Leon Griffin: Day One From Abu Dhabi

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Australian professional triathlete Leon Griffin will be sharing daily blogs from his trip to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Triathlon. Today, Griffin talks about his long flight from Melbourne, Australia to Abu Dhabi, and his first impressions of the area.


The Middle East and ‘fog’…my first experience with the desert was not one I’d pictured in the lead up to my trip to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s inaugural ADIT extravaganza!

For some reason I was expecting jetting into a blazing inferno, but I must admit the cooler reception I received was quite welcomed after travelling from a soggy Melbourne (Australia) which just received the equivalent of 75% of its yearly rainfall this past weekend.

Make no mistake by mid morning the sun was high in the sky and the temperature was rising rapidly…about 25C by 10am which will be about half way through the race come Saturday. Note to self: suck down that water and Gatorade early even if its cool and foggy again at the beginning of the event.

Long haul flights are a killer for me as I seem to become an insomniac when 30,000 feet in the sky unable to get more than a powernap down…and then with early morning arrivals I have to fight to keep my eyelids from fusing the rest of the day so I can try get on the local time ASAP.

Griffin outside of the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayhan Mosque.
Griffin outside of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque.

Thus the early check-in to the 5 Star Park Rotana, kindly afforded by the organizers of the ADIT to myself and girlfriend in tow (…wife for the sake of the trip to the UAE…shhh) gave us the chance to do a bit of sightseeing. Situated perfectly just half a mile behind the hotel is probably Abu Dhabi’s most imposing religious and national landmark, the majestic Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque. This place has to be seen to be believed…something like US$2.3b has been spent on this white wonder since they threw a shovel in the ground some 13 years ago…and it’s not quite yet finished still!

So still trying to keep the eyelids open with some matchsticks, I’ll roll the arms over for a lazy swim in the hotel’s pool and jog around the local parks when it cools down before trying to grab a super sleep of 10hrs or more to get rid of the splitting headache I have right now and dust off that jetlag from the 14hr flight 🙁

Tomorrow I hope to get down near the race site to do a little scouting of the course, but that’s no guarantee because this place is so hard to get around without a car (host hotel is around 15-20 miles from race site) and has a similar setup to something like the LA Tri which has everything scattered all around and traffic is just too crazy to get a close look at the bike course.

Either way it’s a privilege to be here and I’m looking forward to getting you a little more coverage from my point of view in the lead up to triathlon’s exciting new Middle Eastern dalliance…

Click here to see all of Leon Griffin’s blogs from Abu Dhabi.

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