12 MAR 2014: Early this morning we headed off to Indiancars, about an hour outside of Paris, to take possession of our Rally Jeep. We were early. But the Jeep was ready for us. Bruno guided us through the final paperwork including a long checklist of spare parts and supplies, and even took the time out to help me with the vocabulary for critical Jeep parts in French (though I hope I won’t have to describe any major problems to mechanics during the rally). He handed over the keys as we did a final walk around and they attached the “Rally Aicha des Gazelles” plate to the front bumper. We’re “official” now…
11 MAR 2014: It has been great having an extra few days here in Paris. In addition to prepping for the rally, we’ve gotten to enjoy the early spring and catch up with some friends. We’ve also added a few new “good luck” charms to our “critical equipment” list, that along with our mascot, will accompany us to Morocco. I am very touched by all the support we have received from friends and family as we head into this amazing adventure…
10 MAR 2014: There are so many last minute details to get sorted out we feel like we are in a “treasure hunt” of sorts, running around Paris getting this certification, that document, this piece of stray equipment, that extra tube of sunblock, making sure the signage is delivered to the Jeep, that we have secure parking for a BIG Jeep in the center of Paris, etc… Then there is the irony of buying Algerian dates in France to bring to Morocco (but as this is our first Gazelle Rally, we don’t know how much time we will actually have in Morocco to go to the market to buy things prior to the event)! In any case, it is all coming together, and this week promises to get busier as the departure gets closer …
8 MAR 2014: The final countdown begins. In one week we will be with the other teams under the iconic Eiffel Tower for the “grand depart” of the 24 edition of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles. All the preparations, all the struggles to get to this point, will be brought together, tied up in a bouquet of eager faces and numbered vehicles, choreographed and ready to roll onward to Morocco …
With the rally departing from Paris in just 15 Days, here is a trailer to get us in the mood… [and apologizes for the ad at the start, it is embedded by the source of this video and we cannot remove it]
WHERE WE ARE
Finalizing details in Paris and getting ready for Technical Verifications on Friday and the “Grand Depart” from Place Trocadero on Saturday!
Team USnomads is proud to support the work of MothersToMothers, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that recognizes the ability of mothers to change their destiny. MothersToMothers, founded by Pamela Parlapiano, partners with local women to create community supported day care and learning centers that change lives. Their model project in Amacho Wato Kebele, Ethiopia, has shown how with just a little help, the mothers in the community can improve the lives of a whole village. Please join us in supporting their efforts to take this successful model to more villages: Donate to MothersToMothers here. (Note that all donations go 100% directly to MothersToMothers).
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 !
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.
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…
MOROCCAN COAT OF ARMS
The current coat of arms of Morocco was introduced 14 August 1957. It was developed by the graphic artists Gauthier and Hainaut and shows a green pentagram on a red background before the Atlas Mountains and a rising sun. The royal crown is on top. Two lions function as the holders of the shield. On the ribbon underneath, the Arabic inscription is written: “If you glorify God, he will glorify you” (Quran, Verse 7, Sura 47). The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles is proud to be the only auto event to bear the Moroccan coat of arms. Embroidered on the Gazelles’ vests, its presence serves to remind them of the respect due to its lands and people during their great adventure.
Detailed weather: Errachida
A scouting trip in the company of experienced Dakar racers offers a preview of the challenges we will face during the Gazelle Rally and beyond… [read]
A true test of endurance, the Gazelle rally pushes teams to their limits in a struggle to overcome the harshest terrain in the Moroccan Sahara. The key to success is a seamless combination of off-road driving abiility, land navigation skills and strategic thinking. Find out how the rally works…
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
A photo storyboard featuring Team USnomads and some lessons learned during a recent training exercise in Anza Borrego. Putting the driving and navigating together in a real desert environment, the team completed an independent land navigation simulation as part of the preparation for the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles 2014… [read]
> 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 …