Recovery Day

Day 18, Stage 13, 143km

Start – Dead Camel Desert Camp

Finish – Desert Storm Desert Camp

The day before I forced myself to eat my soup and then my dinner. I went to bed early and drank as much as I could. I needed to get my energy back. I decided that today would be a recovery day. It was very hot. It was another long day – with another long day to follow. There was no point pushing too hard and not recovering. So today was a recovery day. I left on my own and cycled on my own the whole day. I did not want to and probably could not have kept up with anyone. I found that I still had lots of stamina – I could keep going – but the power in reserve was not there. So I left around 7:45 and finally got to camp around 2:30 in the afternoon – a long day – a good couple of hours after the people I normally ride with arrived. I stopped at every stop and drank as much as I could. I even stopped at a coke stop before the lunch break. Normally we ride straight through to lunch and only stop for coke on the second half of the ride. Not today.

When I got into camp though I felt better than when I had left. I had some hot soup, set up my tent, had some dinner (not a huge portion but a reasonable one) and went to sleep – or at least tried to.

The wind had started to pick up after noon and by the time we were setting up our tents was blowing a full gale. We were in the middle of the desert in the middle of a real desert storm. Setting up tents was difficult. Many didn’t even try. They just put down a thermarest in the lee of one of the trucks and slept in the open. I set up my tent but did not put the fly on. My thinking was that if I put the fly on it would only give the wind another sail to uproot the tent with. With just the webbing exposed the wind would blow through and leave the tent standing. I was then hoping the wind would moderate a bit after dark and I could put the fly up. I was partially right. The tent remained stabled and the wind did blow through. But of course in a sandstorm the wind carries its freight. By the time I was thinking of going to bed there was an inch of sand covering everything inside the tent. And the wind had not moderated one bit. So I struggled to put the fly on in the full gale and hoped I would not end up in Oz looking for Toto and a yellow brick road.

It was an uncomfortable night but I did get some sleep. By morning the end of the tent facing the wind was covered in 6 inches of sand. I had to dig it out. Visibility was less than 200 metres. Amazing!

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