Most importantly, register as soon as it opens, as Tier 1 sells out within a couple of hours!
The sea in Dubai was a bit choppy on the morning of the trial swim. It was a bit unnerving to swim in that.
On Raceday, the temperature was just on the borderline of 24 degrees which made it wetsuit legal. If you are a freestyle swimmer, I would highly recommend a wetsuit. The buoyancy of the wetsuit is a blessing for a lot of us weaker swimmers.
The current did pull us towards the shore and being windy made it difficult to sight over the foam. Sighting often is the key here – so that you don’t stray too much.
I started my swim in the last corral and was kicked around by the relay swimmers! So in the beginning it was a bit traumatic. Hence picking the correct corral becomes important as the swim has a rolling start. By the time I started it was close to 7.30 am (the elite start is at 7 am).
The bike is an incredible experience of riding on the highway out of the city and into the desert (45 km out and back). The road surface was smooth and an absolute dream to cycle on, and the entire course had a gradient of 350m (as per my garmin- officially they say 200m)comprising of 3-4 flyovers out and back. There was considerable headwind on the way out, which definitely affected our speed. On the return, however, there was tailwind which helped! So it is important to ride at consistent effort and not look at the speed. As the entire ride is on a highway, often there are cars zooming past you. Even though the bike route was cordoned off, there was a considerable draft created by the cars. Riding back into the city seeing the Dubai skyline in front, and the Burj Khalifa in the distance was just amazing.
There were 4 aid stations along the course- well stocked, with water, bananas, GU gels (official partner), bars and an electrolyte drink, in official IM Dubai bottles (which was cool!)..
We ran on a oft run track that has been built alongside Jumeirah Beach. The route is shaded in parts, and it is a one-and-a-half loop run (7km one way- 7 km back then 3.5km out and back). It was cooler than Mumbai for sure, yet a tad warm (I ran from 12.30pm - 2.40 pm)- so a cap and sunglasses are essential.There were 8 aid stations (all needed!) with water, coke (which they had run out of at a few stations towards the end), drink, bananas and oranges and ice. So if you are finishing post 7 hours (like me!) then be prepared for depleted supplies and tourists wandering across your run route!
Transporting the bike for check in was not really a problem. Most taxis were willing to transport them- we had to only take off the front wheel. And the famous Dubai pre race banquet lived up to the hype!
TRANSITION AREA (T1/T2):
This is about 500m long windy maze. So do remember your bike rack lane number. It is well carpeted, clean, the volunteers are really helpful. Post your swim and there are chairs to sit on so that you can take off the wetsuit peacefully and dry yourself. The start line of the bike is well indicated and there is a sharp turn immediately after you start. So be careful of that. I took about 8 mins for T1 and 4/5 odd minutes for T2.
All in all – I would say a good race for me as a first timer- well organised with an easy course and relatively favourable weather conditions.
My race story here: http://bit.ly/Buttersport_DubaiDream
2019 RACE ROUTE: 2020 not yet announced.
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All the best!