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Abu Dhabi Adventure Race 2007

Posted on 18 Dec 2007 | 0 comments

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.

an overview of the route

an overview of the route

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)

pre-race gear and competency checks

pre-race gear and competency checks

official opening of the race

official opening of the race

the obligatory pre-race team shot

the obligatory pre-race team shot

lots of media involved

lots of media involved

the team ready for the first paddle

the team ready for the first paddle

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.

CP1

CP1

we can use the sails for only a short time

we can use the sails for only a short time

sometimes the water gets really shallow...

sometimes the water gets really shallow…

overnight camp on one of the islands

overnight camp on one of the islands

bailing and a quick rest from the wind which got stronger and stronger

bailing and a quick rest from the wind which got stronger and stronger

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.

transport from the end of the paddle to the desert camp in the back of an open truck

transport from the end of the paddle to the desert camp in the back of an open truck

quick dinner before going to bed

quick dinner before going to bed

beautiful bedouin style setup for camp

beautiful bedouin style setup for camp

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.

early morning start

early morning start

this is what happens when you go hiking in the world's biggest sand dunes...

this is what happens when you go hiking in the world’s biggest sand dunes…

87km through the desert gets pretty hot, even in December

87km through the desert gets pretty hot, even in December

the little dots at the bottom are people...

the little dots at the bottom are people…

a CP with a tiny bot of shade and water to refill our bladders!

a CP with a tiny bot of shade and water to refill our bladders!

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!)

we start the trek with our camel through some more desert, this time only 40km

we start the trek with our camel through some more desert, this time only 40km

the camel wasn't interested much in walking through the desert...

the camel wasn’t interested much in walking through the desert…

and we weren't the only ones with troubles with their camel...

and we weren’t the only ones with troubles with their camel…

so we waited until the camel herder came to pick them up

so we waited until the camel herder came to pick them up

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.

it's slightly more comfortable at night

it’s slightly more comfortable at night

camel spider, I think it was the only wild life we saw in the desert

camel spider, I think it was the only wild life we saw in the desert

at the start of the mtb through the desert

at the start of the mtb through the desert

beautiful camp set at the bottom of the mountains

beautiful camp set at the bottom of the mountains

falcon and his master

falcon and his master

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.

trekking through the mountains

trekking through the mountains

stunning

stunning

we need to get to the top

we need to get to the top

views from the top are amazing

views from the top are amazing

110m down - wow

110m down – wow

the whole team had to go together

the whole team had to go together

followed by a fantastic via-ferrata section

followed by a fantastic via-ferrata section

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.

we didn't make the cut-off for the bikes :-(

we didn’t make the cut-off for the bikes due to the long wait for the abseil 🙁

but we are allowed to do the last run and finish at the fort!

but we are allowed to do the last run and finish at the fort!

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