Ever wonder what it would be like to ride a mountain bike across a scenic, but challenging, course for 24 hours straight? Me neither! But that’s exactly what competitors in the 24-Hours of Moab mountain bike race are preparing to do when the event gets underway today at noon local time in Moab, Utah. As you can probably deduce from the name, the ride won’t end until noon tomorrow, after a very long, and grueling, day in the saddle for the riders.
Racers are allowed to compete in three categories, riding as an individual or part of a two or four person relay team. If they are part of a team, they’ll be allowed to switch out from time to time and get some much needed rest. The individuals will have it the toughest however, riding solo while trying to accumulate as many laps as possible before the 24 hour cut off.
The course is a challenging one for sure. Consisting mostly of old jeep trails, the route winds its way through the scenic backcountry that Utah is so famous for, ensuring that the riders will at least have something beautiful to look at along the way. Not that they’ll have time to notice however, as some of the bigger drops will have them rushing down hills at over 40 mph, as they carefully pick their lines hoping to avoid danger along the way. The entire route is just 15 miles in length, and the top riders will be able to finish laps in under an hour, but the more than 1360 feet of vertical gain on each lap will have their legs crying out for mercy. Especially when it is the middle of the night and they’ve already been riding for more than 12 hours straight.
The race has been going on for 15 years now, and during that time it has earned itself a reputation as one of the top endurance mountain biking events in the world. This year, there will be more than $20,000 in cash, and another $15,000 in prizes, up for grabs, although for most of the riders it is all about the fun and camaraderie of the event.
[Photo credit: Xavi Fane]
Some people will do anything to get to a party. Case in point, the endurance runners who will be taking part in the inaugural Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon scheduled to take place in Louisiana on March 4-6, 2011. The race also happens to fall on the same weekend as Mardi Gras, which has prompted race organizers to adopt the slogan “come to run, stay to party.”
The race is a true test of endurance even for supremely conditioned athletes. The course begins at the Louisiana State University Veterinary School in the state’s capital of Baton Rouge and then runs for 126.2 miles along the Mississippi River levee, before ending at Audubon Park in New Orleans. The route winds its way passed sugarcane fields, southern plantations, and mysterious swamplands as it follows the course of the river south through the Louisiana countryside. The trail rarely crosses a road along the way either, which means that the runners won’t have to worry about traffic as they go.
Competitors can enter the race in several categories, including as an individual or on relay teams consisting of two, three or six runners. On the first day of the race, there will be several wave starts to get things going, with individuals hitting the trail with runners who share a similar pace. Once out on the course, they’ll have 40 hours to complete the entire 126.2 miles, which means they’ll need to average more than 3 miles an hour in order to finish ahead of the mandatory cutoff.
Once the runners reach the finish line in New Orleans however, they can join the party at Mardi Gras. After running for more than 126 miles, I’m sure they’ll want a few adult beverages to help ease the pain in their legs and feet. Completing an event like this takes a great deal of stamina and determination, so a celebration will definitely be in order for those who manage to complete the course.
[Photo credit: Robeter via WikiMedia]
More than 150 of the world’s top ultra-runners have assembled in the remote city of Turban, located in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in western China, to take part in one of the most challenging foot races on Earth. The event is known as The Gobi March, and over the course of the next week, the competitors will endure six grueling stages through one of the harshest environments on the planet.
Each day this week the runners will head out on a course designed to test their strength and stamina. They’ll be required to carry all of the gear they’ll need for the day, including food and water, while navigating between desert checkpoints. When they reach the finish line for each stage, they’ll camp for the night, regaining their strength for the next day, when they’ll do it all again.
The first stage of the race takes part today over a 32km (20 mile) course that runs from the village of Gaoyachun through a remote valley in the Tian Shan Mountains, whose peaks will serve as a dramatic backdrop to the day. Temperatures are expected to climb above 100ºF, and the dry trail conditions will be an indicator of what is to come in the days ahead.
The top runners will finish the race with a combined time for all six stages in the 25 hour range, but the majority of the competitors will be much further back than that. The race is a test of endurance however, and just reaching the finish line is a major accomplishment for all involved.
[Photo credit: RacingThePlanet.com]
It’s been called the worlds toughest foot race, and amongst endurance athletes, its level of difficulty is legendary. It is the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135 mile run that starts today in Death Valley and ends Wednesday when the final competitors cross the finish line half-way up Mt. Whitney.
The race begins in Badwater, California, which sits at the heart of Death Valley National Park, the lowest point in North American, falling some 280 feet below sea level. The 135 mile course crosses three mountain ranges and registers a total of more than 13,000 feet of vertical gain, along with another 4,700 feet of descent. Racers will face temperatures climbing up to 130ºF as they run to the finishline which sits at the Mt. Whitney Portal found 8360 feet up that mountain.
This year’s field consists of 88 athletes, 71 men and 17 women. 50 racers are veterans of previous Badwater races, while 38 unsuspecting rookies will set out into the desert for the first time. They hail from seventeen countries from around the globe, and the youngest entrant is just 19 years of age, while the oldest is 67.
Over the next two days, these amazing endurance athletes will race non-stop across that 135 mile course, with the blazing Death Valley sun and opressive heat punishing them every step of the way. The top runners will reach the finishline in roughly 24 hours, while the average racer will finish in about 45 hours. Everyone who finishes in less than 48 hours is awarded the prestigious Badwater belt buckle. There is no prize money and the competitors do it just for the challenge.