Friends & colleagues

S5. Mishaps and pain…

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ENGLISH
No fun today!
– I slipped and got a highside, nothing major but I stretched a muscle in my back. After this there was a long way of heavy struggeling through fesh-fesh, stones, ravines, riverbeds and tons of dust! I had this terrible pain in my stiff back, could not sit, not control the bike. Fell down several times and could not lift the bike. Was passed by many riders and lost some 10-15 minutes. At refuel I saw Sanz – after that i rode like hell, did not care about the pain. I gained time on the sandy tracks. At the bivouac i got massage on my back.
But i’m satisfied with the result, 53 on the stage. And I keep a good position 45 in total!

SVENSKA
Ingen kul dag!
– Jag sladdade och fick highside, inget stort men sträckte en muskel i ryggen. Sen kom värsta bök i flera mil, raviner, flodbäddar och massor av damm. Kunde inte manövrera hojen pga ryggsmärta, inte kunnat sitta, stel i ryggen… Tappade hojen flera gånger och kunde inte lyfta den, blev omkörd av massor, tappade 10-15 min. Såg Sanz vid tankning så efter det körde jag på som fan, brydde mig inte om smärtan. Tog igen tid på sandsträckor. Fått ryggmassage i bivacken.
Men är ändå nöjd med resultatet, 53 på etappen. Har behållit bra placering, 45 totalt!

Others:
Laia Sanz on pos 51 (on stage 64). Miriam Pol 98 (on stage 74). Ronnie Bodinger 99 (on stage 71).
Thomas Berglund had an accident and is out of the race.
Jennifer Morgan (GBR) had also a bad accident and has broken some bones and the race too.

New Year – New Dakar!

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ENGLISH:
Because I had checked in my bike yesterday Icould relax now. The afternoon I spent in the Dakar Village area, and met many competitors in the VIP tent… like the the “coconutters” from Australia, team Coconut Cairns and also Bruce Garland.

New years eve i spent with my friends in the chilean team Cocoa-Fynsa and the Prohens brothers. Luis of the Cocoa-Fynsa tesam was my teamboss when I raced the Patagonoa-atacama in 2005.

SVENSKA:
Eftersom jag var besiktigad och klar igår kunde jag ta det lugnt idag. Bara skicka Dakar-boxen med organisationen. Sen till besiktingsområdet och “Dakar Village”, mässområdet med allt jippo inför. Stekhett i solen så jag hängde i VIP-tältet där alla teamen var.

Nyårskvällen firade jag med chilenska team Cocoa-FYNSA (Luis var min teamboss i Pampasrallyt 2005). Vi åt nyårsmiddag på pizzastället runt kvarteret. Jag beställde en pizza med extra allt: mozzarella, tomat, paprika, serranoskinka, lök, ruccola, oliver och palmhjärta… Proppmätt!

Vid 12 slaget gick vi ut på gatan och kollade lite fyrverkerier.

Buenos Aires +40 C

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ENGLISH:
Arrived Buenos Aires, +40 degrees. that makes 55 degree difference from cold Stockholm. Met danish Jes Munk on the plane, we’ve been friends on facebook, but now met first time in real life – good fun. Also met my teammates in Meca and favourite chileans, the Prohens Brothers, Jaime and Felipe. they stay in the hotel across the street so we had dinner together and made plans for the race…. 🙂
SWEDISH:
Anlände Buenos Aires +40 grader. Det är 55 grader skillnad från Sthlm!
Magsjukan som jag legat i sedan onsdag förra veckan, verkar äntligen ha lagt sig, klarade flyget bra (phuu!). Och inga förseningar tack o lov. Hörde att de som flög via Frankfurt satt fast 24 tim.
Träffade danske rookien Jes Munk i Madrid innan flyget. Vi har träffats på facebook, och han körde sen Faraorallyt i team Meca’syStem som jag rekommenderade till honom. Efter det blixtanmälde han sig till Dakar, men team Meca var fullt så han hoppade in i Aprilia!!
Nu träffades vi live första gången och vi “hookade” direkt, snackade massa när vi landat i BA o delade taxi till city – vi kommer säkert hänga en del, han är dejlig!
Visade sig att min hotellbokning var en vinstlott! (trots att badrummet är så litet att jag nästan måste stå i bidén och duscha). Hade ingen aning när jag bokade var det låg, bara att det var i stadsdelen Palermo i BA city (samma som förra året). När jag klev ut på gatan och runt hörnet var det bara 3 kvarter bort till “Dakar Village” i Rural – dvs expocentret där hela showen med besiktning, förarbriefing, alla vip-tält och festivalen är!
Dessutom sprang jag på mina favorit-chilenare som bodde i hotellet tvärs över gatan, “Prohens Brothers”  (http://www.hermanosprohens.com) som också kör i team Meca.

