New ultracycling event in Middle East kicks off in February

By Jeffrey Stern

All types of ultra-endurance events have caught fire recently, from cycling, to running, adventure racing and everything in between. Adrenaline junkies these days want to go further, faster, climb bigger mountains and head to some of the most remote places on the face of the earth.

Tucked in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, sits Oman, which contrary to popular belief is much more than just a large desert in the Middle east. In fact, Oman has quite the varied terrain from large riverbed oases, stunning coastlines along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, the Al Hajar Mountains and yes, a large region of dunes known as the Sharqiya Sands. The tallest point, Jabal Shams (meaning mountain of the sun in Arabic), reaches an astonishing 9,872 feet into the sky. Boasting a diverse mix of African, Arabic, Asian and Baloch cultures, the country is known for wonderful hospitality and is actually incredibly safe for visitors from all around the world.

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

In ancient times, Oman served as a bustling trade center for commercial activity, the aromatic biotic material known as incense as well as one of the main trade regions for the entire Persian Empire. The infamous sea-silk route even followed along Oman’s coast in the Arabian Sea.

A modern route of a different kind has been devised for 2018, in the form of the first ever self-supported, ultracycling adventure race slated to kick-off on February 28th, 2018 from Oman’s port capital, Muscat. The 621 mile (1,000km) race is the brainchild of BikingMan, a race promotion organization based in France headed by Axel Carion and his love for adventure by bicycle. In 2015, BikingMan founders, Axel and Leticia rode across South America in six months, following the majestic Andes Mountain Range. During their nearly 8,500-mile bike packing journey into some of the most remote regions of South American, they had the experience of a lifetime. Meeting and mingling with locals, befriending strangers on the road and getting lost in the moment. When they returned home, they knew they wanted to share their experience with others, so in 2016 they launched the Inca Divide race.

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

Wildly successful in the ultracycling scene, the duo wanted to create another event a little closer to home, so BikingMan Oman was born. Aimed at creating a similar experience to the Inca Divide, the Oman race features nearly 30,000 feet of climbing during the 621 miles and must be completed in five days (120 hours) or less. Although it’s called a race because of the time limit and prizes for the top finishers, it’s much more than a traditional race. The focus is instead on connecting cyclists with like minded desires for adventure and exploring new cultures in less-travelled places.

BikingMan Oman will take riders on an unforgettable loop around the country; into the daunting Al Hajar mountains, over the spectacular Jebel Shams Pass, across the Ash Sharqiyah Desert and along the coast finishing and starting Muscat.

For endurance addicts looking for a new challenge with a completely different backdrop, this inaugural ultracycling race in Oman could be the ticket unadulterated fun. At 499€ (approximately $580), your entry fee covers everything from pre-race accommodations, airport transfers, a GPS tracking device, two mid-race base camps, a local SIM card for your cell phone, baggage handling, the after party, race prizes and more. With only 50 spots available, this wild adventure is sure to sell out and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who wants to test their ultracycling fitness and adventure skills on a faraway continent.

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

Photo courtesy of BikingMan Oman

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