Here is what the racers are up to: The exploration of the
Atacama Desert this year brings the Dakar participants to Arica,
the last town before the Peruvian border. For this large slice of
desert before the rest day, the menu is full of dunes, whose sizes
increase as the day passes by. But throughout the special stage,
the riders and drivers will experience an alternation of
sensations. After surfing on the dunes, most of them will get to
grips with the unavoidable zones of fesh-fesh, or “guadal” as they
are known in this part of the world. For the section of slaloming
between dust and dry grass, patience is the competitors’ best ally.
As for us, we started the day with a dash to the start point of the
race and sent off some of the competitors. We then went to play on
the bike, riding up an down a plateau of compacted sand. For lunch,
we left the group and made our way back to town and had great
Empanadas and fresh Ceviche accompanied with local beer. We started
the recovery of the events of the past day. Tally for the day: we
found Victor? He left his bike on the pass, the night before due to
exhaustion, and was picked up by a tourist bus who dropped him at a
hotel a few towns away from here. His bike was also recovered.
Julie’s bike is gone, never found back. Nacho went to the police to
file a stolen bike report, and found out that Victor will need to
get himself taken off the local FBI list to clear the border on the
way out. We closed the day with a hefty steak and lots of alcohol
in a group dinner, followed by hours of BS with Diego, our newly
found friend, and Nacho, our Argentinian liaison, and his crew. We
landed in bed at 2:00 am and got into a commateuse sleep. Tomorrow
is a rest day for the race. We will spend it checking out Iquique
and gathering strength for the second half.

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