FINAL STAGE - Friday 21 st February (Nkob – Marrakech)
Today we say goodbye to the desert and we headed for one of the most beautiful cities i most charming North Africa: Marrakech, the imperial city par excellence and tourist attraction worldwide.
We will pass by the only road linking Ouarzazate to Marrakech, and it is busy. The Organization has insisted ad nauseam that today we be very cautious steering wheel and exercise caution at all times.
Already they finished the qualifying stages, and we can afford to enjoy this long road link, stopping to visit the ketaras (rows of wells that follow the course of groundwater); breathtaking views of the Col du Tichka, a 2200 m of altitude, we are facing; the winding route of the 1.000 kashbahs, con la Kashbah de Ait Benhadou, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the scene of several films and series like Gladiator or Game of Thrones; and as, palm groves that are becoming numerous as we approach Marrakech.
Moving from the solitude of the desert to the bustling Marrakech, and tent at a great hotel (spectacular, by the way), It is quite a shock (in fun, Of course), We looked at the large beds with cotton sheets and take endless hot showers, as though they had had in life ... ja,and,and! (ojipláticos, we're)
Tonight we expect a very special moment: Final ceremony of UniRaid and awards.
It is at this moment when we realize everything we've gotten from minute one that decided to point us to this great adventure: search for and prepare a car, get sponsors, cross the desert with old cars, adapt
harsh conditions and overcome all the obstacles we've been finding the way and, the most important: put our little grain of sand to improve the living conditions of children and adults who need it really. Every smile compensated received a million times every effort.
And of course we learned something very valuable, with enthusiasm and determination we can achieve anything we set our minds, here and where. Nobody ever tells us "this can not be", us not.
Today and tomorrow we are in Marrakech Tourism, (except mechanics, who continue to work tirelessly). Tomorrow is touring the medina, la plaza Jemma Fna, the streets of the souk ... and buy some souvenirs (and of course get the list of orders and call home),
UniRaid has been carried out thanks to a considerable effort by the Organization, with a significant deployment of resources (more of 50 persons), between mechanical, Commissioners, Logistics, App developers UniTrip, working camps ... 24 hours a day and taking care of UniRaiders. We thank them all.
But the merit and success are participants.
Special thanks to the Moroccan authorities for their assistance in the organization and development of this event.
And of course, the next edition will be "more and better". This is UNIRAID!
STAGE MARATHON (DAY 2) - Thursday 20 - very Znigui - Nkob
Dawns and we set off, being careful not to leave any trace of our passage through here, than the ashes of the fires extinguished and our memories. The organization is very careful in this regard: in fact, in all camps biodegradable bags are distributed garbage and is selective waste collection, Here the resources are very limited and we must preserve.
Once broken camp, started on the second day of the marathon stage Confronting the "track prohibited Dakar". This is really capitalized AVENTURA: It consists of a mixture navigation off track, arena, sand and sand, and endless extensions.
Re-comply "Every day more and better". This is crazy! If the first day we put this, do not beat almost anyone. But now we are experienced and unstoppable uniraiders.
We move surrounded by incredible scenery, It is pure desert state, there is nothing or nobody. The stage started with very fast stages navigation, in that we rely heavily on our decisions (and compass), and has completed a stretch of dunes complicated ... there was only one good way to go ... and had to find it!. One more time, teamwork butt.
We went from vast plains where river without any reference ruts, only with the help of the compass, spectacular canyons, then oasis, more dunes ... and back again.
yes, when you take many kilometers without seeing anyone you enter a point of insecurity, but you know that you are constantly geolocated by the Organization.
On arrival at the camp it has been very exciting: by a happy party for having managed to cross the desert and get back close to civilization (¡somos “finishers”!), and moreover a little sad, Friday morning because we come to Marrakech and this is just.
STAGE MARATHON (DAY 1) - Wednesday 19 - very Znigui - Nkob
First light on the dunes of the Erg Znigui beautiful and exciting and fun after the stage yesterday night, we begin the most anticipated stage of this adventure .... the marathon stage: a stage for two days over itinerary 400 km in the desert, in complete autonomy. A challenge in the great adventure.
This is every day more. When it seems that no longer can complicate things ... the Organization marks us a challenge even more difficult, and this is an incentive and satisfaction. There are no impossible challenges. You can not win who never gives up, and we do not surrender to anything. The marathon stage is actually the sum of two stages chained, but instead of having a riding camp at the nightfall, today we camp on autonomy and on our own (Although the organization is supervised at all times we).
They already warned us that if we wanted real adventure Off Road today was the day. In this two-stage everything is following directions and roadbook navigation. Here navigation errors can cost a lot of extra kilometers ('And there are no refueling!!). Thus, we must be very cautious, meditate good decisions, and appreciate every moment that we have resources. At this stage driving is as important as navigation, although at this point we have forged some teams and some friendships that overcome the insurmountable.
Nobody said this was going to be easy. Some believe that the organization has more confidence in our possibilities, ourselves. And they prove that they are right.
The first day of this double marathon stage has been very intense and has been filled with excitement and adventure. The place is awesome ... wherever you look there are desert, more desert and desert alone. One of the key moments of the stage, It was to find a hidden passage (the only passable way to save a large gap and get where we needed to go), and had to find him after sailing over 20 km without any reference track or rut, Only compass, the roadbook and our criteria.
They have been 20 longest of our lives km (Until now, because there are rumors that the next stage is getting worse, or better, depending on how you see it), but all teams have successfully reached.
