Day one of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge kicked off this morning, with 36 teams from around the globe starting a six day long, expedition length stage race that will see them running, biking, and paddling their way throughout the Middle Eastern country.
This first stage was labeled a “showcase triathlon” and was held in and around Abu Dhabi City, with the top teams competing on foot, bike and kayak. From the sound of things the race got off to a blistering pace, with Team Desert Islands of New Zealand, and Captained by Richard Ussher, umping to an early lead. The managed to hold on to that lead, and finish in first place for the day. Their fellow countrymen from Team NZ are currently in second place, three minutes back, and Sports Vibram Outdry of France is in third, four minutes behind the leaders. Perennial adventure racing powerhouse Nike is in sixth place more six minutes off the pace. You can read more about todays stage by clicking here.
Fans of the sport know that races of this length are not won or lost on the first day, but then again, no one wants to fall too far behind either. Team Desert Islands is mostly made up of racers who won this event last year, and are more than capable of doing it again. Looking at the leaderboard of the Adventure Challenge though show at least five or six teams in the top ten who could challenge for the win. That means we should see a fun and exciting race over the next week.
The teams have already moved on to the desert island of Sir Bani Yas, where tomorrow they’ll resume the race on their mountain bikes. The beauty of a stage race is that all the teams begin and end at the same location on each day, which is a much different approach to something like Primal Quest, where the teams run non-stop over the course of the event. It makes for different strategies, and sometimes speed plays into these stage races more than endurance. Not having deal with a sleep strategy is also very beneficial.
A quick shout out to my friend Lisa whose Team www.AR.co.za is currently in 31st place, and I’m sure loving every minute of it. Have fun Lisa!!
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