The Toughest Day
For those of you who have been trying to track Don on-line it has been a frustrating day, from all reports it has been far worse for Don.
Don had another bad night and day with his stomach problems but made it to the start of the special stage this morning. However shortly into the stage Don fell victim to bad gasoline in his tank. This same problem afflicted many riders including favorite Marc Coma.
Don persevered for a long time, but this stage has been described by many as one of the toughest they have ever encountered in any rally! The sand was really tough and it was incredibly hot. Don and many other riders were forced to ride in first or second gear as that was the best their engines could do on the foul gasoline.
Eventually we had word from Natalie that Don had arrived back at the Bivouac. However it seems that he and most of the other riders listed as withdrawn, had to cut the stage short, in effect disqualifying themselves from competing in the rally.
At one point Don and British rider Duncan Tweedy were visited by a Doctor on the course. Apparently Duncan had briefly passed out due to the heat, the temperature was about 45C. The Doctor told them that there were no helicopters available to evacuate them since there were so many people stuck in the Dunes. The Doctor also said “you should not go on – you will die in the dunes, but if you leave the course now, there is always next year”.
This evening in the bivouac Don is still really sick with stomach cramping and diarrhea. The only reason he is not throwing up is because he is on anti-nausea medicine.
We hope to update this report later on and say that Don gets to ride another day, but that is probably just wishful thinking.
Don, while your dream may have been cut short this year, your team and supporters are very proud of you for what you have accomplished. If you don’t get to race again in Dakar 2010, at least this year you will be healthy enough to enjoy Argentina. Thanks for the experience.