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Race Report - Bikingman Oman


A long way from home, my goal was to stretch myself, set new limits, and make the Bikingman Oman Sprint Race as hard and uncomfortable as possible by using what I had and then simplifying it, limiting my options and only taking what was needed.


Prepared body.

Correct mindset.

Route steps/direction on paper – when you need it most technology will fail.

Basic first aid kit – a few plasters and swabs.

Survival blanket.

Solar power bank.

Rechargeable front light.

Rear red light.

9 x AAA Lithium batteries for helmet headlamp.

USB charger and cables.

Mobile phone – only to be used for navigation and life-threatening emergencies.

Reflective waistband.

Multi-tool.

Leatherman.

Two spare tubes.

Patch kit.

Pump.

Crowbar tyre lever.

4 spokes.

A few zip/cable ties.

Gorilla tape.

Passport and a paper copy of the passport

Credit card and cash - enough to buy food and water.

Sleeveless wind gilet.

Neck buff.

2 x one-litre bottles.

Garmin.

10 x RaceFood Far bars - this was an emergency food stash, it is tasty, and I can't resist them, I ate all of them within the first 200km.

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What is the Bikingman Oman Sprint Race?

The BikingMan Oman is an ultra-sprint race that takes place in Oman and its surrounding areas. It is a part of the BikingMan race series that also includes events in other locations, such as Corsica, the Inca Divide, and Taiwan. The race has a fixed route of approximately 658 miles (1060 km) and requires participants to be self-sufficient. This means all the gear and supplies they need should be carried by themselves, and they cannot receive external assistance. The BikingMan Oman race tests endurance, navigation skills, and self-reliance. It is a unique and challenging racing experience that attracts athletes from all over the world. The inaugural edition of the BikingMan Oman race was completed with 45 athletes from 21 different countries finishing the race in less than 120 hours.



Route

Barka to Jebel Shams

Distance: 346km

Altitude: 1982m

Elevation gain: 3984m


Jebel Shams to Bidiyah

Distance: 296km

Altitude: 330m

Elevation gain: 964m


Bidiyah to Muscat Lighthouse

Distance: 418km

Altitude: 10m

Elevation gain: 5750m



Goals

  1. Reach Jebel Shams before sunset and leave immediately, the reason being that it gets cold and I would need extra gear - warm clothing and a sleeping bag. There is accommodation on Jebel Shams, however, for me this was an adventure on a tight budget. I promised myself that I would only opt for a comfy bed if I really needed it.

  2. Finish in the top five.

  3. Finish the race.



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On February 27th at 3:38 pm I crossed the finish line, months later..., these moments have remained.



25/02/2018 2:50 am

No sleep - I have been awake since 4am the day before. I struggle with sleep and the struggle becomes even greater the night before a race. On the start line, everyone already knows one another.


25/02/2018 5:33 pm

Achieving a goal, reaching Jebel Shams, reaching the checkpoint moments before sunset.

“Don’t stay here, you will be cold and miserable" – Josh Ibbett

Fifteen minutes later, cold and sleepy, I contemplate staying at Jebel Shams for the night and sleeping in freezing conditions or continuing and sleeping lower down where it is warmer, the encouraging words from Josh get me unstuck and ready to leave the comfort of the manned checkpoint.

26/02/2018 11:40 am

Sign in at the checkpoint, all that I remember from this day is the red sunrise.


27/02/2018 just after mid-night I give up battle with the monster sleep.

Somewhere near Sur, I have been battling the sleep monster since passing through electronic checkpoint one in Ad Dreez on the morning of 25/02/2018. It is close to 12am, in the TT bar position I'm nodding off too often and drift into the traffic lane. Inside the town of Sur just after midnight I find a hotel, check into a room, and pause the ride. Strip off the kit and let them air out and freshen up, plugin Garmin, phone and light to recharge (the light has a built-in power bank, which might need it), and set the alarm to go off in 3 hours, take a quick shower, dry off, and jumped into the bed.


I remember waking up at 3:45am, the alarm was out of reach, lifting my tired body out of bed, and over to the kettle flipping the switch to boil water for coffee while I took a quick shower. The coffee was instant, standard hotel stuff, the good stuff - 2 Nescafe sachets, sugar and 2 long-life milk pods. Waiting for the coffee to cool down I kitted up, filled water bottles, and unplugged devices - the USB charger and cables were the only items I took off the bike. The charging cables were long enough to reach and charge the light and Garmin was attached to the handlebar and phone in the top tube bag. Then took a few minutes to enjoy the coffee, At 4:20am I was on the bike, stopped at the nearest café shop for another coffee and prepacked food for the road ahead - little sponge fruit cake slices, as many as I could fit into the top tube bag and 3 jersey pockets. Café shops in Oman close late, usually around midnight and open up early, an hour before morning prayer. You will always be able to find food and water on the Bikingman Oman Ultra route, even if the café shops are closed, you are never too far away from a fully stocked 24-hour petrol station.

After leaving Sur a fully charged Garmin freezes, and stops working, only a hard reset would revive it. Not wanting to lose the GPX course I left it as is and let the battery die. I was already on Route 17 and all I had to do was to remain on this stretch of road until reaching the turn-off for Al Hajar (about 170km) and then use the directions I had written down on paper and Google Maps on my phone (cell reception in the small towns is excellent) by pinpoint my location to navigate the town and get onto the gravel section before the finish. From Al Hajar to finish it is +/- 39km.


27/02/2018 3:38 pm

Two out of three goals achieved, finishing in 8th place, I'm pleased with the result as I have never gone under 3 days in a 1000-kilometre race. It has been an experience that has changed me completely and reshaped my mind and body.

In total, I slept for 6 hours and 30 minutes.

2 hours in Nizwa on the floor at a fuel station.

1 hour 30 minutes in Lizq at a bus stop.

3 hours deep and uninterrupted in Sur in a bed. Best sleep ever, just what I needed to get to the finish.





27/02/2018 3:50 pm


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That is it, thank you for reading, I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Questions, comments and high fives? Drop them here.



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