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Gerard Fusil's Bike and Run, Oman Adventure Race 2006

The First leg of Oman Adventure

The teams for the second Oman adventure gathered in Muscat, 10 days before Christmas. Long journeys and flight delays had taken their toll and many where tired. One team member from Reunion did not arrive at all, leaving his team-mate George, the oldest man in the race to race alone. The teams set off at midday for last minute shopping and a 150K drive to the overnight camp in the citadel of Al-Mazwa.

Gear checks and a briefing took place in the evening. The 27 mainly French teams. Ten teams, including the Polish team and local favourite Ski Sharp had pulled out due to injury or work commitments at last minute. All the teams had received. maps and GPS co-ordinates prior to this so only the route book needed to be issued.

Competitors were advised that the first day was 50K long and rose to a height of 2,230 metres passing through some outstanding scenery. The first day also had two stages where runners followed a different route to the riders which meant tactics of team choice would be crucial. Following the briefing a lavish buffet dinner was offered and teams retired to their tents.

Sunday dawned promising a warm sunny day, after quick breakfast teams broke camp and drove to the start point a few kilometres away. Prior to the start local officials led by his excellency Sair Ben Hamila, greeted the competitors and welcomed them.

The start was fast and furious with runners heading up wadi Mu’aydin via wp2 and 3, following a dirt road and then the riverbed below towering cliffs. Francois Faloci of Wisa Sport Helly Hansen was leading at this stage but later made a navigation error losing an nearly an hour. The riders meanwhile were following the tarred road to Seeq, which clawed its way up into the mountains via a twisting and undulating road. Local rider Suleiman from Muscat, headed this part of the race. The two routes joined at wp4 and it was here the early leaders had to wait for their team-mate to continue with combined bike and run. First away were teams from Fous De Bassin and Air France, local team Muscat dropped to 5th and Karine Baillet of Wisa Sport Helly Hansen had an agonising wait. The teams now followed a trekking trail leading to Habib, where they descended into a valley down steps leading to an abandoned village, where some teams struggled to find a path which would lead them to dirt roads and the nigh time campsite. Wilsa Sport Helly Hansen finished a surprise first with French Navy and Air France 8 minutes behind. Muscat the first local team were 30minutes behind in 9th place. There was one abandonment team IVT, due to Benedicte Lecerf suffering a fracture falling from a bike.

Tomorrow promises more of the same in the mountains and wadis.



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