For once I can’t blame Ian and Simon, normally they are the ones that convince me to take on the really big challenging bike races. Grand Raid 2008, Haute Route 2014, that level of challenge. No, this time it’s definitely Renette’s fault.
It’s Saturday lunchtime in late February and I’m sat by the pool at the Al Nahda resort near Muscat in Oman. In less then 15 hours time I will be setting off with 60 others on the inaugural BikingMan Oman race. BikingMan Oman is a 1000km self-supported race. Once the flag drops we have 120 hours to get to the finish line. It’s down to each individual rider how they balance the requirement of cycling, eating and sleeping to ensure they get to the finish line as quickly as possible. We are here with some of the worlds best at this. What am I doing here?
Time for some of the backstory. My wife and I live in Dubai where I run a cycle coaching business, Turn Cycling. So I’m always looking at the events that are going on in the region with interest. About 4 months ago a number of us noted an interesting ad appearing in our Facebook newsfeeds. A self supported long distance race around Oman. This immediately got me interested but for various reasons marked it as one day.
Then in the run up to Christmas, one of my athletes – Renette, talked to me and said I must do it and that she was going to do it. Next thing I know I’m clicking on the payment button and here I am! I’ll go into more details on both the physical training, the equipment preparation and the mental and strategy preparation. Needless to say, for an event like this, your physical capability is not the only key requirement.
So that’s why I’m at the hotel. I’ve not felt excitement and nervousness like this for a long time. I think you only get it when you take on the biggest of challenges. The ones where you really don’t know what the outcome might be. You can prepare as much as you like but you still have that element of doubt, you don’t know what might happen once the starting gun sounds. Well, I’ll find out shortly.