Already 600 entries have been received for Friday’s build-up ride for the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge – but there’s still a chance to sign up on the day if you are considering taking on the UAE’s biggest mass participation cycling event.
Friday’s ride, taking place from 06:00 at Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park in Dubai, is the second of four aimed to build-up stamina ahead of the full 92km showpiece on December 12. The first ride attracted over 400 cyclists who took on the 35km route, while this time the distance is pushed up to 45km.
“It’s an opportunity for people to get involved in cycling and to get them on the path to the 92km distance,” said Stewart Howison, the ride director. “Each ride distance increases and it’s so that people have a motivation and a chance to see how they are progressing.
“The ride is timed so you have an idea of what your registered time is. It can give you an idea of how your training is going and how you’re progressing for the main ride in December.”
The minimum age to enter is 16-years-old – unless you are accompanied by a parent – and the event has the full support of the UAE Cycling Federation and Dubai Sports Council. And if you missed the first ride, don’t worry as there is nothing to stop you joining the party late on Friday.
Howison added: “For sure, people can ride if they didn’t compete last month.
“Friday’s ride will build up the stamina and they will have to change their mentality and pace themselves a little bit better with it being a longer distance.
“The whole reason why we started off with these build-up rides is so that we can attract more people to the sport.
“Starting off with a 92km distance seems like a daunting task for anyone who hasn’t cycled before.
“When you break it down in a four-month period, it seems a lot easier. It makes it more accessible for people of different fitness levels and abilities. And it doesn’t matter where they finish because there will be no prizes on the day.”
The cyclists will be riding at the Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park with a fantastic view of the skyline of Downtown Dubai.
“The Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park is a great place to ride,” continued Howison. “It’s very safe, there is no traffic or cars and it’s completely off the road; so it’s an ideal venue for the event.”
Since being launched in 2010, the Cycle Challenge has gone from strength to strength with numbers steadily growing and it becoming a firm fixture on Dubai’s sporting calendar.
“The response has been nothing but positive,” said Howison. “For anybody who is getting into the sport, it’s a great place to start, as it’s a good form of exercise. It’s a great community event and we welcome and encourage new riders.”
And with no maximum capacity at the Cycle Park, Howison is calling for more people to get on their bikes and join in for what will be a fun and entertaining day.
“The message we want to send out is that the Spinneys 92 Cycle is an achievable goal. It’s not something that is unattainable. “If you set your mind on it and set out a training programme, you can achieve the goal.
“And this is the best place to practise for the ride. The sport is here to stay and is going from strength to strength – people who do come on Friday will be amazed to see popular the event is.
“We really appreciate the enthusiasm of Dubai Sports Council and the UAE Cycling Federation, and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors and supporters.”
Entry fee on Friday is Dh100 per person with a bicycle and helmet the only two compulsory items you need to bring.
WHAT: Spinneys build-up ride (2 of 4)
WHEN: Friday, October 3, 06:00, at Nad Al Sheba cycle Park, Dubai
COST: Dh100 per person to sign up. registration opens at 05:00
AGES: 16-years-old and over, although ages below can register if parents are taking part.
Sport360 VERDICT: The Spinneys Dubai 92 cycle challenge is a superb event and these warm-up rides are a fantastic way to build yourself up to conquering the main ride.
It’s been billed as the Middle East’s toughest multi-event endurance race – so who will be crowned the Sultan of the Desert when the dust settles in Al Ain next month?
The first ever Red Bull Sultan of the Desert race, described as an ‘extreme endurance test’, will feature teams of three going head to head in three different disciplines, including running, mountain biking and kayaking when it blows into Al Ain on Friday, October 10.
Each of the relay race’s three main disciplines spans nearly 15km, with the running and mountain biking taking place at the foothills of the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Hafeet, which will surely put strength and stamina to the test.
Meanwhile, the 12km kayaking section is set to make a splash in Al Ain’s scenic Al Mubazzarah lake and Wadi Adventure’s notorious whitewater channels, which have become a favourite winter training spot among world-class athletes.
Kayakers will have to run 2km while carrying their 22kg vessels before hitting the white water (class 2) for another 2km. After that they’ll need to rip through 8km of flat water in a rapid race to the finish line.
