The fourth annual Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge is underway in the United Arab Emirtates. The six-day long, stage based, adventure race pits coed teams of four against one another as they compete on foot, mountain bike, and kayak across a course designed to test their endurance, smarts, and navigational skills.
The race actually got underway on Friday with 50 teams setting out on the first of four stages that are spread out over the course of the six day event. The first two stages were just a warm-up for today however, as the teams are currently taking on a desert stage that combines a 58 mile mountain bike leg and a 75 mile trek that requires them to navigate their way through a sea of endless sand dunes in the dead of night. Tuesday marks the start of the final stage, which will involve more than 80 miles of sea kayaking.
As of this writing, the three-time defending champions, New Zealand’s Thule Adventure Team, is in the lead once again, but with three more days of racing to go, the championship is still up for grabs. The winners of the race receive $40,000 in prize money and bragging rights for another year.
Over the past four years, the ADAC has been the final race of the season for adventure racing teams across the globe. This year is no exception with the event rounding out a busy year for the sport, which has suffered a bit with economic conditions over the past few years. 2011 is shaping up to be an excellent year for adventure racing however, and these amazing endurance athletes will have plenty of opportunities to compete in some of the most remote and spectacular settings on the planet.
[Photo credit: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority]