The Trans Hajar is about to start, and seventy-five pro and amateur riders across 18 nationalities will line up at the start of the newly UCI classified 2015 Trans Hajar Mountain Bike Race on Friday 30 January. Leading the international charge is South Africa with 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic hopeful James Reid making his Trans Hajar debut and last year’s female winner Hannele Steyn returning to the Sultanate of Oman to defend her title.
James Reid, who recently joined Team RECM, feels ready for this new adventure,
“I’m very excited to be racing for the first time in the Middle East – I’ve raced in China, but never in this new and exciting part of the world. It’s just about the beginning of the season for us, so my shape should be decent and this should be a good test ahead of a big year. I’m from South Africa and we have a lot of stage races and marathon events of a similar nature to the stages of the Trans Hajar. The remote start on Day Two looks like a lot of fun and something different – I’m excited!”
Previous winner of the Cape Epic, past winner of the World Triathlon Championship and last year’s Trans Hajar female Champion, Hannele Steyn has fierce competition for 2015 with some of the sport’s most successful riders entered for this year’s edition. She is looking forward to being back in Oman though,
“I am anxious and excited about the Trans Hajar because I know it is a tough race, at much higher altitude and with an extra day to complete this year. I love the race though because of the beautiful desert scenery and what is more I love to race in the heat. I have competed in the Trans Hajar for the last two years and it has always been very well organised with the best camping facilities I have experienced at any race”.
The fifth edition of the race will take place from 30 January to 3 February 2015 with competitors pushing themselves to the limit on an all-new 400-kilometre route, including Arabia’s highest peak Jebel Shams (3,028 metres). The Trans Hajar follows the tried and tested format of a prologue followed by four marathon stages. The route has been designed to test riders of all abilities and will take in challenging climbs, descents and specially designed single-track as it winds its way through Oman’s unique landscapes of canyons, wadis and river-crossings giving competitors an inside view of this stunning country.
The dates of the race make it the perfect opportunity to improve form ahead of the upcoming season with past competitors finding it ideal training for the Cape Epic and other early season marathon races.
Oman prides itself on its authenticity, traditions and welcoming approach to visitors and with some of the most untouched biking trails in the world it is a must for globetrotting cyclists seeking a new adventure.