For a few months each year, as the monsoon season pays Salalah a visit, camels wander around the wilderness, creating winding paths on a green patch in the desert. Swiss mountain bike endure rider René Wildhaber follows in the footsteps of the camels, on some of the most exciting routes the region has to offer.
Wildhaber admitted that this was not the way he envisioned Salalah, a city which lies only a few hundred miles from the deserted Empty Quarters: “I expected a desert, only sand but then I found mountains here and its really nice there like at home but without snow.”
He also noted that the landscape is a perfect playground for mountainbikers trying to avoid the snow in their own backyard in the cold winters.
Not a common sight in his native Switzerland, the camels – ships of the desert – where what intrigued Wildhaber most as he set out to chase their trails. With the task of designing the trail left up to the camels devices, Rene’s journey was fraught with challenges, as what sometimes looked like a fairly easy trail turned really tough when unexpected bends and twists came into view.
The landscape of Salalah is unusual, and the terrain varies dramatically with track winding in unexpected directions – so much so, that it is hard to guess what is coming next – which made Wildhaber’s journey all the more thrilling.
In the week-long adventure, Rene rode for 7 kilometres, for nearly 10 hours every day, in an average temperature of 26 Degrees Celsius.
“You never know what you get around the next corner so you have to look forward and be awake,” says Wildhaber.
What was his biggest motivation? It was the idea of exploring a place he had never known by testing his skills and his bike in a path paved by Mother Nature.