Alas, when I left Toronto, I had no idea we were being rerouted through an open sand desert. My bike is a touring bicycle with a steel frame for durability. I did not bring tires wider than 37 mm. Thus, the amount of energy I needed to navigate sand was huge. Often, if the track was hard enough to attain speed and distance, it would ultimately lead to a thick swath of quicksand-like substance. All one can do is get off and push.
There are subtleties in the desert surface. In order to cross the terrain with some pace, you focus your attention on a line of soil that includes some pebbles, stones or anything solid. Once a line is established, you exploit it as long as you can.