions. We started out at 8.45, galvanised by AC/DC's Highway To Hell, possibly the only song capable of getting the better of a howling sandstorm. Or perhaps the organisers were just trying to tell us something about the day to come.
Sure enough, the high winds blew all day, making the dunes and hard-packed riverbeds we crossed seem bleak and hostile. I was thankful for the checkpoints, which we came to every 10K or so; we could collect fresh water and sit around for a while making friends.
I also paid a second visit to the medical tent, where I learned that the French for blister is 'ampoule'. I'll be saying 'ampoule' a lot in the next few days.
A small confession: I started this race daring to wonder where I'd finish but after two days I've revised my thinking: my goal is now simply to finish. Six people dropped out on the first day. I don't want my name added to that list.
Tomorrow we face another 38K, with 12K of sand dunes. I'm hoping it's not as windy as today. Ever again.