Preparing

Day of resurrection. My KTM 250 is back. And so am I.

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According to some religion today was the day of resurrection. And guess what, it’s true. Today my KTM 250 came out from the darkest corner of the garage!
I haven’t ridden a bike since my shoulder-smashing-crash two years ago, so now I’ll just start easy and see how it goes.

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Dakar tents at the Supermercado

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Getting the last stuff needed for me and Marie in the Dakar rally, we didn’t expect to find the very much sought after “2 second” pop up tent in the supermarket! Of course we had to try immediately in the shop.

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Dakar is arriving to town

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The Dakar Village is being built, road barriers put up, excitement in the air. On Saturday 4/1 we will roll (or jump) over the starting podium in Rosario. The Dakar 2014 is on!

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The Dakar 2014 starting podium in Rosario Argentina

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On Saturday we take off!
We are buggy #366.

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Scrutineering and check in Merzouga Rally

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VIDEO – some of the atmosphere (1.30 min) youtube.com/watch?v=BpBxb30U_Ms
Annie posing at 0:30…

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“Hellooo eeeverybody!” 😀

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The Rally Palace

Rest Day (is it ???)

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ENGLISH
The past days have been tough. The first stages were rather easy, but 5 and 6 were really challenging. The sixth was the same as last year where I almost fell in that deep tomb. This year the competitors got warned about it in our briefing.
My riding strategy has been successful. I started easy, but after I got a good rythm I could ride faster at the end of the stage. Many other contentants lost strength by then making mistakes too, but I still got energy and kept my focus – overtaking several riders, thus improving my standings.

Now I feel just great! I got muscle relaxants and painkillers yesterday and today to avoid seizures.

 
Photo: Annie and a mechanic

Restday means sleep-in, on the race days we started very early in the mornings. But there is quite a lot of work. All service on the bike – fix the fork, new chain and sprocket, tires, oil and filters. I will have a new engine as that fesh-fesh gets everywhere inside, which might cause a major engine failure. That i sure don’t want to happen during the remaining race days!
And a lot of planning and organaizing for the second week of dakar rally. Also i must find a laundry place in the city…
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Interview Annie during the rest day: contact Marie Hessel phone +46 763 18 88 22. Chile time -4h compared with Europe.

 
Photo: Annie and fellow bikers making marks in the roadbooks.
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SVENSKA
Det har varit tufft de senaste dagarna. De första etapperna var ganska lÀtta, men strÀckorna 5 och 6 blev det allvar! Sexan var samma som förra Äret, dÀr jag var nÀra att köra ner i det djupa schaktet. I Är blev förarna varnade för det i den gemensamma genomgÄngen!
Min körstrategi har visat sig lyckosam. Jag tog det lugnt i början av etapperna men nÀr jag hittat rÀtt rytm kunde jag gasa pÄ i slutet av strÀckorna. MÄnga andra förare började tappa orken dÄ och gjorde misstag, men jag hade styrkan kvar och körde om flera, vilket gav allt bÀttre placeringar.

Nu kÀnns det bara toppen! Jag fick muskelavslappnande och smÀrtstillande medel igÄr och idag för att undvika kramper.

Vilodag betyder sovmorgon, under tĂ€vlingsdagarna har vi ju gĂ„tt upp mycket tidigt. Men det finns ocksĂ„ mycket jobb. All service pĂ„ hojen – fixa gaffeln, ny kedja och drev, dĂ€ck, olja och filter. Ska byta motor, eftersom fesh-feshen tĂ€pper till varje vrĂ„ och det innebĂ€r risk för haveri. Det vill jag ju slippa under resten av rallyt!
DĂ€rtill planera och ordna för den andra veckan av dakarrallyt. Och sĂ„ mĂ„ste jag hitta ett tvĂ€tteri pĂ„ stan…

Roadbook checking

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Many modifications in roadbook stage 3… lot of work checking it all through and making notifications.

Dakar start

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ENGLISH:
At 8.30 this morning we had a riders group photo for all competitors in moto and quad. At 10 there was the official briefing, where race director Etienne Lavigne and course director David Castera uintroduced the Dakar 2011.
In the afternoon the podium cermeny starts, my staring time at 15.13’30.

SVENSKA:
kl 8.30 i morse var det samling för alla mc och quadförara för gruppfotografering. Sedan obligatorisk briefing för alla tÀvlande och assistansteam kl 10, dÀr tÀvlingledningen presenterade Ärets Dakar rally.
I eftermiddag Ă€r det dags för officiell startceremoni pĂ„ podiet, min starttid kl 15.13’30.

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!

Preparing the bike

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Today Annie got together with her team Meca’system. They have been fixing the bike all day. The scrutineering will be on dec 31 in the morning. All will be checked: navigation equipment, saftety and security system etc. After that the vehicles will stay in the parc fermĂ© until start on jan 1st.

Annie fixing and adjusting bike

Mounting neoprene fork socks to prevent dirt getting into forkseal.

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