Last Thursday ride was in University area – AL Khoud 3 meeting point. It was quite short but “eventful”.
Last ride supposed to be special because group of Australian journalists from outdoor magazine “The Outer Edge” came to do article about Oman and promote it as tourist destination for mountain biking and kite surfing. Actually it was Tom who supposed to take them out on Thursday afternoon (Ingmar took them to Jabal Akhdar on Fri) but unexpectedly he had to travel so it was up to me. Unfortunately they came just on hottest day so far this year and hottest part of the day (2pm!). However as message from Ingmar read – they are 2 very fit guys so prepare yourself for fast ride. So we will have normal ride at 4pm then, enough time for it, right? ;))
I met the Ozzies slightly after 2pm. They spilled out of to the brim loaded Pajero, 2 bikes on the back carrier + 1 on the roof + loads of luggage. “We just put bikes together yesterday on hotel room”. Well then. In fact they were 3 of them – John, Marcus (photographer) and Bernard (if I remember well and did not miss-spell) and latest “just started with mountain biking”. The bikes were real black beauties – full carbon hard tails, 29”-ners weighting next to nothing (9 kg!), BRM italian machines – however as producers now usually do to push weight down – with light tires and like condom thin tubes (and no slime!), which is really not for rough and thorny trails of Oman. First stop we had after 50m – just to pump it up. Next one on the end of new Bob’s new single track (after next 200m! ). First spare tube used but at least Mark had opportunity to snap some pics. We carried on thru 7-8 tunnels which spat us on other side of highway hub, climbed and downhilled to village and refreshed ourselves in cold water from mosque water tank, which was welcomed stop and small miracle in the heat (45 dgr).
We continued to wadi, which still have nice green pools and swimming locals seeing photographer started to show off and added several spectacular jumps.
We went on but Bernard was really suffering from the heat – mind you that in Australia is now winter – so we stopped in the shade of newly build house on the hill above wadi. I started to be concerned about our ride at 4 – it was already after 3pm and we did not have even 10kms under our belts!
We went on to tributary wadi riding on single tracks and finding our way via bushes. We took short break in the shade of the bush which was good timing as Bernard had another flat (so 2nd tube went in) – after we fixed that – MYYYY REAR WHEEL WAS completely flat! Grrr! Fortunately slime did its job perfectly so I just pumped it up (and it is still ok).
I explained to Marcus where to go ahead to get nice photos (that yellow rocks are really picturesque there) – but I was asked (when I know it so well!) if I can go ahead – so now I was official photographer for a while. We enjoined nice cruising thru tracks in the wadi and soon hit the tarmac road – but again we saw unwelcomed sight of Bernet walking – another flat tire! It was already 4pm and the group was waiting for me. I left Ozzies to fix their bike while I will pick the group and meet them few minutes later.
I rode on the road and met with the group near wadi and swimming locals (another confusion – while I was pushing on tarmac they took graded road to wadi, but that’s another story). So now with group (Sarath, Hassan, Greg, Dave, Biagio, Richard (his first time to put hot Omani track’s dust on his Cannondale on – welcome), Gill and Gilles) we cruised on the road to meet visitors but we met Bernard - on his own - already above the wadi – “the guys are fixing mechanical”. But we met them in a minute. They ran out of spare tubes but joined us on our way to village. We rode back and next to football pitch went on graded road snaking thru new houses above the wadi.
We stopped to enjoy the views, temperature was now after 4 fine and to fix another flat tyre (you can guess who’s ;) ). Now we already has to use the patches but it went relatively ok.
We rode to and crossed wadi and enjoyed nice lines of AlKhoud village and it’s back gardens. In one point kids ran to us to get “five” and took photos with us, and then climbed all over my bike so it took me quite effort to shook them off. We finished ride over shortcut thru somebody’s plot and graded road which took us to playground. The ride for the group was just 12 km but it was already 18:00 and nobody wanted extra 6kms of single track. Not that I did not offer. ;)
More photos on flickr MTB rides 2012 resp. filter directly for pics from this ride - click here