Hasan Al Lawati meets Jonathan Shubert, who is cycling from Muscat to Salalah, to set a new world record.
It is cold and dark in Muttrah, Jonathan arrives at dawn at the picturesque National Museum, fuelled with salt bicarbonate soda and a dream to achieve the impossible.
On Sunday, February 11, Science teacher Jonathan Shubert started pedalling from Muscat. His goal is to cycle all the way south to Salalah, crossing around 1,300 km of cliffs and highlands.
“It makes my blood saltier so I can absorb more water so if there is more water in me when I start it makes it easier,” he told Y magazine.
The ambitious British national is attempting to set a new World Record and lower the existing mark from six days to under 48 hours.
This means that he will take only one 10-minute break every six hours.
Follow Jonathan’s attempt to set a New World Record with live tracking here on ub-cool Explorer’s Page
When we arrived at the starting point in Muttrah, other cyclists who will accompany Jonathan in his adventure were fixing reflective tape on the bicycle to make it visible at night.
Asked about his readiness, Shubert said: “I am a teacher so I can’t use the time of the week. During weekends I cycle to Nizwa and explore other parts of Oman for long hours to build endurance.”
With back-to-back training on Friday and Saturday in addition to “faster and harder” training during some week days with his Omani friends, Jonathan Shubert trains for 18 hours a week.
One of the main factors that concern cyclists is the weather, which can be demoralising to many professionals.
But Shubert said that he checked with the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA). “They said the weather will be but there will be some fog in Duqm. The weather is quite favourable. But one of the issues is the dust as after 8 hours you will start to feel it in your lungs because of heavy breathing,” he explained.
In his interview with ub-cool, he said: “I have lived and worked in Oman for three years; I love the country, I love the people. So, firstly, I’m already here, secondly, the road infrastructure and the topography of the country is amazing and thirdly, as a resident of Oman, I feel compelled to do something to assist with problems in the region, however small my contribution.”
“Attempting such a feat in the Middle East poses added challenges that I have never had to deal with before; most notably, coping with heat and dehydration, but also the dust and its effect on my respiratory system,” he added.
However, Shubert is not new to such challenges. Between March 2013 and March 2014, Jonathan embarked on an unassisted, 30,000 km circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, passing through 29 countries, three continents, and all extremes of climate and terrain.