Jason Black Attempts Cycling 1000 km Unassisted Across Oman in 5 Days!

February 21, 2018
Jason Black Attempts Cycling 1000 km Unassisted Across Oman in 5 Days!

Dear Explorer,

Are you crazy about cycling? We have another fantastic cycling challenge for you this week!
Irish endurance cycling athlete and world-record holder mountaineer, Jason Black is in Oman and currently en route on his first ever self-supported ultra-cycling race in the Middle East. He plans to cover 1,000 km through 9,000 m of elevation in the vast varied terrain of Oman.
If you haven’t visited Oman, imagine a stunning blue coastline against a rugged skyline of imposing mountains; and, in between this, you have everlasting deserts with massive golden sand dunes.
We caught up with Jason before he embarked on this incredible cycling feat of endurance to find out how he feels about his challenge.
Want to follow him live? Then click below and see where Jason is today!

Jason Black Live Tracking

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Race Details

The race began yesterday, Sunday 25th at 3am from the capital city of Muscat. Jason plans to make a full circle and return to Muscat in under 120 hours (which is less than 5 days)!

Wait. I forgot to mention – Jason will be completing this challenge with NO assistance whatsoever! He will carry all his supplies with him. Yes, all of his food, medical supplies, and water will be along with him strapped to his trustee bicycle. Along the way, he’ll stop where required to buy new supplies.

This is Jason’s first solo un-supported race and he says:

“I’m excited to see how I will cope without the support of his usual back-up team.”

Route and Areas in Oman Jason will cover:

  • Hajar Mountains
  • the spectacular Jebel Shams Pass
  • the Ash Sharqiyah Desert
  • Arabian Seaside roads

Jason Black Map

The 1,000 km route Jason Black is cycling through Oman | Image Source: Jason Black

Jason’s Thoughts of the Omani Challenge

Full-time endurance athlete, Jason Black is no stranger to challenges that involve days on end fighting through harsh conditions and pushing his body to the absolutely limit. In addition to impressive cycling accomplishments, Jason has climbed some of the most terrifying mountains in the world!

  • Mount Everest in Tibet / Nepal (2013)
  • K2 in Pakistan (2015)
  • Mount Denali in Alaska, US (2014)
  • Mount Elbrus in Russia (2016)
  • Mount Aconcagua in South America (2016) twice in 32 hours!
  • Mount Kilimanjaro (twice in a day!) setting a World Record
ub-cool: How did you train for this intense cycling challenge? When did you begin the training?

Jason Black: I’ve always used cycling as my base fitness for my mountaineering life. Once moving over to the ultra endurance racing, I dedicate 5 hours a day, 6 days a week to physical preparation. My usual week consists of 25 hours on the bike and 2 hot yoga sessions, which helps with the critical brain training.

ub-cool: What are you most concerned of ahead of the challenge?

Jason Black: As a European Irish rider, I’m not used to extreme bike weather so hydration plays a major role in my success. If I get it wrong, then my race will suddenly stop. Also, the navigation looks challenging as there’s a mixed surface of roads, off road trails, etc.; equally, reaching the summit of Jebel Shams after 350km will be a brutal challenge for all as the gradient ramps up to 20% in places and it’s a sustained 20km climb.

“Adventure teaches us to deal with the unexpected as it comes and this race is no different making racing across Oman a wonderful challenge.”

ub-cool: Is this your first trip to Oman? Are you enjoying your time here?

Jason Black: It is my first trip to Oman and I’m absolutely blown away with the Omani culture, food, and kindness of the people. Stopping for a puncture on a training day, five cars stopped and not just one … but people in all five cars got out to see how they could help.

“I can honestly say I’ve travelled the globe in my adventure life and the hospitality show to me in Oman has been humbling.”

ub-cool: What type and brand of bicycle are you using for this challenge? Will it manage both the road and mountain terrains?

Jason Black: Yes I’m unveiling the new custom Irish built endurance road bike made body-fit specific for me by leading Bike builders “FiftyOne Bikes.”

The bikes angles are set in a particular way to help support the body over long distance and yet aggressively enough to support aerodynamics. The process in the design & built in the bike build is incredible; the technology is a world leading design in endurance racing.

ub-cool: What brand of cycling shoes did you choose for this challenge?

Jason Black: I use the Spunk carbon fiber race shoe – light upper and the carbon sole give a super stiff platform to support power.

ub-cool: After you complete the challenge, how do you plan to recover? Will you be able to move and walk?

Jason Black: Yes, I have a very detailed recovery plan. I have a personal nutritional recovery plan designed over the years and honed to suit my body type & needs. It begins with replenishing the glycogen stores as soon as possible which will start the recovery muscle cell phase; I’ll avoid unhealthy fats for as long as possible as they only stall recovery. Hydration and obviously loads of sleep on demand.

