(click on map to enlarge)
Yesterday, Team Nike returned to form as they raced around Sir Bani Yas island on their mountain bikes. From the race website description, it sounds like our team played a cat and mouse game with Richard and Elina Ussher’s Desert Islands team for about an hour before the two teams decided to work together and set a pace that would distance them from the rest of the group. The two teams finished the 45 km leg together in 1:37 minutes, a blistering pace that indicates it was probably fast, open road riding. Our friends from Team SOLE finished just 5 minutes later in third place.
After all 36 teams finished the bike leg, there was a mass start on the beach for another 27 km of sea kayaking out to Kurkum Island. There was a 12-knot wind that created a big swell and played havoc for many teams leaving the beach, swamping several boats and forcing at least one team to skip this paddle leg entirely and take a major time penalty.
It’s not clear what happened out in the big chop, but Team Nike had a rough paddle and hit the beach on Kurkum Island 16 minutes behind the leaders. This puts team Nike in seventh place overall, about 22 minutes back. Team Desert Islands has a commanding 10 minute lead over all the other teams, but everyone else is within a couple of minutes of one another. Team SOLE is kicking butt in fifth place.
All the teams are bivouacked on the island for the night (check it out out on Google Earth) preparing their own meals and sleeping in the sleeping bags they’ve stashed in their boats. Early tomorrow, the race resumes with brutally long 80km paddle that will test everyone’s stamina and navigation skills, and will likely be a decisive day in the overall race.
Keep sending our boys and girl positive thoughts!
Thanks for reading,
2007 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge
Sari and her NIKE teammates Mike Kloser, Micheal Tobin and Chris Forne are en route to the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge. Actually, since Abu Dhabi is 12 hours ahead of our time, they’re probably already there as I write this.
While Sari is gone, I’ve called in my own support crew (my Mom) to help me with Juniper for the next ten days. I’m going to blog as often as I can with race updates, when I can find them.blank
No official word yet whether they'll be a camel stage again this year.
Here are race basics:
- 6-day stage race starting on Friday, Dec 12
- 37 teams competing, representing 21 different countries
- $250K total prize purse, $40k for first place
The race breaks out in the following days:
- multi-sport prologue through the streets of Abu Dhabi city (run, mtn bike and kayak)
- 52km of mtn biking on Sir Bani Yas Island, the ‘Arabian Ark’
- 33km of sea kayaking ending in a desert island bivoac
- 82km of sea kayaking
- 107km of desert orienteering (with possible camel trekking)
- 12km of mtn biking, 19 km of ropes and mountaineering, 27km bike/run sprint to the finish line
Team NIKE will be up against the best teams in the world at this race including:
- Team Desert Islands – Sari’s former Kiwi teammate Richard Ussher and his wife Elina have teamed up with our friend and local pro mtn biker, Jay Henry and a renowned Kiwi paddler, Jarad Kohlar. Richard and Elina’s team won this race last year.
- Team SOLE – our good friends Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren from Big Bear, Calif (whose 12-yr old son Jordan has already climbed 5 of the 7 summits) along with our Gunnison buddy Eric ‘Sully’ Sullivan
- OrionHealth.com – just won the Adventure Racing World Championships in Brazil
- Wilsa Helly Hansen – placed third last year
I’ll start the race updates on Thursday – stay tuned and post a comment with any questions.
Team Nike just returned from Brazil where they raced in the Ecomotion Adventure Racing World Championships. In talking to them, it sounded like the heat was oppressive and the suffering was intense. Our team, made up of Mike Kloser, Monique Merrill, Chris Forne and Gordon Walker led for most of the race but a late navigational error put them second overall behind OrionHealth.com from NZ. The guys were a little disappointed for sure, but already focusing on Abu Dhabi next month. For that race, our team will be Mike Kloser, Michael Tobin, Chris Forne and me.
Nora, Ian, Karen & Paul on their way to 3rd place at the World Championships!
I also want to congratulate my friends on Team SOLE, who placed third at the race. SOLE took a nontraditional approach and raced with two women and two men (instead of the typical 1 woman, 3 men). Paul Romero, Karen Lundgren, and Ian and Nora Edmund (who were married two days before the race) had a very strong and smart race in order to beat most of the best teams in the world. Congrats! Check out more here.
Juniper, Ian, Zulu, Hank and I are all headed to Moab this weekend for more training. Gotta get ready for that Arabian heat!