NOTES FROM THE ROAD


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160 TEAMS FOR THE 2014 RALLY



The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles organization announced the starting lineup for this years Rally today.


31 JANUARY 2014: There will be 160 teams, 320 women from 24 countries participating in the event this year. Competitors will range in age from 19 to 64 (so we won’t be the oldest!). Countries represented include: France, Canada, USA, Morocco, Norway, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Italy, Colombia, Switzerland, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Portugal, UK, Vietnam, Yeman, South Africa, Senegal and French Polynesia.

Here is the official announcement: english | français


THE ROUTE MAP IS OUT



The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles organization released the route map for the 2014 Rally this week.


10 JANUARY 2014: The route map showing the rough itinerary of the race has been released and there are some surprises. Sources familiar with the event say the back-to-back “Marathon” legs will pose some interesting challenges for the teams.

The event begins on Friday 14 March with technical and administrative verifications in Paris followed by a “presentation”/media event in front of the Eiffel Tower on Saturday 15 March. From there the teams will make their way south to Spain where they will get a ferry in Barcelona for the crossing into Morocco. Arriving in Tangiers teams head directly for Erfoud, where the “Prologue” gets underway on Wednesday 19 March.

The core of the competition begins on Thursday 20 March with a loop south-east of Erfoud, right near the Algerian border. On Friday, 21 March, the teams loop around in the other direction, north of Erfoud. Saturday 22 March will be the first encounter with the ergs — teams will confront the giant sand dunes of Merzouga before heading north-west for a new bivouac. Sunday 23 March starts a Marathon leg, where the teams will have to camp on their own out in the desert overnight, while making their way generally south-west towards Tinfou. After a single night at the bivouac there, teams set out for a second Marathon leg on Tuesday 25 March. This segment of the journey west will take them through the massive sand sea, Chegagga, where they will certainly camp in the dunes overnight before continuing towards Foum-Zguid. The final day of the competition on Thursday 27 March will be a loop south.

Teams head for the beach at Essaouira on Friday 28 March, with time to get cleaned up and “civilized” for the closing ceremony there on Sunday 30 March.

Here is the official announcement: english | français



MORE FROM TEAM 171 – US NOMADS: US Nomads Go to Jeep School | Navigating the Desert the Bedouin Way | Route Finding with Orienteering


TRACKING THE TEAM

Once the Rally starts, you will be able to track the team here each day to see how well we did compared to the “ideal” route. The team’s track will appear as a white line compared to the “straight line” course, as in this sample. Live tracking in realtime will be available on the official Gazelle Rally site, and we will link to it directly from this space.



ON THE AGENDA THIS WEEK

Team meeting in New York. Gathering our gear for a first shipment to Paris. Heading back out to the desert in SoCal, where we will be doing some more intensive land navigation training as a team towards the end of the week.




WHERE WE ARE


TEAM 171 PRESENTATION



USnomads, c’est l’histoire d’une amitié de plus de 20 ans, qui s’est construite à travers le temps, les cultures, les expériences de la vie et des voyages. Seule l’union de deux caractères forts et respectueux l’un de l’autre explique que nous soyons arrivées à nos fins dans chacun de nos défis.

Ceci est notre première participation au Rallye des gazelles et nous ne sommes pas des professionels, mais JoMarie a une certaine expérience de l’Afrique et des situations d’urgence. D’autre part, elle s’est totalement investie dans la préparation de cette course et Isabelle s’est récemment mise à la navigation.

Le Rallye des gazelles dans le désert marocain sera le théâtre d’une nouvelle épreuve pour nous : une Jeep, une boussole, une carte et tout le pouvoir de notre volonté d’y parvenir fera le reste.

Ce défi sportif s’inscrit dans un projet humain plus large, celui de traverser le désert du Sahara d’Ouest en Est dans l’espoir d’accompagner les équipes d’ONG dans leurs micro-projets d’aide aux peuplades nomades locales. JoMarie en produira un film documentaire qui donnera à mieux connaitre les hommes de cette partie du monde.

L’équipe 171 prendra fièrement son envol le 15 mars 2014 avec toutes les autres participantes ! Et que les meilleures gagnent !

Mais quelle valeur et quelle portée aurait cette leçon de vie, si nous n’étions pas soutenues par l’amour de nos proches, de nos amis et de tous ceux qui nous entourent. Merci !


CURRENT WEATHER


Detailed weather: Errachida


MORE NOTES FROM THE ROAD:
Archive



FEATURE

US NOMADS GO TO JEEP SCHOOL

Driving a Jeep off-road across the Sahara presents a different set of challenges than the recreational offroading we are familiar with, so we went to Barlow Jeep School in Sedona, AZ, to learn the ins and outs of desert driving from an expert… [read]


ROUTE MAP


RALLY RECON

How do they determine the route for the Rally? An advance team from the organization went out on a recon trip in November to select and pre-run the course. Check out this account from one of the members of the recon team, talking about what they were looking for in the terrain and how they made their determinations: english | français



> Team US Nomads is training hard to face the challenges of a Sahara crossing like no other. The first step in their journey is the 2014 Rally Aicha des Gazelles. Find out more about the team and their inspiration …


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