The first thought I have after landing is of my bike – did it make the journey with me? Thankfully it did. During the 6.5 hour flight to Abu Dhabi I managed to get a few hours of sleep, albeit not in the most comfortable position. After arriving at 7:15am local time, the process of clearing immigration and baggage reclaim was swift, and my mother (my support crew for the race) and I were soon in the taxi headed for the airport. It was a cool morning, with the temperature below 20 degrees C, with a thick fog hanging in the air that limited visibility to a few hundred metres. After 30 minutes in the taxi he driver gestured to the hotel indicating it was ‘just there’, but I couldn’t see through the fog!
Fortunately the hotel was expecting our morning arrival and we managed to get an early check-in. First thing to do was to head down to the buffet breakfast and restore energy levels. Feeling very tired, I then took the opportunity the sleep for about 3 hours and although I could have slept for longer, I knew that would make adjusting to the time difference more difficult. With a free afternoon we walked down to race registration, which was held at the official race hotel nearby. There were only a handful of athletes around and not a queue in sight, making the registration process the quickest I’ve ever experienced. After collecting my timing chip, race numbers, swim cap and other bit and pieces, we hopped in a taxi and headed to one of the nearby shopping malls for a quick wonder and a late lunch.
I’m about to put the bike together ready for a ride tomorrow morning, which will be followed by a quick run. I haven’t trained today, but the next two days will have some short workouts just to keep things ticking over until Saturday morning. My first impression of Abu Dhabi is that it’s very clean, organised and clearly very wealthy. There’s construction work going on almost everywhere you look, with new buildings cropping up all the time. I’m looking forward to getting the chance to learning more about the local culture and seeing a little more of the area before leaving. For now, hopefully I’ll get a good night’s sleep and will be reasonably well adjusted to the time zone by tomorrow.