Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling

GCN VS Jenson Button – Riding The Haute Route Oman

– It’s 7 am, and I’m on the start line of the inaugural Haute Route Oman. Which is a 3-day event with 3 stages, taking place in the beautiful
green mountains of Oman. Stage 1 is about to start and well, I’m a little bit nervous. (Music plays) That’s the most
difficult climb I’ve ever done. – Look at that! The scenery here is absolutely amazing. (Energetic music plays) You may be familiar with the Haute Route, but in case you are not,
here are 3 quick fire facts. Fact 1, anyone can enter an Haute Route, and they give the opportunity
to keen amateur cyclists like you or I to experience
a multi-day stage race in some of the best riding
locations in the world. Events are 7 or 3 days
long, Oman is 3 days, and an example of a 7 day
event would be the Alps, Which Johnny “Chocolate Voice”
Beavan did a video on before. The event is professionally
run with loads of support, including marshals,
motorcycle escorts, security, neutral serice, live timing,
feed stations, medical support. You get the idea. I’ve been invited out to
do the Haute Route Oman by the organizers to make a
video about my experiences. Quite frankly, I leapt at the chance. Now today we have an 85
kilometer out and back stage, including the fierce Jebel Akhdar climb, and then it’s back down to
the finish, best get cracking. (Music plays) I’m pretty nervous today
because Stage 1 is gonna head up Jebel Akhdar, which is
19 kilometers at 8%. Which sounds pretty
hard enough on its own, but it also features 14 kilometers at a quite frankly frightening 10.5%. I mean that is striking
absolute fear into me, and also Jenson Button, former
Formula 1 World Champion, is taking part. So I’m gonna do my best
to try and beat Jenson. Although I’ve heard he’s quite good. Many of you will have
heard of Jenson Button, but for those who haven’t, he’s a bloke from a town called Frome, just down the road from GCM. Oh, and he was also the 2009
Formula 1 World Champion, and has 15 Grand Prix
victories to his name. He’s a bit of a hero of mine and I’ve spent many years watching him race. But now it’s my opportunity to race him. I certainly wouldn’t
stand a chance in a car, but can I beat him on a bike? The time has come to push the button. (Music plays) We’ve just gone over the timing mark out of the neutralized section, and we’re about to hit the
bottom slopes of Jebel Akhdar. There’s a few rather keen people up there, but it’s blooming long climb, so I’m just gonna try and ride the power and pace it as best I can. (Music plays) This climb is absolutely ridiculous, you know it’s gonna be a tough one when in the first 10 meters
you’ve already run out of gears. Seriously steep ramps, 20%! (Music plays) I’ve managed to drop Jenson, but not through sheer physical strength. He had to adjust his saddle, so I took full opportunity to get a gap. (Music plays) 10k in, 9k to go. Oh God! Hopefully we’re over the worst of it. This climb is unrelenting,
it is like nothing I’ve ever ridden before because
it is blooming hot as well. It’s a real challenge. That’s the finish there,
we’ve gotta go back down here and come back to there,
so (howls) can’t wait! We’ve passed the turn-around, headed for the final time check now (Music plays) Last 500 meters. That is savage, come on to
Oman they said, well they said, Hey Ollie, do you fancy
doing the Haute Route Omar? And I was like, “Yes!”,
sounds great fun that. I foolishly said yes before I
looked at the route profile. An average gradient of
some of these climbs because that was hard as any Mont Ventoux, any Choclair, any Angliru. That was a seriously tough climb, add it to your bucket list
if you haven’t already. So the descent now, back to
the hotel, is neutralized. Which is nice. which means I can have a nice
chilled out ride down there. Stop, take some pictures. Get back to the hotel, have
my massage and just recover. Ready for tomorrow,
which looks even harder. I’m here with Jenson now,
how did you get on today man? – Well I’m stood here, so I did alright. You know it’s not the easiest course. Today was pretty crazy. Racing drivers, we’re
very good at excuses and I’ve got lots of them, I
won’t bore you with them but I haven’t trained a
lot. But it was really good. The great thing about the Haute Route is you’re climbing the mountain, you’re all in pain and there’s
so many cyclists everywhere and you’re all having a
chat, mostly whinging. But it was a really,
really great experience. – I found that climb savage. – Well, I’m happy its over, yeah, that was the most difficult
