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Dubai hosts Government Games 2019 HAJAR 100 THE JOYS and THRILLS of Ultra Trail Running Hiking in subzero temperatures The Chadder frozen river trek 10 YEARS IN THE DESERTS The Desert Dive reflects Summer slamming where & how to fish in the hot months TBILISI - GEORGIA Summer weekend break

Plenty of


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Vol. 8, No. 9 April to May 2019



OutdoorUAE Team

Daniel Birkhofer Founder and Managing Director

Time to say goodbye... To another outdoor season. Even though we only printed four issues this season, it felt that time was just flying by. We are going now in our summer break until the next issue which will be in October 2019. It would be too good to be true if we could actually enjoy an almost six-month long break but it is not really a break, we are just setting out the magazine print for the hot summer months but will still be available for anything online. For the coming season we are looking for more partnerships with individuals, events and companies to load the next issues with amazing content. After being able to run the magazine as a business for almost 10 years, the current market conditions don’t allow this anymore. We are back to the founding spirit of “DRIVEN BY PASSION FOR THE OUTDOORS” and not by profitability. Of course, we still need to get funding to get it printed but with a less business-oriented approach, it opens up a lot more opportunities to cooperate. Nowadays most companies or individuals are short of money so we will value and consider any type of contribution and weigh it in as cash value. So, if you have ideas for the outdoor season 2019/2020 drop us a mail to and share your ideas. Say hello to new and exciting content for the coming season.

Your OutdoorUAE Team Editor For editorial content and press releases Tel. 04 398 3297 Mobile: 055 9398915

Distributor Al Nisr Distribution LLC P.O. Box 6519, Dubai, UAE 800 4585 | 04-4067170

Sales & Marketing (advertisement enquiries) Tel: 04 398 3297

Printed at GN Printing P.O. Box 6519, Dubai, UAE

Mobile: 055 9398915

© 2019 Outdoor UAE FZE Vol. 8, No. 9, April - May 2019

Published by Outdoor UAE FZE P.O. Box 215062 Dubai, U.A.E. Tel. 04 398 3297 Cover photo: H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Gov Games by Ali Essa

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© 2019 Outdoor UAE FZE Reg. at Creative City Fujairah P.O. Box 4422, Fujairah, U.A.E.

Ireneo ‘Jung’ Francisco Photographer and Designer

Katherine Cañedo Patangui Administration

Ian Sebeldia Circulation


Marina Bruce The Desert Diva and Off-road Expert

Kit Belen Our Fishing Pro

Bandana Jain Outdoor and Lifestyle Contributor

Nico de Corato Dubai Blogger and Athlete

David O’Hara Ultra Runner and Extreme Endurance Junkie

The information contained is for general use only. We have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this magazine has been obtained from reliable sources. The publisher is not responsible for any errors. All information in this magazine is provided without a full guarantee of completeness, accuracy and chronology. In no event will the publisher and/or any of our affiliates be held responsible for decisions made or action taken in reliance on the information in this magazine. All contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form without prior written permission.

Dan Wright Staff Writer and Outdoor Guide


Denise Ostermann Outdoor Travel Contributor

Nicky Holland Personal Trainer

CONTRIBUTORS > Aida Othman > Bishworanjan Das > Maria Conceicao > Marouane Aitoufkir
















20 GOV GAMES 2019...









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Wadi Adventure Race 19

Wadi Adventure will be hosting the 19th edition of its hugely popular Wadi Adventure Race (or commonly known as W.A.R) with a testing 5km, challenging 10km and a grueling 15km military styled obstacle course. Kids from 7-13 years can sign up to W.A.R Junior. When: 26 April Where: Al Ain Contact: MAY


Abu Dhabi Sports Council Indoor Run 1 at Ferrari World

The Indoor Run series returns for Race 1 of the summer, starting and finishing at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and running through Yas Mall on Friday morning 3 May 2019. Race check-in and bib chip collection is from 7:00 AM in the customer service area at the entrance of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Check-in closes promptly at 8:00 AM



When: 03 May Where: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Contact: JUNE


Dubai Desert Road Run 10k, 5k & 3k June 2019

First held in February 2012, the Dubai Desert Road Run is held several times a year, appealing to all elements of the running community from first time social runners, to some of the best UAE based athletes. Organised as a community event in which runners of all abilities are encouraged to participate, the Dubai Desert Road Run now features three distances; 10km, 5km and 3km. All races are run on private roads over a safe, traffic free course. When: 07 June 2019 Where: The Sevens, Al Ain Road, Dubai Contact:



Dubai Sports World

Spanning more than 25,000 m² of air conditioned space, Dubai Sports World will host numerous academies and sports enthusiasts of all ages, covering a range of activities, fitness programs and events - all summer long. When: 19 June -10 September Where: Dubai World Trade Center Contact:

Ramadan Cycle Race - The Knock Out

Cyclists have a precise time to finish each lap, which reduces at each new lap. Riders must complete the lap within the fixed time or they will face being eliminated. Only the last two laps are ‘free’. The winners will be the ones crossing the finish line as first, second and third. The Intermediate Sprint winner will be the cyclist who will pass under the finish arch of the second-last lap in first position. When: 12 May Where: Yas Marina Circuit Abu Dhabi Contact:





Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club 5K and 2.5K

Come and take part in a family friendly free 2.5km or 5km run. The event will take place in the delightful grounds of Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, starting from the car park near QD’s and the Boardwalk. This is not a race, but an opportunity for people of all fitness levels to make a start on the road to a healthy lifestyle. The route will be one or two laps of a 2.5km course, all within the grounds of the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. When: 27 April Where: Dubai Creek Golf Club Contact: AUGUST



The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition is evolving. From establishing itself as the only dedicated event in the region for its hunting and equestrian community, ADIHEX is now transforming into an iconic global platform bringing together thousands of local and international end users, traders, high networth individuals, VVIPs and dignitaries from around the world and Rulers and Sheikhs of the UAE and other GCC countries, protectors of the sustainable hunting sector on the lookout for the latest products and services in hunting, equestrian, falconry, marine and outdoor sports and cultural heritage preservation.



When: 27-31 August Where: ADNEC, Abu Dhabi Contact:



Arabian Epic Series XCM2

The Arabian Epic Series is now in its second season and we have seen Cross-Country Marathon (XCM) racing grow across Arabia. We all know that it has gone global and that multiple World Series competitions are in place. We bring this sport now to Arabia for a second season….with at least 3 multi-day long-distance XCM races in 3 different countries, plus 10 one-day XCM races in the UAE on different routes. When: 04 October Where: Asimah, Fujairah Contact:

Salalah Half Marathon

Visit Salalah in the wonderful Dhofar region of Oman during the Salalah Festival (July - Sept) and experience the wonder of the Khareef season and its cool tropical weather. Whilst here, why not fulfill a lifetimes experience and be a part of a half marathon (21km) along with a host of other elite and amateur runners. This event is organized for the fourth consecutive year. When: 30 August Where: Salalah Oman Contact:



BEST SHOTS Here are the best shots sent in by you for our magazine photography competition! Thank you for all your entries, they were all great and it was hard selecting the best photos this month. Congratulations to the top three. The winner will get a Columbia back pack and the two runner ups will get a cool outdoor bracelet. All three will also get free magazine copies sent. Well done! To submit your entries, simply email us at with the subject “Best Shots.” Follow us on instagram and facebook to find out what will be up for grasps in the Oct. - Nov. issue.


Mae Hendry

SUP surfing at Jumeirah Beach

Sarah Geronimo

Sunset while cycling in the desert 8


Abu Gadanfar

Good moring desert




27th edition of DIBS draws to a close with exhibitors reporting huge interest in yachts – and marine sustainability The region’s biggest and best boating festival closes with international boat builders praising local market – and buyers keen to go green!

The 27th edition of the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) came to an end Saturday (2nd March), with many exhibitors reporting strong sales – including debut deals for the world’s first “flying” yacht, born and developed right here in the UAE.

ENATA’s Foiler – which mimics the sensation of flying through its unique design – was one of the many stand-out vessels brought to the 2019 show, the region’s biggest marine lifestyle event. And it certainly made waves with visitors, with several craft snapped-up by enthused buyers. Aloïs Vieujot, Manager at ENATA, said: “This year was very good for us. We received a lot of interest in our Foiler and are delighted to report that we made several sales during the course of the Dubai International Boat Show. “It has been a fantastic show to be a part of, and I’m sure we will be back next year.” This year the Dubai International Boat Show welcomed more than 800 brands and exhibitors, 71 of whom took part for the first time. The event played host to 15 global and 23 regional launches, seven of those from leading Emirati yacht manufacturer, Gulf Craft. Debuting at the show was the firm’s NOMAD 65, which has the option to come fully solar-powered – one of several exciting green initiatives showcased at the five-day show. Mahmoud Itani of Gulf Craft explained: “We decided to make a solar-powered yacht to be more environmentally friendly and to reduce our carbon footprint. The solar panels on the NOMAD’s roof are used to power the boat’s auxiliaries, such as lights, electrical sockets, AC for an overnight stay with up to eight hours at

full charge. It is an initiative that we are keen to take further and hopefully eventually have a fully-powered yacht using solar energy. “We received great interest on the solar power boat throughout the Dubai International Boat Show, and were also asked if it was something we could install on other yachts too.” Across the show’s marina exhibitors, many reported an enthusiasm for sustainability amongst local buyers. Sophie Hotz, Relationship Manager at Dominator said: “Sustainability has been a really important talking point for interested clients this week. When we’ve spoken about engines, for example, we’ve been asked about the more sustainable options that are available. People are now really interested in the different propulsion options, different motors and engines that can allow their yacht to be more sustainable, which we can adapt to fit their needs. It’s been a really key topic to them.” With 450 boats and yachts on display, the 2019 edition of the Dubai International Boat Show drew tens of thousands of local, regional and international visitors celebrating the fun, lifestyle and excitement that being on the water brings. Visitors were treated to a jam-packed schedule throughout, offering something for everyone from families, kids and beginners through to the more expert boater, enticing new audiences to the show and to the world of boating. It concluded on Saturday by hosting the UAE Aquabike Championship, which featured more than 70 world-class athletes and past

champions from across the world. Riju George, Event Director at the Dubai International Boat Show, said: “This year’s show was really strong and a success in terms of attracting key trade visitors and buyers from across the marine world, plus families seeking a fun day out. The show has once again offered a special platform for international marine brands to reach the Middle East, where we have seen the boating community grow steadily over the years. The energetic and interactive atmosphere of this year’s show – in tandem with the success many of our exhibitors have reported – has been testament to this. “It’s been great to see how many people have enjoyed getting out ono the water, especially first-timers, as we endeavoured to curate a show that caters to all sea and water activities from kayaking to diving to yachting; there truly has been something for everyone. We look forward to celebrating the 28th edition in 2020 with an even bigger and better show!” ■

To stay up to date about the 2020 Dubai international Boat Show, visit




Breathtaking 2019 Red Bull Cliff Diving opener at Palawan Island in Philippines Reigning champions Gary Hunt and Rhiannan Iffland showed they are in no mood to give up their Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series crowns as they won the 2019 opener at the new, stunning El Nido stop at Palawan Island in the Philippines. Here is all you need to know: • Briton Hunt claimed his seventh title in 2018 and Australian Iffland her third in a row, however they had to fight back to win after Friday’s opening two rounds.

Yana Nestsiarava of Belarus, Rhiannan Iffland of Australia and Lysanne Richard of Canada celebrate on the podium at the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island during the final competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Palawan, Philippines on April 13, 2019.

Rhiannan Iffland of Australia dives from a rock pinnacle at the Small Lagoon on Miniloc Island during the first competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Palawan, Philippines on April 12, 2019.

• Hunt found himself in fourth behind 2017 champion Jonathan Paredes of Mexico, while Iffland trailed Yana Nestsiarava of Belarus and American Ginger Huber. • Once the action moved from the emerald green waters of the small lagoon to the big lagoon on Saturday, though, the guile and experience of the defending champions saw them move up the final standings in the 11th year of diving’s most dramatic competition. • New permanent diver Constantin Popovici produced a brilliant final armstand dive to secure himself a classy second place with Hunt pulling out a superb final dive from 27m up to put the pressure on leader Paredes, who failed to secure a clean entry as he finished in third. • After his fifth straight win, Hunt, 34, said: “I knew it was going to be tough. Constantin pushed me right until the edge and that’s been like that for a couple of competitions now. I don’t want to be just on my own. It’s more fun when it’s a fight. Wonderful location. When you think of cliff diving you think of a place like this.”

Constantin Popovici of Romania, Gary Hunt of the UK and Jonathan Paredes of Mexico celebrate on the podium at the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island during the final competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Palawan, Philippines on April 13, 2019.

• Iffland did just enough from the 21m platform to hold off Nestsiarava with Canadian Lysanne Richard beating new British permanent diver Jessica Macaulay to third. • Iffland, 27, added: “Super happy and a bit surprised. I was standing up there and thought the win is a bit out of my reach, but I do like that extra bit of pressure. Some say it’s not easy, but I actually really enjoy diving off the cliffs. I love being out in nature and I love the extra adrenaline you get standing up on the cliffs.” • In this remote location, the divers kayaked, rock-climbed and traversed ladders before they even reached their take-off positions above the lagoons full of coral and fish. They now move on to chillier waters in Dublin, Ireland for the second new 2019 stop on May 11-12. ■

Explore more Cliff Diving content visit www.

Gary Hunt of the UK dives from the 27 metre platform at the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island during the final competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Palawan, Philippines on April 13, 2019.



Rhiannan Iffland of Australia reacts after diving from the 21 metre platform at the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island during the final competition day of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Palawan, Philippines on April 13, 2019.


Havaianas Sunset Open 2019 One of the most anticipated events in the GCC region’s sporting calendar, the Havaianas Sunset Open Surfing competition powered by Rip Curl returned to Dubai’s shores last March 8-9, 2019. As the only surfing competition in the GCC, the event was on its 7th year running and had brought together the best surfing talent across the region.

Organised by Surf House Dubai, the event was held at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai for the first time and doesn’t look to be the last. Sponsored by Havaianas, Rip Curl, Breitling, Oakley and RVCA, and also supported by Blue Guard Middle East, The Big Art Co, Ibiza Foils, Corona and Sea Sol Dubai. The weekend of the event brought in the best waves to run the competition from all the weekends provided in the waiting period from February to March, and never was there a dull moment. From high flying aerials rotations, gouging hacks, and stylish crossstepping, the event was a true display of the region’s top surfing talent. Outside of the water, the event was also filled by a range of different attractions like strength and fitness training workshops, live music from Ramzhino, Rony Sarkis and Souldier, plus free trials of kids and Vinyasa Flow yoga. As a spectator you’d be sure to have had an awesome time from chilling by the beach, watching the surf or by winning in one of the many games and raffles hosted by sponsors.  The competition was split into 6 categories: Shortboard Women’s Division (17+),  Grommets Division (12-16

years), SUP Surf Division (15+), Super Groms Division(6-11 years), Longboard Division (15+ and surfboards above 9ft in length) and Mens Shortboard Division (17+) with the following as the winners: Shortboard Women’s Division

1st Place

Chrystal Engelbrecht

2nd Place

Samantha Cadwallader

3rd Place

Hitomi O’Connel

Grommets Division

1st Place

Lucas Bay

2nd Place

Amaury De Lassus

3rd Place

Thomas De Mascarel

SUP Surf Division

1st Place

Scott Chambers

2nd Place

Conrad Bay

3rd Place

Luke Cunningham

Super Groms Division

1st Place

Oskar Pinnington

2nd Place

Julia Elenbaas

3rd Place

Noah Chambers

Longboard Division

1st Place

Dean Cockle

2nd Place

Warwick Hatful

3rd Place

James Harvey

Mens Shortboard Division

1st Place

Dave Richards

2nd Place

Brad Vandervyer

3rd Place

Warwick Hatfull

“Everything lined up perfectly this year. One of the most challenging aspects of surfing contests is making the right decision on when to run them. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions on our first day. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year for Dubai’s surfing community - we have a surprisingly strong surf history here and we’re proud that there’s so much great talent in the region.

