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GCN Explores – Oman Epic Ride


– When the invitation to
Oman came, a few weeks ago, Emma and I kept it really quiet
because Dan, Si and James, they were busy at the time. And, well, you can see
why we kept it so quite, because this place is stunning. [Emma] – Yeah, it did not
take much persuading to get us out here for some early
winter sun, some great riding, but also local delicacies,
historical sites, hotel buffet and, I mean, don’t forget the climbs. – [Chris] How can you forget the climbs? Every single road, in Al
Hajar Mountain region, goes up hill. No, Chris, I mean,
sometimes they go downhill. Yeah, but they never last as long, Emma. Okay, that’s true, but
do you think, maybe, now that we’re here, we should
actually go for a ride? Yeah, and I know a great
place to start as well. There’s this really
stunning cafe in Misfat, but the ride ends with a 55k climb. I can feel an epic ride coming on, Chris. Yeah. (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) – [EMMA] The sultanate
of Oman is a country of four and a half million
people located on the south eastern coast of
the Arabian peninsula. This epic ride took us through
the Al Hajar Mountain Range, which translates as “Rocky Mountains.” We didn’t get quite as
far as the highest peak, which is Jabal Shams at 3,028 meters but it is on our to do list
for the next ride in Oman. We started in the mountain
village of Misfat, perched on a rocky outcrop at an
altitude of 1,000 meters. Its’ traditional mud houses
with palm frond roofs form a maze of narrow alleys and
steps on the steep hillside. Of course, like all rides, we
have to start with a coffee. – But even better Emma, after
the coffee, the ride starts with a descent. – [Emma] Yep, that’s right,
we’re starting from Misfat and then descending to Al
Hamra, going through Tanuf, and then finishing with the
famous, Jebel Akhdar climb. – Yeah, that’s the climb
that they use in the tour of Oman but unlike the
pros, we are going all the way to the top, which is an
incredible 54 kilometers. – I don’t remember all these steps, Emma. – No, there were loads of
steps, I think we came that way. – I felt like we came from over there. Where else could we have come from? – Come on, we’ll work it out. – We’ll work it out,
okay, let’s try this way. Exploring. – [Chris] Let’s go. (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) – So now, we’re in Al Hamra, which is full of fruit and
vegetable shops it seems. I’ve been keen to stop for
ages for more coffee and fruit and veg but Chris says
we’ve only gone 5k, so, we have to keep riding. – [EMMA] After the initial decent, as we had passed through Al Hamra, our guide insisted we join
his family for a quick coffee and I’m never one to turn down a coffee; however, with traditional
Omani hospitality, coffee turned out to be an
extremely generous brunch. We’ve been invited by our
guides’ Uncle, to have, I think this is just morning
tea, Omani bread, honey. There’s some coffee on the way. – [CHRIS] Yeah, I think it’s
the only thing that’s gonna get us up the final climb. (guitar music) (ambient music) – [EMMA] When we finally
got back on the road, feeling ever so full, it
was already past midday and we realized we would have to
step on the pedals to have any chance of making it up
the climb, to our hotel, before dark, so, Chris
and I decided it would be quicker riding as a two-up,
down the valley with its’ ancient, beacon tower system. And, I’m embarrassed to
admit that Chris did most of the work into the brisk, headwind. (didgeridoo type music) (didgeridoo type music) (didgeridoo type music) So, Emma and I have been
talking and we both agree, it’s quite like the
wild wild west out here. And whilst there isn’t a
huge amount of variation in the scenery, it’s
beautiful in its’ own way. – Definitely, it’s got this
