Lets talk about….. Adventure

Adventure is something I know I’m passionate about, I can feel myself get animated when I talk about it. It inspires me, motivates me, makes me laugh, smile or even cry when I see people affected by it. Looking back when it’s not in my life I feel unhappy, dissatisfied and ill at ease with myself although I often wont realise that’s what the probable cause is at the time.

I’ve never been much of a writer but generating the posts on this blog has been really interesting and now, for some reason, I feel a need to write about my thoughts on adventure. Not quite sure where this will go, where it will end or how it will be recieved (if I press the publish button of course). Guess its just a different kind of adventure! Let me know what you think in the comments at the end please 🙂 Continue reading “Lets talk about….. Adventure”

Results for Wadi Bih Adventure Race are up

The results for the Inaugral Wadi Bih Adventure Race are up on the Premier Marathons website.

The various links are:

  1. the event page on the Premier Marathons site- http://www.premiermarathons.com/event/Mountain_Bike_Run_2011
  2. direct link to the pdf file with the Adventure Race Team results- http://www.premiermarathons.com/action/download.php?t=event&e=481&id=70
  3. direct link to the pdf file with the Mountain Bike individual results- http://www.premiermarathons.com/action/download.php?t=event&e=481&id=71

Have a look here for my experience of the event- https://ianganderton.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/inaugral-wadi-bih-adventure-race-2011/

Inaugral Wadi Bih Adventure Race 2011

Yesterday I competed in the mountain bike inaugral Wadi Bih Adventure Race, What a great event! www.wadiadventure.com

UPDATE 14/1/2011: results are up https://ianganderton.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/results-for-wadi-bih-adventure-race-are-up/

Photo by Adrian of http://www.probike.ae

The event had 2 races. First out of the gate where the 13 teams of 2 competing in the adventure race. The mountain bike leg climbed up Wadi Khabb Shamsi for 35km to an altitude of 1000m before ditching the bikes and continuing on foot to the summit of Jebel Kiwi then returning back to the bikes to finish.

Adventure Duathlon Start Line

Starting a couple of hours later was the mountain bike event that just raced the 35km to the 1000m high point. There were over 40 competitors and one of them was me.

Now I’m not really the kind of mountain biker that enjoys cycling up hill and as I was sorting my kit I was questioning the wisdom of entering an uphill only event. Even weirder was I started seriously considering entering the duathlon. Fortunately the person I’d most likely have teamed up with didnt have his trainers packed and I was off the hook. Why is it we love to torture ourselves?

For me events like this are as much about the crowd of folks that turn out for them as the event itself. Its a great mix of people, some talented athletes, some not so talented, but all motivated to get up in the morning and facing the challenge of the event with a smile on their face and a positive can do attitude.

The mountain bike race started at a steady pace. My game plan was to take it steady from the start with the aim of not blowing up half way through, which is my normal trick. But in the first half a kilometer I noticed a small peleton form at the front so I put in put in a spurt and made the jump to the group. this proved a good decision as the extra speed I gained before I was dropped got me the jump on a load of folks who didn’t spot the opportunity. it improved my time no end and this reflected in my end placing.

Once I had been dropped I settled into a steady pace. I was by cycling by myself from about the 6km mark all the way up to the steep section at around 25km, my only company was provided by the guys in the support vehicles coming by and taking photos. (Thanks to Adrian of http://www.probike.ae for his).

Wadi Khabb Shamsi is spectacular. The track is has a steady gradient up through the steep water worn cliff sides. For most of the ride I wasn’t having to hunt for shade and was pretty comfortable temperature wise.

At what I estimate to be about 20km (I didnt have a bike computer) the wadi opened up and I caught myself looking for indications of where I might be headed and the finish. This is a psychological road to no where as you’ll either see something that will make you think the finish is closer than it is and be horribly disappointed when it isnt or spot something really high and far away that will just depress you. Fortunately I caught myself and made myself keep my head down, focus on my breathing and grind away as hard as I dare without risking blowing up. I was getting pretty tired at this point and could feel my legs starting to get very heavy.

At around 25km the track really steepens up and climbs at about 23% (apparently) up a series of loose sharp corners. Up to this point I’d been checking behind me every now and then to see who was catching me up but, much to my relief, didn’t see anyone. I was keeping the cushion that extra effort jumping into the front group had brought me. Now just at the bottom of this brutal steepening I heard bike gears changing behind me! Oh no! My heart sank. A quick glance round and I saw 2 cyclists behind me 😦

My energy tank was running pretty low at this point and i just didn’t have enough to keep off the guy who over took me. The track was brutally steep and I was the first of the 3 of us to plump for walking. Once one person walks often the others follow. I heard a clatter behind me and the other rider was lying in the track. It turned out later as we were swapping race stories she’d got caught up in her spd cleats as she’d gone to walk and had the classic but horrible rolling around in the dust experience.