It’s also a great opportunity for newcomers and anyone interested to experience Dubai’s vibrant surf community. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is also an ideal location, since not only do the waves around the location offer some of the UAE’s most high-performance surfing conditions, but the facilities also provided spectators and participants alike with plenty of ways to enjoy the occasion in comfort and style,” says Scott Chambers, Managing Director and Founder of Surf House Dubai. Hanna Azzi, the resort’s General Manager said, “Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai has grown to become one of the city’s favorite spots and we are happy to have officially hosted the Havaianas Sunset Open 2019 on our shores. We have become home to surfers in search for the perfect wave and we look forward to hosting the event again next year.” This time around, Surf House Dubai has teamed up with luxury Swiss watch brand Breitling, to give the winners of the male and longboard categories a brand-new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown watch. This new timepiece was created in collaboration with Outerknown, a leading sustainable clothing company that was co-founded by surfing icon Kelly Slater. Like Breitling, Kelly Slater works with Ocean Conservancy to raise awareness of the problem of marine waste and to help motivate individuals to take action and clean up the oceans. Aed Adwan, Managing Director, Breitling Middle East, India and Africa, said: “As adventure is one of our core values, Surf House is a natural partner for us. We want to motivate the modern-day explorers by offering the winning surfers our innovative watch, the Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown, which embodies our commitment towards our oceans with its NATO strap made from Econyl yarn.” ■




Martina Bravencova secured victory in the ladies finals after a big tussle with 2018 world champion Aneta Šacherová.

Former NHL star Petr Prucha on his way to the men’s title.

PRUCHA CLAIMS VICTORY AS ABU DHABI LAUNCHES MOTOSURF WORLD CUP SEASON IN STYLE Former NHL star says UAE capital gives series new dimension Petr Prucha, the former Czech professional ice hockey player whose NHL career was cut short by injury, believes Abu Dhabi is a perfect fit for the latest addition to its international water sport calendar.

Prucha, the ex-New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes forward, was in sparkling form as he won the opening round of this year’s UIM MotoSurf World Cup as the UAE capital welcomed the series into the Middle East for the first time at the weekend. After eclipsing defending World Cup champion and fellow Czech Lukas Záhorský with back-to-back race wins in the men’ finals, Prucha said: “When we found out that the season was starting here we were all very happy because we had heard so many good things about Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mohammed with men’s winner Petr Prucha, runner up Lukas Záhorský and third placed Sebastian Kubinec.



H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan presented the trophies at the official awards ceremony at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.

“This is the perfect venue to start the series when it’s so cold in Europe. It’s an ideal destination for the World Cup and a natural venue for racing. It gives the series a new dimension.” Hosted by Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the three-day event came to a climax on Saturday after two days of initial qualifying and heats. Prucha, who helped his country win the 2005 ice hockey world championship, dominated. He raced away in the men’s finals with a double victory from Záhorský, with Slovakian Sebastian Kubinec claiming third

place in both races to take the other podium place. Reigning womens’ world champion Aneta Šacherová sensed an overall triumph after clinching the first of the women’s finals. But big rival Martina Bravencova fought back to take outright victory by virtue of her win in the second, the results of the last race being decisive in the event of a tie. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice President and CEO of ADIMSC, presented the trophies during the official awards ceremony at the club. ■

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Mount Sana 60: Words by: David O’Hara Photos by: Pornsak Thongchai and David O’Hara

Mount Sana 60 is the last ultra of the season for Urban Ultra, and it does not disappoint. The 60km is essentially an obstacle course, but with 10km of solid running between each obstacle. The crowd is the usual suspect gang of our running cronies, with a few unsuspecting people unwilling to go big so Urban Ultra gives them the opportunity to turn off at CP1 avoiding the ‘fun stuff’ and do a 21km loop. The challenge of the day isn’t the distance: it’s covering the distance with the obstacles within the time cut-offs. 14


Pornsak and Niall studying the boulders ahead



Goat Pack Unfortunately, David T is out ill for Mount Sana 60, but Stewart manages to fit us in his busy cycling schedule to join me and Pornsak. There is a big contingent from Bahrain, to include Andy of Oman by UTMB fame and his buddy Pierre. One of my buddies who ran a lot last year, Ramzi, decides to run after losing a bet. I manage to talk a new guy, Niall, into giving it a shot, even though I neglect to mention the course, obstacles or challenges. One of the guys I ran some with at Hajar, Moustapha, is there. Jeremy and Heidi are running. Overall, there is a great crowd of runners, almost trail runners and soon-to-be-runners. The Start The start is somewhere in rural Fujairah, so most runners camp out the night before with only a few random people showing up at 04:00 for the race briefing. Camping out is always a fun way of getting out of our concrete jungles and enjoying the open air of the mountains. My preferred method is called ‘ghetto camping’ as I don’t have a tent and like to sleep on the ground – great plan until Louise and Pascale start showing me photos of the scorpions crawling all over the place. I sleep in my open topless Jeep, which is another great plan until it starts raining at 02:30. The rain lets up until the race briefing, when there is a classic deluge which is a great way to welcome all the runners to Mount Sana. The Course We start running in the darkness to a wadi Goat Pack sans David T

Enjoying the mountains

1km in darkness

and as expected do some rock climbing at 4km, which requires three points of contact. There is really something special about climbing wet, slippery rocks in the darkness, probably because you cannot really see the abyss to your right. The rocky trail goes up and down a nice hill, with some wadi hopping in the middle to spice things up. All the rocks are treacherously slippery, so Ramzi and I are joined by Heidi and we meander through safely until Peter pops up and reminds us that CP1 has a cut-off. We take off and blast through CP1, but somehow Heidi makes a wrong turn on a very well-marked trail and compounds her issues by not turning around and finding the markers. She ends up having to make the DNF call, only to find out she was an amazing 3km off the trail. Climbing in the rain

Stewart regretting not running Hajar 100

Stewart and Niall starting the boulders

Rocks and Rain After running the wet rocks, we have a solid 10km to recover before the next obstacles. Fortunately, Urban Ultra manages to keep things interesting with a solid dose of rain that scares the camels as we continuously run uphill. You’re an optimist if you think after scrambling so much that the uphills lead to runnable downhills, as the trails are too steep and have been washed out. After CP3 (+/- 32km), the beauty of Mount Sana appears in the form of a steep boulder field. Imagine climbing boulders bigger than most cars and jumping between them up an inclined wadi, with precariously situated rocks in heavy rain. That’s a great feeling which outweighs the frustration of making some poor decisions in the fog of an ultra. Unfortunately, a decent sized group of us gets tagged out at the CP4 cut-off – I won’t name any names, but don’t ask Ramzi, Niall or Stewart. Those who get through CP4 go on for some really strong finishes: Pornsak runs two hours faster than 2018, and Jeremy is three hours faster than 2018. Well done, boys!

After party with Ramzi and Niall



Ramzi running in the rain, while camels hide under trees

mountains or even real rocks to run on, so I ask him what the secret is in his first place finish. Pierre says: “I’m French. Unless I have to use my hands to climb, I run. I run up the boulders. I run down the scrambled rocks.” Ugh. Such a simple strategy, but I think he is reasonably fit as well. I think the secret is just getting really fit.

Jeremy crushed Mount Sana this year - 3 hours faster than 2018

The Secret of Finishing First at Mount Sana Pierre Plumejeau finishes first overall and yet trains in Bahrain, where there aren’t any

Urban Ultra Stars!

Summer Training There is a limited number of big running events over the summer in the UAE. After the Wadi Racer in April, Mark Buley is hosting another Backyard Ultra in June. Lee Harris continues to train DTR’s at Wadi Showka on Friday’s and at Fossil Rock on Saturday’s. Urban Ultra offers trail running camps in June and July in France before opening the fall season with Night Rebel in September, followed by UTX50 and Kalba Kickr. Find your training spot. Prepare for your goal race. Don’t overestimate your abilities. Don’t underestimate the heat. Find some running buddies and get fit for the fall season! ■


Hatta Wadi Hub Words by: Guida Verschut

Last year in September 2018, Hatta Wadi Hub opened its doors to the public. For those who previously went mountain biking in Hatta, a lot has changed. The venue is now a vibrant place that hosts a bike shop with bicycles and equipment for rent, a coffee shop and a reception area where you can book a variety of outdoor activities such as; ropes course, archery, free fall jumping, down carting and more. If you want to take in the beautiful scenery – mountains, nature, farms, the dam and inhale the fresh air for a little longer, you can spend the night in a mountain lodge or a retro trailer. What is not quite visible when visiting the venue are the mountain bike trails which span over 50km further down the mountains, all well maintained and signposted. It starts from easy green routes for beginners to longer and more technical rides to bring experienced riders deeper and higher up in the mountains. This exciting new destination has drawn in

a lot of new customers who like to experience mountain biking. For this category we offer ‘Introduction to MTB’ sessions during the cooler months to make sure enthusiasts get the best experience. Mountain biking is an adventure sport and has the potential of causing injuries, a fact that most new riders overlook especially on such challenging terrain like the Hatta rocks. Hatta resort will be closing for the summer on May 4th until September 30th however the Mountain biking trails remain open all year round with more developments to the trails to enhance our customer’s experience and to continue challenging our riders. ■

For more information:




Abu Dhabi Kitesurfing Open 2019

Winter in Poland is not good for kiting - (Air temperature around zero degrees, water around 4, and sometimes it is snowing.

Searching for the best place to continue the all-year-round training, we have thought about Abu Dhabi. Not many of us have been in the Emirates before, for us it seemed to be a distant destination. But with the help of our team management, everything went fast and easy. Registration, bookings, flights and accommodation were completed and our young competitors appeared at the spot ready to rock, three days before the venue. The Team was represented by five racers: • Julia Damasiewicz • Nina Arcisz • Jakub Watorowski • Kuba “Speedy” Jurkowski • Jasiek Koszowski

They were under under the supervision of our coach Blasco Ozog, this time also taking part in the race. The Polish crew was supported by Magda Woyciechowska and Michal Wojciechowski.

We spent our first day at the hospitable Abu Dhabi Yacht and Sailing Club. It was full of equipment trim and admiration of surrounding views. Next morning, the trainings started. We had two session on the water. More and more competitors were joining the trainings each day. So when the championship started on Thursday, we were ready. Unfortunately after two days of really good conditions during preparations, the wind dropped off a bit at the beginning of the competition. No matter, we like bigger kites too. The organizers were acting sensational, adjusting the race tracks to the conditions and wind directions. Every day we raced in a different place, from Dolphin Bay to open sea. It was fun! There was also the impressive view when the whole fleet flies out with the background of skyscrapers. Within three days we managed to run 19 races, which is fair enough to settle the results. Finally the team dominated the podium in the youth category. In the open classification it also went quite well. Two of our young

riders (13 – 15 years old) been placed in the top twenty. Delighted with local hospitality, charmed by the city of Abu Dhabi, we are going back home, already thinking about our next visit to the Emirates in the near future. â–

KiteRaceTeam FB: INSTA:




GOV GAMES 2019...

...from a water point of view! Words by: Nico de Corato Photos by: Nico de Corato & provided by GovGames

The Gov Games is an initiative launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, in 2018, as a first of its kind government competition to promote creative collaboration and reinforce team spirit among government employees. The official motto is “1 Team 1 Spirit” (official hashtag #1team1spirit), to highlight the teamwork needed to achieve excellence in the professional and sporting fields. This year’s event was open to the general public for both ladies and men’s teams.

This initiative reflects the philosophy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said “sports teach determination, teamwork, respect for rules, and fairness with our opponents”. The Gov Games offer an opportunity for colleagues and co-workers to actually meet and interact with each other outside

of the office. Your co-workers become your teammates, sweating and straining alongside you towads a common goal: to complete the course. You push others as well as you must push yourself. It’s exactly this can-do attitude, this ability to succeed, and the desire to win that has built the still young UAE into what it is now. That’s why the Gov Games matter. The Gov Games spanned over four days from Apr 3rd - 6th on Dubai’s Kite Beach, with a total of 168 local, federal and international teams competing. 80 per cent of teams were returning from 2018 to this year’s Gov Games; international participants from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, US, UK, Thailand and Armenia have helped expand the line-up of participants to 168 teams – up from 150 teams in 2018.

The expanded Gov Games was a collaboration between the General Secretariat of the Executive Council Dubai and Dubai Sports Council. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, also attended the second edition of Gov Games; Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by Marwan bin Issa, the Games director, about various obstacles and levels of the competition. Sheikh Hamdan, led by example by taking part in the event with his team. He watched the 62 female teams take part in the heats of the Games on the first day of the event, before announcing he was increasing the prize pool. The respective men’s and women’s Gov Games champions each won a top prize of Dh1 million. The second team in each category received a prize of Dh300,000, while third-place finishers received Dh200,000 per team. During the final day F3 men’s team finished the Battleship obstacle course in 24 minutes. The women’s team finished in 22 minutes, but with a ladder to help the climb of the curved wall and less weight to carry.


In the men’s segment Abu Dhabi Police came a close second, followed by Dubai Police. In the women’s segment, Team Dewa was the second team to complete the course successfully in the 47th minute, while Dubai Airports was third. The Battleship course involved going through various obstacles such as climbing a curved wall, rope climbing, passing through tubes, tightrope walking, ziplining, wading through freezing water and seesawing as a team, before working a pole through a maze without touching the sides and finally breaking a cement ball with a hammer to find a key and unlock the final stage. I am also happy to know - while I’m writing this article - that, in the true spirit of the Gov Games, the F3 teams have donated their award prize of Dh2 million to charity. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, asserted that the remarkable local, regional and international participation in Gov Games 2019 confirms the importance of the event as a truly global government initiative and a firm favourite on Dubai’s everevolving sports calendar. There were nine gruelling obstacles for the qualifying round and one major obstacle for

the final round; each one has been designed to test the teams’ capacities in several areas including strategy, collaboration, adaptability, mental agility, stamina, balance, strength and endurance. The obstacles had interesting names such as Aquaphobia, The Human Ladder 2.0, Wipeout, The Trap, The Grinder, Power Drainer, The Weakest Link, Alzheimer, Breathless and Battleship. Eight of them were waterbased obstacles, and collectively contain more than four million litres of water. This year I’ve got the privilege to be called as Water Safety Manager, to coordinate the lifeguards’ team. Lifeguards are strong swimmers and trained in CPR/AED first aid, certified in water rescue using a variety of aids and equipment depending on requirements of their particular venue. In some areas, lifeguards are part of the emergency services system to incidents and in some communities, the lifeguard service also car-


ries out mountain rescues, or may function as the primary EMS provider. One of my responsibilities was to train them for OCR (Obstacle Course Racing), where the main risk is not just drowning, but also water injury/trauma, sometimes with a very limited space to operate and with other participants coming over. Teamwork and coordination are also important for us, that’s why we also adopted the mantra “One Team, One Spirit”. ■






Adventure HQ and Sport In Life host ladies bike training event It is exciting to see such a growing community of women who love cycling in the UAE! In advance of the upcoming Al Marmoom Women’s Cycling Challenge, Adventure HQ partnered with Sport In Life to invite members of the Dubai Ladies Club and other cycling groups to attend a ladies bike training event at Time Square. The event was led by US Triathlon Coach, Mary Kelley, at Adventure HQ in Times Square Centre on April 3. Mary Kelley has over 15 years’ experience in triathlon and runs a coaching school in Al Ain.

The training featured a variety of different tips and skills for female cyclists of all levels, ranging from the amateur to the advanced cyclist. Key topics included how to choose a bike, bike essentials, clothing, nutrition and most importantly safety on the road. Under the umbrella of the Dubai Sports Council, Al Marmoom Women’s Cycling Challenge promotes women’s aspirations in the UAE and encourages women of all ages and abilities to participate in the region’s only cycling race dedicated to women.



