Day -1, Friday 23 March 2007

On Friday we were to meet in the hotel reception by 9am, ready for the 5-6 hour coach journey to the first bivouac. That’s right, 5-6 hours, with one ‘comfort break’ and no toilet on the bus....

Helpfully, we were all given a 2 litre bottle of water at the start of the journey to ensure the entire coach was in a state of manic desperation 2 hours into the journey! We were also provided with the race road book at the start of the coach journey, a fascinating read.
There was to be no sand dune day this time, rather every day seemed to include some kind of sand to a greater or lesser extent. There were plenty of steep sections and hill climbs as well. After the lunch stop, we soon pulled over to the side of the road, ready for the final transfer by open top truck, less than ½ mile off the road, the first bivouac was in sight. It was here we met Mike, now we were six.
On arrival, it’s basically a bun fight to get to your tents. Each nationality has a number of tents allocated, it’s up to you to get there on a first come, first served basis. Handy hint; stay close to the entrance as this is where the start/finish line is closest, and the admin tents as well.
We took Tent 100, perfectly placed near the front, home to the six of us for the week, assuming we all made it. Keith, brought along a nerf ball and other great toys to amuse us until our suitcases were checked the next day.