“I’ve found that you must listen to your body: if it’s hungry, then feed it; if it’s thirsty, hydrate it; and, if it’s tired, lay down and sleep.”

It’s so critical for me because I’m in the World Cup ultra endurance calendar, and my next race is in April; so, I must be ready to go again and this time it’ll be further.

ub-cool: What’s next? What and where is your next challenge?

Jason Black: I’m racing in the UMCA endurance race calendar which is the world championship standard. My next race is the Joe Barr 500 in Ireland which is a world ranking race and I’m chasing the maximum points. From there, I’m off to race across in America the famous RAAM 5000km non-stop race coast to coast which will be a hugeness test.

I will have to see how the body holds up after that as I have my eye on other World Cup races towards the tail end of 2018. That also unless a huge 8000+ mountain comes calling, which looks very likely. The wonderful thing is the sky has no ceiling and no limits.
“You and only you hold the dizzy heights you can achieve in this world – embrace the challenge, smash it, and live life as if everyday is your last on this planet. Leave with no regrets.”

ub-cool TALKS with Jason Black

On Monday February 19th, Jason Black captivated his audience in Muscat when he gave a talk at ub-cool TALKS. In addition to being a full-time endurance athlete, Jason also speaks at numerous events worldwide encouraging youth to live their life to the fullest.

If you weren’t able to attend his ub-cool TALK in Muscat, we will share the talk on our ub-cool TALKS podcast channel shortly.

Stay tuned! We promise you’ll be inspired!

For more information about Jason’s challenge, check out his website here.

Where in the world is the ub-cool flag
Where in the World is the ub-cool Flag?

Dear Explorer, The world is your oyster!  You’ve heard that one before, eh? Well, it definitely is our motto at ub-cool. We are conquering the world one country at a time with our flag! The world is truly a small place now that we have the ease of air transport. Long gone are the days of sailing weeks across the rough-gut-wrenching seas, watching your suitcases (or, trunks!) slide across the room and almost squash your legs, just to get from one continent to another. Now, you can do that in 12 hours or less. Where in the World is the ub-cool Flag? Come along with us on our journey as the ub-cool team and friends carry our flag across the globe. We will update this page with new additions from the coolest places on Earth! If you want to be part of the journey, email us for a copy of our flag and then submit your photo and we will add it here! Spread the word and check back to see all the new cool places we have been! Turkey September 2018: Balloons in Cappadocia! Exploring the “fairy chimney” rock formations in Turkey,  brought along the ub-cool flag for the stunning sights! Ukraine August 2018: Cycling through the Carpathian Mountains Cycling enthusiasts, Kate Pakhomov and Fimm, carried the ub-cool flag through Ukraine! South Africa July 2018: Fun at Lion & Safari Park Devan Kupferman and Laura Symmonds watching lion cubs playing with the ub-cool flag! Arctic Circle June 2018: The Ultimate North! The ub-cool flag reached the Arctic Circle in our founder Medina Ilyassova’s backpack! Kenya June 2018: Hiking in Kwale County! Zarian Sohrab hiked with the ub-cool flag to find some spectacular views!   Oman May 2018: Waters around Muscat 10 meters deep in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Muscat, Oman, these passionate freedivers pose with the ub-cool flag! From left to right: Yousuf Al Mukaini, Sele Al Mabsali, and Omar Al Ghailani. Scotland May 2018: Dunottar Castle The ub-cool flag made its way to North East Scotland with our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan! Ireland May 2018: Southern Irish Coast Our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan, high above the beautiful cliffs of Ballycotton in County Cork. Nepal April 2018: Mount Everest Base Camp After 7 days of hiking, our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan, reached Everest Base Camp! Along for the journey was her friend and Jonathan Shubert, ub-cool Explorer and world-record endurance cyclist. Read more about Heather’s journey to Mount Everest Base camp here. Peru April 2018: Machu Picchu The iconic peak of Peru’s famous mountains rise behind ub-cool friend, Hussein Sajwani. He made the gruelling journey to the peak by the most difficult route… Then he made his way to Vinicuna, the Rainbow Mountain, to handstand in the Andes Mountain range. Georgia April 2018: Caucasus Mountains Enjoying her first visit to the beautiful country of Georgia, Medina Ilyassova returned with memories of paragliding over the stunning scenery, exploring castles, and dining on delicious cuisine. If you’re planning a trip to Georgia, discover awesome Georgia tours here. Hawaii April 2018: Koko Crater After a steep climb ub-cool friend, Anshul Bhatnagar, enjoys the view of a cloudy Honolulu! Kazakhstan  September 2017  ub-cool’s Medina Ilyassova hangs out in the mountains with family and friends. There is nothing better than fresh mountain air! Bulgaria September 2017 ub-cool friend, Hussein Sajwani, making his way through Bulgaria with the our flag in tow! Tanzania May 2017: Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano – “Mountain of God” Perched at the top of this active volcano, seen as the “Mountain of God” by the Maasai community, our ub-cool founder, Medina Ilyassova, waves our flag with exciting at her accomplishment. The climb was intense to say the least. Imagine climbing at an incline of more than 70 degrees! Not to mention, starting earlier in the dark with headlights to avoid roasting under the African sun! Read about Medina’s climb up Ol Doniyo Lengai Volcano here. Last Updated: 21st May 2018 Watch this space for regular updates! Email us for a copy of our flag and we’ll add your submission to this post!

