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Bahrain’s cycling enthusiasts are gearing up to take part in the kingdom’s most gruelling social event – a 300km ride around the island.
The Tri-Life Bahrain Club 300 will take place on February 23, kicking off bright and early at 5am with an estimated time of 10 hours to be spent on the saddle.
The event has been organised by Abdulmohsen Algosaibi, the owner of Tri-Life, a bike and fitness shop which opened in Sakhir four years ago and was one of the catalysts in push-starting an interest in the sport which has since gripped the island.
Algosaibi said: “We decided as a group two years ago to do a 300km challenge, since we felt there weren’t many events or exciting challenges specifically geared towards cycling.
“It’s now known as the Tri-Life Bahrain Club 300 and originally, members could join by showing their endurance accomplishments from phone app Strava. From their records, we could judge if they were ready for the challenge.
“A 300km ride is extremely challenging, but considering Bahrain’s size it’s a fantastic experience, being able to take up almost the entirety of this beautiful country with fantastic terrain.
“This is the third iteration of the ride, and we’ve decided to announce it a bit earlier this year to pique interest and shape the event. It is open to anybody who feels like they are fit enough; they don’t have to be existing members or even ride regularly with us.”
The event is self-sufficient, however, so while there will be a support vehicle for medical emergencies, riders won’t be allowed to use it for transport if they get exhausted.
There will be stops along the way to take on board food and fluids. The route has not yet been finalised, but last year’s event started in Sakhir, before encompassing areas such as Zallaq, Durrat, Riffa Views, Hamala, Diyar Al Muharraq, Amwaj Islands, Juffair and back to the Tri-Life shop.
This year, the riders will also stop at the shop at around the 200km mark, should anyone who wants to take part not be able to carry on for the final push.
Currently, Algosaibi anticipates approximately 30 riders will take part, keeping a pace of 30km an hour, although this will likely dip as fatigue creeps in.
“I really want to stress that this is a supportive and communal ride,” he said. “There’s no race element at all; the very ethos of the event was to increase cycling culture and endurance, not push the competitive element as there are plenty of other places for that.
“We have rides on a weekly basis, every Saturday morning, which are free of charge. We use these rides to build leg miles and endurance. I want to be clear that 300km is a huge distance, so you can’t just expect to turn up as a casual cyclist and complete it!
“Ultimately, the goal of Tri-Life is to encourage people to enjoy living, take up sports and become healthier in mind and body.”
One of those taking part for the first time will be businessman Fran Treadgold, who took up cycling three years ago after injury forced him to give up his favourite pastime, squash.
He purchased a bike knowing little about the sport, and decided to join in both the weekend and Tuesday night rides, which usually cover around 50km to 60km.
He said: “I just decided to take it up on a whim as I needed to pursue a new avenue of exercise. Now I love it, and I have a new circle of friends too.
“This is my first time doing the 300km ride. My previous longest distance was 160km so safe to say this a mammoth challenge! However, Abdulmohsen has been hugely encouraging of myself and other cyclists, and has belief that we can do it if we try hard enough.
“I’m really looking forward to it … if not how I’ll feel after! With great support from the Tri-Life people and my family and friends around me, I have belief. Bahrain is blessed with high quality riders so it’s fantastic to have an event to share our passion on a communal footing.”
Treadgold’s training has an extra edge to it, after his buddy Angus Campbell, the CEO of the Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company, completed the Ironman triathlon in December, as reported in GulfWeekly.
As Treadgold puts it … ‘the gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down.’
“Angus has had this over me for a couple of months now, so I have to finish the 300km to tie it up at 1-1. In March, we’re both racing in South Africa so it’ll be all to race for there … I’m competitive so I can’t let him win!
“I’ve really stepped up my training in preparation. I’ve been pushing 120-130km on the weekends and putting miles in the legs. I have an indoor bike trainer I use at home, which keeps the muscles active.
“I believe that with my determination not to fail, the adrenaline and my training, I can make it. I think my legs have the distance in them, I just need to make sure to keep my focus and ignore the discomforts of the saddle!”
Treadgold also expressed his thanks to all of the Tri-Life cyclists, particularly Eric Caes, who has been a great help in teaching him to ride within a peloton, Michael ‘MG’ Gilliam for his tutoring and belief, and Bryce McGloughlin, a good friend with many years of experience to share.
He also praised the Sabeel Sunday Night Giants, an all-Bahraini group he joined, the Tuesday night ride team, the Friday San Pellengringo Pedallers, and the Saturday Tri-Life ride team for helping him become a better cyclist.
If anyone is interested in taking part in the event, call the Tri-Life shop on 77333737 or get in touch via Instagram @gotrilife