I’m excited to share that the 2009 Marathon des Sables will start at 9 tomorrow morning. I’ve not shared how real the possibility of race cancellation has been. While the rain may make for “interesting” running, it makes driving large trucks to remote bivouacs and control points even more tenuous. Regardless, game on!
Today’s focus was the administrative control, where you present your race documents, declare your pack contents, and drop of one extra bag. That means the morning was spent making a final gear check making those potentially crucial last minute decisions. In light of the forecast cold swapped out a thin cotton button-down long-sleeve shirt for a long sleeve Atayne shirt and added a pair of ultra light Mont-Bell pants back into my kit after cutting them from my pack back on Ouarzazate. I also added a few extra plastic bags and a large (3′ x 6′) sheet of plastic for protection from wetness. I may cull the bags and plastics either tomorrow morning or after tomorrow’s stage based on the forecast. I think I’ll keep the big sheet until I know how damp the bivouac carpets are.
That said, I’d like to cut my pack weight as much as possible before tomorrow’s stage, as we will likely be facing many miles of dunes in Erg Chebbi. The race course is a work in progress at this point. Quite frankly, I don’t know exactly what’s going on tomorrow and I don’t think any one knows what’s going on after that.
The Dreamchasers contingent and some fast Moroccans were the final racers through the check in line. While in line we got caught in yet another storm and I found myself seeking shelter from the rain under a transport truck. (side note: if it rains tomorrow for the fourth day in a row, my teammate, Ted Archer, will need to eat his hat.). Before and after the storm it was a mostly sunny day, although I doubt re temperature ever broke 70 F. The week’s forecast remains equally cool or colder.
One major highlight for the day was the much delayed arrival of my other teammate and friend, Michael Wardian. I was one of the last three runners in the check in line and just about to enter the admin building when Mike showed up. Jay Batchen and I spent the next 20 minutes making sure Mike had everything he needed and that everything he didn’t need was properly checked. This evening we helped Mike trim up his kit so he can compete with the top Moroccans this week. I’m almost as exicted to see how that develops this week as I am to give myself and my team all I have this week. And while I am by no means the most patriotic guy, I pinned an American flag to the back of my pack tonight and feel ready to represent!
Thanks to everyone how has already shown there support through email and comments! Know that it’s been appreciated. Be sure to keep sending you support as I move to the bivouac tomorrow.wish me luck!
Below is a picture from check in.