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The Adbu Dhabi Adventure Race, climbing in the desert.

The Adbu Dhabi Adventure Race, climbing in the desert.

Winter is upon us now in the UK. There was a frost this morning and there has been snow on some our higher peaks for some time now. Its time to put on lots of layers and maybe get out our winter accessories. You can’t beat hiking on a sunny winters day, seeing the snow in the trees and on the ground. The fresh, cold air invigorates your face, making your nose go cold. Best of all there is a log fire and a pint of real ale with your name on it, waiting in the country pub at the end of the walk. So why anyone would want to go to Abu Dhabi to take part in a gruelling adventure triathlon across the desert is beyond me…:-)

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge

The adventure racing triathlon starts today, the 4th, and runs until the 9th of December. The action will start off in Abu Dhabi and take place in the surrounding sea and desert. Teams of varying abilities take part from all over the world, including from the UK. There are 40 adventure racing teams altogether, both males and females, representing 20 nationalities. Whilst many world class top athletes take part, less well known athletes are encouraged too. The race organisers even pay the entry fees and flight costs for a few teams with no previous international adventure racing experience.

The innovative nature of this demanding sporting and cultural odyssey, with its unique emphasis on fairness, accessibility and camaraderie, represents adventure racing’s most exciting opportunity to race against the world’s most international field.

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 2009 Itinerary

Each days racing starts and ends at the same place for every team. The Adventure Race itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Introduction – Quadrathlon. Abu Dhabi, Corniche Beach to Lulu Island and back. A 30 km warm up event featuring biking, running and kayaking, followed by 900 m swim “in case you overheat”.
Day 1: Main event – Sea Kayaking. A 33 km paddle to a small island north of Saadiyat Island. The night will be spent bivouacing on the island.

Day 2: Sea Kayaking. Starting at 6:30 there is a choice of two sea kayaking routes back to Corniche beach. The route choice is either 50 km or 80 km. Bus transportation takes the teams to their overnight desert bivouac at Liwa Dunes, Rub Al Kahli.

Day 3 & 4: Trekking. Again competitor’s have a choice of distance for this next stage. It’s either 70 km or 120 km, but at either distance, the trek through the desert will be a tough challenge, before collapsing exhausted at the end of the day at another desert bivouac.

Day 5: Mountain Biking. There are two mountain bike stages. The first is 33 km to the Qasr Al Sarab. The second is 55 km along a desert trail. Bus transportation takes the adventure racers to the nights bivouac location at Jebel Hafeet, near Al Ain city.

Day 6: Trekking, Mountain Biking and Running. The 21 km trek takes the adventure athletes on an ascent of 700m up the Jebel Hafeet mountain and includes an element of climbing with ropes. From there its a 37 km mountain bike ride into the city of Al Ain Oasis. The last section of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 2009 is a 3.2km run to the finish line, at the Al Ain Museum.

Where would you rather be? Biking, running, kayaking and swimming in the scorching hot desert sun or going for a bracing hike in the snow in the UK? Let us know…click on the comments link at the bottom of this post!

The 700 m ascent of Jebel Hafeet Mountain.

The 700 m ascent of Jebel Hafeet Mountain. Photo credit Monica Dalmasso.

If the hot desert environment of Abu Dhabi takes your fancy, you might also be interested in hiking in Afghanistan or taking part in the Marathon Des Sables adventure desert race in the Sahara.

10 Interesting Facts about Abu Dhabi

  1. Abu Dhabi is located on the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is one of the seven United Arab Emirates (See map below.)
  2. The main hub of the city of Abu Dhabi is located on a island, 250 m from the mainland.
  3. In 2006 the population of Abu Dhabi emirate was just under 1.5 million people.
  4. The majority of the inhabitants are expatriate workers and it is relatively tolerant of different religions.
  5. Alcohol can be purchased in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels.
  6. Abu Dhabi is twinned with Bethlehem, Brisbane, Houston, Madrid and Minsk.
  7. Abu Dhabi is one of the locations where the Red Bull International Air Race where is held.
  8. There are frequent sandstorms in the summer months and the temperature often exceeds 35°C.
  9. The city of Al Ain is a desert oasis, located 93 miles (150 km) from Abu Dhabi, it is a favourite resort destination for people from the capital.
  10. Each Abu Dhabi resident uses 550 litres of water per day on average.


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Thanks to Kraig Becker at the Adventure Blog for bringing the Abu Dhabi Adventure Race event to my attention.

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