Hey You Guys!
I am Meera Cheema, an Age-Group Triathlete from Delhi (Yes, Dilli Meri Jaan!). It is a pleasure to write this Race Diary for Mastermind's blog, and I hope it helps my fellow athletes when I share my experience of Ironman70.3 Muscat, the race that left with me so many beautiful memories for the years to come.
So lets begin! Why did I choose this race?
A : So, I raced the Ironman70.3 Goa 2019, which was the first ever Ironman branded race of India, and that was also very special. After Goa, I wanted to do a race in or around February to kickstart my race season, so I had two choices - Dubai and Muscat. I chose Muscat, because I wanted to do a challenging race to be honest. Dubai is great of course, but the bike leg is quite flat, and Muscat is pretty solid with around 800 meters odd elevation. So, to challenge myself (and torture myself :P), I signed the dotted line on Muscat, Oman!
Let me give you a brief Travel Tip for this race.
I travelled from Delhi, landed in Muscat on Wednesday afternoon (the Race was on Friday in Muscat!). Due to work and family commitments, I could not travel in advance at all. But yes, if time permits you, then I would recommend you to go maybe on Tuesday, just to get a day extra to have the hang of things and weather. I did not do a single practice workout there, not out of any arrogance or disrespect, but I simply did not have the time for it, so I just backed my training and decided to jump on the race day. Of course, if you want to do some practice swims or rides or runs, the organisers had all the arrangements in place for the athletes to be comfortable and confident.
I took Oman Air flight, and I would so NOT recommend it to athletes. We (me and my fellow athlete friends from Delhi) ended up paying INR 12,000 extra just for our bikes to be transported to-and-fro per person. Unfortunately, Air India flight was not fitting into my schedule, but I will recommend flying Air India as I am sure they are a much more bike-friendly airline.
For accommodation, I had booked the Coral Hotel, which was 10 minutes away from the Race Venue. From the Airport, I took an Cab, easily stuffing my bike bag behind. Remember, Oman feels a little expensive country for Indians (1 Riyal = Approx 200 INR). The Hotel is very race friendly, allowing the bicycles in the room without any hassle. There are multiple food options available around the hotel, there is a mall as well nearby, and the hotel had many fellow Ironman athletes staying there too.
Athlete Briefing and Registration/Check-In Details
The briefing and registration process was quite good and fast, with no fuss or confusion at any stage. The Athlete kit provided had all the essentials, and the organisers were pretty well informed and ready to handle the huge crowd of athletes. Overall, absolutely no complaints there from the Ironman team.