23 FEB 2014: The intensive driving workout deep inside the Imperial Sand Dunes continues as we focus on navigating the terrain and maneuvering over tight and complex dune formations. Am finding out I should have paid more attention to physics back in high school! It’s all about the interplay between gravity and momentum, and getting to know just how much momentum is enough to get over a soft steep crest without getting stuck or damaging the Jeep…
23 FEB 2014: Did some work on navigating straight to a heading through the dunes and was surprised to see that despite all the zig zags required to drive the terrain, a GPS track shows we actually did go in pretty straight lines. We also had the chance to practice “offsetting” around an obstacle, and using visual points on the horizon to keep our direction. Seeing how it really works was very reassuring!
22 FEB 2014: The dunes remain the biggest challenge for us, both navigationally and driving-wise, and I feel like it is really important for us to be as prepared as we can for what we will be up against in Morocco. With that thought in mind, I returned to the Imperial Sand Dunes to work on sharpening my driving skills one last time. Had lots of fun in the sand trying to keep up with Nena Barlow, and in the process, finally got comfortable in the big dunes.
A touristic look at the dunes of the Moroccan Sahara from Lonely Planet to get us in the mood…
WHERE WE ARE
ON THE AGENDA THIS WEEK
JoMarie returns to New York and begins packing for travel to France and the Rally beyond, meanwhile Isabelle continues gathering gear and monitoring the preparation of the Jeep in Paris.
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.
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 !
ABOUT THE RACE
The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a grueling nine-day off-road race across the Moroccan sahara, is one of the toughest motorsport events in the world. Using only a map and compass to navigate (GPS or electronic navigational aids are NOT allowed), the two-women teams must reach a series of checkpoints spread over the harshest desert terrain. The competition is a challenge of endurance and strategy, as teams must decide whether to go over obstacles or around them in an effort to complete the course with the least possible mileage. The winners are the team that reaches all the checkpoints via the shortest total distance. Learn more about the race…
Detailed weather: Errachida
There is something mysterious about the vast seas of sand, the great ergs, of the Sahara. They stand intimidating in their magnificence, and the idea of even trying to drive across them seems pure folly. Yet that is exactly what we will have to do during the Gazelle Rally… [read]
160 TEAMS FOR THE 2014 RALLY
This year there will be 160 teams competing in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles: 320 women from 24 countries ranging in age from 19 to 64. Nations 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.
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 …
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]