A Travellerspoint blog

Saudi Cycling Federation 50km Road race

Or maybe just 42km...

sunny 28 °C

A couple of friends of mine are part of the Riyadh Wheelers cycle club based in Riyadh www.riyadhwheelers.com . The Saudi Cycle Federation invited the club to compete in their 50km cycle race held on 19 Apr. Competing were the Saudi National Guard Team, Al Fateh and Riyadh wheelers and other entrants, kindly sponsored by Red Bull.

The course was a T shaped circuit on the SW outskirts of Riyadh. 4 or 5 laps of 8 or 10km. The field soon spread out and the going looked tough on one of the warmer days we have had

Here are a few shots of a tough looking race, I managed to miss the sprint finish as it turned out to be 42km long and I didn't get back to the finish line in time.

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The train is up and running
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Fastest Foreigner Rob
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The winners podium- red team is the National Guard, the team principal came to greet up and give out bags of food and water, a nice gentleman.
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Good time had by all.
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Overall an enjoyable and tough event for all. The Saudis warmly welcomed the team and thanked them for their participation, even giving out medals for slowest finisher etc :-)

Posted by Gavin Lee 25.04.2012 00:50 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged cycling riyadh Comments (0)

To the football - Al Hilal vs Al Nassr

rain 18 °C


As always you'll need to click the Satellite option.

5 of us went to the local derby at the King Fahd stadium in Riyadh - Al Hilal vs Al Nassr

Here's the ticket - a whole 20 Riyals - £3.50.
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Note the ticket states - No guns :-)
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It's a fantastic stadium holding 67,000 people. Called locally (by the expats) the Crown of Thorns, official name - the King Fahd Stadium. Not usually the greatest fan of 'running track' stadiums but the wide open space and great roof make it a fantastic venue. I went once before about 8 years ago to see Saudi Arabia vs South Africa. At a guess there was 20-25,000 fans there. The crowd was not segregated but fans created their own sides. We were warmly greeted by the Nassr fans, with many asking us where we came from and why we were supporting Nassr (Al Hilal being the ManU of KSA). Bit strange watching a game of football without a beer though :-(

>> Click here for more info <<

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The Nassr fans in yellow on the other side of the pitch had some drums and played and danced constantly through the match.

Play was pretty good, a bit lacking on the finishing, but a good competitive game. Hilal scrored in the 85th minute to claim a 1-0 victory,

Note the most sparkly moment of football but the atmosphere was good, this was in the dying seconds when Al Nassr needed an equaliser.

The winning goal can be found here - >> Winning Goal <<

We'll be off again soon to see another match,

Posted by Gavin Lee 02.04.2012 10:28 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged hilal nassr Comments (0)

End of the World, Riyadh

A journey through the wadis to the End of the World

sunny 25 °C

Out into the desert again, this time to the End of the World - although there seems to be three or four places called this around Riyadh.

About half an hour north west of Riyadh we turned of into the desert. It seems that the area we wanted to visit was closed due to people cutting down the trees for firewood, however a kind gentleman from the Ministry of Interior let us through the gate. We took an hour long route on a rough off-road track following a dried up river bed. The whole valley was a series of wadis where flood water runs, judging by the size of the valley and dam that had been built to hold back flood water there must be some serious rain from time to time. Would be a great place for a picnic or camp-out with all the trees and picturesque valley. We did at one point even come across a desert fox - a Rüppell’s sand fox (possibly); sadly it was too fast for the camera - some more info here >>CLICK<<...

We encountered several camels, some being herded, some left to roam. It seems their staple diet in the valley was a viciously thorny bush, the size of the thorns were a serious couple of inches and very strong, the leaves must be pretty tasty for them to attack this bush.

A few wrong turns and a hour later we arrived at our destination - the End of the World. It's a marvelous cleft in the rock face with a drop of 200m or so. After climbing further up some rocks we were treated to some fantastic views of the escarpment; in some parts maybe 300m high at a guess. We walked on climbing up to the peaks on the face. Hope you enjoy some photos here.

Many thanks to my friend Amr for taking us to one of his favourite places.

You can see the river bed in this photo running past the hills in the valley
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Believe it or not the camels love this
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Yes these camels...
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Lizard of the week :-)
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Went for a walk - it was a dead end...
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Visitors arrive just after us
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Some marvelous views were to be had from the top of the rockface.
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A view from the edge...

Posted by Gavin Lee 23.03.2012 20:41 Archived in Saudi Arabia Comments (1)

Faisal's Finger, Riyadh

sunny 25 °C


Click on Satellite View

Off out into the desert again, this time to Faisal's Point (or Finger). A well known attraction just south of Riyadh. Failsal's Finger is part of the escarpment, often called the End of the World, about a 30min off road drive. Failsal's Point is, at a guess, 200m high and a very impressive sight. We decided to see the point from the top of the escarpment, you can drive round at see it from the base as well and it seems a popular picnic and camping spot.

5 of us set out, 3 Saudis and 2 expats and stopped at several point along the way.

Another Saudi Lizard was found despite the impressive camoflage
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We found our very own crystal cave, a strange find, looked like some animal had burrowed it out. Spread out outside of it was a load of quartz crystals - often called Saudi Diamonds I think - they can be cut and polished and certainly look impressive on jewellery.

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First sighting of the finger, it's hard to do it justice with a picture. Not easy to get a sense of scale with the photos. The point is approximately 200m high. Often people think it's blue skies all the way in Saudi but in reality it's more often very Hazy and this makes photography a little difficult.
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You can see the cars down at the bottom left of this photo to give a sense of the massive scale.
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Here's a panoramic video I took showing the marvelous vista we had.

Many, many thanks to Wail, Amr, Fahad and John for a memorable trip. Expect to see some shots from the bottom in future.

Posted by Gavin Lee 13.03.2012 11:51 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged desert riyadh saudi_arabia Comments (0)

Sandstorm in Riyadh

An Orange World...

sunny 15 °C

Excitement at work today! In blew a sandstorm. From nice sunlight to a surreal orange haze in a couple of minutes. My Saudi friends tell me it happens a couple of times a year. The sand is a fine dust, much finer than we would find in the UK. Visibility is down to a few yards.

Not the best series of photos but hopefully gives you all a taste of how much sand was in the air.
First we knew was the wind got up and it was dusty and then a wall of sand blew over the building. Within the space of a couple of minutes visibility was right down and the lights barely visible. Thankfully we were indoors - it can't have been much fun driving in it or even worse being stuck out in it. From start to finish was maybe 20-30 minutes. A nice bit of rain then made sure that all the cars were covered in a nice orange sludge.

I did venture out for a few seconds - it's hard to describe the strange orange glow from all the sand, creates a very strange effect.

Here's the series of photos taken as the sandstorm built up, photos are a little darker than reality due to slightly tinted windows, but it did become very dark.

Photos courtesy of Tom Hunnisett,

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The camera gave up at this point... :-)
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Couple of the better YouTube videos that other people have posted>>

Posted by Gavin Lee 27.02.2012 04:28 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged riyadh sandstorm Comments (0)

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