Stage 1 started at a very fast pace with Matias (Chile) leading out the pack for the first few kilometres. After the group had settled into a more reasonable pace I was sitting in 5th position behind Vicente (Spain), David (Spain), Argiris (Greece) and Bart (Belgium). I followed this leading pack, but when I felt the pace was too fast for me I slowed to my original race plan and aimed to hold a speed that I could maintain for longer than just the first part of the first day.
|The fast start of stage 1 (Source: 4Deserts)|
|The pack starting to string out. That's me in the front! (Source: 4Deserts)|
In the middle section of the race I caught and then ran with Bart. We held a strong pace and managed to keep each other running fast through the hot dry section of the day. It was very rocky with tricky footing which made it a good introduction to the racing that we had in the week ahead.
|Some of the stony ground we had to run through (Source: Joel Meredith)|
|More rocky ground that made for difficult footing (Source: Joel Meredith)|
At about the 25km mark I was feeling good and pulled ahead of Bart. The next section of the stage led off from the flat river bed and into a climb that had 20m slopes on either side. This made it very difficult to see where the end of the climb would be. I maintained a strong run-walk pace and followed in the footsteps of the leaders which I could see in the sand in front of me.
|In the final 8km we were climbing for more than half of it (Source: Eric Rohnacher)|
I ran well and took most of my Go (Chilean energy drink) and gels during the race so I didn’t fade towards the end. It was a really beautiful stage with some climbs and a really long section on level ground that seemed to last forever. I was running by myself for about 20km out of the 33km and enjoyed it. At the end of the day I came in 4th.