Tag Archives: Dunes
Liz successfully crossed the ‘START’ line of stage 4 this morning, which after the monumental effort that she had to put in on stage 3 was by no means guaranteed. Any of you who are runners, or who know runners, will realise that actually lining up with your toe on the start line is half the battle – anything can happen in distance running and the MdS accentuates these issues on a daily basis.
For those of you that have perhaps have difficulty visualizing what Liz is currently going through, these are a couple of videos which the organisers have uploaded to YouTube – there is no commentary, little sound other than the ambient noise, but this is how it is, in it’s raw form – Stage 3.
06-07/04/2011 – STAGE N°4 :
OUED RHERIS EST / RICH MERZOUG – 82 Km
Km 0 : Go S/W (course 225°) on slightly stony terrain.
Km 1,3 : Cross Rheris oued on course 225°. Rugged terrain, fech fech and tamarix.
Km 4,1 : End of oued. Sandy uphill rise between Ras Kemouna hills.
Km 5,4 : Turn left.
Km 5,8 : Turn right. Go West (course 261°). Variable stony, sandy terrain between low hills.
Km 9 : Sandy passage through small djebel. Go S/W (course 238°) until Km 11.
Km 11 : Rocky peak to the left. Go West (course 264°) until CP1.
Km 12,2 : CP1 close to lone tree. Go West (general course 269°) in middle of sandy valley becoming more stony after Km 16.
Km 17,8 : Small mounds to the right.
Km 19,6 : Sandy rise towards Zireg Djebel.
Km 20 : Rocky rise.
Km 20,1 : Follow crest line.
Km 21,9 : Sandy descent to the left.
Km 22,1 : Turn right at the bottom of descent. Go West (course 265°). Sandy slope.
Km 23 : High point of the sandy pass Djebel Zireg. Go W/SW (course 256°) until CP2.
Km 25 : CP2 in the valley. Go West (course 260°) until CP3. Successive oued beds with vegetation and slightly stony terrain.
Km 30,1 : Lone tree. Well. Hills to the left.
Km 31,4 : Military post to the right. Less sandy, then small pebbles.
Km 35,1 : Taourirt Mouchanne Djebel to the right. Stony terrain.
Km 38 : CP3 South of Mouchanne. Sandy rise and passage. Go North (course 352°).
Km 39 : Bottom of North slope of Mouchanne. Go North (course 352°) until CP4. Stony.
Km 39,6 : Cross a track. Flat terrain. Few stones.
Km 40,1 : Mounds of sand and camel grass.
Km 42,8 : Scattered small dunes and earth.
Km 44,5 : Earth with vegetation and calotropis.
CAUTION! Follow markings carefully to avoid crevasses in the oued.
Km 47,9 : Cross a track.
Km 49 : CP4 on the dried-up lake of Ma’der el Kebir. Go North (course 355°) until CP5.
Km 56,1 : Lake ends. Dunes begin.
Km 60,2 : End of dunes. Earth.
Km 61 : CP5. Go West (course 263°) to cross a line of closely planted trees.
Km 61,6 : Go through trees. Continue West (course 267°). Cross oued then plateau of small stones by the ruins.
Km 66,5 : Stony terrain.
Km 68,8 : Sandy pass of Joufert djebel.
Km 70 : Exit pass. Go S/W (course 234°) until CP6.
Km 72 : CP6 in the valley. Go S/W (course 219°) until bivouac.
Km 74 : Sandy crossing Aatchana oued for 800 metres, variably stony up to finish line.
Km 82 : B5 finish line.
It has been so hard today and I am worried
I have had to take baby steps all the way today. Concentrating solely on the 10 meters ahead of me, putting one foot in front of the other.
A savage day, with exquisite landscapes to lift my spirits, but sometimes it is not enough.
On the long day tomorrow, I will need to find great inner strength.
The update from Liz was brief as the email ‘tent’ was closing only 30 minutes after she arrived, but more importantly, she is unsurprisingly exhausted, however I subsequently received this from Greg Collett (891) her team mate and tent colleague.
