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Inverness cycling adventurer covers 665 miles across Arabian peninsula

By Alasdair Fraser

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Lindsay McCrae en route near the first checkpoint summit.
Lindsay McCrae en route near the first checkpoint summit.

A cyclist from Inverness covered hundreds of miles in just 47 hours as part of an ultra-cycling event.

Lindsay McCrae (49) finished third in the BikingMan Oman event.

The challenge took him around the south-east Arabian peninsula unassisted, with a 30,500ft ascent over the Hajar Mountains and through the spectacular Jebel Shams Pass and Ash Sharqiyah Desert.

Completing it virtually non-stop in 47 hours and 23 minutes, Mr McCrae, who lives in the Carse and works in aquaculture, pushed his body to the brink.

From a field of 70, 12 failed to finish, but only French winner Laurent Boursette and Swiss runner-up Hans Rudolf Nyfeler beat the Forge Gym member.

“I knew it was going to be tough because it was the farthest I’ve done and there was one main hill, 13 miles long,” Mr McCrae said.

“I knew roughly what it would be like, but maybe not with 250 miles in my legs by the first checkpoint, combined with 36C heat.

“Putting it all together, it just drained me. At the top of the big hill, I was pretty much a broken man.

“My voice had almost gone and I fleetingly entertained the thought of scrapping it. But I got some food in me, cleaned myself up and took five minutes’ rest. As others came and went, my racer’s head came on again.

“I pepped up, but across the last 160 miles it took everything I had. By the end, I was pretty much destroyed.”

The mode of racing allows competitors to sleep in hotels, eating, drinking and stopping whenever they like.

Mr McCrae, who previously beat Mark Beaumont’s North Coast 500 record, eschewed all but basic comfort breaks.

Hallucination through sleep-deprivation can be an issue, but was avoided despite past racing encounters with giant mushrooms, giraffes and hippopotamuses.

One rival in Oman even spoke of seeing Pinocchio by the roadside.

Incredibly, a touch of pre-race insomnia meant the self-funded cyclist went an eye-watering 87 hours without sleep..

Just six years after buying his first bike since childhood, the Oman success follows victory in a mammoth duathlon and a third place finish in Revolve 24, a 24-hour endurance race at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Next up is the 1100-mile Race Around the Netherlands in May.

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