QtriSeries Dukhan Ultra Triathlon
Members Race Review
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DaniSwim"Here we go...into the storm"

Reviewer:  Daniela Sposi
Race Name: Dukhan Ultra Triathlon
Age Group: Masters
Location: Dukhan WaterSports Club, Dukhan Beach, Qatar
Date: December 14th, 2019
Website link:  https://www.qtriseries.com/event/dukhan-triathlon-2019/triseries.com
Triathlon Experience: I have joined Triclub Doha in January 2017 so I am relatively new to the Triathlon scene. I started with a beginner’s triathlon in Qatar Foundation as I didn’t know what to expect. I raced mostly sprint distances and in January 2019 I did the first Olympic triathlon in Dukhan, followed by Doha triathlon at the Museum of Islamic Art before completing my first ever 70.3 Ironman in Oman (March 2019).

Race Highlights

  • Long Course Triathlon in Qatar, relatively flat, fast bike course, nearly always windy
  • Water in Dukhan can be amazing, flat and clear, though can be choppy.

Rationale for Choosing this Race

In the last couple of seasons, the triathlon community has grown, as well as the opportunities to race in Qatar. With the Qtriseries organised by the Qatar Triathlon Federation, and all the Triclub Doha races, there has been a great variety of races to choose from. From the swimming pool to open water swim, two different challenges. I completed my first Olympic distance in Dukhan (Jan 2019) and it was one of the best races I have ever had. Perfect conditions, despite being held during the winter. Wetsuit legal, crystal clear – flat water. No wind – perfect for the cycling leg, and a little breeze for the run. Second place in my age group! #proud

This season, we had the great opportunity to race - for the first time in Qatar – in the Dukhan "Ultra Distance triathlon". In my view, this was the perfect race in preparation for the 70.3 IM Greece, which was due in April 2020. The distances were: 2250m swim – 80km bike – 20km run. The course is great, and this was a local race, so it was easier to reach, and I was familiar with the course. There were also Sprint and Olympic distance options too. 

Travel to the Race

I packed the car the night before the race due to the early morning start to reach Dukhan in good time to set everything up. It took me approximately one hour drive from Doha to Dukhan ad at that time for the day there is virtually no traffic.


Once arrived in Dukhan, the atmosphere was great despite being 5am! Nice music, lots of familiar faces from the Triclub family and a super smooth process to collect my race pack. I had a nice goodie bag with a super cool t-shirt, elastic laces and a water bottle. Thanks to the smooth process setup by the organisers and the volunteers I had enough time to rack my bike and get my transition ready for the bike and the run.

Race Gear

As expected in a December race in Qatar, the open water swim was wetsuit legal due to the cooler water temperature (below 24.5C). A wetsuit is a good investment if you plan to do lots of races. In Qatar, I use my wetsuit from December to March until it gets hot again. I have chosen a wetsuit which is perfect for Qatar temperatures.
I raced with my TT bike Canyon Speedmax, ready in transition with the nutrition and fluids to carry in the bike course. In the run I used my Asics Noosa Tri shoes and always wear a visor and sunglasses.

Dani Crowd
pre-race briefing

Getting to the Start Line

I woke up at 3am, as the plan was to leave Doha at 4am, to get to the race venue on time to get everything ready without stressing out.
My breakfast consisted in a nice bowl of porridge with a spoon of jam and my morning cafe latte. I had with me a cereal bar and a banana, as an extra snack before the race started. 

Swim Leg
Dani Wetsuit
suited up and ready to rumble

The sea didn’t look so calm as the previous year. Big waves, cold and salty water, it looked challenging from the beginning. The swim course consisted in 3 loops around a triangular shaped course. It was very hard to spot the buoys due to the waves coming from everywhere, 2250m of challenges! At first, I thought: “Why am I doing this, today?”  When I finally found the rhythm and the calmness to carry on, I started to draft behind someone that was going way out the course and that meant more metres of swim! Not good! Back on my swim line and after 3 loops and lots of swallowed sea water, I could see the exit to the transition area. It was a relief! 1 done 2 to go!

A long run/walk to the carpark where the T1 was setup. Wetsuit off and helmet on before getting off to the bike course. A nice and smooth transition.

Bike Leg

The bike course consisted in 4 laps of 20Km in the desert. It was mostly flat, but the head wind made it like an uphill ride. When you have a long ride to do, it is very important to remember everything you need for your 2.5 – 3hrs ride. Nutrition and hydration are fundamental to survive!
As the wind got stronger, after 40km, I decided to get rid of some extra weight from my bike as I was struggling. I had 2 bottles of water and electrolytes, too much weight to carry when you have a water station every 10km! I kept my electrolytes and passed my water bottles to Brendan who was patrolling the bike course. Thanks Brendan! 


Once in T2, I took my time as my bike leg had been an adventure. I had stomach cramps all the way and that didn’t help my nutrition plan. I think that the amount of salty water I had swallowed in the swim played a big role with that. Despite that, I have never thought of stopping or giving up!

Run Leg
The run course consisted in 4 laps of 5 km each. On the run course we had 2 water/aid stations. Cold water, coke, dates and bananas……if I remember well. I was starting to feel fatigued and with my body refusing food, I felt I was running an endless run leg. The volunteers on the run course were amazing and they always spared a smile and a word to encourage us. Thank you!

Finish Line / Finisher Area

Dani FinishGlad to reach the finishers chute

When you see the finish line it is always a great emotion. It felt like I achieved a great accomplishment even though it wasn’t my best performance. I learnt a lot and definitively gained more experience. There are always ways to improve, at that point I had 4 months before IM Greece, so I felt I had plenty of time to improve things. Sadly, due to COVID I was unable to race in Greece in April, but the learnings are still there!
Evaluation of my Race 

I like the way this race was setup. A challenge that not many embraced, I tried, and I finished! That was my mission. 

Evaluation of the Race Organization

The Dukhan Ultra triathlon was a well organised race in a great venue. It felt safe and well planned.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

Don’t race for the first time in open water if you are not a confident swimmer. Start with a shorter distance to gain more experience. Learn to swim in the swimming pool and practice open water swim as well. I found beneficial having a structured training plan that could fit in my work and family life. The Triclub Doha club events, like the duathlons and aquathons have helped me to refine my routines. The Friday rides have definitely contributed to improve my cycling skills.
I come from a team sport background, and for me the Triclub Doha creates the perfect team atmosphere with its family friendly and inclusive environment.