2nd March 2018
We're all still buzzing about Josh Ibbett's inspiring performance at the innaugural BikingMan Oman race. Here's a small piece of reportage and a concise Q&A with the #MASONite himself.
BikingMan Oman is a 1000km endurance race set in the desert. At 1000Km it’s short by comparison to the Big Three - The Transcontinental, TheTransAtlanticWay and TransAm - but an ultra-distance race nonetheless.
A far cry from the usual podium. Here you can see Josh who has just finished the BikingMan Oman race, finishing in 2nd and next to him is rival Juliana Buhring who finished in 3rd place.
The Bike and The Kit
For this race Josh made some changes to the standard specification Definition Force1X build to prepare it for the grinds of Desert racing.
When racing in the desert conditions found in Oman, the most-lethal component-killer is sand. So it makes sense to utilise the benefits in efficiency, low maintenance, low weight and simplicity of 1X drivetrains.
Josh swapped his 4SD wheel set for the 30CarbonGravelDisc - which has the same nearly-hermetically-sealed FourSeason hub that he has used for all of his Ultra-distance races and rides - but with a lighter, wider, more aerodynamic rim. For 2018 he’s using WTB tyres and the Exposure 32mm semi-slick AdventureSport tyre is ideal for this sort of mixed-terrain, FastFar racing.
Josh uses an Apidura Expedition pack to hold essential, a kit list which is highly personal to each rider and finely tuned from thousands of hours and miles of riding in these Type 2 situations.
Overall it's a relatively flat race, but a defining feature of the daunting 1000km distance is the singular, dominating climb of Jabal Shams. A monster spanning 25.7km and gaining 2121m.
The hard climb is made tougher with a loaded-up bike and a few hundred Kms already covered.
Competitive riders sleep for 2-4 hours when racing this distance.
Words from the ProHobo
First race after your round the world....enjoying it or preferred the cruise?
It's good to be back to racing... I missed it a lot when i was touring for so long.
How did you and the bike cope with the dust?
Well, it got dirty!
Any sneaky tricks for this race?
Don't stop pedalling!
What changes would you make to your kit?
Faster tyres and more aero wheels. Maybe no bivvi... it was quite warm!
I ran 46t 10-42t. it worked... I just about pedalled the whole way up jabel shams
Back in the day you would have used Di2/2x. How does this compare to your Force1X and is it better/worse?
I love 1x. it's nice and simple and looks better. I love di2 though... surely 1x di2 is due soon!
I’d run exposure 30s
Why did you choose the Definition over the Bokeh?
It's more of a road race
How do tactics work in an ultra-distance race?
Don't go to hard too soon and ride your own race
How is it to race in Oman? Are you presented with different challenges?
Oman is incredible. the roads are so smooth the people so nice and I felt very safe
Although geographically very different to Euro races, did it actually really feel much different?
A bike race is a bike race!
Want to go back to middle east for more racing/riding?
Yes I’d love to go back to oman
Three words to describe BMO?
Just. Do. It
Plans to compete in the series? Do you think an ultra-distance series is a good thing for the sport?
I was sceptical until I met the guys who run Bikingman. These guys mean business and Bikingman will be a great success
Over the years you've spent a lot of time on a MASON. How many miles do you think you've ridden on a MASON in total?
20,000 + miles approx
What do the MASON bikes do for you that other ones don't?
They just do everything. They look good. They are comfortable and are far more capable than any other bike I've ridden.
Hairiest moments - dog?
None really, had some pretty cool hallucinations on the run in to the finish though!
What does this result mean to you?
The physical result it not the most important thing about these races. I've seen an incredible country, met some amazing people and had a great personal experience. I would have been just as happy with my week had I come last.
Wise words and thoughts from an intrepid adventurer. It really doesn't matter if you're racing hard or spinning slow, it's the getting out there, out of your comfort zone and "Just. Do. It"