Best Photos
Best Photos of the Web | April 2018

Dear Explorer, We have searched the web looking for the best photos of the web from the month of April 2018 to inspire you to say ‘WOW‘, get outdoors & lead an active life! 10 Best Photos of the Web Here are our Top 10 pics for this month’s photo competition: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah | Instagram: @alexgoldman  The mysteries of Hawaii | Instagram: @kelsealoha The iconic Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco | Instagram: @shangerdanger Turkey is now on our bucket list! Oludeniz Beach | Instagram: @buraktuzer The feeling of freedom! Los Glaciaras, Andes | Instagram: @vagabondhearts Everybody stay calm | @jferrara_photo  Travelling in style in Guam, West Pacific | Instagram: @matecasar Serenity at sunset. Inle Lake, Myanmar | Instagram: @vincelimphoto White Sands Monument in New Mexico | Instagram: @everchanginghorizon And happily ever after! | Instagram @nois7 Did you miss the best photos from March’s photo competition? It’s not too late to check them out. Do you want to submit your photos for May’s photo competition? You can email us or tag us on Facebook or Instagram and remember to use the hashtag #ubcoolphotocomp Liked what you read? Subscribe below and receive more great stories right in your Inbox!

Georgia Tours
4 Best Ways to Explore Georgia on Wheels

Dear Explorer, Counting down the days till your vacation but haven’t settled on a destination? Why don’t you set your eyes on Georgia? (The country in Europe, not the State in the United States!). This country has captured the hearts of many with its warm welcoming nature and generous people. It definitely has the ub-cool team completely in love! Some of our team really enjoy adrenaline-filled adventures like paragliding and white-water rafting, which Georgia has so much of to offer! But, others on the team prefer staying close to the ground – in fact, they prefer their feet firmly fixed to Mother Earth! So, we figured some of you – our lovely readers – may also feel the same and want to check out awesome adventures that keep you as close to the ground as possible. Below are a list of Georgia tours we love that allow you to explore this beautiful country from the comfort of a vehicle. Oh, and don’t forget these Georgia tours are also perfect to enjoy with the family! Related: 4 Best Sky-and-Water Adventures in Georgia 4 Best Georgia Tours on Wheels Recently emerging from decades of Soviet rule, Georgia re-opened its doors to the world in 1991. Since then, there has been a massive building project of hotels and resorts not to mention the increase in the number of flights to this small country. The Caucasus mountains are a sight to be seen – they stand tall with snow-capped peaks against gorgeous rolling-green valleys dotted with small towns. If you’re keen to explore the beautiful countryside and views from the hills all the while keeping your feet close to the ground, we have 4 different options for you from quad bikes to NASCAR-style cars! #1 – Experience the Caucasus Mountains and Castles on this Fun Jeep Tour Jump in for this fantastic jeep tour! The local experts will take you through the Dzama gorge, which is hidden between the valleys of the Borjomi forests and Kartli. Georgians consider this a sacred place as you’ll see by the many old-and-new monasteries in the area. You’ll also visit the gorgeous Bateti lake which sits on a mountain plateau surrounded by forest and a beautiful swamp. Whatever season it is when you visit, make sure you bring your camera because the scenic views will blow your mind! Oh, and we shouldn’t forget to mention the delicious barbeque picnic and red wine tasting you’ll enjoy! Learn more about this Fun Jeep Tour in Georgia > #2 – Explore Georgia on an Amazing Quad Bike Tour Want to explore the rolling green Georgian hills with your friends? Then hop on your very own quad bike and speed away! Imagine spending 2 hours exploring Mitarbi mountain, Bakuriani traditional villages, and rice fields! Then, after lunch, you’ll get the chance to taste the famous Borjomi mineral water in the national park! For those wondering – yes, the quad bike is really easy to handle making for a truly enjoyable journey. And, if you’re looking for fresh air, then this is the trip for you! Learn more about this quad bike tour in Georgia > #3 – An Exciting NASCAR-Style Car Ride in Georgia Do you love watching car races? Well, when in Gerogia, why don’t you give it a try! Strap on your seat belt and take this first-generation NASCAR car, The Legends, down the track for a spin! This modern vehicle is in the retro style fitted with a Yamaha 1300cc, 145 horsepower engine. What does this mean? Yes – You’ll go from 0 to 100km in 4.2 seconds! Fact: before NASCAR, this vehicle was a popular get-away car for the mafia! Learn more about racing NASCAR-style cars in Georgia > #4 – Adrenaline-Packed Off-Roading Drive Through Georgia Calling adrenaline seekers, this rafting trip in Georgia is perfect for you! Hang on tight for an exhilarating rafting trip down fast-moving waters! If you’re new to rafting, learn to raft from local experts and set off on an adventure of a life time. The waters in Georgia’s rivers are ideal for white-water rafting enthusiasts. Do you live for adrenaline-filled adventures? Then this off-roading tour is for you! Race through Georgia’s rugged terrain in the best off-roading vehicle, Polaris RZR. This high-quality AT vehicle will have you perched atop hills in no time! Learn more about off-roading drives in Georgia > Looking for other adventures? Visit ub-cool for more exciting adventures from all around the world! Working with local experts, the ub-cool team seeks out the best adventures for you to try! Liked what you read? Subscribe below to get more adventure tips right in your inbox!

