This year Annual MTB race event was again big SUCCESS judging by large number of participants and all your comments. On start line lined up 37 people ready to brave the track, other participants and slightly hotter weather. This all shows growing interest in our exciting sport and attraction of race events – sign that organizers did good job again (sorry, I just could not resist to clap myself (and Bob&Margaret) on the shoulder ;)) ). This year track was completely maintained by Bob and Margaret, tremendous several weeks effort. The track was moreless the same as previous year but due to new constructions booming everywhere new links were made making it even more exciting. The golden nail of it was small climb where Bob hammered down with big hammer half meter of rock to create pass just wide enough to allow 1 rider thru – nice technical part indeed which tortured quite a few, while technically skilled ones enjoyed it. The track represents usual selection of terrain we use to ride on usual Thursday afternoon rides – mix of graded roads and single tracks, twisty technical sections but sometimes also wadis.
At 14:00 imposing Red Bull arch welcomed all the participants. Registration ran under skilled hands of Margaret and Sue, and after strapping all the numbers we set for Initial loop. We use to ride the initial loop in relaxed pace to allow people to familiarize with track condition, however it still demands energy from riders so it was “everybody must”. This also provided good opportunity for me to fulfill “daddy’s duties” and take my 6 year old Adam around (and he is really keen to race too) and to quite surprise he managed to cycle almost all including steep parts. In the pack were also other 2 youngsters – Ruairi Dolan and Angus Robins (both aged 11) who under supervision of Ruairi’s dad Sean cycled initial and 1 race loop – very well done both.
After initial loop we had short break and because we were running slightly late Margaret abruptly started us (sorry that some of you were not ready, but hey). This year we started all together, but I have to say that I liked more last year when B group started few mins ahead which made it more challenging for A group riders to get thru it but also made feel of race more intense as all the times we were mingling together, slower riders seeing faster ones how it should be done, and faster ones we were forced not to slow down to keep pride of A group.
After start James rocketed ahead, I tried to keep with him but in vain (I overtook him when he striked soft patch in wadi but only few meters later and he was gone again), racing snake Suleiman also stormed by but after 100m obediently got off the track to fix his flat. Single track and “Bob’s pass” caused little congestion in the back of the group (so next time you better race ahead of slower riders!). All group stretched so it was more like time trial of individuals, Noel and Alex took 2nd and 3rd position. And that’s all what I saw myself, each of us had own agenda, skills and power, some riding individually and some in groups. In 2nd lap my front tube went down so I lost few minutes to pump it up which gave me opportunity to get thru some B group and ride with Tim for a while. Suleiman overtook us like if we were parking there! – and as Tim commented – “he was like riding motorbike!” ;) . But 2nd flat made all his efforts obsolete – he ended up walking to start/finish area. It is pity that same bad luck followed him also this year, otherwise James would have more difficult job. Final results showed that quite a lot of B group riders improved in comparison with last year (well done all!) and that Lorretta is woman to beat as she (after successful Al Hamra Stamina and Trans Hajar stage race) pushed to dust all B group (shame on u all! ;)) hehe). In A category James rode really consistently and also clocked the best lap time in 1st lap becoming (again) “Oman MTB Champion”. Little bit disappointment was that from A group finished only 7 out of 15 riders, much better statistics has B group (11 out of 15 finished) and all women did their full distance (but they had only 2 laps too). However well done everybody and congratulation to winners.
After race the trophies were handed over. But first we bid farewell to Ooi – it was his final mtb ride with us, we all wished him all the best and signed his T-shirt – I hope you will frame it and hang it in your bike shed matey! ;))
“The Best Track Design” trophy went to Bob&Margaret for all the effort so we lot can enjoy perfectly prepared track (till now I feel bad not to find enough time to help as I usually did previous years) and thanks very much for awarding me by swiss knife with torch and compass – now I have no excuse to be lost in the dark! ;)
Then we handed over trophies to less important people who were just lucky enough to arrive to Finish lil’ bit earlier then others. Ok, just joking – all of you show great performance and you deserve it.
Women category winner was … Lorrrrreeetttaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, followed by Lea and Beate.
Men B category was conquered by Jalood – good performance and even better looking white tires (“white is new black”) adorned by all – followed by John vW. (very good) and Asim – well done all of u. Keep it up and I hope you will shift to A group to face bigger challenge next year.
Men A – James proudly and matter-of-fact-ly came to pick up his trophy. In next positions were Noel and Lake. Just 1 second later came Alex in 4th position.
Once again many many THANKS to
… and as it was not enough – just after sunset train of camels passed by – best race ever! Just have a look:
More pics on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtb_oman/sets/72157626190835111/ and pics from Lucy and Noel (thanks) are on http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2072240&id=1608069260&l=2159267e52 http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2072052&id=1608069260&l=03fa8661c4
After race was over we all moved to “race village” where few of us stayed for overnight camping or just barbi. Who was not there missed a lot especially:
Next day the campers had good ride into wadi Tayeen – but that is already different story…