bleak openness and huge phases. It’s amazing. – And the roads are pretty perfect, too. (didgeridoo type music) (didgeridoo type music) (didgeridoo type music) – [EMMA] You look like you’re
gonna lay an egg, Chris. (ambient music) (ambient music) How bout we stop and have a look at this. One of my favorite things
about rides like this is that you see stuff that you just
wouldn’t otherwise see. – Yeah, and our guide
actually told us about this, apparently it was a village
that was inhabited until the 50s and then it’s been
ruined ever since the Civil War and now it just stands
empty and it’s magic, it’s kind of ghostly on the hillside here. – Yeah, well worth stopping
and having a quick picture though, come on. – But I don’t think we’re
gonna find coffee here. – No, it’s not likely, come on. – Let’s push on. (ambient music) (ambient music) (ambient music) I’ve found my absolute
favorite piece of road so far, because from the winds coming
from over there, that I can squeeze Emma right up
against the edge of the road, as if it was a bike race. I’d try and stop sheltering
her because I know, I’m gonna need her tired
on the final climb. – [CHRIS] So, we’ve taken
a bit of a detour off of our route. We’ve got around 25k’s to
go to the big climb and we need some lunch but also,
well tell us about Nizwa, Emma. – [EMMA] Well, Nizwa, I’ve been
told, is the old capital of Oman from the fifth to the
12th century so, it’s still actually the cultural capitol
and Nizwa fort, which is this, well, I think we’ve been
past the wall but there’s amazing walls and they’re
still the most visited cultural site in Oman
apparently, so we thought we had better visit it. Wow, look at that, palm
trees inside the fort. (dramatic music) (dramatic music – [EMMA] Shortly after
Nizwa, we reached Birkat, where the famed and feared,
Jebel Akhdar climb starts. It’s first ramp ascends an
astonishing 1,400 meters over 13 kilometers. Jebel Akhdar literally
means green mountain. This name, at first,
confused us because despite the pomegranates and almonds
and roses that grow in the region, the mountain
side is predominately rocky, but it was explained to
us that the name refers to the copper ore that colors
the rocks of the mountain, a greenish hue. (dramatic music) – Well, that’s it, inevitably
the flat roads have run out and we are now on the lowest slopes of the big climb of the day. So, Emma, it’s time for you
to stop sitting at my wheel and pull your own weight. – Sorry, I’ve been having
a bit of a rough day. There is 54k, almost all uphill. I actually feel another
coffee stop coming on. – No, no, no enough coffee. Now it’s time to properly ride. (dramatic music) (dramatic music) (dramatic music) (dramatic music) (dramatic music) This is the lowest slopes,
but we did 12% uphill already and there’s no let up, it just gets worse. (uplifting instrumental music) – [EMMA] 13, 14, 15, 14.9%, 14.8, I’m loving the wahoo today. it’s telling me big numbers. – I’ve got 19 here now (Emma laughs) and I’ve also got a cadence of 45. – Well, I did tell you to
think about your gears before we came out. – I’m thinking about them a lot now. (Emma laughs) (uplifting instrumental music) Well, we’ve managed just 1k
of the climb and I wanted to stop for a little rest, sorry. – Yeah, your decision,
not mine, I’d like it to be known on video. Well, we were thinking that,
if you do want to race up this brutal and epic climb, you
actually only get one chance this year, don’t you? – Yep, in March 2019, the
Haute Route Oman, is your one chance to race up it. – [CHRIS] I don’t know if I could do it. – [EMMA] Unless you’re a pro,
but even they don’t go to the top, so. – No, they take the soft option. They cut it 44 kilometers short. (Emma laughs) – We better get going cuz it
will get dark before we get to the top at this rate. – I think it will be dark
before we get to the checkpoint. – Come on, I feel refreshed. (dramatic music) (dramatic music) (dramatic music) – Oh my goodness, (Chris laughs) look at that climb. Well, we just rolled off the