Endurance and individual skills are the name of the game, and the participating teams of three, which can include mixed gender trios, will need to go all out to lay their claim to the Sultan of the Desert title.
Al Ain city is famous for its terrain as well as hosting endurance events and challenging athletes with natural obstacles, so you can be sure that the Sultan of the Desert event will be no mirage.
Online Registration for the event closes on Sunday, October 5 at 23:59.
Endurance experts stress that proper training is crucial to successfully completing the race.
Australian endurance athlete and Dubai Fitness Competition winner Eva Clarke says it is highly recommended to practice on surfaces similar to that of the race terrain itself.
“This competition is all about the right techniques, so it’s crucial to acquire some experience before hitting the race grounds. You need to get used to the rough surfaces and the weather as well, especially that you’ll be running under the summer sun on a 15 km off-road track, which forces your body to consume more energy. So you need to get out and not limit your practice to the treadmill.”
Australian expat Eva is billed as the UAE’s fittest woman. She invented her own workout called HUA, a genuine military workout based on her time as a military fitness instructor in the Australian Army and Air Force.
Super fit Eva also smashed the world record for the most knuckle push-ups in the space of 24 hours and one hour at Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, in February this year.
She completed 1,206 knuckle push-ups in one hour and went on to record an amazing total of 9,241 push-ups in the next 24 hours, obliterating the previous record of 7,000.
Good preparation is also the advice echoed by mountain biker Andy Whitaker, founder of HOTCOG- MTB. “The gravel, rock and sand terrain of Jebel Hafeet is very challenging, requiring good techniques to make sure you avoid any mishaps such as a sinking bike in the sand or torn tyres by sharp rocks,” he said.
Spectators are welcome to attend on all three sections of the event, but with the mountainous course proving an obstacle, fans are best advised to hang out at Wadi Adventure, where the finish line is.
What: Red Bull Sultan of the Desert
Where: Al Mubazzarah Lake, Wadi Adventure and Jabal Hafeet, Al Ain
When: Friday, October 10. 7:30 start
Contact: Register at www.redbull.com/sultan
UAE cyclist Yousif Mirza could not hide his disappointment after missing out once again on a podium finish at the Games.
Mirza, who placed fourth in the omnium race last Wednesday, just four points behind the bronze medallist, was denied third place yesterday in the road race after officials had to check video replay to judge the photo finish between the Emirati and Hong Kong’s Leung Chun Wing.
It revealed Leung crossed the finish line just centimetres ahead of Mirza, who was in disbelief over his bad luck.
"I’m really sad. I lost the bronze by less than a hand’s span. It’s just my luck, I don’t know how that happened," Mirza told Sport360.
"During the race I was doing so well and in the last 20km, the other cyclists started realising I was gunning for a medal and all the focus started to be directed towards me."
Mirza and Leung both clocked 4:08:51, but it was the Hong Kong cyclist who completed the podium, joining gold medallist Kyunggu Jang of South Korea and silver medallist, Arvin Moazami Godazri of Iran.
"I was so stressed and nervous during the moments from the finish line until the result was announced," Mirza added. "182km is not easy and in the end, fourth place is like last place in my opinion. It doesn’t make a difference once you’ve missed the medal.
"It’s just really tough to deal with the fact that I finished fourth twice, in the omnium and the road race. I really think it’s just bad luck."
There was also heartbreak for the Emirati showjumpers who were just two time penalties away from replacing Japan as bronze medallists in the team event yesterday.
Led by Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum and her mare Peanuts de Beaufour, the team that also included Abdulla Al Marri, Mohamed Al Owais and Moftah Al Dhaheri were unable to match the UAE’s runner-up showing from four years ago at the Guangzhou Games.
Al Owais went clear in the first round, riding Et Is Wie Es Is Kj, and the team went into the second round in sixth place with a total of nine faults.
In the second round, Sheikha Latifa and Al Owais both went clear, but the latter picked up one time penalty. Al Marri had one fence down while Al Dhaheri had two, bringing the team’s total to 14.
The Qataris flew to gold with three of their four riders going double-clear, Saudi Arabia took silver with four penalties while Japan edged the UAE into third with 12.
"The three teams that got the medals deserved them more than us," said Al Marri.
"It hurts when you’re that close and you know you could have done better. The only thing we needed is one less fault to get a medal. We were so close."