It was finally one of these moments that helped me to forget all the hard times I have been through since my injury. Although Bahrain was not in my plans at the beginning of this season, I had to transfer my race in Denmark to Bahrain. I have heard many great things about IM Bahrain before from my friends. The race took place on 7th of December on Saturday.
We went to Bahrain as family with my wife and 2 years old baby. I booked our flights from Gulf Air since the bike carriage was for free. I have also booked our hotels at Novotel Al Dana Resort in Bahrain for the dates between 5th of December and 10th of December.
We were supposed to arrive Bahrain at 10:00 am in the morning, however, our flight has cancelled and the plane took of at 15:20 on the 5th. Unfortunately, it caused the waste of our day. :( We arrived our hotel around 20:00.
I have missed the chance to see the exhibition area, the chance to rest well and to attend race briefing. I was only be able to mount my bike until 23:00. :(
Anyway, I woke up around 8:00 am in the morning had breakfast and went to the exhibition area around 9:15 am to receive my kits and deliver my bag. It was well designed but the store was smaller then it should be. I really loved the products in there.
After the registration and the bike thing, we went to the Avenues Mall. It was a great mall. we loved the restaurants in there. Cheesecake Factory was our favorite choice :) The food was delicious and the portion sizes could feed 2-3 people :) I used Bahrain City Taxi App for calling taxis. I think it was a good app where you can also call vans to carry your bike. There is also UBER available but these are only for 4 people cars.
We went back to our hotel around 16:00 and went to the pool directly. It was beautiful :)
I went to bed around 21:00-22:00.
Check-In was going to be open between 05:00-06:00 am and the race was going to start at 06:30 am. So I had to be there at 5:00 am early in the morning.
The weather was just great and it was announced that the water temperature is 24 degrees. It was non wet-suit for Pro Athletes and wet-suit free for Age Group Athletes. I had my wet-suit with me and didn't wear it for a long time. I wasn't sure. I believed that it would be much easier if I swim with them, but it didn't happen like that. :(
When I started, I realized that I made a terrible decision with my goggles. The sun was hitting my face so badly and I couldn't see clearly. It was also my mistake that I did not check the parkour carefully before the race. I could have done it on Friday. In the end I swam 2100 meters with average 1:45 /100 meters and finished it in 36 minutes. I could have finished it in 33 minutes. Anyway, I lost lots of minutes in T1 and it took me 7 minutes. It took time to take off my wetsuit.. :( I wasn't fast enough.
On the bike, I was actually faster than I thought. My average pace was 34.8 km/h and I finished it in 2 hours 35 minutes. However, I have realized that the course was a bit shorter. I have learned that they changed the parkour a bit. Unfortunately, some parts of the roads were very narrow and it was very hard to get faster safely. The greatest part of the race was Bahrain International Circuit. We had the full round in there and it was an amazing experience.
Unfortunately, my transitions took longer T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 00:07:20 and T2: BIKE-TO-RUN: 00:05:09
On the running part, I was confident with myself and I wanted to run negative split. I was actualy pretty okay with it at the beginning. I started with 6'06 /km with average and dropped to 5'26/km until 11th km. I didn't realize I was getting tired there but I slowed down my pace to 5'50/km average until 15th km. My idea was to rest while running and dropped down my Heart Rate. It was very hot! The sun was above us and my HR was around 170bpm. Then on 15th km, I no longer was able to get faster. I slowed down and my average pace was around 6'05/km. In the end, I was able to finish the race in 5 hours 28 minutes 54 seconds. Although, I knew that I could do better, it was the final race of the year and I finished it successfully. Now it is time to focus on the next season and will have the best results for me and for my team!
I also would like to share my suggestions for your visit in Bahrain;
* We stayed at Novotel Bahrain. It is a good hotel but it is not disable-friendly. The best side is it has a nice pool and small beach :)
* It is close to the airport
* Use UBER or Bahrain City Taxi App for your transfers. UBER has cars only for 4 people, but you can find VANs for 6 people at Bahrain City Taxi App. It is good for carrying your bike :)
* After race, the taxi driver asked 20 BHD to reach the hotel! IT is around 53 USD!! do not buy that it should be around 4-5 or 6 BHD max depends on the traffic. Always try to use app to avoid these kind of problems. However, we couldn't find any taxi from the app after the event, so we walked till the end of Avenues Mall (I guess it was gate number 2 or 5 :) ) to see if there is available taxis and we found!
My favorite restaurants
I loved Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse in Avenues Mall
Our breakfast at the hotel was very nice
Things I liked about Race
* Toilets :)
* Event Venue
* Bike Circuit
* Food at the event venue
Things I didn't like about race
* No support from the audience
* Cycling near the road and it might be dangerous
* Expo should be bigger
This is probably my last article for 2019! I wish you all Happy New Year!!