plateau and now the second half of this climb is starting and
this is apparently quite a steep bit but is known locally as? – It’s locally known as
the (bleep) we’re told. Yep, and the one after,
which is apparently just as steep is known as son of the (bleep). – Affectionately, yeah. I’m kind of dreading it, to be honest. – Well, I think it would’ve
been all right on a zone. Yeah. – But the fact that we’ve
already spent the last hour and a bit climbing, yeah, it’s
taking the edge off my legs, Emma. Yes, I think my legs have no edge left. (dramatic music) (dramatic music) – Some of the numbers
I’m seeing are 23%, 22% and it’s been like that
for the last minute. (dramatic music) – Oh man, there’s another steeping coming. I thought there was gonna
be a bit of flat, no. (dramatic music) (dramatic music) – [CHRIS] You okay, Emma? – Not having the best day. You mean, you weren’t
bluffing on the flat before? No, I actually feel I’ve really
knackered this basically. This climb has defeated me. – No. I feel like I’m barely gonna make it. – I’m not having that. I don’t know what’s wrong,
it’s a beautiful climb. I love steep climbs. I just feel like crap, basically. (upbeat music) Look at those beautiful
layers in that rock, I reckon it’s all sedimentary,
that’s just me guessing. – [CHRIS] Emma, you rock. Any viewer who knows
about the agilogy of the Al Hajar mountains, please,
write in and tell me I’m wrong. (upbeat music) Man those descents are killing
me, like every time I feel like I’m getting into
a rhythm on the climb, there’s another little descent
and then another steep hill. Oh, man. – No, I disagree, they’re my savior. Like, trying to nail it down
those little descents and then nake it as far up the other
side without pedaling. It’s become a challenge and
it’s getting me through the last tough bit. (upbeat music) – Man, I can’t believe it’s,
like, at least 18k’s all to go. This climb is brutal but the views are amazing. It’s just a, it’s just
such a huge landscape and the light, it’s getting
close to sunset to be fair, but the light is stunning. – Sorry about that, I
was looking for my jeelay You were smart packing
a jeelay and I was not. You seeing, there’s a
football pitch at 2000 meters, that is pretty cool. – [CHRIS] I’m bad at
football at the best of times but let alone 2000 meters. – [EMMA] Apparently the Omanis’
are crazy about football, so, they play on the beach,
upper mountain, clearly. – As you do. As you do. Found the only flat bit of land. I would say we should have a game but, – No, I don’t play football really. It’s gonna get dark. Yeah, we need to push on really. Whew, it’s gonna be a nice
sunset with the clouds. I didn’t really know what to
expect before we came out to Oman, but on this ride,
we have been rewarded with epic hospitality, stunning
views and well, the roads have been pretty good, too. – Feel like the stunning views
are partly to blame for the fact that, it’s now a sunset
then, still not quite back at the hotel but it is just
beautiful and I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed it,
despite the suffering. – Yeah. I’ve really had quite a
tough day but, I’ve loved it I think I enjoyed that the most. Come on. It’s not far though is it? It’s not, well it’s mostly
downhill now and I’m really happy about that cuz I can spin my legs out. – For once I’m really happy to
see a downhill not an uphill. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) – Oh, man am I happy
to see the hotel again. That was an epic ride. – It was and I’m ethically knackered. That final climb was just too much for me. If you enjoyed this ride even
a tenth as much as we enjoyed riding it, make sure you
give us a big thumbs up. Yup, and if you wanna see
that video on how to help your friends run a ride, just
like Chris helped me today, thanks Chris, then click down here. – Whoa (Emma laughs)

