As glamorous as this adventure/World Record chase sounds to all of you, dealing with the logistics of international travel and competing in a sport as demanding as self-supported desert racing is an absolute nightmare. Imagine training/planning for your race to participate in your next major city marathon or your next Ironman. Now add the complexities of finding food that you can keep down (customized for my palate) in 40C heat for a week and replace/repair racing gear(s) that was damaged or lost during the last race in a foreign country in which you may or may not (most likely the latter) speak their language.
Before The Race – The Calm Before The Storm (Literally)
We arrived at Ouarzazate a few days before the start of the race so we won’t be too stressed from international travel. Having never done an ultramarathon before, never mind a multi-stage one, we had to be cautious. We stayed at the Hotel Ouarzazate Le Riad, where we met fellow MDS competitors from all over the world and Canada as well as it turns out. Ouarzazate is the closest city to the Sahara Desert, just 6hrs drive away from the western frontier of the Sahara. It is a beautiful city, but we weren’t in a tourist mindset for obvious reasons. After spending a few days acclimatizing, we finally departed for our bivouac in the morning of April 8th. When we arrived, we were greeted by the view of the giant sand dune that we have to conquer for the first stage of the race in 2 days time. It was very intimidating for anyone who hasn’t seen anything like it! Patrick Bauer (MDS founder and race director) is playing games with our heads. As the race unfolds, we found out that this was just the beginning of his mind games.