Al Marmoom Women’s Cycling Challenge will take place Friday, April 19, 2019 in the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve on the Al Qudra cycle track. The challenge is open to riders who wish to race as well as recreational riders and novices. Race, ride and enjoy the scenery of one of the most beautiful desert terrains in the world, taking in the landscape and protected wildlife. ■ For more details, please contact:

Under the patronage of

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan The Rulers Representative of the Al Dhafra Region & Chairman of the Emirates Falconers' Club


We are pleased to invite you to participate at the 17 th edition of ADIHEX


Arts & Crafts | Equestrian | Falconry | Hunting Equipment (Archery/Knives/Optics) | Hunting Guns | Hunting Tourism & Safari | Outdoor Leisure Vehicle & Equipment | Promotion & Preservation of Cultural Heritage | Media | Sports Fishing & Marine Sports | Veterinary & Pharmaceutical Products & Services

For exhibiting and sponsorship enquiries please contact:

+971 2 693 4586




Words by: David O’Hara Photos by: Brendan Moloney, Pornsak Thongchai and David O’Hara

Urban Ultra has been the pillar of ultra-running in the Middle East for years, with a deep range of trail running events to include UTX50, Big Stinker, Mount Sana 60, Mleiha Dash, Kalba Kickr, and Hajar.

To entice new runners – road runners, novices, and even those tri people – to the trails, Urban Ultra has expanded its repertoire to include shorter distances at their events. The fields are expanding with a couple hundred runners showing up for Hajar 30, Hajar 50, and Hajar 100 in February. The Hajar 100 is the top ultra-trail running event in the region, requiring a balance of fitness, endurance, mental toughness, and preparation.

Preparation There are many reasons I don’t do cycling. Aside of the utter lack of cycling ability and coordination, I am completely turned off by all the specialized equipment and kit it requires. I really enjoy the minimalist style of running. However, I must admit that ultra-

trail running does require its share of equipment, in addition to the mandatory kit. This year I decided to bring running poles with me – a good decision. The most basic omission of equipment may have unforeseen consequences: socks. When I go through all my kit at the hotel before the start, I notice that I forgot my preferred running socks and have to run in wool socks. No biggie, I figure. Uh huh.



2018 Goat Pack Last year, I ran Hajar with Pornsak, David T, and Stewart. The four of us ran, laughed, and suffered for hours, and ultimately, we missed the CP5 cut-off at 52km by only a couple minutes. It was a heart-breaking experience, falling into the category of ‘that which does not hurt you, only makes you stronger.’ Over the past year, the four of us have run many ultras together and looked forward to completing some unfinished business at Hajar. Stewart, on the other hand, managed to prioritize some 10km cycle ride over Hajar. Really, Stewart? Urban Ultra Community With the exception of my buddy Stewart, all trail runners in the region show up at Hajar. We swap stories of accomplishments and abject failures, new kit to try, latest training plans, obscure nutrition solutions, favourite ‘secret’ trails to run, and a few other topics. We figure out our strategy for the run, and with whom to run. Pornsak’s fitness vastly improved since last year, so he will take off. David T and I ran Dubai Marathon together, so he’s in play. Plus, Hajar takes place on the same day as David T’s birthday and my wife Olya’s birthday – so the three of us expect to celebrate in the mountains. We see Jeremy and his wife Heidi, and so we may run with Heidi – but not Jeremy… he knows why (Hatta Hills Half 2018!). Chasing Cut-off times Some people think our goal is “to just finish”, but that isn’t close. We have two goals: we always try to catch the runner in front and don’t let the runner behind catch us. This year, Urban Ultra has introduced strict cut-off times at all checkpoints, to prevent stragglers from faffing about and for the sanity of the volunteers. It’s a great concept which I respect, even after missing the CP5 cut-off by less than four minutes at Hajar 100 in 2018. The cut-off times keep us locked in and focused. CP1: Running Hajar Runners for all three distances – 30km, 50km and 100km – start together before sunrise. Olya and I run the first 7km as a simple warmup, adjusting our packs and chatting

Sometimes it’s best to hoof it uphill

Pornsak’s kit and equipment

Pornsak enjoying the view

with everybody before things get serious on the first climb. The first climb is a vigorous single-track goat trail that goes up 1000 metres vertical in 3km to a ridge. When we get to the top, the sun is out, and we enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, which is ominous as we know what lies ahead. With the first climb behind us, Olya, Heidi, and I begin to run the ridge with some guy named Robert. CP2: Why Runners Need a Strong Core Around 12km, we pick up some momentum running down a rocky goat trail when the inevitable happens. I kick a rock which does

Imagine falling on the trail here and flailing like a beach whale

not move, causing me to perform a graceful headfirst swan dive with perfect technique, as my body is parallel to the ground. Before landing, I manage to let out one four syllable word (or is it two words?) for what seemed like eternity. I am relatively fortunate that I caught myself with my hand, although less fortunate that the rock punctured my palm. (For non-trail runners: my fall is not more or less spectacular than other people’s falls. They happen.) I writhe in pain, when I realize that I am stuck on a narrow downhill trail on my back like an upside-down turtle: to my left are big rocks and to my right is a beautiful dropoff (similar to the photo on the left, often referred to as a cliff). My options are limited to somersaulting over rocks down the hill or doing a full body extension sit up. Both require a strong core which I lack, so I decide to play to my strengths: I scream like a baby, until that guy Robert comes back and picks me up. Thanks, Robert! CP3: Running the ridge The trail follows a ridgeline for 8km, then a dirt road 10km down a mountain. The sun is up with majestic views. Olya, Heidi and I are enjoying the nice weather, which is relatively cool. We come across more people than usual because of the new 30km distance, which is fun – until you do the math (100km – 30km = 70km left to run). At CP3, Dr. Jaouad and Dr. Matt gave me some antiseptic for my punctured hand. Brendan is at the water stop just before the big climb, with his kind words of encouragement.



Sergei enjoying climbing the ridge

Rocky downclimb to CP5

CP4: The Curse The 12km from CP3 to CP4 are dreadful. We all know it, because this is what makes Hajar epic. David T joins us at this point as we tackle the beast. We all have different strengths, but together we are stronger than if we try on our own. This is a certain pleasure in the brutality of this climb, with so many positive thoughts, and all negativity is focused on the lovely organizers and their cut-off times. We climb for over an hour up a steep trail with no respite, constantly looking for the top. Once we reach the top, the trail continues up a less steep trail that is scattered with rocks. After another hour, we make it to the village which means we have another four hills to climb up and down. The views are awe-inspiring, but also demoralizing because you see the never-ending climb ahead. When David T and I make it to CP4, Heidi is already there, but Olya unfortunately misses the cut-off by two minutes. CP5… In 2018, Urban Ultra added an extra 2km to the route taking us off asphalt to a ‘trail’ that goats find too rocky and steep, which is the source of my ‘Hajar anxiety’. Heidi, David T and I are all within 100 metres of each other on this section, yelling encouragement to make the cut-off on time. At some point after being out on the trail under the sun for over ten hours, my lack of preparation finally catches up with me: my wool socks are sticking to the bottom of my feet causing me a high level of discomfort as I run recklessly down the nasty rocks with constant flashbacks of my fall at 12km bouncing around in my head. I feel blisters but every minute is precious, so I compartmentalize the pain to get to CP5.

CP5 is like a Mirage in the Distance



Climbing singletrack

CP5: Hyperventilating I am so ecstatic to get to CP5 under the 12-hour cut-off that I hyperventilate for the first time in my life. Olya is already there to take care of me. Christy the medic has the distinct ‘pleasure’ of bandaging up my

blistered toes. My Oman by UTMB buddy Aaron spends the day at CP5 with his two boys and is a hero for the cold Coke Zero, which I cherish. After eating, I get going by myself just before sunset.

Brendan checking on us at the Water Station



All you see when you run in a wadi with a headtorch at night

CP6: Hallucinating After running with Olya for the first nine hours and then David T and Heidi to CP5, I find myself running alone in the darkness, which is conducive to hallucinations. I feel fine as I cruise through the wadis and farms with nothing visible except my headtorch. There is nobody in front of me to chase, but there is nobody behind me to outrun. I feel pretty good moving in the dark, until I go around a corner on the wadi and almost bump into a guy wearing a bright blue suit. He somehow appears out of nowhere and scares the crap out of me! Then when I notice that his white shirt is fluorescent white, I realize that he is probably a hallucination. Other than the hallucination guy, I make it to CP6 (66km) without seeing anybody at all. CP7: Everything is good until it’s not good At this point, I am no longer chasing cut-off times. I am confident that my challenge is to catch somebody in front of me and not get passed. All is good until I notice that something is wrong with my feet. The bottoms of my feet are getting more and more painful, which I can manage – thinking that I’ve reached my pain threshold and it won’t get worse – until I step on a rock and I feel my foot is all wet. It turns out that my wool socks have managed to create blisters the size of playing cards on both feet. I make it to CP7 without seeing any runners, but Khalid the volunteer gives me a banana and a magical boost of encouragement: Pain is temporary. CP8: Solitude of the Long-distance Runner Over the last ten hours of running in darkness, the only people I spoke with apart

Khalid at CP7

With Olya enjoying the local villages

Olya and David T celebrating their birthdays at Hajar

from the volunteers at the checkpoints took place at somewhere around 80km where an ambulance and Urban Ultra were taking care of another runner. Other than being haunted by the blisters from running 20 hours in hot wool socks, I find the solitude blissful. Running alone in darkness, in agonizing pain from both feet is a time to get philosophical and enjoy the moment, with no outside pressure or concerns beyond nutrition and hydration. Getting to the Finish The last little bit of Hajar 100 is the final test of mental toughness and endurance. It’s supposed to be 9km, but is more likely

Olya climbing at 43km

to be around 12km. After 2km of asphalt, the trail goes up and down and around hills, which is fine until you realize where the actual finish is. You see the bright lights. You hear the music. You smell the bonfire. You come to the top of the next hill, when you realize that the trail goes down and away from the finish. And again. Then the trail takes you through a wadi, because using the road would be too easy. When you see the people at the finish and you hear them talking, you are so close, but the trail manages to find sand dunes for the last 2km. The finish is really the finish only once you get across the line and get your medal and Hajar 100 cap. The Joys and Thrills Hajar 100 is a great event for so many reasons. It is a more than a personal challenge. It’s a family event for many people – like me and Olya, Jeremy and Heidi, Simon and Liz, and Kimmo and his wife. For us, it’s my romantic approach to celebrate Olya’s birthday along with my buddy David T’s birthday. There is a sense of democracy on the trails – the overall winners of both Hajar 100 (Kat) and Mleiha Dash (Kim) are ladies. So many of life’s lessons are demonstrated on the trail: Be prepared or you may suffer consequences. If you fall, get up. Pain is temporary. Enjoy the moment. Play to your strengths. Sign up for Hajar 100. ■

When you see this flag in the sand, you are almost done








Submissions Opened: Sunday, 6th January 2019 | Submissions Close: Sunday, 28th April 2019 @ 11:59pm (GST)

Digital Online’s Main Objectives Are: To develop the human interaction with the underwater environment and highlight the beauty of its flora and fauna. To gather information on the number of underwater photographers in the UAE (both professional and amateur). To discover new promising underwater photographers in the UAE. Digital Online is open to all photographers and videographers of all skill levels with a valid EDA Membership status. EDA membership must be renewed if expired or acquired in order to take part. Digital Online 2009-2019 Digital Online will be celebrating its 10thAnniversary! The competition was realised in 2009 when there were no other underwater photography competitions existing in the UAE at the time. Digital Online was introduced by EDA for resident photographers to develop a relationship and human interaction amongst those unfamiliar with the underwater world environment. The competition holds both local and international marine life categories to offer variety between our local and international diving enthusiasts. The film category was introduced as an extension to the competition in 2012 to

Angela Manthorpe - 1st Place Compact (Musandam, Oman)

share our underwater world through motion pictures and deliver a better understanding of the habitats and surroundings. The event, now going into its 10th year, sees the continuous and steady growth of new underwater photographers taking part and joining our regular yearly participants. The enthusiasm and passion strive on, and the drive to bring our underwater world’s conservation to the forefront increases over time. The purpose of Digital Online is to keep our underwater world visible by displaying its hidden beauties and to exemplify its importance to all life on Earth through the powers of its ecosystems.

Nick Moore - 1st Place Macro DSLR_MILC (Anilao, Philippines)

The event has attained equal success with the non-divers who come to support the participating photographers and videographers at the Awards and Exhibition Opening Night. Whether it’s through discussion or articles brought to our readers through our free quarterly magazine, Divers for the Environment, the inspiration the event brings is a success in its own right. COMPETITION CLAUSE EDA does not disclose photographers’ names during the judging process. The competition is run fairly and without prejudice, professionally adhering to all of Digital Online’s rules and guidelines throughout. Rules and Guidelines can be found here:

Christopher Bridge - 1st Place Black and White Compact (Dibba, UAE)

Khalid Almansoori - 1st Place Best of the UAE DSLR_MILC (Khorfakkan, UAE)





The Chadder frozen river trek

Words + Photos by: Bishworanjan Das

Chadder Trek - ‘Chadder’ in Hindi means ‘Sheet’, so you’re literally hiking on a frozen ice sheet in sub-zero temperatures.

For centuries people of the Zanskar Valley have used the Zanskar River during winters months as a highway. As crazy as it may sound, during the peak winters, the Zanskar River is covered with 5-6ft of thick ice sheet. It is strong enough to be a winter highway for villagers to walk and pull their sledges. This route is mostly used to reach Leh, a major city in the Ladakh region in India. This ancient route now offers a perfect place for hikers looking for a challenging yet amazing trek. This trek is open only during a short window of 50-60 days in January/February. The starting point for this trek is Leh city which can only be reached via a flight from Delhi, as all the roads are closed due to bad weather during these months. Casualties have increased in last few years due to unpreparedness of the hikers so the local administration now requires people to stay at least 3 days in the city for acclimatization and only then the permits are issued. Leh city is at an altitude of roughly 3500 metres and is surrounded by rugged mountains where nothing grows. The daytime temperature is usually around minus 5-6 degrees and night time temperatures can go down to minus 15 degrees. This place is still warmer compared to the Chadder Trek. Hikers have to battle minus 8-10 during day and up to minus 20 in the nights. Did I mention that this hike is not for the newbies? The thin air and extreme temperature slow the acclimatisation process which make it even tougher for seasoned hikers.  Our trek was for 5 days on the Chadder after the 3 days acclimatisation stay. On the first day in Leh, almost everyone in the 30


group experienced mountain sickness in some form or the other - headache, nausea, loss of appetite etc. Thankfully nothing serious happened but some were still feeling clumsy on the third day when we had to undergo a basic medical test to get the trek permit. After a short but bumpy 2 hours bus ride, our expedition team of 5 hikers, one guide and 4 porters were dropped off at the starting point. Weather welcomed us with fresh snow, dropping the visibility to just a few metres. The porters quickly prepared their sledges and we were on our way with our heavy backpacks. The river is an amazing marvel of nature, completely frozen end to end from the canyon walls. Although at a lower altitude than Leh city, the place was colder than we had expected.  Day 1 was rather short and we reached our first campsite in just 3 hours. The hike is relatively flat and easy, it’s the extreme temperatures and slippery ice sheet that makes it challenging. Our porters who are used to this place, reached the site ahead of us and had everything ready when we arrived. One of the benefits of hiking in India is that you get a warm 3-course buffet even in such remote camps. Compared to my hikes in other parts of the world, where one has to be satisfied with sandwiches during day & quick dinners, this was a five-star treatment. 


