Stage 5. Copiapo-Antofagasta, Special 483 km
Stage pos 61 #76 SEEL 08:02:34 (+02:09:54), total 46.
500 km all in dust or fesh-fesh, like a powder fog hanging in the air. Impossible to pass anyone, just ride within your gap. Frustrating because can’t navigate or plan my riding. Fesh is bad but mixed with fog it’s evil. Goggles smeared when dust mixes with fog, vision zero. Took a plunge behind a quad, couldn’t see where to go. At cp1 all laughed; I was totally covered in dust.
I started passing some riders but then engine began stalling, the air filter clogged. It’s like riding in a flour bag – the dust gets everywhere in the engine. I stopped and cleaned the filter, while everybody passed me. Had to start chasing in dust again… this happened about 10 times. So much problems with the motor. Then the electric starter refused to work… That means I lost some 30 min, so unnecessary.
Photo by FlyVardagen.nu
I had a quick chat with Mange (my mechanic friend), his comment about me and my bike on his blog:
“Annie has been struggling with her injured thumb and also a weak engine. It was quiet clear that her engine had lost the compression, and a quick look at the air cleaner which was bone dry, confirm that this was a possibility. The intake valves are most likely worn down due to poor air filter maintenance. Annie’s mechanic will have to check the valve clearance tonight, and maybe remove the head to inspect the valves. Annie has got a spare engine with her, if worst comes to worst.”
Richie from Team Husaberg testing Annie’s bike – how’s the engine?
My team MecaSystem working at the bike full of fesh-fesh (powder sand). Everything must be cleaned up.
They will have to look the whole engine through, and see if it’s possible to repair it or if a change is necessary.
Annie having a break with drink for energy after the tough stage. Fluid is more essential than food.
Late night work in the darkness – fixing roadbook for the next day using head lamp. A thorough study of the tracks and marking all dangers and changes of route.