climb I’ve ever done. So I’m looking forward
to the stage tomorrow. – Yeah, there’s a big,
flat bit at the end. – Stage 2 at Haute Route
Oman, should be a lot of fun So it’s flat and then you
climb, and then turn around, and then the descent isn’t
timed, so we’ll take that easy. Get a nice big group and
then we’ll sprint it in. – Right, we will. – Yeah, 31st at the
moment, I think or 32nd. So I want to be 27th cause it’s top 10%. – I’m currently sitting 16th. – But he’s gonna blow up. – Yeah. – He’s definitely gonna blow up. – Yeah. So there you go, Jenson found
it hard, I found it hard. It was proper hard and tomorrow doesn’t
look much easier either. 145 kilometers, including
a 22 kilometer climb at Jebel Haat, up to 2000 meters. And then, after that there’s a descent and a fairly flat run-in to the finish which is about 50 kilometers long. So kind of looking forward to that bit, but I’m really tired, so
I’m gonna go to bed now. I’ll see you tomorrow. (Relaxing music plays) (Upbeat music plays) For the event, I’ve
selected this lightweight, very splendid Orbea Orca,
It actually belongs to Si, but he has kindly agreed
to let me borrow it. On the return that I don’t
scratch it, not a single scratch. Don’t worry Si, she’s in good hands. Now, my choice of this
bike is very deliberate. Rather than an aero bike
or a disc brake bike, now the demands of the event
are such that an aero bike can give an advantage on
climbs that are 5% and below. But the climbs here are really steep, so a lightweight bike wins out. Also with regards to disk brakes the descents in the Haute Route are actually neutralized
for safety, which is cool. And it also means that, well
there’s not really an advantage to be had from disc brakes on the descent because you can take all the
time in the world and enjoy it. So rim brakes win out because
the time sections are uphill. Overall, this bike
weighs just 6.7 kilograms as you see it here. Also, got a compact chain set and a 30 tooth cassette at the back. Would quite like a 32, but
didn’t have time to fit. Although lightweight is
my premier consideration. I still need to think about aero because there is a time
trial on the final day and also a flat section on
Stage 2. So with that in mind, I’ve gone for the 454 from
Zipp cause they’re super fast. And also, Si’s got an aero
handle bar on there as well. (Music plays) Every stage of the Haute Route, you get a little stage sticker that you can put on your top tube, and it has all the key
information on there. Like when the climbs come,
when the time sections are, where the feed stations
are, that sort of thing. So I’m gonna stick Stage
2 sticker on my bike now, on the top tube. (Music plays) So the way today’s stage is, I’ve been thinking about tactics. I reckon its gonna stay together until the bottom of the first big climb and then I’m just gonna time
trial up there at my own pace, and try and get up as quick as I can. Then the descent is neutralized, and so I’m gonna try and
regroup the group of guys. So for the final run-in, which
is timed about 50 kilometers. I can sort of have a few wheels to sit in and save some energy. It’ll faster than time
trialing it on my own. So that’s the plan,
let’s see if I can do it. (Music plays) There’s a little bit of crosswind
on this opening section, So I’m keeping myself on the
left hand side of the pack and just trying to keep
as much shelter as I can and save energy. (music plays) I’ve got about 12 minutes
on Jenson from Day 1, so I wanna try and maintain
or extend that gap. But that’ll mean not
cracking on this first climb. (music plays) We’ve just gone through the incredible, medieval village of Tanuf. With its 400 year old building, Oman has some amazing
history here, so cool to see. (energetic music plays) (classical music plays) Just started the climb of Jebel Haat, quite a few people going
quite hard at the bottom. I’m gonna let them go, I
know what power I can do and I’m gonna do that. Try and pace it. (Epic music plays) Look at that, the scenery
here is absolutely amazing Nearly getting to the top
and then it’s downhill. But the views are spurring me on. Look at that! When it’s like that, it
makes all the pain worth it! Just got to the top of
the climb, Jebel Haat. And I really enjoyed that
one, it suited me a lot better than the really steep one yesterday. And it had quite a few ramps in it, where I could go a bit harder and then recover and
that kind of suits me. And I think I did alright actually. I think I was about maybe… well I was definitely in