Liz came in about 45 minutes ago looking very tired but otherwise in good shape, at least as far as blisters go. she is rather exhausted after today, which has been very tough.
We have our best motivators and chefs working on the case. I am of course hopeful that with careful management she will make it to the end of the long day – she will not send an email as the shop shuts in 30 minutes but she sends her love to you all. Emails have been coming through and have been most welcome.
Another one in the bag! Woo-Hoo!
She is doing incredibly, but it looks like this was a tough one though, with it turning into a 10 hour day for her to complete the 38km of hills and more dunes.
She finally finished about an hour ago in a recorded time of 9:56:05 but her position has unfortunately dropped a bit, undoubtedly due to the nature of the stage; or at least I hope that is all – the danger of injury is ever present on this event and the last thing she needs now is for an old war wound to manifest itself in the middle of a oued or at the top of an erg.
In a way the 3rd stage is the worst because the competitors are not yet halfway, and the mental focus is always the long day which is still to come and so any doubt or lack of motivation is magnified many times during the dark hours of the 3rd stage.
Nevertheless, she has pretty much broken the back of it and by this time tomorrow, it should all be downhill.
I will update you with the detail as soon as I receive it.
Watch this space.
No update overnight I’m afraid – coverage is very poor. I know that Liz appreciates all your messages though and (from personal experience) I also know that they will be an immense source of strength for her during the next couple of stages.
Stage 3 is another 38km but has a couple of prominent ‘hills’ to negotiate (in MdS parlance this undoubtedly means clambering on hands and knees with no resemblance to running whatsoever; crampons and carabinas at the ready…) followed by the inevitable dunes, although after the last couple of days it is worrying that the roadbook describes them as ‘large’ 😉
Tomorrow is the ‘long day’ which all the competitors dread – it is the mother of all mental challenges to complete the 82 km which I know she will try to do without stopping so we are likely to hear even less from her over the next day, after which she will ‘only’ have a marathon to complete on stage 5 and then a short 17.5 km sprint to the finish in Tazzarine.
(As I write this, Liz has been in and out of CP1 a couple of hours ago, so should be nearly at CP2, which is well over halfway, but the start of another dune leg of 6km)
05/04/2011 – ETAPE N°3 :
JEBEL EL MRAÏER / OUED RHERIS EST – 38 Km
Km 0 : Go S/SW (course 195°).
Km 0,8 : Slightly uphill before plateau.
Km 1,4 : Cross oued with mounds of sand and camel grass.
Km 2,1 : Direction S/SO (cap 201°) jusqu’aux palmiers du Km 5,3.
Cross 2 low hills, then valley with small pebbles. Go S/SW (course 201°) until palm trees at Km 5.3.
Km 5,3 : Oued. Palm trees. Go up on to the plateau just by the well.
Go S/SW (course 214°) until bottom of pass to cross the village of Jdaid.
Km 6 : Start of uphill rise towards pass. Rocky then sandy at the summit.
Km 7,6 : Summit of the Jebel El Abeth sandy pass.
Go down S/W (course 231°) until Km 10.2. Sandy then increasingly rocky.
Km 9 : Follow the oued to avoid rocky terrain.
Km 10,2 : Exit oued going West (course 236°). Stony terrain.
Km 11,3 : Pass through a very small gorge. Cross stony terrain.
Km 12,5 : CP1. Go S/W (course 219°) until Thouil djebel. Succession of variably stony valleys.
Km 17,5 : Thouil djebel to the right. Go S/W (course 222°) until CP2.
Km 19,3 : Cross sandy oued.
Km 21 : Sandy terrain with small dunes.
Km 21,9 : Enter dunes. Follow course 222°.
Km 24,5 : CP2 as you exit the dunes.
Km 31 : CP3 after the dunes. Stony terrain then rocky up to summit of steep-sided gorge.
Km 32,2 : Summit of gorge of Foum Al Hopath djebel. Technical descent for 150 m then sandy descent.
Km 34,4 : Enter the erg. Follow course 272° up to finish.
Km 38 : B4 finish line after exiting dunes.