DAKAR CHRONICLE 2020 – Chapter 2: A second chance.

Second delivery of the chronicle of Daniel Albero in the Dakar 2020. counted first person and in different deliveries exclusively for the followers of the project.

Text original: Daniel Albero (@undiabeticoeneldakar)
Transcription: Jordi Company (@Company_Vidal)

It’s four o’clock early morning. It’s Sunday, January 5. Thousands of miles away, my children will be nervous to know what the Three Wise Men will bring them tonight. I here in Yeda (Jeddah) I have my particular gift: starting the Dakar.

after a hard night –it is difficult to change the hotel bed for the tent; someone follows partying at a disco near the camp; all the noises of the mechanics fine-tuning the vehicles- it’s time to start. More than 750 km we they wait ahead; 433 liaison and 319 special. in motorcycle races GP the start is one of the moments where more adrenaline is generated. All the riders are on the starting grid, concentrated thinking about each corner, in each piano they must avoid stepping on. And a great background sound: that of the fans applauding their favorite pilots. Traffic light in red. 3… 2… 1… and a standing ovation. Here things are a little different. Maybe we don’t have thousands of people in the stands, but we have ourselves -my team- and the rest of the pilots waiting -some cold- for their departure. before the clock red digital that times the times of each driver, a couple of marshals they write on their computers and notebooks. This year I’m wearing number 105 -I like it- and now, in this immense darkness of the desert, that sweet feeling in the stomach. I look to my right: there are Jairo and Kike, with their cameras, ready to record how my dream comes true again. To me left, Octavio and Richar excited, waiting for the clock to strike my Exit. 3… 2… 1… I also have my small standing ovation. With tears-of emotion- in the eyes, we start.

I must confess that this first stage -despite more than 700km- ends very quickly. Too. I imagine that the emotion of the test makes me enjoy like a child and makes the time rapid progress between endless rivers of stone and sand. When I get to camp, my team is waiting for me and we celebrate together the end of the first stage. But – watch out! – Arriving at the camp is not synonymous with rest. Every team member knows what to do, how and in how long. Then After reviewing everything, I am about to speak with Dr. Martínez. today my meter The Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor as well as the YPSOMED pump have worked almost to perfection. It is true that I have had to adjust it on a couple of occasions during the race – the nerves and stress of the first stage – but I have finished with some very good records. I am happy and grateful.

With all this… We had dinner, we review tomorrow’s roadbook (what good that it’s already painted) and it’s time to sleep. Or at least rest. I must tell you that the tent looks like an igloo… How cold! And, in addition, the noise of the bivouac . This is the most unbearable I promise. I’ve tried it all: ear plugs, diving into the bag, fat wool hat… In the end, fatigue wins and I manage to sleep a few hours until the alarm clock wakes me up.

Second stage, here we come! It’s 6:30 a.m. (it’s still early, but it doesn’t seem to hurt as much as the four in the morning yesterday). Today shorter stage, but not for that less hard. Al Wajh-Neom. 26 kilometers of connection -it is appreciated- and 367km of special. This stage has been one of the most beautiful of this Dakar: great variety of landscapes, yellow and orange as colors that shine in the horizon, dust, the first dunes and good navigation. for putting a hits, this time I had to stop to change the patch and the catheter of the bomb. I took advantage of a refueling neutralization to do it with the help of a doctor from the organization – with whom I had a magnificent relationship throughout the race – and I was able to continue without problems. I arrived at Neom at a good time, within schedule and I was able to speak with Dr. Martínez who, By the way, he gave me great advice so that what happened today would not happen to me again. Place one patch on top of the other patch. Double patch, unique feeling. What in the announcement… Well, I guess it wasn’t. Anyway… Good night!

Stage 3. Neom-Neom. A loop of 504 km (77 km of link and 427 of special). It’s 5:30 in the morning, It’s cold, I haven’t slept much. Azucarilla is ready to face a new stage and my team is still in the Exit. Can’t ask for much more now. So 3…2…1… Gas, and insulin that is not lacking!

Today has been a stage short, but hard. A special with constant changes of terrain, views gems that take your breath away and -of course!- stones and more stones. This is the What marks this first week? There is a ravine with a quantity of stones so exaggerated that – honestly – beats me and I fall off the bike. I’m fine, there isn’t no problem. A couple of scratches on the third stage of my second Dakar. It could be worse…

I arrive early at the bivouac . One more day! This race is summarized in this spirit: kilometer by kilometer, stage by stage and, finally, finish line. Or so I hope. Dinner, Instagram Live with my followers, I talk to my family and today yes, I sleep better…

Few, but better. Every day costs a little more. Neom > Al-`Ula. 219 km of link, 453 of special. I leave calm, happy and thinking that we have overcome the last year’s record. That helps motivate you. 3…2…1… Let’s start!

when you wear a couple of hours on the bike, you already feel so much yours that it is difficult to separate your body and your mind from the machine that drags you between hard terrain. Today, especially very hard. Endless rivers of stone, very fast tracks stony. Now it will get better. More rocky fast tracks. not the best run option. Don’t worry, Dani, little by little you’ll get there. I fall, but I I raise. Stones, stones… I fall again. More stones. Phew! What time is it? 5:30 p.m. Refueling. patch change in bad shape There are 150km left to reach the finish line. Come on Danny! darken… the desert in complete darkness, stones, stones and more stones. I look at the clock. Nine o’clock? Let’s go, come on. Clutch. No, it can not be. This year no. The Azucarilla clutch says enough. I am in the middle of the desert. I’ve run out of food and potion. What do I do?

you should hear how a call sounds through the Iritrack of the organization.

-Hello, Daniel. It’s fine? A voice with a French accent tells me.

-Yes, hello… I’m fine, only I’ve run out of clutch.

-Stay where it is and shortly we will send help.

On little more than three hours I have a car from the organization of the Dakar that pick me up and take me to camp. Now reading this from my laptop house those three hours pass quickly, but I can assure you that staying in the middle of the desert, at night, between a sea of stones, seeing lights of cars and trucks in the distance is a feeling of strange loneliness accompanied. Not these alone, because the organization is always through the satellite phone and each a few minutes they contact you to know that you are well, but at same time you feel insignificant and it is then -only then- when you understand the hardness of the Dakar. Feelings at such times are confused: sadness, anger, desolation… But inside of me there is only the hope of survive until they pick me up, monitor my blood glucose in an extreme situation and think of my loved ones and friends. By the way… you must be worried. When I get to camp, the first thing I’ll do is call them.

Is and at dawn on Thursday, January 9, 2020. An SUV from organization with two assistants picks me up and takes me to the bivouac. In the rearview mirror, I see Azucarilla disappearing into the darkness. She stays there for a few hours until the truck picks her up and takes her back to camp. When I arrive at the bivouac they remind me that this year -thanks to the new race rules- we have a wild card. We will can fix the bike and get back on stage 7, after the rest day. This is not over yet, I promise you.

(To be continue)