By the end of Day 2 and Day 3 the temperatures had dropped even further and everything in our backpacks had started freezing - fruits, toothpaste, creams, everything. We were walking roughly 5-6 hours every day and the scenery was changing by the hour. The frozen river revealed itself at some points and then disappeared again under the ice sheet. The current was strong and the sight was beautiful yet terrifying. Imagine walking on the frozen river, not knowing how thick the sheet was. The fresh snow had made it near impossible to differentiate between the strong and the weak sections of the river. Just one slip and we would disappear under the ice sheet with no hope of rescue. Strong currents and the thick ice sheet make all rescue attempts difficult. You have to trust your guide and walk behind him, any cowboying in this region may cost your life. It was good to have the porters ahead of us and we just followed their tracks on the river. These locals are highly aware of the region.   Mornings and evenings were the coldest and we remained tucked in our tents then. The inside of the tent developed a thin frost layer by morning and everything inside got wet. This made starting the day very tough but we were saving time as there was no brushing teeth, bathing or even proper face washes. Even the wet wipes were frozen. We

got a bottle of hot water from the kitchen tent to freshen up and then we would start our day. Any water drops that fell on our jacket froze in seconds. The river goes on and on, but most hikers return from a point called ‘Nerak’. It has a beautiful frozen waterfall and the place looks out of this world. The location and strong winds in the area make it the coldest point of the trek. It was hard to breath and I could barely feel my limbs under the four warm layers. My nose had turned permanently red during this trek and was now sore & beginning to develop cracks. Day 4 was the toughest, the backpack was feeling heavier with exhaustion and limited sleep. We couldn’t pitch our tents today because of the strong winds and decided to sleep in a nearby cave. Surprisingly, the locals have been using these caves for ages as shelter from the elements. I was a bit nervous at the beginning from the idea of sleeping inside the cave when the temperatures drop to minus 15-20. When we reached the cave, we found a family of five with 3 little kids cooking their dinner. Looking at the children I was a bit at ease. If they can do it, so can I. One would be surprised by the hardships and simplicity of their lives, still you would find them to be the nicest and most hospitable people. I had the best sleep of my trek in that cave (we were using military grade sleeping


bags). I woke up as strong as a Yak. The family remained tucked in their worn-out blankets but the father lit a small fire and made some fresh coffee. Even though they had very little for themselves, they offered me a cup. Lucky me, others from my group were still asleep and it was too cold to refuse the generosity. We invited the family to our camp and had our breakfast together. We crossed the family a few more times as we were headed in the same direction and were greeted with smiles & giggles. After a few hours of hike, we had arrived at our final camp site, much earlier than we had to be. It called for celebration! Local beats and folk songs, our porters turned out to be great singers, the perfect way to close the night. The porters tied a small colourful prayer cloth to our jackets as respect and for safely completing the hike. We were all nothing but impressed by their skills, simplicity and warmth throughout this trip. Upon reaching the guest house in the city, we experienced the season’s heaviest snowfall and had to walk everywhere in 3ft snow. Great post hike experience I must say. Chadder Trek is one of the best hikes India has to offer and you must try it while it’s there. Global warming is melting the sheet a lot sooner and making the weather more unpredictable. ■          

Jullay! (Hello/Goodbye in local language)


Victoria N80 Race – Peaks and Pukes Words by: Aida Othman Photos by: Viola Shum

The plan to celebrate my birthday in style, under the backdrop of hills and surrounded by stunning harbours right before the clock struck midnight in Asia’s best city turned pear-shaped. Instead, I extended 4 hours till just before dawn – total of 80km with elevation gain of over 4,000 metres. No complaint about legs, I felt like a champion even after putting a strain on the esophagus and upper respiratory system – that nearly caused my throat tissues to tear. The joy of finishing was never overrated in endurance running when many things could go wrong.

HK Trail Scene While Hong Kong’s trail running calendar may have reached the ‘breaking point’, I’ve found some unique factors in the Victoria 162 race. Only in its second year in the making, the organiser limited the number of participants as well. I am not a fan of a big trail race which can be crowded, I certainly enjoyed the solitude of being in nature without the need to compete in space with other runners or to manage a bottleneck. One of many hill and nerver ending stairs. City view and reservoir

Trio enjoying the trail

Asia’s best city

Victoria Harbour panorama

Variety of Route & Races Thanks to HK’s amazing national parks, reserve and trails, this race brought runners to explore a variety of scenery. I enjoyed the 3 main parks – Shing Mun, Tai Mo Shan and Ma On Shan which were fantastic to experience HK’s amazing treasure. About 40 per cent of its total land area of 1,108 sq. km is designed as country parks and natural reserves. Just beyond Kowloon, lies rugged hills, valleys, and countless stairs – where most of the route connected via the Wilson Trail and the famous MacLehose Trail (aka East Asia’s only National Geography dream trail). The variety of things to see meant there was never a dull moment. Playful pink-faced monkeys eagerly waiting at Shing Mun Reservoir. Feral cows hiding under trees for shade from the pouring rain at Tai Mo Shan. Nothing to worry when in the trail, except at Tai Lam Forest Track when mountain bikers rushed in one after another as they came in the opposite direction – a bit dangerous on a single trail with a blind spot I reckoned. Apparently, I ran along the bike paths which are one of the most popular mountain bike routes in Hong Kong. I reached Tai Mo Shan’s Hong Kong Observatory weather radar station, shaped like a white ball – via a paved road leading up to the highest peak in Hong Kong. Poor visibility as rain started to fall, otherwise it would have been a stunning view from the top of what actually is an extinct volcano. Uphill battle

I reached Lead Mine Pass just after sunset, and carried on to Fo Tan, when the scenery suddenly changed. It was great to be in nature for several hours and being away from skyscrapers, but seeing the city lights hinted the finish line wasn’t that far away. I ran into the city, and several times waited for the traffic light to cross the roads. The flat run along the stretch of Shing Mun River was the easiest part of the course. Not long after, climbing a short section with rope and then hiking up a very steep hill climb wasn’t made easy when the rain poured heavily till I reached Ma On Shan. After that things went downhill, despite the rain stopping for rest of the night.

It’s about the right attitude when on trail


HK Delicacies A warning to foodie runners – the race promoted Hong Kong delicacies very well. Every checkpoint showcased something truly local. I couldn’t helped but to quickly scan the aid table. They got it all - rice pudding, dim sum, wife cake, siu mai, fish ball, chicken congee, sweet soup, and egg roll. I fuelled my empty stomach for some energy with familiar food such as sweet small tomatoes, bananas, Nutella sandwich and crisp. No More Coke Sadly in the last 21km, my mind was only reduced to thinking about vomiting (again and again). It wasn’t food induced fortunately, instead contributed by Coke consumption which wasn’t effective on the stomach during a long race. I shouldn’t have taken them way too early, and way too often. It could also be due to the water-to-electrolyte imbalance when mixing the Coke/water and other electrolyte drink. Constantly vomiting not only ensured my body got rid of the Coke substance (fructose corn syrup as well as the carbonated bubbles) but helped me feel better. But the frequent stopping slowed me down and at some point I simply had to walk. Looking down into the beautiful Victoria Harbour from the last hill I knew I could end this race at Yau Tong (East side of Kowloon) even with a few more puking. My gut is no ironclad, but my will to finish is. The Crew The crew in neon t-shirts were very much accommodating and caring. According to Matthew Mok, the race director “most volunteers are trail runners, so they have a good grasp of what the racers would need at any given point”. The crew at Ho Chung checkpoint insisted for me to rest and offered anti-vomit medication (took it but


Wife cakes - Cantonese pastries served at Checkpoint N4 Ho Pui

2nd Female Winner N80 - Hong Kiu Kimmy Leung

via trail and peaks? Check out the race details below.

Egg roll served as treat to finisher at Yau Tong

didn’t consume though). And then there’s the lovely crew at the finishing line, who offered ginger tea which helped alleviate my condition. Do It Again? I would love to return for the 100-miler race to climb the 3 highest peaks; Lantau Peak (934m), Tai Mo Shan (952m) and Victoria Peak (552m). Also, I like the sound of crossing the harbour twice, once on both ends. If you fancy a multi-stage race, consider the 3 days challenge or check out other shorter races. Last but not least, I was glad to know that more than 10% of my race fee went to my chosen local charity – Food Angel, a food rescue and food assistance program to reduce food waste, alleviate hunger, and relieve poverty.

Getting There: Fly to Hong Kong direct from Abu Dhabi or Dubai in 8 hours. Accommodation: Dorsett Kwun Tong, Kowloon is not far from the finish line. Tips/Gears: Well signposted and country parks have facilities on the site. Waterproof jacket is part of mandatory gear. Poles recommended and handy at night in area with dogs (for protection). Weather: Under 25 degrees Celsius. Tai Mo Shan’s HK Observatory was cold (though not freezing) between 17-22 degrees Celsius. ■


Dare to circle around the Victoria Harbour

Victoria 162 Finish line

Wonderful crew made up by majority runners

Aida Othman (@_aidaothman_) is a lifestyle writer and content creator behind the website, Slice Of Torch Ginger. An avid ultra-runner, her longest run was the 7 Emirates Run in the UAE, covering 575km in 12 days to raise funds for the medical bills of a toddler born with deformed legs and the only woman to achieve this distance two years in a row.






Olya the Realist in her poncho running the first 5km

Getting urgent work SMSs while running through Piazza del Popolo

All Roads Lead to Rome Marathon Words + Photos by: David O’Hara

Olya, Alex and I first ran Rome Marathon together in 2014, and our most vivid memory of that marathon was the torrential downpour while we were waiting in the Start corral. We were so miserably wet and the rain continued that day until after the Finish, so our collective reaction to Rome Marathon was: “Never again!” Roman Holiday For the past six years in April Olya and I run the Paris Marathon as a target running event for our annual holidays. This year we decided to add Rome Marathon back into the schedule – but Alex declined. While Paris Marathon is a world class marathon with over 50,000 runners every year, Rome Marathon has a lowkey feel with locals not understanding why roads are closed, much less why people would want to run 42km. The Route The Start and Finish of the Rome Marathon are at the Colosseum, which makes it easy for certain geographically challenged tourists like me to find it. The route follows the cobblestone streets past Piazza Venezia and through residential neighborhoods for the first 15k, past the Vatican at 18km and then up to the Olympic Stadium at 25km. The route winds along the Tiber River, back to the center following Via del Corso, disrupting the tourists on the Spanish Steps, across Piazza Navonna, and back again to Piazza Venezia at 39km, before running a mainly uphill loop around the Colosseum for the last 3km to the Finish. The course is peppered with cobblestones throughout, which add a little flavor to the run, as does the revelation that there is a reason historians write about the Seven Hills of Rome. Olya the Realist in her poncho before the start

The start

The Start As Olya and I walk across central Rome to the Start on a sunny Sunday morning, we jinx ourselves as we discuss the nasty rain at the Start in 2014. As an optimist, I don’t bring a rain poncho. As a realist, Olya brings a rain poncho. Yeah, it should be obvious where this is going … It is lightly drizzling, which soon becomes serious rain when we get to the Start corral. The Start corral appears to be manned by the same security who checks football hooligans at stadium as we are crammed, pushed, shoved and searched for about thirty minutes before gaining access to the Start. Much to my surprise, the event starts on time amid the commotion and apparent chaos. Running Around Rome Running a marathon in a big city can be a fun way to see the sights, so Olya and I decide to enjoy views and run together. The first 5km is a blurry wet memory, with me wearing gloves and a hat and Olya running in her waterproof poncho. Running on wet cobblestones is like running on broken asphalt, except much slicker. Once we find our rhythm, we begin to take in the sights. Most surprising for me is running past the Vatican after 18km – impressive building, but not easily discernible until you see the throngs of tourists lined up around the corner. The next 16km is more of a slog than a sightseeing excursion, so we simply enjoy the run as a good taper for next week’s Paris Marathon. Running to the Vatican after 18km

Running Historical Rome When we enter the historical center, we know there is only 8km left and we go past many tourist sites – most of which we do not recognize. At this point, my phone starts buzzing with ‘urgent’ SMS’s from work. The juxtaposition of running a marathon amidst so many ancient buildings and after three hours having to deal with work issues on the fly makes me smile. As I am SMS’ing, we run past the Spanish Steps and continue to Piazza Navonna, where tourists watch us run past like we are just another tourist attraction. The sun finally comes out and we enjoy the last part of the run, especially the uphill at 41km before finishing at the Colosseum. Destination Marathons Traveling to a major running event like the Rome Marathon or the Paris Marathon can be a great weekend getaway, with some good advanced planning. Most cities hold annual marathons, so select one that has a good balance of a quality running event with your desire to see that particular city. It helps to check the marathon route in advance to determine if you will spend four hours running historical areas or industrial zones. Running destination marathons is great training for the Abu Dhabi Marathon in December and Dubai Marathon next January. Smaller events like Cappadocia Ultra Trail, Beirut Marathon or any ultra in Nepal in the fall are often surprisingly rewarding. The most important thing is to be fit and give it a try. Happy running! ■ Glorious run around the Colosseum



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When documentary filmmakers and explorers Fernanda Lupo and Márcio Bortolusso presented their unlikely goal just over a year ago, few believed they would be able to do something so grandiose and risky.

A mega challenge never before attempted by any adventurer, spanning twelve months and more than twenty thousand kilometres, from the Amazon to the south of Brazil, the extraordinary project “6 Hard Xpeditions” was a scientific-exploratory journey with an innovative format on the world stage. It is part of an even greater challenge that will be realized from 2020 to 2021. It will also go against the “outdoor market” by avoiding clichés - such as Everest, Seven Summits, diving with sharks, etc. According to important journalists, advertisers and athletes, this was one of the greatest multi-sport expeditions ever held. Normally expeditions are not performed in sequence. When they return from a great endeavour, adventurers need months or even years to leave again, due to the numerous logistical procedures (training, research, authorizations, etc.) and the high risk, cost and physical and psychological wear and tear. In addition, each explorer has a unique specialty, such as a climber that concentrates only on mountaineering techniques or a paddler that is limited to some mode in sea or rapids.

In total among the six extreme expeditions were more than 20 thousand kilometres inland from North to South of Brazil. Márcio Bortolusso

Dragging 170 kilos between cliffs for a week. Filtering unhealthy water with the eye on alligators. Sleeping watchful for pirates. Photoverde Archive

The 170 kilos of cargo used in the climb of the Nameless Peak. Photoverde Archive

After weeks of arduous and dangerous adventure, the couple celebrating on the summit of the imposing Nameless Peak. Márcio Bortolusso

In addition to this only a couple have multisports expertise, with extensive knowledge in several activities such as cave diving, kayaking, big wall climbing, ultramarathon, canyoning, stand up paddle, etc. After six years of meticulous preparation and arduous training, Fernanda and Márcio have done six extreme and pioneering expeditions practically in sequence. The duo lived countless experiences of suffering and pleasure, confined for weeks in some of the most dangerous terrain of the Brazilian landscape. They crossed fearsome areas, hung on cliffs for many days in arduous turns of up to 24 hours, hoping not to be hit by huge rocks that fell, dragged up to When at last the couple reached some point of civilization was always received with great hospitality and amazement - Photoverde Archive 170 kilos of cargo, ran hundreds



of kilometers carrying 15 kilos while being hurled against sharp walls. They paddled against strong winds and currents, wallowed in muddy waters infested with snakes and alligators and sleeping overnight in areas with the highest concentration of jaguars in Brazil. They were also punished with large bruises and severe injuries, bearing thermal sensations from -10 to +45 ºC, suffering from thirst or sipping water from unhealthy ponds, frightened by buffalo or sneaky alligators and hunters. And what is even more incredible, as is common in their explorations, while fighting against extreme fatigue and to stay alive, they still developed valuable research and environmental actions. They uncovered inventories of species, caves and springs and conducted a chemical analysis of the water quality of streams, rivers and seas of the area.

More than three weeks of hard work to climb the Nameless Peak. Kelvyn Medeiros



Only one of the dozens of falls down in the 7 kilometers of waterfall had 250 meters and demanded the maximum of the team through the night. Fernanda Lupo

For 16 days the couple paddled hundreds of kilometers for a route considered impossible even by experienced hunters. Márcio Bortolusso The 115 kilos of cargo used in the 10 days of the Canyoning expedition, one of the biggest explorations of waterfalls of the World. Márcio Bortolusso Hands destroyed after 10 days of hard work in one of the most dangerous terrain of the Brazilian Mountaineering.

