Abu Dhabi was an incredible experience. The race is exceptionally well organised - no horses are spared; and the staged nature of the race gives is a vibe like no other. I remember speaking to adventure racing legend Ian Adamson after the Outdoor Quest 5-day staged AR in Borneo in late-2004 (he was course director). It was there that he said staged adventure races would be the way of the future.
Expedition races appeal to the adventure racing and multiday purists; staged races offer a "softer" alternative. The latter also offers more of an experience of a country and gives sponsors and media more opportunity for exposure and involvement. And when I say soft, it is a perceived softness because you have the nights (well, most of them anyway) to sleep, eat and recover. The back teams can take it easy without much time pressure, while the front teams have an all-out high-intensity sprint through each stage.
Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge probably won't be disappearing any time soon and I anticipate that participation numbers will continue to grow with each event.
Taking part in this race was an awesome experience for our team and I was fortunate to race with Lauren, Garth and Christiaan - they really were a dream team.
Reports that we posted during the race are on our team blog at teamwwwarcoza.blogspot.com
A collection of photos from the race are available on Flickr. The photos won't be online indefinitely, but they'll be there at least for the next few months. If you click through each of the images, you'll get the captions. If you put them on slideshow view you'll see the photos without the captions.
The event website is www.abudhabi-adventure.com - if you're keen on attending next year.
My thank go to Lotta - for inviting us; to Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority - for hosting us; and to Lauren, Garth and Christiaan for so eagerly jumping in to do this race and for making it an unforgettable experience filled with fun, laughter and racing.