ADAC 2009: From pedal to paddle
For the second day of the race, based on the picturesque Sir Bani Yas Island, the teams started with an opening 45.5 km MTB section followed by a 27km kayaking leg culminating at Umm al Kurkum Island.
The herds of gazelles that abound in the Sir Bani Yas Island nature reserve were certainly perplexed. Their usual calm was somewhat disrupted this morning at sunrise as the teams sped by on the opening 45.5km MTB section, leaving a substantial cloud of dust in their wake. A looping course took them around Sir Bani Yas Island, the glow of the setting full moon being rapidly replaced by a rising sun growing brighter and hotter with passing minutes.
With only 300 meters of elevation gain over the entire course, the only redoubtable adversary was going to be the tracts of soft sand interspersed by the draining roller-coaster ride. In the final reckoning, Desert Islands (NZ), Nike (USA), Team NZ (NZ) and Team Sole (USA) were the fastest along with Sport 2000 Vibram Lafuma (FRA). Nike (USA) put in the fastest time at 1h37”07” covering the course at an average of over 28 km/h.
After a break of around two hours, the teams undertook the first leg of a sea kayaking section prudently shortened to 27 km, due to unusually strong winds and troublesome swell. Racing away from East Beach, the 36 teams first negotiated the emerald waters of a mangrove-strewn lagoon before undertaking the demanding 14.5km paddle out onto the high seas towards Umm al Kurkum Island.
Team Sole (USA) led the fleet a few metres ahead of current race leaders Desert Island (NZ), Team NZ (NZ), Wilsa HH (FRA), Adco Aroc (AUS) and Sport 2000 Vibram Outdry (FRA). The French completed a magnificent paddle by eventually taking first place at the end of the day with the best time on the section at 2h59”. The French, led by François Faloci and Jacky Boisset are currently sitting in 3rd place in the overall ranking, with the Kiwis of Desert Island and Team NZ just ahead. The last of the 35 teams finished this section shortly before nightfall, joining the other competitors on Kurkum Island for a welcome overnight bivouac and a chance to recharge their batteries before the massive and challenging section tomorrow, kayaking to Mirfa, 82km along the coast.
Provisional Top 5 after Section C – Sea Kayaking 27km:
1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 7h00:24
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 7h10:49
3 SPORT 2000 LAFUMA OUTDRY (FRA) 7h11:52
4 ADCO AROC (AUS) 7h17:31
5 TEAM SOLE (USA) 7h17:40
December 7th, 2008: With a field of 37 teams representing a record of 21 different countries, the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge positions itself as the world’s most international adventure racing event.
The opening day of the 2008 Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge embraced extremes of more than one nature: First came the effort required by the athletes to compete this morning’s inaugural triathlon.
As the race hits its mid point, early front runners Desert Islands (NZ) see their race lead reduced with the power paddlers vying for supremacy over the second 82 km sea-kayaking section.