During one of the hardest expeditions of SUP the couple traveled for 16 days hundreds of kilometers of land considered impossible. Márcio Bortolusso

Brazil, crossing unexplored labyrinths formed by thousands of islands and canals. Through Feet and hands destroyed after 16 the night, they dragged heavy cargo through Overnight on floating boards and other new techniques in one of the most days exploring forests and mangroves treacherous and almost impenetrable forests arduous SUP expeditions. Márcio Bortolusso with a SUP. Photoverde Archive and mangroves. They were bitten by thouKnow the six extreme challenges trekked seven kilometres, and even rappelled sands of mosquitoes in long sleepless nights It all began with the demanding climb on the while carrying 120 kilos of cargo. With with the over an unstable tent. Armed with their SUP imposing southwest face of the “Pico Sem support of diver João Andreoli, they began boards, they woke up every half hour for fear Nome” (Nameless Peak), one of the most the first inventory of underwater caves of a of being swept away by the high tide. impressive and isolated mountains of the Brazilian archipelago. In difficult parts of the Mantiqueira Range. It is one of the last peaks Ilhabela Archipelago, they explored, recorded Do not miss the documentary and other acin Brazil with long rocky slopes and over two and mapped cavities for cataloguing in the tions of the couple thousand metres of altitude that do not have National Caves Registry. Sometimes they were With complex and costly logistics, the 6 Hard climbing routes. In total, there were 22 days under conducting them in narrow passages, Xpeditions project became a reality thanks to of tension and martyrdom alongside climbers working with their cameras, measuring tapes, the trust of its sponsors Duracell, LG, GoreKelvyn Medeiros and Diego Moreira. clipboards and reels with a few metres of tex and Brazil Kirin and dozens of supporters Second, they went into the remote labyvisibility (even with lanterns). It sometimes who collaborated with their equipment and rinths of the largest fluvial-maritime archiresulted in broken equipment, bruises or services. The unprecedented journey of this pelago in the planet and carried out one of hedgehog spines through the body. unusual couple has yielded countless stories the hardest kayak expeditions ever undertaken From Ilhabela the couple set off for an filled with strong emotions, experienced by in the Amazon river, the “worst pirate zone exhaustive 240-kilometers ultramarathon - 90% the richest cultures and in some of the wildest in Brazil”. It spanned hundreds of kilometres on soft sand - traveling all along the Ururegions of Brazil - they spotted whales and connecting rivers separated by isolated springs guayan coast, from Brazil to the border with isolated flocks of primates, paddled among obstructed by dense vegetation, paddling Argentina - running with 15 kilos in the back, otters and dozens of dolphins, swam in rivers against powerful currents, and even running from endless dunes and without the usual filled with alligators and piranhas, they crossed dozens of miles under the scorching sun. aid in competitions - route signalling, water colonies of sea lions and even a small shark, Without taking a breath, they undertook and food stands, doctors, accommodation they were impressed with footprints of jaguars one of the largest waterfall explorations in the with bathrooms, awards or other runners to and rare birds like a beautiful specimen of world, which resulted in the largest mountain motivate them. They had agreed that “even in toucan not catalouged by science. descent in Brazil (~ 1,900 metres of uneventhe face of the worst-case scenario one of the Fernanda and Márcio have finally reness), exploring the Neblina Waterfall for the two would have to complete this expedition.” turned to their safe harbor in the Ilhabela first time. It is one of the highest and most Therefore, after a severe injury knocked out archipelago and soon promise to present beautiful waterfalls in Latin America and is also Fernanda, Márcio bravely completed the rest their joys and misadventures in a web series, “the highest Brazilian waterfall” (almost 450 of this pioneering feat. Preview >>> https:// in lectures, on their social networks and in metres). a documentary. To know more about this After identifying the highest springs of one Without losing their motivation they permagical and unforgettable adventure, just go of the most important river basins in southformed one of the most insane SUP crossings to and register. eastern Brazil, with the reinforcement of the ever made, treading for 16 days across hunPHOTOVERDE Team - imprensa@photoverde. canyoners Anor Sassaron and Juliano Hojah dreds of kilometres in one of the most 00 +55 (11) 99569-7887 or 00 +55 (12) they fought a struggle for survival. They ful, isolated and biodiversity rich regions of 98137-6375 ■ Nearly 250 kilometers of unpublished race for soft and unsupported sand, signposted routes, accommodation or water and food stands. Evaldo Plado

At last a good camp to compensate for the sleepless nights on unstable SUP boards floating in fetid mangroves full of alligators and jaguars. Márcio Bortolusso


Ten Years in the Gulf Words + Photos by: Marina Bruce

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had many memorable moments in the 10 years since I arrived in Abu Dhabi back on 1st June 2009. I have always forged my own path in life and living here has allowed me to do this to extreme, from camping in the desert on my own, early morning visits to traditional markets in Oman (Sinaw Thursday market, if you haven’t been already, please add it to your bucket list) and driving a group of Bedu ladies out to their farm in the desert, to mention just a few. Here are 10 highlights – things that have changed my life. 1) Learning to offroad The start of every journey begins with a few small steps and so it was in June 2009, just 21 days after arriving, I took to the sand with AD4X4 in our FJ Cruiser. Despite originating from the UK, the birthplace of the Land Rover, I had never driven offroad there and I had much to learn! I was frequently terrified and often stuck but after many drives I progressed up to intermediate. My friends formed UAE Offroaders and I followed them and by late summer 2010 I was a marshal for them, leading trips on my own. I thought I was a great driver and was asked to join a driving project where I soon

Learning to offroad was not always easy!

realised I was not as good as I thought; however there, in Liwa, I met a charming young Emirati man who taught me the finer points of self-recovery and how to drive through the desert like a Bedu! 2) Founding Oasis Offroad After 3 years of driving with other clubs I found that I preferred longer drives in more remote areas than those just outside Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, so with the help of a couple of my friends and my husband

Oasis Offroad’s first trip to Liwa (photo by Alison Carter)

I formed Oasis Offroad. I love teaching people the basic steps in offroad driving and I think that over the years, at least 500 people must have taken their first trip in the sand with me. Once we had enough Oasis Offroad drivers who were competent in self-recovery then the Liwa listing trips started! Oasis Offroad still flourishes in Al Ain, led by my friend Mike Galvin and you can read about the club in OutdoorUAE October 2015 edition.



Liwa (photo by Catherine Gibson-Poole)

3) Liwa We first visited Liwa back in January 2009 before I even lived here; we’d just got our new FJ during one of my holidays in the UAE (my husband started working here in June 2007) and at the end of my break we decided to go to Dubai Airport from Al Ain via Liwa. Surely no-one can be unimpressed by the awesome dunescapes there; in my case it was love at first sight and for the last 10 years I have enjoyed a love affair with this wonderful desert to the north of the Rub Al Khali. It took me almost two years to return there offroad, following a club marshal who originates from there, these days there are not many dunes in the wider area which have not borne my tyretracks at some time! I have been fortunate to live in the area too, firstly in 2016 and returning in 2018. How lucky am I to be able to reach the gorgeous dunes in less than 10 minutes from my home! I have written a number of articles about Liwa including Diggers, Dhaubs and Dunes (October 2013) Zodiac Liwa (September

Always a pleasure to take people camping in Liwa

2014), Liwa in Summer (August 2015), Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (May 2016), Liwa Crescent Onroad (July 2017) and Crossing The Crescent (February 2017). If you haven’t already visited this amazing area I suggest you go soon to make your own adventure story! 4) Camping I may not have offroaded before landing here but I brought a lot of camping experience gained in the UK and France with me. It seemed a bit strange, though ultimately delightful, to wild camp; we looked for official camping sites but there were none. We were lucky in that we had a Canadian friend who took us out on our foray into the desert; he soon had us converted into wild campers and I recommend you take your first foray into desert camping with someone who knows what they are doing! At first I forgot to take important things with me (like matches and a lighter), then I went through a phase of taking everything but the kitchen sink; nowadays I have

slimmed down my camping kit which takes up less room and clatters less when going over dunes – I have also created a firebox with silicon gloves, firelights and of course an all important lighter! It’s taken some years bt Iike to think I have perfected the art of camping in the dunes, and over the years have delighted in taking many friends and customers out for a night by the campfire, under a canopy of 5 million stars. 5) Motorsport marshalling In 2011 I signed up for a day›s marshalling at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge; little did I know how much it would change my life!  I enjoyed it so much that after the initial day I opted to stay on for the rest of the week and this event has been a fixture in my calendar ever since! The ADDC is arguably one of the most difficult events in the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies series with almost all of the offroad route sections crossing sand dunes and it is wonderful to see the very best drivers in the world take on the Abu Dhabi desert. Marshalling is a great way to get close to the action and through my involvement in this and also the Emirates Desert Challenge I have met many interesting people, discovered long distance desert driving and discovered a whole new passion!

Marshalling Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge



Safety briefing Dark Skies Challenge 2018 by KR

6) Dark Skies Challenge 2014-2018 Inspired by the great work some Oman based friends do with the Wahiba Challenge, I created my own event, in the most remote area of the UAE - the desert west of Ghayathi. I say event as it was so much more than a point to point driving challenge; we had photo competitions in 7 categories, always with OutdoorUAE magazine as one of the sponsors; a prize quiz in the middle of the desert; our teams also had 5kms bonus for collecting treasure which I’d buried in the desert the week before. Safety is always at the heart of everything I do so I created a strict set of rules to ensure no-one got lost, there was no benefit in try- Dark Skies Challenge 2016 ing to complete the challenge in the fastest 8) Salalah time, and that everyone would drive safely. In July 2012 my husband and I headed In the five years I ran the event we had no 1000kms southwards to the seaside city of mishaps which required a police report! Salalah in search of rain and cool temperaThe first event was in 2014 which was an tures; we had seen the signpost “Salalah Oasis Offroad only event with 6 teams, 24 1215kms” and heard about the “kareef” cars and 3 support, it was opened up to - the summer period when the tail end other clubs and individuals the following of the Indian monsoon drenches Oman’s year and eventually increasing in size to 18 second city in rain, turning the area green. teams plus 11 sweep and support. The temperature steadily dropped from 42C in Thumrait, 60kms from the coast to a 7) Mike Nott Oman trip wonderful 27C as the highway twisted and My husband and I were extremely fortunate turned its way down towards the sea and I to have Mike Nott invite us along on his knew then that I would fall in love with this recce trip for new oman routes for the second edition of Advanced Offroad Adventure Routes UAE and Oman.  We traveled offroad from Adam in Al Wusta area to within a stone’s throw of Salalah; driving mainly through wadi beds and valleys well off the beaten track we encountered the most awesome of landscapes. This was my first time rock crawling and who better to tutor me than Mike himself! Our crew of six covered around 1000kms offroad over 8 days and you too can discover the amazing routes in Mike’s book. There are a few route updates and you can find these on the book’s facebook page. First visit to Salalah Recceing Mike’s Al Huqf route

beautiful, relatively quiet city. It should be on every Middle Eastern expat’s bucket list for at least two visits, one in the cool summer and one in the slightly warmer than the UAE mid-winter! During the Khareef the atmosphere is amazing as Gulf Nationals visit for up to a month to experience temperatures up to 30C cooler than their home towns and to enjoy the rain. As a Scot who hates rain, it always amuses me to see them enjoying picnics during the drizzly weather! One disadvantage of a summer visit is the lack of visibility in the mountains which form a crescent to the west of Salalah; often you are driving inside a cloud so cannot appreciate the beautiful landscape! For this reason a visit in the winter is a must – the winding mountain roads rising out of the city have beautiful vistas at every turn and although the grass may have withered somewhat the trees are still green! My favourite way to get there by road is via the coastal route from Muscat (see OutdoorUAE May 2017) and offroad, by following Mike’s route (see OutdoorUAE Dec 2017).

Traversing a wadi on Mike Nott’s Oman recce



View from Al Ayn Village, Jebel Akdhar

9) Jebel Akhdar in the summer I was first introduced to Oman’s Green Mountain by an Emirati friend and was amazed that even in September the temperatures were low and astounded by the number of baskets full of huge red pomegranates for sale by the side of the road! I have been back many many times including trips in October, January and March – as someone who dislikes cold weather it is definitely better to visit during the height of the summer. There at 2000 metres above sea level you can enjoy clean crisp air, temperatures 20C cooler than Dubai and Al Ain. Nights can be cool too - if you have never been it is hard to imagine the need for a campfire, jackets and a thick sleeping bag at 23 degrees north of the equator but trust me, you do! To get a taste of what Oman’s Green Mountain has to offer, check out my articles in June 2016 and December 2018.

First trip to Jebel Akhdar

maze with them as the backdrop is an unforgettable experience. The Rub al Khali has been an obsession since I first read about it in Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands and a trip to Saudi to reach the largest part of it is one of the few things left on my Middle East bucket list!

10) Rub Al Khali The Empty Quarter is the largest sand dune desert in the world mostly in KSA, but with sizeable portions in the UAE and Oman too. I’ve already mentioned the UAE part which lies south of the Liwa Crescent road but I’ve also explored and organized trip to the Omani portion. The dunes here are very different to Liwa as they rise in spectacular massifs from the white sabkha, reaching up to 160 metres high; it can be tricky to drive over them as their composition is so complex with lots of bumps and bowls, but nevertheless driving through the sabkha

11) Writing for OutdoorUAE I was delighted when back in 2013, Daniel invited me to submit an article for the August edition of the magazine. A keen writer since my teenage days, this was my first published work and since then he has made me his magazine’s “Offroad Expert” and I have contributed articles regularly since then. I have also created a few offroad routes for the magazine which you can download via their website, as well as having two routes included in the second edition of Mike Nott’s book. In May 2019 I will become UK based however, plans are in progress for a part time return to Oman and the UAE next winter! Working with a local partner I will bring tourists to Oman for seven-day self-drive adventures and who knows where that will lead! In the meantime I will continue to post on Instagram and Facebook from my immense photo collection – please follow me to see the many beautiful sights to be found in this place my heart calls home! ■

Welcome to The Empty Quarter

Driving in the Rub Al Khali, Oman by Piak Piak


Hike for Good! Words + Photos by: Emma Taylor

Since November 2018, Gulf for Good has organised and led 16 hikes in the UAE for 540 individuals and four corporate clients, raising over Dh47,000 for their charity projects for children in need around the world.

If you haven’t heard of them already, Gulf for Good, a UK registered charity & UAE registered NPO, have been operating from Dubai since 2001 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Their goal is simple; to help the lives of children in need by raising funds from bucket-list adventure challenges. Traditionally, Gulf for Good have welcomed “challengers” on incredible international adventures such as trekking to Machu Picchu and Everest Base Camp or cycling across Borneo and Mongolia. Challengers then fundraise for a Gulf for Good charity project such as building schools, medical facilities or housing. This year they are trekking across Palestine, summitting Kilimanjaro (twice!), exploring the magnificent Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas and cycling, trekking and kayaking their way through Northern Thailand. Since 2018, Gulf for Good has developed a comprehensive “training programme”

they call soulFIT, as preparation for these bucket-list challenges. The training includes full or half day hikes in the UAE, stair climbs to the top of high-rises across the city, hikes up the slopes of Ski Dubai or cycling across a series of indoor and outdoor venues – along with many other activities like yoga and circuit training. Gulf for Good pride themselves on having an inclusive, supportive and fun community spirit where everyone, from all walks of life, are welcome to their training activities – not just registered challengers. Their hiking season will resume in October but for now you can check out their schedule of indoor and outdoor activities to join throughout the summer. You can

check out individual activities, join their annual soulFIT training programme, or register for your next once-in-a-lifetime adventure challenge! And best yet, all funds go directly to supporting Gulf for Good’s charity projects around the world. To date, Gulf for Good has raised over $3.5million fuelling 56 sustainable children’s charity projects in 29 countries. Don’t miss their party on May 1, 7pm at the Jumeirah Islands Club – Barrel 12, where they’ll be launching their 2020 bucket-list challenges, handing out some incredible prizes such as free challenge places, soulFIT memberships and t-shirts and more. As always, everyone is welcome!

You can check out their schedule of activities at or on social media @gulfforgood. For more information email 42




Ripe Markets Beat the heat this summer with the Ripe Market! This summer we are going indoors to beat the heat and we couldn’t be more excited! The perfect place to spend your weekend stocking up on local organic produce, browse the offerings of some of the regions most talented artisans, crafters, jewellers and designers and continue enjoying our community market experience without the heat.

The Ripe Market will have a key presence throughout Dubai in several locations -some of which we have been in before, others being brand new. We’re bringing the alfresco market experience inside. Wander around the market stalls of some of the cities local artisans and designers and enjoy this community shopping experience. Each week you will find a selection of over 100 local businesses selling everything from organic skincare, leather handbags, and rustic homeware, to handmade jewellery, unique fashion, Art, baby clothes, home interiors and children’s toys. The indoor markets will also be the perfect place for Dubai residents to shop for all their organic essentials from Ripe. Each week we will have fruits and vegetables, pantry essentials like eggs, local honey, dates, coconut oil, tea, dairy free, gluten free, coffee, juicing boxes, superfoods and more, and chat to our friendly Ripe team about organic farming and recipe ideas.