Yvette Parker

100 Comments

  1. Geologists' heaven but hardly anything to else to see if you're not into …well, rocks. Even Emma got bored and was constantly looking for coffee instead.

  2. GCN has become the Top Gear and The Grand Tour of cycling. The presenters put a genuine effort in cycling education, research, tour and experience goals. Opie & Pooley have done a tremendous job since arriving. I was heartbroken after Stephens left and I thought how would I ever watch a video that didnt have Si in it. Im glad GCN has only looked forward and moved ahead with shows of such higher quality that ought to be produced with big bucks by major TV channels or Amazon/Netflix. Amazing

  3. i like these top gear style videos, however for me this was missing something that the Iceland adventure had. keep it up though.

  4. Great video, yet again. The scenery is stunning and reminds me quite a bit of the American southwest around southern Nevada and Arizona.

  5. 14:20 Travolta says “well mostly downhill now”, then they immediately climb another rise.

  6. Nice video but how much more mileage are you going to try to squeeze out of the word "epic?"

  7. Epic Video. Top Quality. Pure enjoyment. Would like to see more of these 'destination' video in future.

  8. GCN's videos have taken a major step up in quality. They were always great, but this is next level… unbelievable 🙂

  9. wait a minute !! Emma went from this to … skiing in the Swiss Alps ??!?! thats awesome !

  10. last week I did 1100m in 40km in the quantocks, wet dirty roads, slow descents with leaves and mud all over the roads and then a bit of fog, and a 30% over a slippy cattle grid, and after watching this video I just ask myself why !!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Emma…I think Im in love! Chris…I think Im in love! :o) You guys rock! Thanks everso for another EPIC video…Oman is another edition to my bucket list!

  12. Great video. It’s actually nice to see ex pro cyclists have off days as well.

  13. WOW…what a video…whilst I'll never appreciate exactly what goes into making a video of this quality, I certainly appreciate the video itself…everything GCN does is just going from strength to strength…I've only got into cycling this summer & am now hooked massively, a big reason for that is GCN, the great people involved & it's content…keep up the great work 👌🏼

  14. The video is amazing , love the chemistry between the representatives. High quality and professional shooting . Thanks for promoting my country. Great place for cycling

  15. Well done Chris & Emma great video. Emma just where do you get your leg muscle power being such a small lady. Unbelievable.

  16. Good to see Emma taking every precaution with keeping her helmet on while having Oman Brunch.

  17. Great example of why cycling is such a diverse sport. Here you have Chris with muscles hanging out everywhere next to tiny Emma, yet they're both pulling the same climb (probably in Emma's favor)
    Cycling is the best sport where diverse groups can come together.

  18. Great video! Can we get a count on how many times Emma said "coffee"? LOL
    I could never be a GCN presenter as I don't like coffee.

  19. If Emma and Chris suffered that much on that ride, it doesn't augur well for most of the rest of us. I turned into a giant lactate crystal just watch in this.

  20. Quality of production is stunning and Travolta/Pooley are great ambassadors for our sport.

  21. Question: I noticed Emma wearing her helmet indoors because she needed to conform to Sharia and cover her hair. How welcoming is Oman to female cyclists in lycra? I live in a liberal Muslim country and it's still an issue here in some places.

  22. Nice to see that its not only us mere mortals that can have an off day. That looked like one epic climb.

  23. Awesome video! I guess Emma wasn't joking she felt off during the ride cause she still had her helmet on during the "coffee stop" in their guide's uncle's place.

  24. Great video, it makes me to grab my bike and start cycling! i made a channel for cycling and i hope one day i can make so perfect videos like you !!

  25. GCN delivering again. The next best thing to riding a bike is watching amazing edits of bike riding. This video has inspired me so much. It wins GCNs weekly inspiration for me.

  26. Wow. So impressive. Always good to see Chris suffering, but to see Emma under the hammer, too, a double treat.

  27. This motivated me so much, that I instantly wanted to grab my bike.
    Unfortunately we do have quite some foggy days right now and roads covered with snow and ice.
    Welcome to the Austrian winter.

    Still I'd like to thank you for the video.
    Insane ride with cinema quality editing and presenting!

  28. @8:00 Emma wishes she went to Oman with Si or Dan, then they’ll be coffee stop at each cafe 😂

  29. Epic video 😀 Now I'm really desperate to get rid of my cold and get riding somewhere warm!

  30. Can you make a video about cycling by lake garda(verona)? I will go there this summer but i really don't know where to ride

  31. I would love to go to a place like Oman, I hear the people are amazing and so is the riding.

  32. Really cool video. Big thanks to GCN for this. Emma you're such a nerd, it's incredibly enjoyable.

  33. I just love Emma! She always impresses me at her ability to stand up out of the saddle and beat up those climbs. Maybe one day I can get good at that, too.
    I hope I get to bump into the GCN crew while living in Italy next year and trying to tour as time affords. That would be among the best parts of my trip!