Storebror Jaime Prohens träffade jag redan 2005 när jag körde Patagonia-Atacama rallyt och vi blev vänner. 2009 ställde de upp i Dakar, och lillebror Felipe Prohens låg 10:a men krashade ut sista specialen och bröt sönder hojen i två delar. Han klarade sig, men bröderna var otröstliga.
De har startnr 40 och 41. Håll utkik, de startar nämligen precis före ni vet vilka – Sanz/Arcarons.

Vi gick ut och åt på kvällen och de berättade alla rykten om bansträckningen för i år… det kommer bli mycket tuffare, teknisk körning och både varmare och och kallare på högre höjder. På pappret många bra förare med, speciellt från Argentina.
Resten håller jag hemligt… Vi har en pakt för vi är de “minsta förarna” i Dakar (jag 52kg, Felipe 59kg, Jaime 61kg) och vi ska hålla ihop.

Mujeres Tuercas – fanclub!

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During the Dakar I met the Mujeres Tuercas Fanclub a couple of times. They are a bunch of “motorhead” girls cheering me on in the rally, waving the big yellow banner with “GO ANNIE” written on it during stages.
Now they made this slideshow! I am so happy to have these friends, so far on another continent – but so close in my heart! (You can join on Facebook too!)

Arriving in Buenos Aires

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Annies winning arrival in Buenos Aires, frontDuring the 335km transport into Buenos Aires the road was packed with cheering and waving crouds. There are so many spectators, all Argentina seems to be watching this event.

“And I waved back to everyone. In Buenos Aires there were even more photos, autographs, hugs, kisses.
I’m quite famous here. Everyone has seen me on TV when my bike was in that tomb!”

Here arriving in a parade through the streets in Buenos Aires.

Annies winning arrival in Buenos Aires, side

Annie after finishing her 4th DakarIn the evening a nice dinner with all friends in the Aussie Team, for finishing Dakar with great success.

Right:
Annie after finish of her 4th Dakar rally, filling body with energy – also needing some facial shine-on…

;-)

Below:
Mange, Gazza, Kev, Garry, Richie, Annie, Alana & Rob (biker #122, pos 38)

Aussie team & Annie at dinner after Dakar

Stage 14 – Finally at finish. Yes!!!

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Santa Rosa-Buenos Aires, Special 206 km
Flat sand, dusty, very fast.
Position stage 37, 01:47:56 (+0:21:08). Total 45. Winner of the Ladies class.

She did it!
Annie held the good and even speed through the whole stage, without taking any risks. Trying to gain a few minutes wouldn’t affect the total standig anyway. Today there’s nothing to win only everything to loose.

Annie at finish of S14

She made a short phone call home to friends just after finish:
“I am very happy with this result, considering all mishaps during the rally. Maybe it was not the perfect race I hoped for – but is that even possible, Dakar is unpredictable! I aimed at top 40, and I was very close to get there. It was that damned visit in the tomb and my thumb! My other aim was winning the ladies class – and this I acchieved by a wide margin. It feels so fantastic I can’t even describe it.”

Ullevålseter & wifeAnnie has already at the finish line told the big congrats to Pål-Anders for his wonderful second position.
And all the riders will celebrate together at the arrival in Buenos Aires.
Photo right: A happy Ullevålseter with his wife

Depres signs Annies t-shirtA famous female
Late at night Annie sent a textmessage with some more details:
Annie and Oldrich“I set off in good speed on dead straight pist, with lots of dust. Stayed behind the rider in front… no taking risks. Soon faster bikes caught up, and I let them pass, since I was already at max speed. Just waited to cross the finish line… making no mistakes.

And when I arrived at finish I was so happy that I finally made it: best woman and a good total, despite the dramas.
I’ve worked so hard for this, for many years. A big kiss and hug party with my team and rider friends, many interviews, photos. Got my t-shirt signed by all riders, also winner Despres – so fun!”
Images above right:
Annie with bike winner Despres and quad-rider Oldrich

Annie gets a thorough scrubRight:
Annie gets a thorough scrub after the race.

Below:
Super Rocket gets a shine-on and a touch up on stickers.

Super Rocket gets a shine-on

Stage 14. Message from fans along the route

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Annie passing Salazar

In the morning on stage 14 passing the village Salazar spectators stood along the road. Some fans took the photo above and sent it to the blog with this lovely message. Thank you!

Message from fans
I really think that Annie showed great skills and cool presence of mind when jumping off the bike just before it fell in that tomb hole (Jan 10, stage 8).

Last year there was a lot of buzz amongst “ecologistas” for the rally passing through land that is “sacred” for indians living in these areas. Then the route was changed.
This year obviously the rally got too near the ancient indian spirits again…
Maybe now the spirit of an old indian chief woke up – but got so impressed by Annie’s courage, that he gave her wings to avoid the deep hole. It’s surely a mysterious miracle that she came off well! A fantastic performance, either way.
Just completing a dakar rally is a major achievement, and we greatly admire your skills and fighting spirit.