REC IPE INGREDIENTS Ice cream Base: • 1 ½ cups blanches raw cashews • 2 cups cashew milk • ½ cup Lucuma Powder • ¼ cup Agave Nectar • 3 tsp Coconut Oil • 1 tsp Vanilla Powder Raw Caramel Sauce: • ¼ cup cashews soaked 4 hours • 6 Medjool dates pitted • ¼ cup water

There’ll also be pop-up yoga and fitness classes, workshops, and the little ones can get involved with fun, educational activities including creative arts & craft stations, nurseries who will be reading out to the kids, kid’s gyms and more. Ripe is all about the community which is why we have been so passionate about creating a unique market environment over the summer months that will allow locals, expats and visitors alike, to meet and mingle in a beautiful market setting. Exact locations, timings and dates for the Ripe Summer Markets will be communicated via our social media platforms so make sure to stay up to date by checking them out regularly! Ripe Organic – Lucuma Powder With a booming rise in health awareness,

• 2 tsp maple syrup • ¼ tsp seas salt Method: Place your ice cream mixer bowl in the freezer overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews, place them in a blender with the cashew milk and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ice cream ingredients and blend until well combined Transfer to a container and freeze for at least two hours Place in ice cream mixer and churn as per manufacturer’s instructions While ice cream is churning, make the caramel sauce. Drain and rinse the cashews and place them in the blender with the remaining caramel ingredients. Process until smooth. Once ice cream is at desired consistency, add caramel sauce to ice cream and churn for a few more minutes. For best results, serve immediately.

it comes as no surprise that people are looking for healthier alternatives to the alltime summer favourites! Vegan ice cream is no exception, as dairy free, raw options are becoming more prevalent in supermarkets but also more easily accessible to make at home. There are many different ice cream alternatives, which can be so much fun with children during the summer! Why not try some homemade ice cream with added superfood benefits, such as Ripe Organic’s Raw Lucuma Ice Cream. Lucuma is derived from a fruit that is freeze dried to form a light cream powder. Lucuma has a pleasant sweet caramel taste and is a great alternative for sugar. It delivers an abundance of health benefits when added to your favorite food or beverage. In addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, Lucuma is gluten-free and a great source of antioxidants, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals of benefit to the immune system. Add Lucuma to your baking or breakfast such as homemade bircher muesli, fresh juice, or give your daily smoothie an antioxidant kick and sweeten with a tsp of Lucuma. This superfood can also be used a natural medicine due to its antibiotic, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Pick it up at your nearest Ripe store or order online! We are excited to now offer same day delivery across Dubai! You can also find all our products and more at our farm shops across the emirate of Dubai: Al Manara [Open seven days a week; Sunday – Saturday | 8am – 8pm] Town Centre Jumeirah [Open seven days a week; Sunday – Saturday | 10am – 10pm] Shoreline 8, Palm Jumeirah [Open seven days a week; Sunday – Saturday | 10am – 10pm]





With the outdoor Season starting


has some healthy recipes and tips for you Prepared by: Chef Wisdom Mwandoe

We, at The Cycle Bistro, believe that the Paleo Diet is a lifestyle, not a trend that comes and goes. Our meal plans offer you a balanced lifestyle that is delivered straight to your door. Our chefs have developed the menu to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality ingredients, packed full of nutrients. The menu offers enough diversity to cater for all types of diets, from vegans to meat-lovers. Each meal is based on a portion controlled formula to ensure that you are receiving all the nutrients your body deserves.

Our meal plans offer the best locally and internationally sourced vegetables, Australian Grass-fed beef and organic ingredients where possible. We are helping you to create the best version of yourself by being a part of our food revolution. By making one nutritious choice, you can transform your life. ■


Step 2: Place the grilled aubergine on a tray and let them cool down, slice into julienne and set aside. Step 3: Cut the onions into quarters sautee till soft and translucent add honey and let them cool down in a separate bowl. Step 4: Cut the pomegranate into half scoop the seed and place in a separate container. Step 5: Wash and sanitise the salad mix, dry with a sald spinner or on a dry kitchen cloth. Step 6: For lemon dressing, slice the fresh lemon, peel the skin and remove the seeds, use only the flesh, place on the heat, add tumeric and bring to boil.


Step 7: When the lemon is soft, add honey let it cool down and blend in a food processor.

Section within Kitchen


Step 8: Strain the dressing and place in a squeezy bottle.

Number of portions




Step 9: Combine the ingrediets in a mixing bowl, dress using the lemon dressing, plate as per the picture and serve cold.

Shelf life

2-3 DAYS

Step 10: Serves 10







Fresh mango



Red onions



Pomegranate seeds



Spicy salad mix





To taste






To taste

Olive oil











Step 1: Clean the aubergine, slice lenghtwise, add olive oil and char grill.


Lemon dressing




NUTRITION BENEFITS Calories :   150 Fat :      8 gms  Carbs :  18 gms Protein :  2 gms Located at The Cycle Bistro, Dubai Motor City Call: 04 425 3000 Website: The Cycle Bistro GPS location: Latitude: N 25° 02.792 Longitude: E 055° 14.384



Vaidyanathan Sathyan Occupation: Director, New Business Development Vehicle: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Interview by: Bandana Jain Tell us the background story of the car... I have been going to the desert with my family for almost ten years in my previous car. Since I am into recreational desert driving (with minimal risk) with family and friends, I wanted a car that can take the lead and has great safety features. Then, the moment arrived when I had to let go of my old car and buy a new off-road vehicle. Most of the rescue cars in the desert seemed to be Wranglers, hence a Wrangler was my first choice. It lived up to my expectations and now I am exploring off-roading like never before. What modifications have been made, performance and cosmetic wise? Currently none, since it’s a brand-new car. It’s

blood red in color with dark tinted windows. But it is bound to go through some modifications in the near future. Do you have something that you consider to be a special feature of the car? This car is safe due to its reinforced beams, anti-skid systems and solid 4x4 capability with its traction. Its ability to tackle tough terrains, the open roof option and its power are additional points. It’s a well -balanced 4x4 that offers both off and on-road possibilities with an affordable pricing. Also, the modifications and upgrade options are limitless with a Wrangler. What were your other options before you brought this car? We looked for many other 4-wheel drives but somehow the Wrangler always came out in the lead.



How often do you use your car and what activities do you take part in? Apart from everyday driving, desert driving, wadi trips and mountain trips are some of the activities that we use our Wrangler for. We have a group of enthusiastic families that accompany us in off-road trips. I would highly recommend people to get out of their comfort zone and explore the deserts, mountains and wadis of UAE and Oman. Once you are with nature, you can never have enough. Are you planning any future modifications? Definitely yes! Higher suspensions and wheels, perhaps a rescue winch and tyre pump are some on my list. Which 4x4 do you dream of owning? I believe I already have one! My only wish is to do the car modifications and explore the Sila desert dunes close to the Rub Al Khali desert. ■

Tom Segers

Nationality: Belgian Occupation: Talent Acquisition Vehicle: Toyota Prado VXR, 125 series (3 door), 2005 Tell us the background story of the car... I was in the market for this specific model and jumped on it when I saw it advertised on Dubizzle. The owner already had a lot of interest so was reluctant to give me a viewing as he already had 8 people looking at it the next day. I offered to pay the asking price without negotiation if the car was in good condition and within 2 hours, I had paid the deposit and had a smile on my face. That was 10 years ago! What modifications have been made, performance and cosmetic wise? I changed the suspension less than 2 weeks after purchase with a set of Icon Vehicle Dynamics and Total Chaos control arms and a set of Dick Cepek rims – other than that, the car is completely stock. It’s difficult to improve perfection. Do you have something that you consider to be a ‘special feature’ of the car? I find the Prado an exceptional all-round vehicle. Very comfortable on the road for long distances with very little wind noise, and

a very reasonable fuel consumption when driven reasonably. So you feel refreshed with over two thirds of a tank left when you reach Liwa. Power to weight ratio for the dunes is almost unmatched in a standard production vehicle with the 4.0 V6 engine and with tyres down to 8 psi, my only limitations are nerves and focus. Fold the rear seats and you have plenty of room for a 5-day camping trip with the missus to Masirah. Fold all the seats down and you can lie almost completely flat for a comfortable sleep. I keep an accurate and detailed log of costs to the car and it costs me about Dh1 per km to run (including registration, fines, fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc.). In a nutshell, I have yet to come across a vehicle good enough to replace my Prado.

What were your other options  before you bought this car? 80 series land cruiser VXR but they are like hen’s teeth. How often do you use your car, and what  activities do you take part in?    It’s my daily driver, both on and off road from going to the Palm for a romantic dinner with my wife to an extreme drive in Liwa, she handles it with ease. Are you planning any future  modifications? A rear diff lock is planned but can’t find a 2nd hand stock diff lock. A winch would also be a great addition as I have been known to go out on my own at times but want to keep the stock look up front. Sadly, too many mechanics have told me there is not enough room behind the front stock bumper to fit the winch. What 4x4 do you dream of owning?  If money was no object, a car from Icon 4x4 – either a FJ40 or FJ43 Series, or their Bronco! These are beautifully restored vehicles with modern engineering for comfort and safety. ■

Want your 4X4 to be the next feature? Just send us an email at with the subject “Off-Roaders Corner” and you and your car might just be the next one on this page!







Segway Drift W1 E-Skates Step on and let the fun begin

1,499 AED

Available at Toys R Us & Virgin MegaStores After roller skates, inline skates and other fun mobility products in the past, the Segway Drift W1 is a new trendy way to move and have fun in a way that you haven’t ever before. Dare to stand out with e-Skates that are stylish, cool and fun to master. Gliding, spinning, dancing or doing tricks – the possibilities of how the Segway Drift W1 can be used are endless. With a total weight of 7kg Segway Drift W1 is portable and can be carried around easily in one hand or in a bag.

399 AED Available at Toys R Us & ELC Step In and Blast Off! Hit new heights of fun with the Turbo Jetts™ electric, motorized heel wheels! Simply start rolling and these electric−powered heel wheels amp up the action with an 80−watt, geared motor to provide a one−of−a−kind boost to any pair of sneakers. SPECIFICATIONS Speed: Up to 16 km/h Run Time: Up to 30 minutes of continuous use Autonomy: Up to 8 km Motor: 80−watt, geared wheel drive Throttle: Integrated pressure−sensitive switch, power control system Frame: Heavy−duty polymer “quick click” with hook−and−loop strap Wheels: Proprietary, 50 mm urethane with sealed bearings Battery: 12V lithium−ion pack, quick−change, rechargeable (UL2271) Includes: Battery charger Patent Pending Sizes: Fits shoes European youth 42 through adult 45 RIDER TYPE: Age 9+ Maximum Rider Weight: 80 kg

Coleman 4 Person Instant Tent

Coleman 54 Quart Combo Set

Available at Carrefour UAE

Available at Carrefour UAE, LULU Hypermarkets, Abu Dhabi COOP

490 AED

Pre-attached poles make setup a simple matter of unfold, extend and secure, so your cabin and the integrated, vented rainfly are ready in about 60 seconds. If it rains, the WeatherTec™ system and its patented welded floors and inverted seams will help you stay dry. Inside, there's enough room to stretch out on a queen-sized airbed, and two storage pockets help to keep small items organized.


Razor Turbo Jetts


210 AED

Keeps the Ice up to 5 days at temperatures up to 90 °F Xtreme technology uses an insulated lid and extra insulation in the walls for longer ice retention. Leak-resistant channel drain for easy draining without tilting the cooler. Have-A-Seat Lid supports up to 250 lbs. for a place to sit and rest. 2-way handles for easy lifting and carrying in a space-saving design. Low CO2 insulation for reduced carbon emissions from foam manufacturing.



PRODUCTS Montane Fem Dart T-Shirt

Montane Men Terra Pack Pants

Available exclusively at

Available exclusively at

The Women’s Dart T-Shirt is a classic all-season, all-mountain tech t-shirt. The Apex D-Fuse fabric has a dual layer construction, with an exceptionally soft and wicking pique knit next to the skin and a smooth, marl effect face. With an added POLYGIENE® odour resistant finish, the Dart series offers the perfect balance of warmth and breathability.

Updated with new Vector Lite fabric, the Terra Pack Pants offer stretch comfort for all day use in warmer conditions. Lightweight, fast drying and with a sun protection factor of UPF 50+, the Terra Pack Pants have all the features required for multi day trekking in the mountains.

125 AED

365 AED

Fit: Athletic Mountain - Close-fitting for fast-paced activities

AOR Kinetic Recovery Rope

Vango Men Velan Hiking Boots

Available at RAMY Automotive, online, ACE Hardware, Adventure HQ and other retailers

Available exclusively at

415 AED

The American Off Road Kinetic Recovery Rope is one of the most essential pieces of equipment in any recovery kit. It is specially designed to stretch under load, and to progressively deliver the stored kinetic energy for a smooth recovery, eliminating all stress on vehicle and driver.

525 AED

A perfect pair for spring and summer hikes - keep your feet comfortable, light and flexible with Velan hiking boots, new for SS19 from Vango. Lightweight summer boots with waterproof outer layer and comfort on the inside; with flexible ankle support. Superb all year around performance for local hikes.






Available at Go Sport, Adventure HQ, Decathlon MCC, Virgin Megastore, Sport In Life showroom and An all-in-one GPS multisport watch that helps you challenge your limits and improve your performance in all your favorite sports. • 130 sport profiles • Tracks running, swimming (pool/open water) and cycling • Waterproof up to 30 meters • GPS/GLONASS support • 24/7 activity tracking • Continuous heart rate • 30 hours battery life

1,499 AED

Available at Adventure HQ, Ride Bike Shop, Yas Cycles, Sport In Life showroom. Primero Cycling Shop (AUH), Endura, Sabeel Trading and TriLife (BH), Noonand Whatever your goals may be, the Fluid² helps you get the most out of each indoor training ride. The large, precision-balanced flywheel lets you easily customize each ride simply by shifting gears, just as you would outside. Thanks to its built-to-last manufacturing process, the Fluid² can help you conquer one goal after the next. • Fluid resistance unit provides a quiet and consistent ride • Progressive resistance offers the widest resistance range and road-like feel • Compatible with Zwift and other virtual training apps

WABOBA –TIDES Water Bouncing Ball

S&B Filters Dry Intake System for Jeep Wrangler JL 18-19

Available at Mothercare, The Toy Store, Adventure HQ, Virgin Megastore Sport In Life showroom and

Available at RAMY Automotive Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat branch, online and other retailers

Waboba tides ball uses color-changing technology to change color in water. Get it wet and watch the new colors flow in like the tide. The wetter it gets, the better it bounces on water.

S&B devotes a huge amount of resources to engineer their intakes that allow your engine to run properly with stock calibration or enhanced tuning. The JL intake utilizes your stock air temperature sensor and features an aluminum CNC lathed crankcase breather connection, that ensures a perfect snap-on fitment. Featuring a fully enclosed on piece box design. The lower box prongs integrate with the oem mounting locations to ensure a perfect fit. The Silicone Fender Seal is designed to pull air from the stock location and retains the use of the stock ram air tube.

45 AED

• Foam core with lycra cover • Features mystery color changing ink • Perfect for all water play • Ages 7+


CYCLEOPS FLUID2 – Bicycle Trainer


1,458 AED *Incl. Tax



PRODUCTS S-Works Evade

S-Works Exos Road

Available at The Cycle Hub, Motor City, Autodrome

Available at The Cycle Hub, Motor City, Autodrome

The S-Works Evade shares its roots with some illustrious company, namely, the fastest TT helmet in the world, the S-Works McLaren TT. A helmet that had all the aerodynamic benefits of a TT helmet, only without sacrificing fit or ventilation.

At a mere 150 grams, the S-Works EXOS are the lightest cycling shoes to ever come with a Boa® dial. And not only are they ridiculously light, but they still have all the features that are synonymous with the S-Works label, just ridiculously light.

• Ultra-light Mindset Hair Port micro-dial fit system with height adjustability for the perfect fit. • 4th Dimension Cooling System with deep internal channels, large vents, • Lightweight 4X DryLite webbing won’t stretch out with sweat or water. • Tri-Fix web splitter for improved comfort and ease of strap adjustments. • Instrap webbing system for ultra-light construction and security.