the top 10 to the top. So it was nice, picked a few people off. But look at this view,
it’s absolutely incredible. (Epic music plays) It’s about 50k run-in
back to the hotel now. Timed and it’s pretty flat with a tailwind so we’re gonna chain-gang it. (energetic music plays) Aye (laughter) On that last little ride we went up, I just dropped the group that I was with. So now solo TT to the finish. Might not be a sensible move. Arrow helmet was the correct choice. If you’re wondering why I’m
in this compromising position, it’s because at the end of
every stage of the Haute Route, there’s the opportunity to get a massage, which is cool because it’s just like what the pros experience in a race when they get a massage after
every individual stage too. And it certainly helps
with your recovery as well, it feels really good afterwards. But the difference is if you do it, you don’t have to be filmed
when you’re doing it. (relaxing music plays) I’m just sat, chilling in
the hotel after Stage 2, which was really hard but
really, really awesome. It’s always cool riding hard, like pushing yourself
back to back two days, it’s not something I tend
to do normally, but it’s fun because it’s just rewarding
cause you find out quite a bit about yourself when you do that. You don’t always know how
your body is gonna respond, but today went really well for me. I did pretty well on the climb, I was maybe 6th or 5th on that
massive, long climb today. So I’m really pleased to have done that, it was a really ride for me. And then the section on the way home, which I rode mostly with Jenson and we got some good through and off going with some of the guys and that was fun and we had a stonking tailwind. So it was great riding back with, going 60 k/hr at a time
with not much power. That was just great fun, and then ended up doing a bit
of time trialing at the end. Just to try and get a bit of extra time. But yeah, great fun. Legs are
feeling a bit tired though. But only the short time
trial to go tomorrow. I’m looking forward to
it, it’s been great. (energetic music plays) Day 3 today, the time trial. So in the search of ultimate gains. Got the Assos skinsuit on, and going for the Bell Aero
helmet as well the Z20 Aero. Hopefully this will gain me
a few seconds on the course, I need all the help I can get. (piano plays) I’m in the start pen now, little bit nervous ahead of the time trial but I’m gonna do my best to empty the tank and try and catch this guy that’s about 50 seconds ahead
of me in the classification. Let’s go and do my best! Jenson’s on the start
line now, about to go. He’s about a minute ahead of me, so gonna try my best to try and catch him. – [Race Employee] 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! (energetic music plays) – [Ollie] Go on mate! – [Jenson] How far did
you start behind me? – A minute. Awesome, you did awesome. I tried o hard to catch you – I know so hard, right at
the beginning of the climb I could see you. He’s got a red arm, it’s definitely Ollie
and then you caught me and I was like, I know he
started a minute behind but I’ve gotta get him back. – Oh man, you pushed me to
the limit there, I was like… – That was definitely more me,
time trial, than a long climb – How did I get on? Overall I came 12th place
once the dust had settled, which I’m really happy with, but that’s not really the point for me. I mean it’s nice to place as high as you can if that’s your thing. But ultimately it’s about pushing yourself and feeling that sense of
accomplishment and exhiliration, all with the added bonus of having like-minded people around
you on incredible roads. (music plays) I’ve just finished the final stage, the time trial and I’m absolutely spent. But it’s been an absolutely
phenomenal 3 days riding and it’s been great riding
with Jenson as well. Thanks to Jenson for
being a part of this video and giving up his time.
It’s much appreciated and I really hope you
guys have enjoyed it. It’s nice to race against other people and compare yourselves. And one of the things with Haute Route is, it doesn’t matter if you’re
in 2nd place or 300th place. You’re always looking at the person who’s just in front of
you and you’re thinking. I’m gonna get you, and
try and beat that person. But yeah, it’s been absolutely great and if you have enjoyed this video, please like and subscribe and to see more of this
absolutely beautiful country then check out the
gravel versus road video that me and Si did. But I’m really tired now,
so I’m gonna go for a sleep.

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