Flip winter the bird with a great adventure travel contest!

Sacred Rides and GoPro offer quite the adventure travel contestThe holidays are long past, you’re back at the daily grind, and the country has been dumped on with way to much snow. Admit it, you’re sick of winter already and could use an adventurous escape. Fortunately, I’ve got just what you need in the form of a travel contest that will let you flip the bird at winter.

Adventure travel company Sacred Rides has joined forces with GoPro Cameras, to send one lucky winner, and a companion, on a week long mountain biking holiday through Central or South America. The winner of the Flip Winter The Bird Contest gets to choose between Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, or Argentina as their destination, and then they’ll be off to explore the many great singletrack options that the country has to offer. The various options include mountain biking of course, but in Mexico the trip will also offer regular yoga workouts as well. In Guatemala, the riders will get a taste of Mayan culture, while a visit to Chile gives them a chance to surf the Pacific Coast. Argentina makes it a multi-sport adventure by adding whitewater rafting to the itinerary as well.

To enter the contest, simply go to this page and fill out the form. Those entering must be at least 18 years of age and entries are being accepted until the end of the day on February 11th.

Sacred Rides is a travel company that specializes in organizing mountain biking excursions across the globe. Besides offering rides at the destination in this contest, they also offer trips to Peru, Canada, Eastern Europe, and more. If you’re looking for a unique cycling adventure for your next vacation, perhaps a sacred ride might be in order.

[Photo credit: Andy Armstrong via WikiMedia]

24-Hours of Moab mountain bike race begins today

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]

Moab promises adventure and fun this fall

For many outdoor enthusiasts, Moab is the epicenter of adventure in the western United States. Located in eastern Utah, the city is home to 5000 residents and serves as a great home base for travelers who visit the region in search of an adventurous escape. The area boasts some of the best hiking, paddling, and mountain biking found anywhere in North America, and Moab’s proximity to the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, makes it all the more appealing for a getaway. With a host of other great activities on the docket for the fall, now may be the perfect time to plan your visit.

Fans of mountain biking and endurance sports will find plenty to keep them busy throughout October and November for instance, the 24-Hours of Moab bike race takes place October 9th and 10th, pitting 550 individuals and teams against one another in an event that last for one full day, on a course designed to challenge their skills and break their spirits. If that event doesn’t quench your thirst for mountain biking however, you can return later in the month for the four-day Moab Ho-Down Bike Fest, which runs from October 28 – 31, and features multiple races, a crazy bike jumping contest, movies, and more.

Perhaps you prefer your bikes have a motor instead of pedals? In that case you’ll want to check out the KTM Adventure Rider Rally, which will be held on October 15-17. That event offers off road riding for the motorcycle crowd and includes technical training and riding seminars, guided rides through the surrounding wilderness, a BBQ, and much more. The rally has been held in Moab for seven years, and gives motorcycle enthusiasts an opportunity to ride some of the best trails in the west in a safe and fun fashion.

As if that wasn’t enough adventure to draw you to Moab, the city will also play host to the Checkpoint Tracker National Adventure Racing Championships. This event will pull in some of the best adventure and endurance athletes from around the country to run, ride, climb, and paddle their way through a hundred miles of the region’s amazing backcountry. The 24-hour long race takes place on October 29 and 30.

For those who simply enjoy taking in the scenery in a more relaxed manner, consider the Plein Air Festival which is going on now through the 9th of October. This more staid event features dozens of artists who descend on Moab, and the surrounding area, to compete for prize money in a variety of categories. There will also be a number of workshops with those same artists providing demonstrations and instructions on how to paint. Visitors can also enjoy an art walk, awards show, and two distinct auctions.

Finally, the beginning of November brings the Moab Folk Festival, which takes place November 5-7 and features plenty of live music and workshops as well. Tickets are available here and you can checkout the line-up of musicians and bands that will be on hand by clicking here.

Will all of these great events taking place this fall, Moab is sure to have something for everyone.

