I arrived in the Middle East yesterday. It is my first time here. I left Sunday morning from beautiful Marin, and a solid 28 hours later (and too long without a shower), I was tucking myself into our race housing here for the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
USA National Team.
Ladies Tour of Qatar.
The Ritz Carlton of Doha.
These three items should go hand in hand.
This is one adventure I never imagined myself taking, but I am glad I am here. Stay tuned for updates of our progress here.
When we arrived (phew…finally, with all the bikes minus some equipment), we were shuttled out of the airport and directed towards large flat bed trucks.
“Ladies, follow us! This way! This way! S’il vois plait!”
We followed. Oh wait, are we supposed to just follow? Shoot.
“Jackson!?” Our team director, Jackson Stewart, said to proceed, so we obeyed…we were just hoping they weren’t going to throw us in that truck!
They loaded our bikes up in the back of a truck…
Loaded us up in a bus (thank goodness it wasn’t those trucks…or a camel), and we were off to the race hotel.
Normally race accomodations can be anything from people’s homes, to orphanages, to rehab facilities, to sports complexes… But here in Qatar, they spare no expense for the athletes. The Ritz Carlton of Doha. Race lodging never gets any better then this. J’adore.
I even have the Ritz slippers to prove it. Pinch me, is this for real? I might be taking these as a souvenir home for proof. They feed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I must say the spread of food is unbelievable. This may be one of the few races where your power/weight ratio may suffer.
The riding here is pretty straightforward. You go through some roundabouts and you head out into the sand and the wind on open highways. If there isn’t a road, they will build a new one overnight. If you want a new hotel, they can build one of those overnight too. I hear you can request a castle as well…
Did I mention there is a lot of wind, sand, and oil here?
Welcome to Qatar, ladies. The racing starts tomorrow.