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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Cyclists to ride through UAE in a day

A group of cyclists will set out on Wednesday in an attempt to ride 474 kilometres through all seven emirates in 24 hours.
A group of five riders from different nationalities will today set out on a unique ride, aiming to cover the UAE in 24 hours. Courtesy Besport
A group of five riders from different nationalities will today set out on a unique ride, aiming to cover the UAE in 24 hours. Courtesy Besport

ABU DHABI // A group of cyclists will set out on Wednesday in an attempt to ride 474 kilometres through all seven emirates in 24 hours.

Starting at 5.30am in Abu Dhabi, the five team members will pedal through the largest emirate before crossing into Dubai and then Sharjah.

From there, 10 stops in 50km segments will take them through Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain.

The group is led by Roisin Thomas, 27, from Ireland, who came up with the idea this year.

“This has not been done before in 24 hours,” Ms Thomas said. “I have not seen it on any social media, in the papers, or read about it in any cycling history of the UAE.

“I came up with this idea because I get bored very quickly. Cycling in the UAE can get monotonous at times.

“You ride the same routes, you ride with the same people, so I thought about something different that hasn’t been done before and to really push our physical limits.”

To prepare, the group has been taking part in long-distance training on rides of more than 100km.

“I’ve completely changed my training and I’m just focusing on these long distances and staying on saddle. ”

The other riders are Emirati Buti Al Nuaimi, 27, Jordanian Raslan Abbadi, 29, Filipino Edmar Magbitan, 29, and Noel Stander, 29, from South Africa.

Ms Thomas said they were planning to finish by 2.45am on Thursday morning at Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park in Dubai.

It will be vital for the group to hydrate properly from the get-go, which will pave the way to complete the challenge, she said.

“The only thing I am really worried about is the temperature and people not hydrating correctly on the bike,” Ms Thomas said.

“Once you hit the wall, you get a headache and you start to become crazy. It’s as if the whole world is against you.”

A support car will trail the team stocked with bananas, dates, peanut butter sandwiches, water, energy drinks and chocolate bars.

Ms Thomas, a sports trainer and triathlete, said she liked to push herself to the limits.

“I like to do things that are different from what other people are doing. I go above and beyond challenges.”

She has ideas for other challenges but wouldn’t offer any details yet.

“For now, I want to get this over with and to know what kind of an experience I’ll get from it.”

esamoglou@thenational.ae