We are BACK! Back in the saddle, yes, not just a shit gym bike saddle, but the Evo is back on the road… Or, more appropriately, its back on the track.
When you’re in the desert and the only roads appear to be 5 lane highways where extremely large SUV’s are doing 160kph+, how does one get out for a decent road ride? Luckily for me the Sheiks had the same concerns, so decided that the best thing to do was open up their Formula One circuit once a week from 6pm to 9pm to let the public run and ride to their heart rates content… Flood lights on and all!
Who do I really have to thank for this though? Uncle Bernie:
He may be short, but when he’s not machining super models (see above), Uncle Bernie’s main skill is convincing people with LOTS of money to build F1 tracks in remote places so that they can be used for 3 days per year. Good on you uncle B, I took full advantage of your visionary leadership tonight. Just how much does it cost to build the most ridiculously state of the art F1 circuit in a desert? A cool (actually, it was faaarking hot) $1.32 BILLION USD… Good thing its only used sparingly, we wouldn’t want to wear it out. Mind you, I guess when you have 9% of the worlds oil reserves you’re not too fussed about playing lego in the desert and putting down a race track where camels used to hang out.
So, after a day at this place people keep calling ‘work’ and ‘the office’, It was into the Chevy with my main homeboy Elvis (yes, his real name) to head out to YAS Island and my debut ride in the UAE:
Along the way the scenery reminded me of Spain… Except without all the good parts… The ROO wasn’t kidding when he said there was a shit load of sand here (key pre-req for being a mofo desert):
Given we were on the biggest, smoothest and least used highway in the universe (I suspect it cost a billion just to build the highway out there), we were at YAS in no time. To say that this place is massively kitted out is a disgusting and revolting understatement. These dudes out-Singapore the Singaporeans:
I suspect when the Project Manager asked what the budget was that they slapped him across the face for saying such a hideous thing… They have NOT spared any cash with this set up, it is quite an amazing facility. Its also a pretty cool idea really to open it up once a week for work outs and the locals agreed, with a lot of people taking to the track. I was straight into it with the plan to do an hour warm up and then hurt myself with some ugly 8 min threshold intervals. Time to make my F1 debut:
I was just starting to get warmed up on the 5.5km circuit, when on the second lap my drive side crank decided to come completely loose and almost fall off… Awesome. Not a mechanical I am used to having, so luckily the on site mechanic sorted it enough to allow me to box on. Not that I didn’t spend the rest of the ride convinced and mindfucked that it wasn’t coming loose again. So, what does riding on an F1 circuit look like? Try this (yes, it may all look a bit the same):
Well, yes, at 5.5km’s it only takes between 8 and 9 mins to get around (riding record is 7.14 mins, I will have a crack at that next week), so with 3 hours to play with, it can get a little boring… BUT, not so fast. It SO smooth it actually confuses the brain and it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was the ultimate place to do intervals:
- No cars
- No lights
- No intersections
- No need to stop
- consistent gradient
That’s right, this is interval heaven… Not that I am an advocate, as I hate intervals, but I did manage to do one of the best sets of 5 x 8 min threshold intervals I have ever done, so a huge bonus and better than I expected coming here. I even managed to hit a perfect 175 BPM average for each interval, NERD yes, but I do need to make every session count here.
So, first ride in the UAE and have to say it was better than expected… Sure, I am not in the mountains of Spain, but I got to ride my bike fast on a smooth surface without being rammed by cock taxis, so overall a good outcome. I even managed to have just a salad when I got back to DN HQ, how PRO is that!
This weekend – Some mountains are on the menu… I shit you not… Stay tuned.