Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 2010

With some late changes prior to the race FJS powered by SAAB managed to start with a ”best-out-of-the-situation well-prepared-team”. The fact that Johan Hasselmark had to withdraw cause of injury just days before the race was of course not according to plan but as adventure racers do, the team just focus on what to come.

John Andén who replaced Johan said: "Feels cool, even if we have not raced together the four of us before. I have raced with Emil in the Swedish cup earlier but not with Daniel and Kristin."

"With a new team we all will have new roles out there. New members mean new qualities" was the opinion of the team. FJS usually not puts up goals saying we go for any particular ranking. We focus on what we can do as ranking depends on other teams as well. “Race as fast as possible at every part of the course” and “being really exhausted at the finish line” are our goals.

The start

Just when the sun rose over the Abu Dhabi City skyline the teams went off. And what a start for FJS powered by Saab! We knew they could run fast, now they proved they can paddle and swim at world class level. After the prologue the team stayed at fourth place.

"I am happy with the first stage with my new team. No malfunctions at all and no stress, we just focused on staying together and still keep up the speed," said John Andén just after the first stage.


One tactical detail that differed between FJS and almost all other teams where their towing strategy during paddling. FJS put the three guys in the first boat and Kristin in the second. It drew positive attention to the team and more important – forward power!

The prologue was held along the cornice where a lot of people had gathered. Abu Dhabi City is growing. You can see on going house projects everywhere. The racers passed just by one of the more impressing buildings, the Emirates palace. What a place, what a grace and what a great contrast to an Adventure Challenge! Speaking of contrast; when finishing the competitors was served a great buffet with cold water, soda, fruits and pastry. It did not take long before all plates where empty and all places with shadow were full of racers.

After the prologue we all went towards Al Ain by car or bus. The race restarted just in front of Jahili Fort. On the program was nearly 30 kilometer mountain bike followed directly by 6 kilometer trailrun and some rope works. Once again FJS was among the top teams.


The mountains

The second day was a long day. FJS was moving fast, though some other teams were moving faster. The course on the mountain range of Jebel Hafeet forced the teams to dig deep for extra energy and power. Especially the downhill did steal energy and speed.

FJS agreed. "We suspected before start that the downhill parts would be the toughest and we knew that our speed would be low. It proved to be correct," said Daniel.


Jebel Haffet is a spectacular mountain, but a really nasty one, extremely sharp stones easily cut through human skin. Almost everyone was bleeding reaching the finish line. Add to that a huge mass of small loose stones and you have a difficult course.

"We spent more time out there than planned. We nearly run out of energy supplement and water," said Emil.

The day was extra hard for John who had problems both eating and drinking. Due to dehydration John was really in a bad shape after the stage.


A tough decision

Johns’ dehydration seemed to work out during the night. However in the early morning hours John continued to have problems with keeping fluids and food.

Early in the morning, the teams started a 100 km long bike ride through the desert, to be followed by 120 km of desert running. During the cooler morning hours the team made progress. However, when the sun rose and with one fourth of the bike ride left John once again had severe dehydration problems.

Before the desert running leg of the race Johns’ health deteriorated with periodic loss of consciousness. Given the conditions the team decided to relinquish the desert running. John had to recover at the hospital.

Tough decisions are a part of the game. A tough decision is the decision of withdrawal. FJS powered by Saab came to the conclusion they tried to avoid as long as possible. John recovered quite well, but not enough to continue. The team took the decision to not take the risk of post dehydration complications, or another dehydration.

The last stage

The last long paddling stage in Abu Dhabi was cancelled due to very hard wind, the Shamaal. Wind in combination with a course on open sea for several hours led to the decision of cancellation. Many racers did support the decision.

The delayed start of the last stage gave john the time he needed to recover enough to once again engage the race and the elements. John was truly disappointed about the dehydration. Even though he were in a very bad condition he never wanted to quit himself. To be able to join the race again was an important opportunity to finish the race in a good way.


Last stage was a paddling in the area between the Abu Dhabi City cornice and Lulu Island, about 30 kilometers. FJS powered by Saab was back in business and made a great paddling; they reached the finish line as fifth team on the last leg.

"Great to have a performance you are pleased with the last day. More fun to go home with a satisfying performance close in memory. It did prove we can stay with the top teams at an international level," said Daniel Hansson.

Hard work pays off

//FJS powered by SAAB