UltraHumps: Desert Rider

As the readers of the fabulous Qwik Kiwi blogs will know, I am in a location where you have to train with making do with what you have. So apart from sticking to a gym with aircon due to the heat, and taking up a couple of challenges such as climbing the equivalent of seven mountain peaks by using a Gym Jacobs Ladder totalling 195,000 steps, and running 1000 kms on a separate challenge using a treadmill, I did manage to find a cycle track out in the desert. How good could this be?

My boss and I had previously completed a cycle event on location when the temperature was slightly cooler, only for him to receive a DNF (Did Not Finish), and for myself to receive a DQF (Disqualified Finish). I am still not sure how that happened when we followed the direction of the Race Officials as ‘they’ changed the course during the event. That aside the gym was starting to give me cabin fever, particularly with no swimming pool to smack out lengths in.

Then my boss said he found a cycle track in the desert. Perfect I thought, lets grab some mountain bikes and go and hit it. He explained, nah this is for road bikes. Thinking he had been in the heat too long, I followed his lead and borrowed a road bike off another nation in this location (a packet of Tim Tam biscuits goes a long way). When we got there was I surprised! It was a 50 km loop track designed specifically for cyclists – no vehicles and no runners (typically they both use it, so what could go wrong), and a few loops in the middle or to the side if you wish to reduce it to a 20 km loop, or add 20 kms to your 50km, or do multiple loops of whichever ones.

Of course I train on a mountain bike here on the roads or sand covered roads when I can, and I started to love getting out and hitting this course, but due to work constraints, we have only managed to do this in our spare time once a week or once a fortnight. In case you’re as sceptical as I was when my boss had been out and tried the course, it is as good as it looks in the feature photo the whole way round. But of course there is a couple of obstacles to watch out for. At one part I saw these flashing lights set up, like they use at a railway crossing and thought WTF is that all about. Then I spotted a sign as I approached advising that horse racing and camel racing cuts across the cycle path there. Okay…of course it’s only about 50 metres wide, but if you didn’t have your wits about you, or missed the flashing lights, or were too busy in your own little world with music blasting in your ears, and rode into the path of these beasts stampeding all over you, it would be all over, but hey nothing like a challenge.

Of course there is only one other little challenge to get in the way of this 50 km cycle path. It’s a thing called the sun. Even starting before dawn it is late 20s and before 11 in the morning it is in the 40s, let alone how the rest of the day pans out. You’ve got to love it and suck on the hydration bottles. Man there are some serious people on this track with some really expensive machines they are peddling.

As for the Jacobs Ladder 7 Mountain Peaks Challenge and 1000 km running or walking challenge, I am loving it, but of course there is one small problem. The Physio thinks I am nuts and my injured foot keeps him busy as he has worked out nothing will stop me from finishing for the free t-shirts that the Challenges attract.

Stay tuned team for future blogs.

Regards John Humphries (aka UltraHumps)

Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust.

Read Humps’ article from last week here:

All his previous articles are stored here:


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