Training Camp in Oman

What started with Scott’s “could we do a training camp in Oman” question last autumn, materialized in a kick-ass training camp over the New Year’s. When we were checking the possibilities where to ride bicycles in Oman and found out the best place would be South in Salalah, we got as even crazier idea - we could ride al the way from UAE border to Salalah, or even to Yemen border. 3000km in 13 days, does it sound crazy enough? For us it did, so the planning began.

A good thing is that we are ultra-cyclists and Scott is preparing for RAAM, so covering over 300km between hotels was not much of an issue for us. It has been suggested to us to skip cycling through Muscat area because of traffic, so this part we skipped both ways, travelling through with a car. The plan was the following: border - 300km stage - drive through Muscat - Sur - Mahoot - Ad Duqm - Shuwamiyah - Salalah - 3 days there (one of those we cycled to Yemen border & back) - similar on the way back with adding the 5th stage of Tour of Oman that finishes on Green Mtn (Jabal Akdahr).

Two of our RAAM crew came along to help out, Bob & Matic did a great job. Following us with a car, protecting our assess, handing out nutrition & hydration, filming movies, taking photos, doing a laundry, Matic’s massages made wonders… all in all, it was a perfect RAAM experience!

You may ask how is Oman for riding a bike? It is an awesome place to ride. The landscape is ever changing, take your time to check out the photos, it is really beautiful.

PHOTOS

The first few days might have not been what you’d call climbing stages, but we made up for that with riding mega miles. Coming closer to Salalah, the climbs began to show up out of nowhere, and they we predominantly very steep ones. What I am talking about is 15+% grades. The king stage surely was the stage from Salalah to Yemen border with couple of climbs 10km and longer, with inclines of 17-18% added for a good measure. It was massive, it was hot and we were both pretty trashed that evening. Still added a big climbing day with 8 repeats of 4km long climb and than we went for a really long stage back towards Ad Duqm, in all those three days added to 11.000+m of climbing. The only letdown was policemen not allowing us to climb the Jabal Akdahr on the penultimate day of the camp. We were both really looking forward to doing it, it would have been a nice climax of the camp. Oman gets its only “black dot” for not letting us doing a climb of 11km with 1.500m of climbing.

A word about Omanian people. They are the nicest people you can imagine! Oman has two big cities with millions of people literally (Muscat & Salalah), the other parts of the country look pretty poor. Lots of fishermen and shepherds, but kids are happy, they all cheered for us, ran with us, whenever we were stopped by the side of the road at least every second car would stop and ask us if we needed help. That would have never happened in Slovenia, for example. On the hot day of climbing in Salalah region, young boys were handing me cold water bottle from their car, talking about blessing for a tired rider… :)

All in all, it was a once in a lifetime experience, the camp was a total success. Remembering a good year ago when we started working together, Scott is a different cyclist. He is climbing confidently, I am not t all worried about his climbing at RAAM. Concerning his endurance and speed, how many cyclists do you know who could do close to 3000km in 12 days and then on 13th day, push hard  like it was their first day? He managed to break his own personal record for average speed (32,3km/h for 255kms covered!).

We still have room for improvement and we do have 5 more months to go before RAAM. A couple more training camps, lots of climbing and speed work and we will be ready to rock! Stay tuned to follow our adventure….

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