Organised by the main cycling Guru in Jordan, Sarri Al Husseini, owner of my personal favorite cycling store has been hosting The 100 Cycling Challenge since 2015.
Teaming up alongside BOOST (Better options & opportunities for sports today) an initiative formed by local sport enthusiasts to form a kind of synergy between local sport communities, Sarri has managed to create this iconic race where twenty percent of the profits go directly towards supporting the local cycling community of Ghor Al Mazraa’, A fertile area that encompasses the DeadSea with minimal forms of civilisation, education and insight into gender equality.
The race course covers a very spiritual and archeological rich location starting at the baptism site of Jesus Christ riding alongside the DeadSea covering a distance of 94km’s with a total elevation of about 800m ending at the museum of the lowest point on earth at Ghor Al Safi. Not an easy course as wind can be a big issue and some big uphills can create significant time gaps between cyclists at different time points during the race.
The100_Cycling_Challenge.gpx (297 downloads)
Following the Wolf Pack
Okay so let’s assume that you already know the lingo… JCF is the Jordanian Cycling Federation. The only leading pack that I was following for the whole 100km distance. Being the lead referee, I got to analyse their every move from start to finish and they really made it seem way too smooth. They are absolute superhero’s proving that their strength is key in comparison with the others. They cycled most of the route in one main pack that set quite a distance between them and the other competing athletes.
What’s interesting is their style of minimalism, which made me really wonder how they are usually coached by their federation. Instead of having a bike computer, they choose to have nothing, no weight baring speed, cadence or power sensors. Just ride and go by feel. No mind bearing calculations, just complete minimalism. Instead of the usual GU energy gels, they had banana’s. Okay, fair enough. But listen to this… Instead of the nuun hydration tablets or the usual BASE salts to battle cramping, they relied completely on عصير زاكي… Our main childhood energy source.
JCF boys fuelling up on Zaki while the narcissistic leader eagerly awaits them to get back into action
It’s fairly obvious that these guys have spent a significant amount of time on the saddle. The main peloton stuck together working as one team the whole way through. They kept changing formation in such a beautiful way, riding in echelon’s whenever they faced crosswinds and just smoothly changed formations according to everyones needs. At the beginning of the race there was one strong rider who tried to break away from the main peloton, attempting to start with a big lead, yet building up fatigue way too early in the race, but these guys knew better. They knew their game plan and tactics. They conserved energy and smoked those pedals.
The apple fan boy showing some serious aero positioning
“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.”
Aside from these respected athletes, I would love to mention the fact how us arabs always fail to impress. We always have a need to spoil special moments. A need to disrespect the hard work of race organisers. An absolutely undeserved first placement for the mountain bike team category makes me think how silly could a human soul feel when he stands on top of a podium knowing that he has not deserved the win. Stealing the moment from top notch athletes who have worked day in day out for the victory.
Lots of ugly politics involved in the decision of making the cheater steal the win. But nonetheless my own personal opinion stays intact. Pure selfishness managed to ruin the day. A massive congratulations to the big fat asshole.