Ninety minutes of ‘DuHell’

The boys of Camp Banayad MTB are a sub-community of United Filipino Mountain Bikers (UFMBQ). Their weapons of choice are the BMX and the long travel suspension mountain bike and they inhabit Duhail; an area just north of the city where the second race in the UFMBQ Mountain Bike League was held on Friday. Here, resembling a scene from Mad Max, is constructed a steampunk world of jumps, drop offs and pump track and we can only imagine their amusement in welcoming to their home their more timid XC cousins for a race dubbed “DuHell”!

If you are a mountain biker living in Qatar for long enough, you knew Duhail as a big network developed by the trailblazers of yesteryear, with the likes of Davy Muller and his friends from Qatar Chain Reaction and the then active Padyak Qatar. Routes maximized the terrain featuring a lot of hill climbs and descents, but Duhail’s best feature was, and is, its proximity to the city of Doha.

Ever since MTB racing was introduced more than ten years ago there has always been a Duhail XC race in the calendar but for the last two years, it was absent from the league. The area is in uneasy coexistence with non-stop construction which has been steadily eating up large chunks of the old trail and consequently we largely abandoned our dust-shrouded friend to its fate.

But the construction didn’t stop Camp Banayad. When the new roads were completed, they set to work, doing a great job in reviving the area. They have built a playground and created a race route which is more challenging than ever, at least by local standards, with trail features and obstacles such as switchbacks, drop-offs, pumps, jumps, ramps and bridges; the likes of which are not normally seen in the ever-evolving cross country MTB racing here in Qatar. It is indeed evolving and getting more aggressive than ever. Our races are starting to take on some semblance of ‘real’ XC – just watch the World Cup series on YouTube to see what we mean!

This second Leg of the Qatar MTB League Season 2019/2020 was ‘mini-endurance’ format. Ninety minutes to complete as many laps as you are able… and then one more if you were fortunate/unfortunate (delete as appropriate) to cross the line just inside the cut-off. By comparison with leg one at Al Khor, considered hard due to its heart pounding climbs, the 4.9km Duhail circuit is technically difficult. Even though the majority of riders opted for the slower chicken runs around the jumps, many came to grief on the trail’s complex features with some not be able to do more laps. Qatar Red Crescent and the QCF medical team were kept busy during the event which was split into three races over a period of four hours. Al Khor tested the legs but Duhail was a full body and mind workout.

In thanking UFMBQ for organising mountain bike races throughout the season, National Team coach Szymon Wasiak and National Team rider Marwan Aljalham, who respectively placed 1st and 2nd in the Open Category, praised the trail builders for creating a very challenging course. They both added that this kind of trail will be very helpful to the team as they now have a venue to train for the technical features that they will encounter in international races.  Both Duhail and Al Khor have become ‘proper’ XC hotspots on which the National Team can train without leaving the country.

Thani Al Zaraa, General Secretary of Qatar Cycling Federation, graced the awarding ceremony. He praised the efforts that UFMBQ is putting into the MTB scene in Qatar and the expat MTB communities as a whole for bringing the sport of mountain biking to Qatar and highlighted how their passion helps to bring more and more Qataris into this sport.

League directors and UFMBQ founders John Bonalos and Ferdie Bermejo would like to thank the trail builders from Camp Banayad MTB for preparing the venue and hosting and bringing something new to our racing. The UFMBQ Volunteer Task Force and the QCF Logistics Team also receive their deserved gratitude. The league is organized in collaboration between United Filipino Mountain Bikers Qatar and Qatar Cycling Federation. Races are supported and powered by Rayyan Natural Water & Rasen Adventure Shop.

Result:

Men Open – 1h30min race (7 laps by the winner)
  1. Szymon Wasiak (POL) – National Coach
  2. Marwan Aljalham (QAT) – Rasen Adventure Shop
  3. Frederick Feliciano (PHI) – Rasen Adventure Shop
Women Open – 1h30min race (6 laps by the winner)
  1. Pia Sundstedt (FIN) – Rasen Adventure Shop
  2. Carla Pregigueiro (ESP) – Doha Cycling Shop
  3. Maricar Estacio (PHI) – Rasen Adventure Shop
Men U40 – 1h30min race (6 laps by the winner)
  1. Cornelis Jan Wouters (NED)
  2. Jeffrey Ramos (PHI) – El Padyakero
  3. Nicolas Wohlwend (LIE)
Men U30 – 1h30min race (5 laps by the winner)
  1. Bobby Pertudu (PHI) – El Padyakero
  2. Phil Angelo Ganitano (PHI) – Bike To Work
  3. Mel Christian De Vera (PHI) – Bike To Work
Men Masters (40+) – 1h30min race (6 laps by the winner)
  1. Ramil Reyes (PHI) – BPMQ
  2. Rogelio Ibrahim Fernandez (PHI) – SMCC Apo Lakay
  3. Allan Macalalad (PHI) – BPMQ
Veterans (50+) – 1h30min race (6 laps by the winner)
  1. Elmer Oropieza (PHI) – SMCC Apo Lakay
  2. Jaco Anderson (RSA) – Rasen Adventure Shop
  3. Danilo Cruz (PHI) – El Padyakero
Women Weekend Warrior – 1h30min race (4 laps by the winner)
  1. Charlotte Wholwend (SUI)
  2. Dovie Du (PHI) – El Padyakero
  3. Charmaine Aliwalas (PHI) – El Padyakero
Women Novice – 1 Lap race
  1. Sondra Hope (RSA)
  2. Hazelle Payas (PHI) – Bike To Work
Men Novice – 1 Lap race
  1. Ryan Vincent Maloto (PHI) – Bike Lane Cyclists
  2. Antonio Labastida Jr. (PHI) – Bike To Work
  3. John Michael Ferido (PHI) – El Padyakero
Youth (U16) – 1 Lap race
  1. Aditya Prasetyo (INA) – IFME
  2. Muhammad Iman Bin Hasmin (MAS) – IFME
  3. Aria Rayyan Pesurnay (INA) – IFME