This weekend ride was planned for University area because… well, Andrea begged me, and it is nice area anyway and Da Kohlers family has it in “the biking distance” from their residence.
The ride ended for some of us even before it started – Hassan cunningly brought 1 spd/mtb shoe and 1 road shoe – I have to laugh even now; we used “Call the Frans” option for possible solution and over the phone came resolute answer: “Tough”. So that was it for Hassan, pity. We considered “1 spd shoe/1 slipper” option but only for few seconds… ;)
We had very high number of riders +/- 23 heads, several new faces. I will name just few, ’cause I just can’t remember all: John, Niel, Andre, Frans with Stefan (visiting), Sarath, Gill, Andrea, Julie (with husband), Ronald, Juan, Simon, Jonny, Tim, Ingmar, Michel and hope of omani mountain bike scene – Adam – only 7 but comfortably keeping with the group.
After all were ready we set of on usual graded track in general direction of tunnel below highway. We spilled out of it and continued to Galfar camp which was built just on our University track.
Unfortunately it looks like they are building fence all around it so part of preparation for next university ride will be “take pliers, cut the secret entry (and exit) in Galfar fence”. We passed all old oily machinery and walked thru narrow rocky ravine – with all that riders it was quite congestion.
Then we enjoyed technical singletrack, group went ahead, I kept eye on Adam little bit back (who needed to be advised on riding technique (and frankly quite lot of people from the group would be better off if they would listen too) but he was doing very well), and Ingmar, Tim and Jonny went for “powerloop” – small technical extension to the single track deviating approx. in the half of the singletrack. Second half has small decline which makes it good fun riding thru it twisted corners and bumps with lil’ bit of speed. We all regrouped at the exit from wadi on bottom part of singletrack where Galfar dumped heaps of dirt effectively blocking exit from wadi.
We rode on blacktop to Galfar camp again (it is very attractive mtb destination, you see), fixed Niel’s flat on progress (again “watch the rider behind you” rule was succesfully ignored by almost all) and continued on graded track. We regrouped and had alf-a-naana stop in the entrance to flood tunnels (only safe way over the highway). Julie had slow flat (but no spare tube) so they decided to call it the day so Frans showed them way to cars.
Original plan was to continue to AlKhoud village with nice mud houses and palm tree gardens but it was getting late (somehow big group is all the time slower then small one) so Frans decided to lead us over the jebels back to the cars via pipeline road. That unfortunately left Michel waiting for us in Al Khoud (he wanted to avoid technical section) but he also arrived to cars just few minutes after us.
Total distance was not very impressive but ride was nice and lot of people enjoyed relaxing afternoon.