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D6 – A battle for sunshine

18.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 7 <-> DAY 5

At the end of this 6th day of adventure, we had participants sleeping in three different countries. The last 6 in France still blocked by clouds (!), 10 in Spain who were able to enjoy the sun again, and 2 in Portugal who had already passed checkpoint 2 on the Atlantic coast. The whole Iberian peninsula separates them! The result of a weather hazard that we had feared with the spring start of this Sun Trip 2024. The bad weather in the south-west of France since Monday, and again on Thursday April 18, was the decisive factor.

Despite all this, those caught in the clouds are in high spirits, and to date no one has declared the use of a mains charger (which disqualifies them from the solar challenge, but not from the adventure)! They’d rather take it easy than break their solar charging momentum. Well done! We’ve been in many a situation in the past where 3 cloudy days in a row meant that many participants had to take the charger out of their luggage.


They’re fighting hard, and trying to keep their spirits up: “I’m beat, today was the hardest day ever“, says Luciano Trumpler. For Jean-Louis Mérelle, “morale is on the rise again, and we’re meeting more and more nice people”, and even Patrice Plozner, who was in last place after choosing to head south, is finding hope: “Finally, we’ve found some long-lasting sunshine. Still hard to store. But tomorrow I’m pretty sure I’ll wake up to sunshine. Finally, a good day to get closer to the pass“. Others are staying together to support each other: “We’re riding in fours, and it’s like an accordion several times during the day when we’re not too far apart. It’s great to see these machines,” says Richard Defay.

Everyone else is watching from afar the show put on by the two leaders, who reached checkpoint 2 on April 17, less than 2 hours apart! 1900 km in 5.5 days from Lyon is an immense achievement, made possible by their determination, by the sun being there for them every day, and by a good wind! They certainly benefited from the best conditions to travel by solar bike between Lyon and Lisbon, at an average rate of 345 km per day!

No one would have imagined it could go so fast, not even the participants themselves. “I don’t even know how to do 300 km a day. Tomorrow I’ll try,” laughs Vivien Dettwiler. “I’m amazed at how fast and efficient they are. I wonder how much preparation goes into this kind of feat,” says Richard Defay.



Here’s a clip from Jack Butler’s video of the day, as he arrives at the Lighthouse: Magical!

This speed is impressive, but can it really last? Weather conditions over the next few days look a little less favorable for the leaders. The wind will be blowing very hard from the front to reach the Strait of Gibraltar on Friday, and we hope it won’t be too strong, as this could make it impossible to sail the small ferry that links up with Morocco… Suspenseful!

Race positions on Day 6 :

We salute the duel between Vivien Dettwiller and Géry & Baudouin. The Belgians appear to have regained 4th place! To be continued.

1. Jean-Marc Dubouloz (with about 1920 km )
2. Jack Butler
3. Kilian & Jonas
4. Géry & Baudouin
5. Vivien Dettwiller

Live Map :

Stories of the day :

Richard Defay: “I shivered for almost an hour at the Spanish hut after the pass, which was quite Parkinsonian. At the same time, I’m a bit afraid of losing my lucidity so as not to make any driving errors: sleet/hail, foggy glasses and a cold, shifty wind – a fine exercise in “crisis” management, thanks to Bertrand for being there. He made a video where you can laugh, it’s great!

Vivien Dettwiller: “Very strong gusts of wind today. It’s blowing the solar panels off the ground and smashing the windows. It’s just crazy. I might buy some transparent tape so that tomorrow the solar panel underneath can work again.”

Jiri Strupl: “I tried charging through a hole in the clouds. When it arrived, my MPPT stopped working.”

Luciano Trumpler: “why do you like to make us suffer?

Vincent Lauga – LPO: “my “light/ thrifty ant” strategy was positive… with little sun, I managed to make good progress while consuming a minimum. I’m ready, with a full battery (which I’m keeping warm with me overnight), to tackle tomorrow’s ascent of the col “à la fraîche”.

Shots of the day :

DAY 7 <-> DAY 5

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