Abu Dhabi Adventure Race 2007
In 2007 the inaugural Abu Dhabi Adventure Race was organised and we decided to compete. We being Rob, Sean, Darren and Jude. After a lot of organising we managed to get ourselves on time in Abu Dhabi for an amazing race.
The actual race:
Section A – 118km paddle in the Arabian Gulf spread over 2 days
Section B – 87km run through the desert spread over 2 days
Section C – 40km hike through the desert with a camel (on day 5)
Section D – 110km mtb ride through the desert (on day 5)
Section E – 24km trail run (on day 6)
Section F – rope activities (jumar, via ferrata and abseil on day 6)
Section G – 2.5km trail running (on day 6)
Section H – 22km mountainbike ride on roads (on day 6)
Section I – 5km trail run through the oasis of El Ain (on day 6)
We did quite well on the first 2 days by crossing a body of water early instead of taking the direct route and therefore being able to shelter from the wind a bit.
The overnight camps were amazing, with lots of great food and I think they had some entertainment even. We didn’t see much of the entertainment though as we were just trying to get into bed asap to get some much needed rest.
The height of the dunes during the 87km trek were amazing. The Empty Quarter certainly living up to its name! Apart from sand in all sorts of shapes (mostly ridiculously high dunes, sometimes flat and compact in between those dunes) there is pretty much nothing out there. It looks beautiful, but it is very harsh and unforgiving.
After a night in the desert we were happy to get to the camp where we picked up our camel in the morning. Unfortunately for us (and most other teams) the camels weren’t very fit and after about 6 or 7 hours it gave up, sat down and wouldn’t budge. As there were quite a few teams stranded in the same location, the sat phone was used to notify the organisers and they flew out the camel’s minder (this meant waiting in the full sun for a few hours until he arrived). Even he struggled to get the beasts to get up and walk down hill! (let alone uphill the way we needed to go!)
Without the beast we could finally move on towards the finish line and hop on our bikes for a ride through the sand – checking if this was any easier… They had shortened the ride unfortunately, so the finish wasn’t far away.
Next up – a whole day of fun in the mountains Jebel Hafeet and the sprint to the finish in the oasis town Al Ain. The abseil was the most impressive part, including the jumar section and the via ferrata to get there. Not so good was to see the helicopter leave with one guy who had fallen down a cliff a bit earlier.
All that was left now was a short ride and run to the finish line, but because of the long wait at the top of the abseil we had to be ferried by car to the start of the run. Rather disappointing, but luckily it wasn’t a very interesting ride (on tarmac). The run was short and pretty – through the palm garden of the oasis – and soon we crossed the finish line at the fort.