• Body Geometry sole and footbed are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce the chance of injury. • Lightest FACT Powerline™ carbon plate maximizes power transfer: Stiffness Index 13.0 • BOA® IP1 dial for on-the-fly micro-adjustment, backed by the BOA® Lifetime Guarantee. • Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward.

S-Works Venge Disc SRAM eTAP

Tarmac SL4 Sport

Available at The Cycle Hub, Motor City, Autodrome

Available at The Cycle Hub, Motor City, Autodrome

"Aero is Everything?" Aerodynamic optimization is the best thing Specialized can do to make you faster. And this philosophy has never been truer than with the new Venge. Being eight seconds faster than the ViAS, it’s not only the most aerodynamic bike on the road, but it’s also lost 460 grams.

The Tarmac SL4 Sport combines all of the complete performance that the Tarmac is known the world over for with the durable shifting of Shimano's 105. Consider it the perfect bike to grow along with you as you explore the open roads ahead.

1,300 AED

46,500 AED

• With SRAM RED eTAP, you’re definitively looking at the new shape of speed. • FACT 11r frame makes the Venge the most aerodynamic road bike, lightweight and stiff . • SRAM's RED eTAP AXS group provides exceptionally crisp shifts, smooth braking modulation, and it keeps the overall weight of the Venge at an absolute minimum. • Roval CLX 64 disc wheels

1,950 AED

8,250 AED

• The FACT 9r carbon frame combines the lightweight performance and compliance of the top-end carbon production methods with a Grand-Tour-winning geometry. • Significantly lighter than comparable wheelsets in its class, these tough DT R460 wheels offer tremendous value in one smooth-rolling package. • Shimano's 105 shifting ensures reliable, crisp shifting, mile after mile.





PRODUCTS N70-2Gt Bellavista Flat Lava Grey XL

Feher Air Conditioned Helmet Glossy Black

Available at Al Yousuf Motors Showrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah

Available at Al Yousuf Motors Showrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah

The N70-2 GT is an improved crossover helmet version of series N44. This new Nolan series delivers a highly customizable product, and that is something that we like! It offers the opportunity to adapt your helmet to your riding mood and type of trip, because six different helmet configurations does indeed provide a lot of flexibility! Have fun puzzling with 2 removable elements: visor and protective chin guard, and create the combination you desire. All combinations have been carefully tested by Nolan and are P/J homologated. And if this did not convince you yet, the N70-2 GT is also equipped with an ultrawide visor (Pinlock included) and a LEXAN TM sunscreen that is both scratch and fog resistant, as well as adjustable and removable, providing you optimal visibility during sunny riding hours.

ACH-1, the world’s first self-contained air-conditioned motorcycle helmet now available in our showrooms. The patented full-face ACH-1 evenly distributes filtered, cooled air freely across the top of the head, cooling it by as much as 12-18 degrees from the ambient temperature. This provides a far more comfortable riding experience in warm weather.

1,256 AED | Was: 1,570 AED

SPECIAL FEATURES Shell: Polycarbonate Visor: Scratch resistant, with Pinlock and quick release shield system Chin_strap: Microlock² double lever retention system Interior: Removable and washable Extra: Six possible configurations

Boblbee GTX 25L Diablo Red Backpack 1,052 AED | Was: 1,315 AED

Available at Al Yousuf Motors Showrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah Point 65 Sweden is a leading outdoor brand in Northern Europe and one of the fastest growing outdoor brands previously been known as Boblbee. The Point 65 Sweden ‘Boblbee Line’ hard shell backpacks double as spine protectors with the highest spine protection certification in the world (TÜV). The Point 65 Sweden packs are perfect for outdoor activities and made for action-filled fun. When cycling, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding or motor biking, both spine and gear are protected to the highest degree. This awesome pack doubles as the highest rated spine protector (approved by TÜV). It also protects your gear, laptop, camera and other equipment. The improved GTX series features the new Point 65 AirVent, which is part of the back plate design. The special ventilation channels running through the ergonomical back plate keep perspiration to a minimum. Its aerodynamic dome reduces fluttering at high speeds and is water repellent.



1,996 AED | Was 2,495 AED

HOW DOES IT WORK? It applies thermoelectric technology in combination with Feher’s patented Tubular Spacer Fabric to evenly distribute filtered, cooled air freely throughout the interior of the helmet. It is designed to reduce the interior temperature around a skull during hot rides compared to using a traditional helmet. Keeping a head cooler will make your body feel less impacted by the heat and make for a more comfortable ride in hot conditions than riding with your regular helmet. Feher helmet is DOT and ECE approved and covered under warranty for one year from the date of purchase on all manufacturing defects.

Aviator 2.2 Rockstar Matt 2,184 AED | Was: 2,730 AED

Available at Al Yousuf Motors Showrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah Aviator 2.2 is all what pros and lovers of adrenaline fuelled offroad rides are looking for to hit dusty and muddy roads with absolutely no concerns. This last-generation Airoh® MX helmet is equipped with all leading-edge technologies making this model a one-of-a-kind product in the world, with absolute comfort, breathability and protection even under the most extreme situations. Airoh is pride to offer consumers a product that is exactly identical to the version used by its champions. It is sold in two different shell sizes with superior 100% carbon/Kevlar composite fibre making it one of the lightest and highest performing helmets on the market to meet the requirements of particularly demanding riders. For ultimate safety, the helmet includes an emergency cheek pad release system (A.E.F.R.). Standard features that come with this model include a wide-field-of-view visor, which is also suited for the use of last-generation goggles, multiple vents, a peak with two different extensions, a Go-Pro® support, covers for upper vents, a kit of spare screws, a helmet bag and a closure hardware kit.



PRODUCTS Kovea Portable Stove TKR 9507

Kovea Magic II

Available at Ace Hardware and Speedex

Available at Ace Hardware and Speedex

The Cova stove features high-grade powder color coating and an enamel coated pot supporter. The safety designed system detects high pressure and separates the gas canister automatically.

A portable grill with foldable legs, made using food-grade stainless steel, suitable for a large family gathering

125 AED

• Fuel: Butane (Nozzle Type Gas Canister) • Consumption: 140g/h (1,656kcal / 6,575BTU / 1.92kW) • Powerful flame • One touch piezo

195 AED

• Body and legs can be separated and folded for convenient and portable storage • Durable and safe food grade stainless steel • Large size accommodates family use

Sufix 131

Storm DoCan Snapper Ball

Available at Al Fajr Marine, Barracuda Dubai (Dubai) Al Shahama (Abu Dhabi) | Al Nawkhaza (Ajman)

Available at Al Fajr Marine, Barracuda Dubai (Dubai) Al Shahama (Abu Dhabi) | Al Nawkhaza (Ajman)

• The most reliable superline. • Unmatched strength consistency. Built with 13 fibers (12 HMPE fibers + 1 GORE® Performance Fiber in core) to guarantee consistently strong construction with no weak points for reliable braided line during casting, strikes and fighting action. • Improved knot resistance. 13 carrier construction increase the number of fibers at the knot resulting in better knot tying and stronger holding power. • Unmatchable roundness. A single strand of GORE® Performance Fiber surrounded by 12 precision braided HMPE fibers results in a "super-round" line that is smoother, quieter and casts more accurate and farther than other lines.

• The heavy head generates a wide slalom action, and allows you to swiftly adjust the depth you are fishing to target deeper or shallower fish • The rubber skirt waves gently underwater, perfectly imitating a squid • The rubber skirt and hooks are individual components that are easily replaced to extend the life of your DoCan Snapper Ball • Complete with dual VMC PTFE coated assist hooks


Starts at 35 AED



Your LIFE is More Important than the Unsafe Adventures! Summer is the best time to spend a long day in beautiful seas of the UAE. Let’s do kayaking; what about SUP; no, no, we should do wakeboarding or maybe rafting ! We are loaded with options! Have you prepared yourself for sea uncertainties? Let’s explore some safety measures today.

STAND UP PADDLING (SUP) SUP is a great, full-body workout. Head to toe, every muscle is engaged in balancing on the board or during the paddle stroke with the bulk of the effort being done by the body’s ‘core’ muscles. SUP is an incredible sport for individuals & for families.

Paddle Board safety: Remove air from SUP board valve, check SUP board leash


rt Spo

Safety Sea

Fun Personal Safety & apparel: Board short & rash guard, water bottle, sun block Top Range Product: Jobe Sports Bamboo SUP (Offer: Was: AED 5,245/unit, Now: AED 3,895/unit) *Prices are Inclusive of VAT WAKEBOARDING Wakeboarding is a thrilling water activity. It’s fast, easy and can be done around any water location with suitable waves.

Board Safety: Check your board properly, check binding’s attachment, wet your board before using it. Personal Safety: Board short and rash guard, half finger gloves, helmet, compressed vest Top Range Product: Jobe Sports Conflict Wakeboard (Offer: Was: AED 2,195/Unit, Now: AED 1,595/Unit) *Prices are Inclusive of VAT



KAYAKING Kayak is the perfect option for roaming the sea, fishing, and exploring new and exciting places. It’s a paddle supported boat with a capacity to hold 1 or 2 persons.

Boat safety: Before getting into your kayak check your kayak & paddles thoroughly for any repair and maintenance requirement. Personal Safety: Life jacket, half face helmet, wetsuit, gloves, beach shoes, water bottle, sun block Product Range: Winner Kayak is available in a wide range such as: fishing, transparent kayak, touring & racing for 1 and 2 passenger’s capacity. Offer: 1 person touring kayak package (kayak + seat + paddle) Was: AED1,745/ package, Now: AED 1,295/package *Prices are Inclusive of VAT TOWABLE / INFLATABLE With a towable you can share the fun with friends and family..

Towable Safety: Check towable for possible leakages, breakage and other maintenance requirements Product Range: Jobe, Rave & Yamaha Marine towables/tubes are available and can fit 1 to 10 persons. (Offer: 20% off) If you are planning to spend more than a few hours in water, it is recommended to keep the following items with you because weather conditions can change quickly! • Visual Signals (e.g: flash lights, flares) • Navigation Equipment (e.g: campus, GPS) • Storage bags with shorts & extra cloths • Sunscreen, sunglasses, cap etc • Drinking water and snacks • Tool Kits and Spare Parts • First Aid

Watersports is a great outdoor activity so it is highly recommended that you should chose quality products such as JOBE Sports, Rave Sports & Winner Kayak. Get them through authorized dealers such as Al Yousuf Motors where not only quality is assured, but you will find their prices very competitive. You can find Al Yousuf Showrooms throughout the UAE.

Please contact us anytime for any additional information.

Please contact any time for any water sports assistance on below detail, we remain at your disposal. Email: Contact# +971 50 3790737



PRODUCTS Point 65 Falcon Solo

SIC RS Air Glide 12.6

Available at Go Sport - Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates,

Available at Go Sport - Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall

1,575 AED

YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall The Point65 Falcon is a fun, versatile, high-performance sit-on-top kayak which, due to its modularity, is exceptionally easy to carry, store and haul. The revolutionary, patented Solo-Tandem-or- more combination is the solution you were waiting for.


4,495 AED

The RS Air-Glide series derives its shape and dimensions from the new RS composite boards and translates to the highest performance inflatables on the market. This means proven designs inspire the SIC’s Air-Glide inflatable boards for unrivaled performance and convenience. The AIR-GLIDE RS is stiff, fast, and at the end of the day, fits in a small backpack carrying bag which is easy to take to the beach on your bike, in a small car, or fly off to an exotic island.

Wilson Pro Staff 97L Bold

Scott Roxter 14in

1,090 AED

1,175 AED

Available at Go Sport - Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall

Available at Go Sport - Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall

Characterized by its visually striking dazzle pattern, the Pro Staff 97L Bold Edition features a lighter, more powerful Pro Staff frame for players seeking easier swings and playability. A highly maneuverable racket around the net, the Pro Staff 97L delivers the classic touch and feel of this iconic franchise for superior performance.

Decorated with cool green space themes and an orange Syncros JR 14 seat and handlebars, the 2019 Scott Roxter 14 is the perfect first bike for a kid. The bike features quality kids pedals, a 480 mm Junior mini riser bar, front v-brakes and a rear coaster brake. This bike is also made with Alloy 6061 with a rigid fork and has a kid’s specific brake lever. Plus depending on the current skill level of your child, the bike comes with detachable training wheels to help your little one get used to pedaling before detaching them when they’re ready. Plus the black on black wheels make your little ripper look stealth.




PRODUCTS Bestway Oval Pool Set Brown 4,699 AED

Available at ACE stores / With the durability and technology of the Power Steel™ Pool range the a new model of pools have a more natural and luxurious look. Size: 549 X 274 X 122cm Tritechtm material, drain valve, corrosion resistant steel frame, no tools required, easy to assemble, 3-ply PVC wall support band, realistic tile print at pool bottom, rattan-look and chemconnect tm dispenser

Bestway LayZSpa Helsinki AirJet 180 X 66cm 5,999 AED

Available at ACE stores / 5-7 adults Water Capacity (80%): 1123L (297 gal.) Inflated Size: 1.80m x 66cm (71"" x 26"") Inner Size: 1.70m (67"") Filled Weight: 1155kg (2548Lb.) Actual Water Flow: 1,325 L/h (350 gal./h) Heating System: Approx. 1.0-1.5/h (2-3/h) Max. Heat Capability: 40 (104)

HW Casablanca Gazebo Octagnal 5.5 X 4M Steel

Portacool Jetstream 230 Cooler Black

Available at ACE stores /

Available at ACE stores /

The Party Tent is a great way to get shade for a large group of people enjoying a special occasion in the sun. This beautiful and spacious eight-sided tent measures 5.5x4m. It looks gorgeous with its arched windows and unique high peaked roof. This tent is perfect for parties, weddings, picnics, flea markets, or any other special occasion.

The newly developed Portacool Jetstream™ 230 SMALLER RANGE SIZE delivers cooling comfort to the professional single-person workspace. It is an efficiently designed product that offers maximum versatility for usage in open or confined workspaces. Featuring oscillating louvers, low-water shutoff and Kuul Comfort MicroTech™ evaporative media, this cooler is an impressive cooling solution for hard-to-cool industrial and automotive shop areas.

1,499 AED

4,999 AED




City Escape Tbilisi

Words + Photos by: Denise Ostermann

If you are looking for some nice getaway destinations over the sizzling summer months, Tbilisi should definitely be on your list.

Easily reachable via a three-hour flight from the UAE on affordable airlines such as flydubai or Air Arabia, a weekend is not too short to see the main attractions in Tbilisi. Around 1.5 million out of the 4 million inhabitants are living in the capital and largest city of the country. It is located on the banks of the Kura River. Turkey and Armenia in the south, Azerbaijan in the east, Russia in the north and the Black Sea in the west surround Georgia. The second largest city, Batumi is located on the coast of the Black Sea and will be another destination to visit soon. Travel to Georgia is easy as the visa regulations are very favourable to most nationalities. Ruled by many different nations and with different religious backgrounds, those influences reflect in the architecture and the culture. Tbilisi originates from an Old Georgian term which means ‘warm location’. It was given to the city due to its numerous sulphuric hot springs.

Georgia is on the border between Europe and Asia. And even though it belongs to Asia, it is referred to as the balcony of Europe. The modern buildings and constructions, which are popping up all over the city are displaying the rapid progress. Getting around in Georgia is comparatively affordable and you will be able to make the best out of your hard-earned money! The Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel is a great address. Walking distance from the old town, directly on the riverbank, it offers a beautiful outdoor pool as well as an indoor pool with amazing views over the city. Taking the walk from the hotel to the old town is already full of great picturesque highlights such as the little ‘walk of fame’ in front of the Sacharia-Paliaschwili Theatre

or the exhibition of some statuary along the Georgian National Museum. You will also pass the Freedom Square, which is a busy roundabout.