Last year Carlos Sainz fell down a ravine, also due to an error in the road book. Don’t the course makers fly over the area and check it up? A big hole like that must be visible from above.
This time Annie was lucky, but if she had fallen in the tomb 5 m down on a stone floor, she had been killed!
“It’s Dakar”, Annie says. But a fatal accident is no good PR for the rally.

Franscisco & familyWe feel very privileged to have seen the dakar rally so close where we live, two years in a row! We have followed your progress on your blog too.
Again a lot of congratulations to Annie! You deserve a decoration for special achievements.

Elisabeth and our farmer family.
Photo: my son Francisco (photographer) with wife and kid.

In borrowed plumes

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Team Aussie to the rescue

Annie in Kev's flipflopsAnnie’s team did not arrive until about 17. So she spent some time with the Mange’s Aussie team.
Annie panting: “I am dying for a shower. It’s about 35 degC!”
As she had no clean clothes to change, she borrowed boxer-shorts from Rob and a T-shirt and flip-flops from Kev.
Mange’s comment:
“She looked rather funny walking around in the bivouac with a far too big T-shirt, mens underwear and loose-fitting flip-flops.”

Flip-flops, the newest fasion!

Princess dressed up for interview
Annie also gave interviews dressed like this to an American journalist and a TV crew from the Al Jazera network.

Interviewed by TV & other jornalists

And I was dying for a shower. It´s about 35 degrees!

Stage 10. Tricky & curvy = that’s the way

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La Serena-Santiago, Special 238 km
Stage pos 51, 03:54:52 (+00:44:09, pen 6min). Total 50.

Early start and very cold morning. First time i felt tired in the moring.
Today’s stage was very winding on smooth tracks and very technical.
This stage was the kind I usually really enjoy, narrow mountain roads, tricky and curvy, variety in speeding and breaking, where technical skills are crucial – that’s exciting and fun!

Enjoying the curves
Photo above by Maindru

Unfortunately my right hand is still useless, which means handling gas/brake in tight switch back corners is difficult. My hand cramped after only a few km. It felt numb, tingeling fingers. Had to slow down and shake it to wake… Still passed many bikes and quads, until I got stuck behind one quad for 150km – aaarrrghhh!

Dunes

Anyway I’m happy with the result considering all shit in the past days. One more day is completed.
In Dakar you never know… until the finish in Buenos Aires – who actually made it and who didn’t.

Annie la Diva de Rally I must rest my hand, so I tied a rubber band to the accelerator so I could manage it.
Been to doctors and to massage this afternoon, but hand is still numb.

Image:
Annie la Diva de Rally “resting the injured hand” …

… at the daily task, marking the roadbook: modifications, warnings, speedzones etc. Very important!

I am so glad to hear that Luca Manca has woken up, he had got a severe head injurie the other day. He knows he had an accident in the race. That he is regaining conciousness so good news!

Antofagasta. Rest day, no race…

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… but everybody is busy with service and mechanic work at the vehicles. It’s been very tough for men and machines, so all need maintenance to cope with the coming challenges. We have still another week ahead.
So there’s not much time for rest anyway.

It felt really, really good to wake up in Antofagasta this morning, though yesterday had been so crazy… Well, I got over it, I am still in the race. And tomorrow is a new race day.
I had a hotel breakfast, and took all the juicy stuff. Did my laundry properly as well, all the racing clothing that already looks like they’ve been around for months, after only these few days.

Bivouac in Antofagasta, bird viewI went down to the bivouac and started fixing on the bike, it really needed to be attended to. Made a decision to replace the engine with the spare one I have. I thought this over very thoroughly, concidering what happened yesterday, with the back wheel bouncing around, what serious damage could have been caused.
It’s like airplane crashes, they don’t come out of the blue (well, the flights do). There’s always a series of incidents eventually causing that last part to fail. So, if I did not change the engine and had to withdraw the rally due to engine failure, I know for sure it would be hard to get over.

In the bivouac I talked to David Casteu, who crashed in the race and hurt his groin. And I also saw Cyril Despres riding his excercise bike in his tent. He seems determined to win. We’ll see.
Then I heard I had got 2 hours penalty yesterday! So I spent some time at the headquarters to sort it out. It appeared that other riders had the same issue, penalty for missing some waypoint. But this was caused by an incorrect mark in the roadbook, and everybody got the penalties removed. Though in my case it required quite a meeting with the racing jury today to correct the error. But all’s well that ends well.

Now it’s time to prepare the roadbook for tomorrow, so I took a peep: first thing on the track is fesh-fesh… uuuh
And because of that stupid penalty trouble I will stand far back in line to start tomorrow as 76, getting all dust in my face. Too bad – but hey, it’s my race number anyway.

Very late dinner at bivouac

See you on the next stage!