  34. Wonderful. Great images, presenters, location.
    Love the comment about Arabic hospitality 🤣
    Assume Emma kept lid on for cultural reasons? Also, right hand only for eating.

  35. Really fun video, beautiful sound and video production. The funniest bit was Emma getting such a kick out of pushing Chris into the pool after a super tough day! It’s great to see how good riding buddies get you through painful rides. Way to keep a good attitude!

  36. I am so glad to help anyone who want to visit Oman just inform me and everything will be fine.

  37. It is a great honer to see my village being promoted with such beautiful video 😍

  38. Hey Emma…
    Those sedimantary rocks you saw over there were Sandstone layered between Gabbro(igneous)

    And the greenish colour of the rock was due to the presence of Copper. Those rocks were probably Ophiolites(The deep part of the crust found on the surface, very rare)

  39. That was awesome, thanks. Looks well worth a trip. Out of curiosity, did you (Emma) encounter any problems travelling in cycling kit in what I believe is a fairly conservative Islamic state ? Perhaps it's not an issue if clearly a sporting activity ?

  40. This is the kind of thing that motives a lazy, unmotivatable person like myself to go out and bike around. Obviously, I wouldn't get 100m up that hill, but that enthusiasm is contagious.

  41. Epic is the right title for this video!..It looked monumentally brutal but quite stunning all at the same time!..A fascinating insight to Oman as a country

  42. these are the kind of video,s i need to give me hope when its freezing and raining in January in Ireland thanks gcn

  43. Great video quality, and as always the presenters are doing an awesome job! BUT, and a big but at that, did GCN do any assesment of the fact that you are now advertising travelling to a country with a king that rules most of society, and where it is illegal to practise LGBT? Where prisoners are tortured, and internet activities (like watching GCN videos) are monitored and logged by the government? Where you cannot share a hotel room with a person of the other sex, and much less live in a house, without being married?

  44. The climb looked brutal, and if Emma, an amazing climber, had a hard time with it, it must have been pretty hard. You guys are right in that the landscape was pretty amazing and I loved the shot of the sunset. Gorgeous.

  45. WARNING After viewing this video I packed up my bike and flew @Omanair business class to Muscat and onto Zurich to follow Le Tour. On the way back in Zurich Oman threatened to confiscate my $6,000 bike unless I paid over $500 to have it put on the plane. When I objected they threatened to double the amount to over $1,000 because I had not been charged on the inbound flight. Since returning I have contacted Oman Air and various Oman Air officers and the Oman consulate and the only reply I have received in a DM on Twitter saying they are looking into it.
    Oman Air hates cyclists.
    My advice come to Oz, Qantas doesn't charge anything extra for your bike and we've got lots of great places to ride.

  46. Advice from tripsavvy "Oman is an Islamic country, so it won't come as any surprise that you'll be expecting to cover up while you're traveling around the country. … In Oman, you'll want to be covering your shoulders and knees at a bare minimum, and if possible, attempt to cover everything from your neck to your wrists to your ankles.Aug 30, 2018" So good you had a guide 🤔maybe a whole squad team to cover up 😉 Again, as in Bikepacking in Morocco you should do a note that you don't recommend especially for women to go unsupervised in Islamic countries. I, personally, don't see this video as a good recommendation to go to cycle there, hot desert, hellish climbs…and not safe, not worth of money spent at all

  47. The locals must have explosive power to deal with those terrorizing climbs. That landscape totally kidsnapps the imagination. If I have the chance to visit you know i'll beheading there.

  48. Beautiful landscape! Nicely filmed GCN! Really enjoying this series. Thank you!

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