Today was the day, last year, that the medical team withdrew me with the aggressive cellulitis infection, at CP2. So, this year was all about beating that milestone. I slept ok but had a rough stomach. I ate my breakfast though, but played ultra cautious at the start. 4k of miserable hard dried mud flats. Bad description. They are eruptions of mud in spikes and clumps, impossible to run on, so a slow first 4k for everyone. After was a better trail, but feeling a little rough, I took it slow. I had to go to the loo to relive the stomach problems before CP1. I took a rehydrate sachet straigh away and upped my fluids. I`d written myself a race plan, and this was one of the things I had covered. By CP1 I was feeling ok again but down in about 75th place. My hydration was back to normal as a quick loo stop showed (all clear!). After CP1 there were small dunes and then a dirt road, then mud flat 4x4 trail into CP2. Feeling ok again, I pressed on the gas and passed a lot of people before CP2. I was pleased to pass CP2 where I was out last year. So, new ground from here on in. After CP2 there was a good dirt road for a couple of k, then we crossed the main road into about 6k of hideous mud flats. The hardest and worst terrain I have ever tried to get accross. it was getting fiercely hot, and I had heartburn from all the electrolytes, which wasn`t pleasant. It cleared just before CP3 in the small sand dunes. At CP3 I emptied most of the Atacama desert out of my shoes, and wanted to tape up a hotspot on one toe, but someone forgot to return my foot tape from the tent, so I had none. As a result I have one tiny blister on my second smallest toe. It`s a nothing. Pretty much everyone has blisters, I've got some of the better condition feet from everyone. After CP3 there was a 200M climb up towards the NASA station that was used in the last Bond Film. It was really hot by now and the climb was a struggle on sandy/slate terrain. After that you spot the camp but have a cruel 45 mins of large sand dunes to negotiate. I just about had enough water, having taken a full ration at CP3. I chased down more people in the last few K and finished in just under 7 hours, in 27th place. Pretty surprising given my steady start. I only wanted to survive today, and feel as close to brand new as I could for tomorrow`s Infamous 43km Salt Flats stage. For me, this race gets hard tomorrow. In the heat of the day 14k of evil 3 evil terrain. Salt flats are like mud flats but worse. Imagine crossing sharp coral reef where sometimes the crust breaks and plunge your feet into the salty water underneath. Only 1.5l of water to get me accross them. People took average 3 hours to cross, some 5 hours last year. I don`t care if I finish kast tomorrow as long as I finish. I`m going to go really steady, so expect me to drop down the places. I need to save fuel in the tank for the 75km stage the day after that. Must remember everyone gets the same medal, first or last. Our entire tent finished well again today, I think we have the fastest tent overall (no prize though!). Joasia is blazing the womens contest so far, and Diane is in a battle for 2nd. All the guys are doing well, especially Jack who gets better every day. It's 5pm and still a furnace as I type this. Time to go and eat more. Ive eaten some of day 6 rations already, but I had more or less planned it this way to be honest. I`ll probably do the same again now. My stomach is back to normal now, so it`s all good right now. More tomorrow, when I`ve been to hell and back I suspect.