[Photo credit: Tom Johnson, Sedona Magazine, via WikiMedia]

Leadville 100 mountain bike race takes place today

The Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race takes place today in Leadville, Colorado, with more than 1500 racers from 48 states and 21 different countries taking part in the annual event, which looks to have its deepest field ever, despite the loss of the biggest name in cycling – Lance Armstrong.

The race is actually 104 miles in length, and features an out-and-back format. The route starts and ends at 10,500 feet, but the riders will climb more than 11,600 feet, and reach a peak elevation of about 12,600 feet, while out on the course. The Leadville trail is not the most technical of rides, but the altitude will test the endurance and conditioning of the riders from the moment they start until the finish hours later.

A little over two years ago, the race was barely known outside of the hardcore mountain biking crowd. It had garnered quite a loyal following, but it was completely off the radar for most sports fans, let alone the mainstream population. But then, Lance Armstrong, who had been retired from competitive cycling for a couple of years, announced that he would be competing at Leadville, and the media descended on the event in a frenzy. Lance would go on to finish second behind six time Leadville champ Dave Wiens, who became an instant celebrity, earning the title of “the man who beat Lance.”

Soon after that race, Armstrong announced he was coming out of retirement, and in 2009 he returned to Leadville fresh off a third place finish in the Tour de France, and in much better riding condition. The cycling legend then proceeded to put the hammer down on the mostly amateur Leadville crowd. He ended up winning the race in record time, finishing in just six hours, 28 minutes, and 50 second, and roughly a half hour in front of the second place Wiens. Armstrong was so dominant, he ended up riding the final 65 miles completely alone.

Lance was scheduled to return to defend his title, but earlier this week he pulled out of the race, citing a lingering injury that he suffered in the Tour de France and wanting to spend time with his children before they returned to school. But that race still has an incredibly deep field, including Wiens, who is hungry to reclaim the win. He’ll be challenged by Matt Shriver, who finished third last year and Levi Leipheimer, a teammate of Armstrong’s on Team Radioshack. Additionally, professional mountain bike riders Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Todd Wells and Jeremiah Bishop are all in attendance for the first time and are hoping to win the race as well.

The race gets underway at 6:30 AM local time with riders trickling across the finish line all afternoon and into the evening.

For an idea of what the race is like, check out the trailer for the film Race Across the Sky a documentary about the Leadville 100.

[Photo credit: AP Photo/Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp, Larry Pierce)

ToroVerde park delivers an adventure in Puerto Rico

Thrill seekers who are looking to take a break from all that sun and surf while visiting Puerto Rico now have a new option to add a little excitement to their vacation. The recently opened ToroVerde Adventure Park is ready to give them the jolt of adrenaline that they’re looking for, offering up opportunities to rock climb, mountain bike, and choose from an array of zip line tours.

Located near Orocovis, not far from San Juan, the adventure park is a jungle playground with plenty to do both on the ground and over it. With eight different ziplines to choose from, each with varying heights, lengths, and speeds, you’re sure to find a route that works for you. So if you’re looking for a leisurely glide through the treetops, you might want to try the “Red Tail Hawk Flight” line, but if you want to jump start your heart, go with the “Flight of the Phoenix” instead. But for the ultimate zip line experience, try the Beast Tour, which straps you to a special harness, and sends you sailing for more than 4700 feet through the jungle canopy.

If the zip lines aren’t enough to hold your interest however, you can take one of ToroVerde’s special tours. For instance, the Wild Bull or the Escape If You Can tours combine zipping with rappelling, hiking, and rock climbing to create an adventurous mix that will carry you deep into the jungle and up rugged mountain paths.

When you’re done exploring on foot, you can visit the ToroVerde’s signature mountain bike park, and enjoy some two wheeled fun as well. The single-track course was designed by professional mountain bike rider Marla Streb, and has been built to cater to every rider’s needs, whether they are a beginner or an expert. The eight mile ride has challenging climbs and heart pounding drops, and delivers some great views of the surrounding area along the way.

Billed as an “ecotouristic” park, ToroVerde looks to be a great mix of tropical scenery and extreme sports. For a day filled with adventure, take a break from the beach and go play in the jungle instead.

[Photo credit: ToroVerde Adventure Park]