Xia Boyu
Xia Boyu: Double Amputee Summits Mt Everest

Dear Explorer, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again” – this is definitely the case for 69-year-old mountain climber Xia Boyu who successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, this week. Xia Boyu On Monday, the 14th of May, Xia Boyu achieved his goal on his fifth attempt of conquering the iconic mountain spanning over 4 decades of attempts. You’ll be shocked to learn that it is not his mature age of 69 that sets Xia apart from the other 500 climbers attempting Everest this year… but also that he is a double amputee!  Photo Credit: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images First Attempt Led to Double Amputation Xia, now 69 years old, first tried to scale the 8,848m peak back in 1975. Only a tantalising 200m from the peak of the world, the climbers were heart broken as they were forced to turn back due to high-altitude storms. They were descending in treacherous conditions when Xia, then aged 26, gave up his sleeping bag to a fellow climber who was struggling, according to Chinese media. The severe weather took its toll on him and he discovered the next morning that he had frostbite in his feet, requiring both to be amputated. “It’s not been easy for me to reach the peak of Mount Everest which I’ve dreamed of,” he was quoted by the Peoples Daily. Related: Learn how Shaikha Al Shaiba takes on triathlons with only one arm! Time Line of Xia’s Climbing Dream 1975 – At age 26, Xiya made his initial attempt at Mount Everest but suffered frostbitten feet which required amputation. 1996 – Using prosthetic limbs he climbed mountains around Beijing but tragedy struck when he learnt he had contracted lymphoma and would need both legs amputated beneath the knee. 2014 –  Xia was ready to tackle Everest again, but his attempt was not possible due to ice avalanches. 2015 – Having reached Base Camp, his next attempt was delayed due to the disastrous Nepal earthquake of 2015. 2016 –  He attempted the climb again; but, within 100m of the peak, he had to turn back due to poor weather. 2017 – His planned attempt for 2018 was nearly derailed by the Nepal government, which in December banned double amputees and blind people from climbing Everest. It was claimed that it would make the mountain safer. 2018 – The Nepal Supreme Court finally ruled that the ban was discriminatory and it was dropped in March 2018. 2018, May – SUCCESS! Photo Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters In April 2018, a month before his fifth attempt, Xia told Agence France-Presse that climbing Everest was his dream. “I have to realise it,” he said. “It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate.” On Monday 14th May, Xia finally reached the peak of Mount Everest. “Boyu finally won his 40-year-long battle for Mount Everest,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, the managing director at Imagine Treks, who accompanied the Chinese climber, told the Himalayan Times. Other Aamputees who have climbed Everest? Xia is the second double amputee to climb the summit after the New Zealander, Mark Inglis, who reached the peak from the Tibetan side in 2006. Santiago Quintero, who had half of each foot amputated during a climb in south America, also reached the peak in 2013. Congratulations Xia Boyu! Your determination and perseverance are an inspiration to us all! Feature photo: rockandice.com / courtesy of Xia Boyu Do you have a cool story to share with us? Get in touch at adventure@ub-cool.com