Words: Ingmar Photos: Shukri
After the early morning storm it a cool morning with crisp blue skies showed promise for a later ride. As it was, the weather crept up by the time we all met at 3pm but at 32C everyone was happy anyway! As the storm was early in the morning most of us hadn't been aware of the full extent of the rain but it became quite obvious as we went through the ride.
11 of us set off from Muscat Private, most of us having ridden the Bousher ride several times before so it was easy going. A quick ride around the ruined buildings and a photo to keep webmaster happy and it was on up into the date plantation and through the village. Half way through the date plantation is a short crossing through the wadi that often has people frustrated that they don't go through and up the slope but thanks to the rain it is now fairly smooth and pretty much everyone made it. Tim and I had to ride back for a couple of riders so now is a good time to stress the importance of being aware of who is behind you. The climb up the old goat track at the back of the village was also much easier than usual as the loose rocks had cleared and less chance of a squirrely back-end to slow your progress. The ride down the other side was also faster as a result.
Once in the village we stopped for some 'holy water' and everyone chose to do the longer loop that would bring us out at the back of Al Ansab. The first part of this track is quite tough going and the pack spread out but came together again in the dips as they had been washed away and we had to walk across some. By the time we got to the regular and not so scenic 'alf a nana stop the French contingency chose to push on ahead as they had a prior engagement. As is often the case when we stop here, once we decide to move on we discover that someone has a flat tyre. In this case it was Greg. He also discovered that his spare tube was a 24" one, but before he did so we enjoyed watching him struggle with it before pointing it out! A tyre change that would have made a Formula 1 team proud (Michael Schumacher's pit team at least!) later and we were off again.
Once we were back on blacktop we rode through a couple of big streams as the wadi crossed the road but it was when we got to the cable road that we had the biggest surprise......there was no cable road anymore! In place was a fast new road that bypasses Al Ansab completely. The plus side was that we managed good time until we had to fence-hop at the end under the guidance of Bert. The rest of the ride back was fairly non-descript but I must give a sarcastic thanks to everyone who waited in the car park for the slower riders!
Photos from Shukri are in his Picasa album