Everything was hurting now, there was nothing good. The sun beat down, my quads cramped, the track was relentlessly steep. I tried cycling, its never good walking, I couldn’t, I cramped up even more and just felt miserable as another ride cycled past much stronger than me. I looked behind me but the girl who’d had the spd fall had fallen back. I put one foot in front of the other until the gradient eased off a bit and I could get back on the bike but the damage was done, I was hurting now.

As I went past Jonathon he shouted “there’s just one girl in front of you, show no mercy!!”

Mercy?!? Mercy was a luxury I could no longer afford, I was hanging in there trying to lose no more places to those behind me. The gradient had easer but my legs were so heavy, I could see the finish line but it was all hurting. I was feeling quite sorry for myself (lol)!!

Crossing the line without losing any more places was the reward though, the harder fought the fight the greater the sense of achievement. I knew I’d done ok and given a fair account of myself. I could now stop moving for a bit, get some fluids down, recover a bit and share race storied with the other riders.

Finished!! 10th overall in 2 hrs 26 minutes

The Duathlon Teams were still out on the run and it seemed quite a while before they started to come in. It sounded like the terrain had been tough. Don’t quite understand why but a big part of me still wishes I’d done that event and as I’m typing this I’m planning to do it next year.

Winning Duathlon Runner near the end
Winning Duathlon Team

So a great time was had by all. A huge thanks to John Young and the team of folks and sponsors that gave up their time to enable the event to happen, it really is appreciated.

I need to make a particularly big thank you to Damian for lending me his titanium hardtail. I wouldnt have entered on my big clunky Enduro. It really was appreciated

For more details of the event go to http://www.wadiadventure.com and save it in your favourites so you can find it next year.

But more importantly its the infamous Wadi Bih Run coming soon!! http://www.wadibih.com

11 February 2011 – Held every year since 1993  the Wadi Bih Run is the oldest regular expatriate sporting event in the UAE .

There’s a facebook group too – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=159677900717284

See you there!!


2011 Wadi Bih Adventure Race 7th Jan

CLICK image to download pdf

 SOLO         35 km Mountain Bike Hill Climb – 1000 m
TEAM of 2 35 km Mountain Bike Hill Climb – 1000 m & 10km Mountain Run

Starting at the Golden Tulip Hotel Dibba , Oman, the route follows the Wadi Bih run course through the dramatic wadi Khabb Shamsi into the stunning Musandam mountains to the high point of the road.”

For details and registration please check out:
e-mail info@wadiadventure.com
Tel. 04 3429259
Entry fee 150 AED per person
(including post event buffet)

Road Cycling Dubai Style

My road bike arrived in a container a couple of weeks ago and it coincided with a strong desire in me to get fit. I quickly put the bike together and took it for a local lap. Its feels great to be back on the bike 😀

The roads here in the UAE tend to be flat and well surfaced but they are busy and the traffic fast, cycle unaware and uncompromising. Cycling as part of a group is the solution and there are a series of places to start.

Most well known is the Dubai Roadsters Friday morning ride outs – www.dubairoadsters.com
Leaving early from the Lime Tree Cafe (GREAT Carrot Cake!!) they take in 40km before splitting into groups to total 80km and 120km rides. These are not the best rides for folks not used to road riding in a group as groups are big (150 is typical) and the pace sprightly.

For those that havent been on the bike for a while or new to group riding the Saturday Bab Al Shams Coffee Run is a great way to get miles in the legs. Just over 30km each way and coffee, croissants and a chance to meet lots of other cyclists this is the perfect way to start getting up to speed. http://www.cyclechallenge.ae/weekly-rides/saturday.html

Lastly, as part of the Cycle Safe project, Dubai Autodrome and Yas Island Circuit now have evening sessions for cyclists, runners and rollerbladers. Spinney’s are picking up the tab so the track use is free. Laps of the tracks are great safe miles and also a great place to meet the cycling crowd. http://www.cyclechallenge.ae/cycle-safe-dubai/training-schedule-dubai-autodrome.html

Still lots of miles to do to get back to where I was a year ago but I can feel the benifits already.

Happy miles 🙂

Showing Damian around

Damian has just spent a few days up north here in RAK. After a couple of days on the water I took the opportunity to show him what the mountain biking up here has to offer. I thinks its safe to say he was impressed and had a hoot

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