The marathon stage is very dreaded and yet desired, and camping in the light of the campfires with your fellow adventurers, It is one of the most remembered and longed for participants. How right they were when we were told the first day "each stage will be more and better". Just a magical night we will remember a lifetime.
Continue ... this is UNIRAID! (NOTE: no video today because the lack of coverage does not allow this)
STAGE 3 - Tuesday 18 st February (Erg Chebbi - very Znigui)
Today's stage starts and ends on dunes.
This is a short distance stage, but very technical and intense, following the layout of a classic steps of the Paris-Dakar, along towering dunes of the Erg Chebbi.
We still believe everything that we can do with our young and old cars ... yes, it is essential to work together and put a lot of determination to advance these places.
We had a lot of off-road navigation, only following indications of the road book and compass heading (Blessed Google Maps we can not use!). A situation that forces us to evaluate all decisions well and be attentive to all signals, because completing a stage of the Dakar with our cars, It is not an easy task.
We have also suffered many jams, because the unforgiving arena, and we had to help the other teams with slings and sand plates. few kilometers, but a lot of work and effort to reach camp tonight, which it is situated in the dunes of the Erg Znigui. Another amazing place.
Today showers much to take away the dust and sand are appreciated, and of course ... the care and the good work of our mechanics, who they work tirelessly and do everything possible to repair each failure and solve all mechanical problems. Without them, this adventure would not be possible and took the opportunity to thank them publicly.
And if today the day was already intense, the Organization has addressed make it even a little more intense: Today touches night stage! It was an open secret, as many already intuited, because the setting is perfect, but what nobody knew is that all night navigation stage would compass headings (if it's difficult day, imagine Night). Luckily we do in groups 10 cars, and this allows us to help each other and laugh a lot.
The truth is that it was a unique experience: go through the desert at night, and only with the compass. Today we have felt and are authentic and adventurous drivers the Dakar.
Back to camp under the Milky Way. Fatigue is starting to show, but we had already warned "this is UNIRAID".
STAGE 2 - Monday 17 st February. (Gourrama - Erg Chebbi)
Today's stage has been intense while spectacular: navigation and driving butt, incredible scenery and many difficulties to overcome the 200km stage, completing it in the dunes and rivers of the Erg Chebbi sand.
Organization notice in the briefing last night "Today begins the real adventure", it has more than fulfilled.
we have overcome every difficulty by combining teamwork, effort, determination and coordination. We have learned that this is all we need to be unstoppable and get what we set, however impossible it may seem, here and in any situation. A willingness and enthusiasm is no longer who beat us.
In the afternoon the cars have gone into the depths of the desert, testing the resistance both mechanical and participants, who have come to the camp exhausted. Satisfaction felt in the environment and our mechanics work tirelessly to put the cars for tomorrow.
Today we set up camp at the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes under a sky populated with millions of stars. (Better impossible place!)
STAGE 1 - Sunday 16 st February (Meknes - Gourrama)
At dawn the excitement is palpable in the atmosphere and nerves are skin deep.
Ahead 9 intense days of adventure and difficulties, They are including a night stage and a marathon stage.
Scoring the first stage has been a real challenge for all teams: We have started the route heading south, ascending to the Atlas (2.000 m) by craggy slopes and lonely, far from civilization.
Luckily the weather conditions have been favorable (bright sunshine), and we have not had to travel over snow, as it has happened in some previous occasion.
Even so, many teams have had to work hard to complete the course, and that has only been the first stage.
A sunset and once at camp, we received a visit from a group of about 200 schoolchildren and teachers representing various schools of populated this area, whom we have made delivery of much of the material transported solidarity in our cars and in the truck that makes us Help. (In this issue we have gathered near 19 tons of school supplies, IT and health).
We have also carried out several solidarity and sustainable projects like the creation of a computer room equipped with more than 20 computers; Bicycle donation and creating a repair shop equipped with spare parts that children can repair themselves and not have to travel kilometers and kilometers to city; Type LED lighting installation in several schools, some equipped with solar panels, which it is clean and energy cost; Donation of wheelchairs for people with mobility difficulties ... In addition to delivering endless toys, soccer balls and school supplies.
A very rewarding day in which we receive gowns and offer a display of traditional dances as a thank you to our visit. We ended the day debuting our first camp in a place of great beauty.
Tomorrow will tread the first dunes. In other words this is encouraged!
Greetings and thanks for following.
STAGE 0 - Saturday 15 st February 2020 (Tanger - Meknes)
We embarked early in the morning to cross the strait bound for the port of TangerMed, our first contact with Africa.
Once passed all border formalities and changed some currency, We started the first stretch of road link to Meknes, where we expect a great hotel, meeting point for all teams participating in this edition 2020.
In the afternoon we passed the technical and administrative checks to ensure that the cars meet the requirements for this adventure, and solidarity that we have been collecting material during the months before the start of UniRaid.
All faces reflect a mixture of illusion, nerves and expectation: Early morning starts the first stage and doubts arise in how it will, what we will face, mechanical ... (¿Abide inventions we have made?), and the correct interpretation of the route as directed by the roadbook.
Being here is the culmination of months and months of effort and sacrifices, and you have to enjoy every minute.
This year is no record of participants and a high level in preparations cars. We have been watching your progress thanks to the posts of teams in Instagram, but the reality exceeds all expectations. The teams have done their homework, but the desert has the last word.
Begins the ninth edition of this great adventure exclusively for students, in which solidarity, companionship and adventure are essential to overcome all obstacles and reach the finish line.
In this edition teams from different nationalities and countries, all loaded with material and integral illusion, ready to take on the world and to live the adventure of a lifetime.
From UNIRAID We welcome you and wish you good luck to all.