Injuries

Comeback on two wheels after two years of no riding. Feels great!

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Today I’m officially back in the saddle! It’s been two years since i crashed and badly injured my right shoulder. Last August I finally had it operated and its taken 6 months to heal.
Now I felt ready to jump back on my bike.
Some of my friends took me out on nice and fun enduro tracks. I was a little worried how my shoulder would feel, so kept my calm just riding nice and smooth. But wow did if feel great to be back on the bike!
And no pain, or strain. I am so happy!
(Photo by Micke Nyström)

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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.

Thumb brace

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This is the thumb brace I will wear. Feels ok. Looks ok.

thumb brace.

I am free! See the scar!!

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Today the cast was taken off after more than one month in cast.
But now I will use a plastic thumb-brace for a month before I can start using the thumb. So it will be a while until I can ride a bike…

the thumb is free again

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!

Stage 8. Drama in the tomb.

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Antofagasta-Copiapo, special 472km
Stage position 86, 09:45:43 (+04:16:18). Total 50.

Link video Bike in tomb: youtube.com/watch?v=0QXm0s-WF68

Saved from above.

“At km 131 the track split around some ruins, and joined again after. To avoid dust I cut from right track over to the left, across a small rise. Behind the rise a 5m deep tomb opened, 2×3 wide. I rode too slow to jump and too fast to stop. Put the breakes on, slided bike to the left and abandoned ship. Instinctively I managed to jump to the left edge while bike tumbled down with the engine still running. I am lucky not to go down there cause the walls were impossible to climb.”

Bike & helmet on tomb bottomAfter getting back on her feet, a little shaken, Annie realized the bad situation. She could neither go down to lift the bike up nor get to the emergency alarm. It wasn’t possible even with help from the others – no way! She stopped some riders so they could call the HQ for help.

“A helicopter came and I climbed down with a thin rope to check the bike, it was okay. We tried to pull the bike, but no way. They said I must wait for the organisation truck to come and help. It took a while but then Mr Etienne Lavigne, race director, arrived in a helicopter instead! Like a true hero he climbed down with a rope, tied my bike with the real tie roses, and instructed the pilot how to lift it. Now I could continue the race, saved by the angel from above. Getting help from Etienne himself made me feel much better in that awful situation. Only suffering from painful swollen hand and aching foot.”

Annie's bike in a tomb

FAQ: Why and how did this happen?
(f**k): There was no mark of this hole in the roadbook! That’s Dakar…

Roadbook of the track where the tomb was
(Explanation of signs comes later)

Annie's jumping bikeImage right:
Is the Super Rocket jumping or flying!? Just happy when the track is good …

Photo right by Maindru

Tonight the bike needs some makeover, it was rather scratched and battered.

“And so do I….”

Below:
Medical treatment by my favorite doctor. Been here since stage 3 with twisted thumb. Today I injured my hand even more when jumping off the bike, left ankle also hurts.

Medical treatment

Stage 6. Got in the flow again

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Antofagasta – Iquique , Special 418 km
Stage pos 31, 06:02:56 (+01:15:57). Total standing 40.

We had a fear of engine problems when the bike didn’t start. My mechanic checked all details: adjusted valves, new sparkplug, cleaned carb and made it leaner, cleaned fueltanks. All was okay, no need to change the engine. The problem is the airfilter. I run two, but now we put a wettex cloth between the two filters and I had a spare set in my riding jacket, in case. Hoped we thought of everything now.
I decided to take no risks today.

Started like a Super Rocket. I was flying! And today i could use thumb a little. Nice fast and sooth track, but with dangerous washouts and cracks. I had one focus – stay out of dust – the engine barely made it yesterday. Strategy in off pist: I cut across everywhere I could only using compass and dust clouds. But my navigation and tactic worked and I passed many riders. At cp1 I was 15th general. I heard many got lost just before, but my navigation was accurate. Until 2/3 of the stage my position was between 15-19! Before cp2-refuel the engine started suffering, and at the refuel I changed the filter. Then the bike was happy again.

Stage 6 crossing a river
Photo by Maindru

Approaching finish I paced down a bit to save energy for the next stage 7 (tomorrow) 600 km, letting some bikers had a chance to overtake – but the time differencies were very small. All afternoon I could ride alone in no dust. enjoyed fantastic scenery, arid plateaus, mountains, dunes… like fom another planet. At the finish we had a 3 km descent from the mountain down to the sea. Breathtaking view! Biggest downhill I ever rode.

Annie gives interviews in the shadow under a truck
Cool place for giving interviews: in the shadow under a truck.

I feel just great! My thumb is still swollen but not hurting too much, and I could get good grip of the handlebar. So riding was all right, as there was no more terrible pain disturbing. But every night the thumb gets electro treatment and new supportive bandage.
Quite a race!

Luca Manca to hospital Jan 7At finish I was very sad to hear that my friend Luca Manca, with whom I had breakfast this morning, had a bad crash only after 10 km. He got severe head injuries.

Stage 3. Some turning luck

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Annie crossing river
Image by Maindru Photo

La Rioja – Fiambala. Stage pos 53 (5:12:53 /+2.11:44), total 47.

Now the real Dakar started. A short but very tough sand and dune special. There was no time for rest, and impossible to ride slow. I was going steady, but dropped the bike a couple of times in the soft sand. Made up time on navigation; riders #19 Faria and #11 Przygonski were surprised to pass me.

All white sand dunes
Image by Maindru Photo

Image: All white,  like in Sweden in winter!

Then luck turned halfway – riding down a ledge into a riverbed, I came off and twisted my thumb. Continued without using the thumb, so riders behind could overtake. But I made up on good navigation again. 1 km before CP3 I ran out of fuel. Now I had to push the bike with help of locals. It took some time to find fuel, so I lost a lot of time. Not very funny…but I’m quite content with todays result. Many competitors had even more trouble, so there are several changes in the positions.

Riding in the dunes is very tough and the heat makes one loose focus – it’s so easy to make small mistakes that will cost big loss of time.

Annie's taking photo with injured thumb in bandageI’ve been to the medics who checked my thumb. There was some bleeding and the x-ray showed a stretched ligament, but luckily no broken bones.
(Image by unknown)
Now I’m going to eat properly and gather my strength for tomorrow…

Loctite offering helpGot some mending stuff from Loctite too… for the bike, not the thumb.

Image by www.stefanolevi.com