The racers exploded (literally) out of the starting line at about 8:00 this morning. I actually have a pretty funny photo of another photographer trying to get out of the way with a fearful look of Oh Sh@! on his face. I won’t post it though. Just mine to admire. Luis Moreira of Breathe Mag has a similar photo… only with me in it as well. You can’t see my face but I swear I wasn’t scared.
Since the inflatable canoes were already packed and ready it was massively quick splash in the waters off Corniche Beach. Section A took place in Abu Dhabi City and consisted of 3 disciplines (canoeing, running and swimming) that were meant to be fast and mostly direct. Still a few unexpected challenges awaited some of the teams like, the wakes from boat traffic causing them to battle their drifting canoes.
After completing the initial section the racers showered off, grabbed some snacks and drinks and boarded a bus bound for the city of Al Ain for the start of Section B. This section offered a 28.7 km bike leg that started on some pretty smooth surfaces but ended very rocky.
Section C started at the foot of the Jebel Hafeet Mountain where participants (crazy people) were required to complete a 6.3km run that ended in an pretty gnarley abseil. After the ropes section they had to navigate a brittle but sharp section of rock. Lots of cuts and scrapes.
Once they reached the bottom they sprinted back to camp to check in and setup their tents. Dinner was served as everyone congregated around a fire to share their pain and triumph of the day.
Okay Listen, f you’re not here, you should be. This has been one of the most pleasant and hospitable experiences of my life. Race if you want but visit for sure. I was talking to Scott Erlandson of WEDALI just before the start of the race and he shares the same sentiment. The local people and business have really gone out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. Both the ADTA and ADAC crews are pulling off a topnotch performance.