Reaching from one side to the other can take long but there is an underground pedestrian crossing, which is also very interesting and a good place to get some souvenirs. When you get into the old town, it is a bit like a labyrinth with all the small streets and alleys. However, each place offers something to explore. You will be able to find some cute restaurants offering delicious breakfast and meals. However, my favourites are the little houses with the balconies. All along the way there are people selling fruits for refreshment. Head down to the Freedom Bridge – one of the modern constructions in the city. You will find it a great spot to take pictures of the area and especially of the Statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali - with the cathedral in the background - rising up on a small hill down the river. Cross the river and take the tramway up to the Mother of Georgia. The view you have of the city from here is spectacular! You can wander around the Botanical Garden or also take the zip line. There are a few restaurants there as well, where you can have a snack or some ice cream. An absolute must when you are in Tbilisi are the sulphur baths. History says that this is


huge in size, it is not hard to miss! Taking a stroll along the river can be full of surprises. You will find a lot of small parks to rest but also many markets selling art or used things. It is what makes the city really homey and intimate. With many new and stunning impressions, the weekend came to an end. Nevertheless, due to its proximity and convenient flights I will definitely travel to Georgia again to explore the rest of the country. ■

the reason why the city was built here. With temperatures up to 40 degrees, the sulphur, and other mineral content, the waters have been used for therapeutic aid for long. Due to the high demand, it is recommended to book in advance. With all the churches around town, it is difficult to say which one is the best to visit. However, depending on your interest you can visit them all. Nevertheless, a must see is the Sameba cathedral, which rises up over the city on the other side of the river. Shining bright with its golden tower roof and




I’m not a fast swimmer Words + Photos by: Maria Conceicao

I’m not a fast swimmer, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t swim long distance. I only learned to swim when I was 38 years old, 4 years ago and I’m training for my second attempt to swim the English Channel.

To say I’m slow is an understatement. When I started doing triathlons a couple of years ago I was nearly always the last one out of the water. For some races, by the time I got round to finishing the bike and the run, everybody had gone home, including the organisers. But, I never give up. I have endurance. I’m able to use my mental strength, something that we all have within us, to keep going when it gets tough. I will try to finish what I started no matter how much it hurts. When I train or when I’m taking on a long challenge, I constantly keep the vision alive; the vision of me crossing the finish line or breaking a record or in this case, the vision of me reaching the coast of France. The swim across the channel is 32km in straight line, but invariably the distance swam will be more, due to the tides. At my current swim pace its estimated that I will be swimming somewhere between 15 and 24 hours, maybe more. Its cold, most likely around 15 degrees Celsius, no wetsuits allowed, only a traditional swimming costume. No touching the boat or any people and the channel is full of ships, garbage and jellyfish. So why am I doing it? In 2016 I attempted to swim the channel only a year after learning to swim. It may have been a bit ambitious however it was the boat pilot who didn’t have the patience; I had been swimming for 7 hours and was prepared to swim forever, until I got to France, if it wasn’t for the grumpy pilot. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anybody; I was actually raising money to keep some poor slum children in school. I would have kept swimming all week if they had let me. As I mentioned, I’m not somebody who gives up easily. Now I’m a better swimmer, I’ve booked my slot with a more patient boat pilot and I’m training hard, really hard. I have 3 months of training left as I write this and I‘m currently swimming around 25km per week. I need to start increasing the distance. I’m also doing spinning classes and 3 tough, strength and conditioning sessions a week at Bespoke Ride. As per my coach Joao Arteche, you don’t have to be a fast swimmer to swim the channel, but 60


you have to be strong, both mentally and physically. My training so far has been in Dubai which has been perfect, great beaches, great sports facilities and coaches and sport medicine, but now its starting to get warm. Soon I need to move to colder climates to start to acclimatise. I learnt to swim in Dubai in 2015. I had tried earlier in life, but swimming instructors who told me I’m not a natural swimmer always put me off. One swim teacher even told me that he would never be able to teach me to swim because my ankles are the wrong shape. Then in Dubai I met Kevin Millerick, a super patient swim coach who teaches the Total Immersion technique, a super efficient technique good for distance swimming. Within a few weeks Kevin had me swimming, even I was amazed – guess what, none of us are natural swimmers! Kevin gave me a lot of confidence and it wasn’t long before I started entering triathlons, even if I was at the back of the pack and often going in the wrong direction. Kevin was a bit surprised when I told him that I had registered to swim the English Channel the following year. For me it was a natural progression, I always believe in aiming as high as possible, you have to believe that you can do it, but if you don’t for some reason, you will still learn a lot. When I started Mountain climbing in 2012, I signed up to climb Mt Everest the following year. Fortunately it was a successful summit, but if it wasn’t then I would probably

try again. Life is short so why procrastinate, you could spend 5 years preparing to climb a Mountain or swim a channel, for it to be aborted due to bad weather – think of all the opportunities you would have wasted in the previous years. So now training is hard, I have knee injury from a previous mountain expedition, but I am very well looked after by UpandRunning Sports Medicine clinic and I have to adapt my swim to a minimal kick technique. It is exhausting, training day after day, around 15 hours of training a week now, and increasing. It’s often hard to get out of bed, especially for the early morning swim sessions with Dubai Masters Swim Clubs. My body is always aching somewhere, but the occasional sports massage and compression sports wear helps me recover much quicker, I have used 2XU since 2014, for running, climbing, spinning, gym and recovery, I love their gear. A good balanced healthy diet is important to keep the energy levels up ad for recovery, personally I use Kcal Extra; my daily food is delivered (no shopping or preparation) which gives me extra hours to train and work each day. GU energy gels get me through my long swims. Now, I have to prepare for the cold water, I really hate the cold and it can reduce your performance by as much as 60%. The more acclimatised you are the better apparently. By the time you read this, I may be close to swimming the channel or maybe already in France – so check out my Instagram on mariadaconceicao7 to see how I’m doing. ■

Nutrition - don’t leave it down to guess work Words by: Nicky Holland (Personal Trainer)

Don’t leave it down to guess work. When I ask my clients the question “Have you been eating well?” they often tell me “Yes, I’ve been eating good, hardly any chocolate or alcohol etc” which is great to hear, but it isn’t always the case.

Last month’s article, spoke about some tips which you can do which will have a positive impact on your overall health. This include: exercising daily, stretch in the mornings and challenging yourself. All are important but you will not see a real change, unless you look at your nutrition. Before I tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat, here’s some basic terminology which you need to familiarise yourself with when thinking about your health and your nutrition. Have you heard of the following? BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance Sound familiar? Do you know what they mean? No problem if you don’t, read on and I will explain. BMR is also referred to as your Daily Calorie Intake. This tends to be around 1500 calories a day for Females and around 2000 calories a day for Males. (For example, this means that as a guy, I can eat 2000 calories a day and not gain or lose weight, but will maintain my current weight). Although, there are some factors that affect this, such as age. The older we become, the slower our metabolism gets, meaning we don’t burn as many calories as we used to when we were younger, so we are more likely to put on weight and gain. Another factor for BMR is our exercise or activity levels. If we are active, we burn more calories but we also need to eat more calories to give us energy to be more active in the first place.



Are you still with me? Let me continue… Having a higher BMR is good because our body can break down food more effectively so we can utilise fat. Exercising more, creates a calorie deficit so in order to maintain and stay the same weight. If exercising we need to eat more. If you want to lose weight, eating less calories and exercising more will do this. If you want to gain weight, eating more and exercising less is key. It really is that simple, but you need to know what your BMR is as every individual is different. Then you are able to count the calories you consume. RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance. If you’re at home, grab an item of food that has a food label on it. The government set the RDA for the average male and female, which shows us a snapshot for that particular food. This is usually illustrated as a percentage, of how many macronutritients are in this particular food and how much of those make up our daily allowance for a healthy balanced diet. However, not all food labels have these. What all foods do have is a Nutritional information table, showing a breakdown of the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in that particular food. If you eat more and go over your fats for the day and then for the week, you’re more likely to gain weight and increase your body fat. Understanding the above, can have a big impact on your overall health. As we get

older, our metabolism will naturally start to slow down. We need to be more careful and smarter with our food choices. The quality of calories you eat on a daily basis will ultimately determine your body shape and overall health. Tune in to next month’s article for more tips on how you can lead a fit and healthier lifestyle. ■

Best wishes! Nicky Fitness

Visit my Instagram page @nicky__fitness and my website for more information.



The beauty behind a cycling team Words + Photos by: Marouane Aitoufkir

It all started when I graduated sport management in the Universidad Del Real Madrid with an honors MBA degree. My studies provided me with the knowledge and the mindset to lead an Arab cycling team and to become a professional leader in mind and heart. After getting a diploma in cycling coaching in 2014 at the UCI in Switzerland, I decided to apply my academic training to a cycling team – the Al Marakeb Pro Cycling Team. My aim was to push the riders’ skill so they could become the best version of themselves, not only in a technical and sport aspect but as well their interpersonal skills. With the Rabdan Cycling Team, my career started with one of the best teams in the region. Ramadan 2017, was one month of full dedication to training, coaching and workshops. This was when I gained the respect of some of the noblest persons I have ever met in my career. The team captain, Mr Mohamed Al Kaabi; one of the best sprinter, Majed Al Jahouri; the king of sprint, Saif Al Qemzi; the heart of the team, Mr Abdulla Al Sabousi; the unstoppable, Mr Ali Al Qubaisi;

the co-pilot, Mr Nick; and finally my lovely brother, Mansoure. The team spirit starts always with caring about the team as it would be your family – on and off training. Being a good example is the first step to credibility and gaining the trust of the team. This is a daily routine, always telling the truth no matter what it is. Honesty is what allows you to become a captain who is aware that all team members are sailing on the same ship towards a common goal with the same dedication and courage. You have to ensure that every single part of the team has a meaningful role and clear responsibility. As a leader you should complement the team’s success and develop and delegate

tasks to other team members to support each other and compensate individual weaknesses. It is not about winning or losing, it is about pushing the limits and going as far as you can go, giving your best for the team. The team goal is what counts even if you are not one of the winners, you know what you have achieved as a team and what important part you contributed. No matter the contribution in the team, everyone will value it. Remember, team spirit is one of the key elements that takes the team from climbing one mountain after the other with the same dedication, no matter how far or how high. The Abu Dhabi Cyling Club and its riders have a huge potential and you will see more achievements in the future. ■




Summer Slamming Words + Photos by: Kit Belen

Summer came late this year and there are no signs of people stopping. Personally, I don’t stop fishing just because of a bit of sun, ok, who am I kidding, it’s a lot of sun, practically Mercury when summertime fishing, but hey, it has not stopped me since coming to Dubai.

The truth of the matter is there’s the warm weather that practically stops the majority of the people from fishing, but it doesn’t mean the heat stops the fish from swimming. For years only a handful of people fish the summer, a few years onwards and we finally see the whole year getting fished. Since the tuna fishery in Fujairah has been discovered to blow up in the summer, people (or at least people with the money to

This fish took a while on 4lb braid, but with the right drag setting and a few choice words we got it up for a quick picture and an even quicker release Depending on the location I fish, I normally carry a good assortment of jig heds to cover different scenarios

Just to give you an idea of the rod rating of the rod for my soft plastic use

spend) have been going out and fishing for them. The land-based anglers have learned to drop their gear size down to Ultra light with quite a lot of people adopting ultra light tackle to use for the whole year. The fishing here has certainly grown. Each year you see more and more people doing all sorts of things and more importantly, the summer is being fished through. Go Light As the temperatures go up, the lure size goes down – it’s a rule I live by over the years here. At one point in my fishing life, I went way too light – Flies. If you are a fly fisherman or ultra light fisherman, the summer is a wonderland if you are able to find good spots; it’s a time for exploration and learning. The fishing is challenging but quite rewarding. Summer is when Silver Grunter are abundant as well as several types of Sea Bream. The strange thing is, they move into shallower water in the summer. Although you catch them in the same areas in the colder months, they seem to thrive in the warm water and you catch more of them in the summer. Bigger fish such as Golden trevallies and their cousins, the Orange Spot Trevallies are also busy patrolling the shallows and are great targets for light and ultra light tackle in the summer. There is also a run of big horse eye scads in certain places and are great fun on ultra light tackle, especially when you add kids to the mix. Going light means a lot of things to a lot of people, quite literally, part of my summer survival is to lighten everything, from

These fish will be what you will mostly find in the flats in the summertime

the amount of tackle I take with me, it gets narrowed down to the smaller stuff. Soft plastics, small lures and very light jig heads start to get loaded in the tackle box. There are quite a few good lures from different manufacturers; all of my tackle is from Rapala and Storm so most of what you will see in the pictures is caught using lures from those two brands. But of course, there are other brands out in the market and it is up to you to look for the ones you fancy using and one that suits your style and budget.

Whent the fish are skittish, a 1g jighead with the right soft plastic will trigger a reaction bite


These are my main Shore fishing Ultra Light Combo


These are some of my essentials and these lures have worked for me in the toughest of times

Tackle Talk I double the rating of my line to choose Light and Ultra Light tackle usage is on the the leader – so 4kg mainline, and a maxirise. There are a lot of perceptions and no mum of 8kg leader and nothing more. This one actually knows exactly where the other helps me keep everything streamlined and starts and stops. Instead of pointing out balanced – remember, I cast with a very long what is what, I will discuss leader so it helps me keep what I have and what I use the knot bump to a miniit for. mum. I have a few light comFor my use, fast action bos – they are mostly filled rods are generally used for with 4-6kg Sufix X8 or the casting plugs, while slower new 131 - 13 strand braid. rods are used for soft plasMost of them are filled with tics and top water lures. 4kg. The ones I use from For my ultra light, I preshore are on 3000 and dominantly use two outfits 4000 sized reels from Shi– all 8’6” rods. Depending mano and are mostly long on my use they are paired rods - 9’6” feet or longer; with 2000 or 1000 sized The shorter ones are used reels from Shimano. All the off the kayak as general reels I pair with these rods It's supposed to be used as a mainline, purpose combos. but this has become my go to leader for are spooled with 2kg or I love using long leaders Ultra Light Fishing 3kg line and nothing more. for a lot of reasons but to Leaders are 4 and 6kg – and keep things short and succinct, it has a lot nothing more. These are as per international to do with me not using a snap at the end of game fishing standards and classification as the leader and I prefer cutting my knots and Ultra Light. Above 3kg line is already in the retying rather than using a snap – I trust my “light” category and it doesn’t matter if you knots more. are using mono or braid. Longer rods give me more distance and it The Rapala Vespida is a very strong rod, although an helps me avoid lateral abrasion on the line Ultra Light Rod it is designed for Ultra Light offshore use caused by the line hitting the edge of a drop and rubbing on the sand. Although most of the time, the abrasion you get from this is in

Ultra Light gear on Jacks such as this Jesh is such a perfect match

the microscopic level, it stacks up over time and this will cause your line to snap when you hook a good fish – a longer rod means I would be able to clear the drop when I fight the fish – this is why you will see me use long rods even on heavier tackle. Lures Light tackle lures are sold everywhere these days – but the ones used in the summertime are almost always soft plastics. I almost never use anything over 20 grams in the summer with 10g and under being the usually used weight for jig heads. For plugs, I rarely go over 15 grams for my light setup and rarely venture above 8g for my ultra light. Daytime fishing With daytime temperatures going over 40 degrees centigrade, the fishing hours in the daytime are usually in the early morning hours before the sun becomes unbearable or in the later hours of the afternoon when the heat starts to become bearable…for most people. Although it is true that the heat becomes a force to be reckoned with in the mid day hours, fish don’t really get subjected to the same kind of punishment – although they go to where the temperatures are more to their liking, it would be easier to figure out where they are, most times – and even then, there are spots where you see lots of them swimming around, sometimes, in water less than a meter deep. I’m not going to tell you exactly where, but there are places like this all over the country and finding these spots is one of the fun things we each go through for fishing. It’s great to finally see more people fishing in the summertime – it was our best kept secret, but I really don’t feel bad about the secret going public – just remember guys – if you go out there in the summer, take a lot of water with you and once you can’t stand it anymore, rehydrate as fast as you can and don’t try to be a hero – call it a day. ■

Till next tide change,




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OutdoorUAE April-May 2019  

May/April 2019 issue: David shares with us his latest running experience here and abroad, Maria trains to swim across the English channels,...

OutdoorUAE April-May 2019  

May/April 2019 issue: David shares with us his latest running experience here and abroad, Maria trains to swim across the English channels,...