We had sixteen riders come along for last Thursdays MTB Ride starting near Al-Khoud, Bob, Ingmar, Biagio, Solomon, Hassan, Heiner, Andreas, Shukri, Erhan, Luke, Johnny, Tim, Nigel, Gilles, Marcel and Adam. We set off on time at 3pm and headed off onto the ridge and onto the new single track* (see note below) towards the Galfar compound, on exiting the single track we headed down the graded track to the series of tunnels up the hill and down to Wadi Fanja, had a brief stop at the Wadi Fanja crossing point with dry feet as the Wadi has a temporary road with drainage pipes, on up the hill with no stone throwing kids this time as they were playing football.
*Bob just very briefly mentioned “We set off on time at 3pm and headed off onto the ridge and onto the new single track” – but what he did not is that that new single track was raked, hammered and chiseled by Bob and Margaret onto that rocky ridge which must cost them hours (if not days) and liters of sweat to do – so now we have another “BT” single track – and it is great fun too as it is going down hill and is technical with numerous twists, steps and small bumps encouraging the jumps (which we did and enjoyed it). Thanks for the effort ;)
We headed on down the rough track passing all the rubbish dumped there and onto the next single track, crossing over the sandy area onto the dual track, we had a short ‘Alf a Nana’ stop.
Then we headed for the black top crossing point, this is where I decided to return to the cars as my back and hips were quite painful (old age) so Marcel kindly took over the lead and took the riders into the sticks to the firing range.
We took off from where Bob left thru wadi and dual track which looked like African bush with all the dry grass now. We crossed gravely wadi leading to shooting range but took the graded ride-able road – here I applied my gardening skills and chopped some thorny branches which threatened to scratch our eyes out. Here Adam had flat tyre but slime scab helped and all was sorted soon. We regrouped after soft gravel wadi and I took lead with Adam (so I can see him and don’t need to look back all the time). Adam kicked in and after while there was gap behind us – so we had to stop! Here guys I need your help – if you allow that 7 year old ride like that he will want to come again! You have to speed up! ;)) We crossed firing range on combination of graded tracks with loose surface and got above Wadi Fanja.
Before it was just empty space around football pitch – but now there is network of graded roads with new construction sides for houses mushrooming around - apparently new AlKhoud neighborhood! We found our way around and down to Fanja wadi, crossed the stream (some successfully and some with wet shoes) and enjoyed paths via ALKhoud village narrow lines and back gardens with mud houses.
Then we picked the path which took us to playground directly opposite our parking spot battling the climb. The battery in my cyclo-computer died so I do not know the exact kilometers but it was nice 2 and half hour ride (so approx. 20 kms).
More photos on Flicker set Rides 2012 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtb_oman/sets/72157629656401407/ resp. filter for this ride photos - click on http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=MTB+ride+22.03.2012+AlKhoud Photos look lil' bit "grey" - result of sand storm from Iran, air is full of dust and we did not see blue sky for 3 days now...