Trans Hajar 2012 - Day 2

(from point of view of "photographer")

Pls for more info about Trans Hajar 2012 follow the link to their official web site www.transhajar.com

Today the track was copy of last year "Wadi Lehloo" stage taking riders via Wadi Lehloo to Yitti village, from here to old black top to Ruwi, steep Telegraph hill with incredible views over Wadi Kabir - our infamous "roller coaster ride" - then to blacktop direction Shangrilla resort but before riders could even start dreaming about its pampering luxury they were diverted back to Yitti and Wadi Lehloo. The killer here was obviously steep climb in half way via Wadi Lehloo and most difficult were last 10 kilometers of undulating graded road gradually climbing steep hill - most demoralizing was its steep last part, peek threateningly visible for kilometers before riders even started to climb. Then short downhill to Al Salil valley and welcoming sight of race village. Approx. 90 kilometers of mountainbike pain

Our fastest rider - Youcef - said "In the front we had spanish train, which pulled whole group at speed 50 km/h on flat - on mountain bikes!". The stage was won by 1 of spanish riders, Rob Barel finished together with all favorites so he kept his 7 minutes advantage. This day was really fast, and hot as well.

I positioned myself in start of Wadi Lehloo, but then I got stuck behind slow riders. The valley is quite narrow, track gradually descending so riders were doing quite a speed. The car was kicking incredible amount of dust even by very low speed so I just let riders to go - however water truck did not, shoveling sick clouds of dust to happy riders. I shortcut thru the side wadi and stopped by Bob and Margaret manning water station in the end of Wadi Lehloo close to Yitti village just in time to get shots of speeding first group with all favorites in. With several minutes gap came second fast group including Suleiman (one of fastest Omani riders), Chris, Marcel B. ... Black top from Yitti gave me enough time to get to top of Telegraph hill to witness strongest riders grinding the hill like they are riding in park, then slower riders started to come in small groups or 1 by 1, many of them pushing bikes up that torturous climb. But it was time to get back to Wadi Lehloo, some shots of riders coming on their way from Shangri-La direction on blacktop. I did not have even 2 minutes for relax on steep hill on other side of our Lehloo loop when "spanish train" stormed by. Then I did loop in reverse to get more shots of riders - and I still managed to shoot many of them on the last uphill 2-3 kms from Finish. As there was big gap, no rider in sight, I repeated last undulating section - I met Bob and Margaret on one of curves, they moved watering station here to help to suffering riders - and some of the really hit the wall - watering their limbs to cool them down.

Few photos from day 2.

Start line
Start line
Fast 20 on the way
Fast 20 on the way
First group out of Wadi Lehloo
First group out of Wadi Lehloo
Group nr. 2
Group nr. 2 few minutes back led by Marcel B.
Spanish train climbing Telegraph hill
"Spanish train" climbing Telegraph hill
Telegraph hill
Telegraph hill
Riders above Wadi Kabir
On the roof of the world - riders above Wadi Kabir
Telegraph hill
Telegraph hill
Blacktop from Shangri-La
Blacktop from Shangri-La
Blacktop from Shangri-La
Blacktop from Shangri-La.
Chris chased by Suleiman and Marcel B.
Watering station near Yitti village
Bob and Margaret manning watering station near Yitti village
3 strongest on Wadi Lehloo climb - 2 spanish riders in blue and overal leader
3 strongest on Wadi Lehloo climb - 2 spanish riders in blue and overal leader
James diving into the Wadi Lehloo
James diving into the Wadi Lehloo
Is it painfull climb or joy from seeing photographer?
Is it painfull climb or joy from seeing photographer?
Somebody is happy
Somebody is happy
Big mountains vs. mountainbiker
Big mountains vs. mountainbiker
In Wadi Lehloo
In Wadi Lehloo
Lake on his way
Lake on his way
Last undulation section
Last undulation section
In Wadi Lehloo
Bob helping one of women participants - nepalese rider
Biagio on his way
Biagio on his way
Last downhill for Chris
Last downhill for Chris
Suleiman on his way to Finish
Suleiman on his way to Finish in Race Village