#ultra-endurance

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358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

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358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

“You just dance up those climbs. It’s amazing to watch.”

“Thank you.”

These are some of the only words we’ve exchanged, despite riding together for the past ten hours. It’s a few more hours before I learn that his name is Dave. That’s ultra-endurance. Sometimes you talk and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still great to have company riding through the night. I later find out that Dave is in his 50s and from Wisconsin. He must outweigh me by a good 50-80lbs and most of it is muscle. He’s a powerhouse on the flats and I’m light up the climbs. He groans and says “shit” a lot, but when the lady at the gas station asks if we’re having fun, he says, “we’re having the time of our lives.” And we really are. It’s hot and humid and hard as hell, but there’s so much beauty out there. Beauty in the sunset and the sunrise and the warm night— the cows and the fields, the open expanses.

Radar

Fail 3

The Volta As Aldeias Historicas is a 450 km route in Portugal with 8000 meters of elevation.
It links up 12 medieval villages and their castles.
Our contributor Ryan Le Garrec went to tackle it for his “Fail” video series,
alongside friends Sjors Mahler and Tiago Cacao,
It seems Ryan got bored of castles and failed at reaching them all.
“Those things are nice but they’re all at the top of a village already perched up a hill,
and the road to each is ridiculously steep,
I love villages and I love Portugal
but somehow castles just make me think of Middle Age wars,
I don’t really dig that,
I skipped a few and the guys did too!”

Here’s to Failings and Revenge: Riding the N230 Route in Portugal

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Here’s to Failings and Revenge: Riding the N230 Route in Portugal

Here’s to failings and revenge, wet feet, cold meals, big appetites, and desperate measures, here is to the losers, to giving up, the fear and the panic, here is to the hopes and resets, the rest and restart, the loneliness and misery, the conquering or coming back, here is to the revenge, the salute, the lost goal, the drive and emptiness, the stomach and the guts, the brain, and the balls, here is to the brave heart and lost souls. Here is to the step back and rebound. Here is to the cold beers at the end and the diners that taste better.
Coming home was the hardest part.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

This is the fourth and final part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

2020, the year that virtually nothing has panned out as expected, delivered an unexpected opportunity for me to return to the Grand Loop. I flew home to Arizona in late March after an aborted tour across Alaska as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened. My body was exhausted from winning a 4-day-long Iditarod Trail Invitational – conditions were challenging enough that the race took twice as long as it does in “good” years. After the race, I continued touring farther along the trail for another 250 miles before Native villages began closing to visitors. When I returned home, my body was worn out. The next month was devoted to recovery as I watched in awe as the world as we knew it ground to a halt amid the worsening pandemic.

The Open Road: the Orbit 360

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The Open Road: the Orbit 360

2021, March 14th, 5:16 pm Runa, Portugal

Runa is a small village that looks like it was supposed to become a town, it just never happened. Not much to see around here.

Traversed by a fast road right through it, longing a deserted train station that never felt so vain.
All along that single file highway, tiny factories, warehouses, abandoned, emptied in a rush. Nature is invading, reclaiming those empty spaces, plants, and trees through the cracks and walls.

I press on the pedals.

A bit further down the strange fast route, a tiny park and one big tree, one massive tree, an old man walks around, talking to himself, or rehearsing what seems to be a speech or sermon, rehearsing those words while mastering their hand choreography.

Chasing Fabian Burri

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Chasing Fabian Burri

What’s a day, an hour, a few seconds, or a month?
What’s the point of time if it’s still and untouched?
Where are we now, and can it be then?

I woke up that morning from sweat and fears, dreams that fade away in the blink of an eye but a feeling that takes longer, lingers around, just for a while. I had a crash but it left no rash.
I met Fabian over a year ago, in Oman, at a race, he was wearing skinny black stuff and had a lot of tattoos, he had a mustache and looked a lot like bike messengers, or my friends from Brazil.

Deer and Wolves: Josh Ibbett on the GBDURO 2020

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Deer and Wolves: Josh Ibbett on the GBDURO 2020

Josh Ibbett just won the GBduro. A 2000 km mostly off-road Ultra Distance race from the most southern tip of the UK to the most northern in Scotland.

This is the second edition of this race.

The first one was won by Lachlan Morton last year.

The Racing Collective, organizers of the race, best described by themselves as “the UK’s flagship not-for-profit bikepacking club” had to change their race format this year. They did it, brilliantly.

There were no stages anymore, the race described as “a scrappy rolling picnic through Britain’s ever-changing landscapes” had that new daunting rule about it, you had to be “self-sufficient”, no stopping allowed in shops, cafe, restaurant or hotel, whatsoever, so you carry your own food, filter water from streams or sources and mind yourself and your bike ‘till the end. There is a new level in the game of Epic.

Cameron Dixon: the Transcontinental Race Interview

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Cameron Dixon: the Transcontinental Race Interview

I first became aware of Cameron in 2019 whilst working at NRG Cycles in Great Ayton. A few regular customers had been in and asked if I knew of this local lad – ‘somebody’ Dixon was all I had to go on and that he rode his bike….a lot. 

Working in a small North Yorkshire village you tend to know all the local cyclists and with my involvement with Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, that knowledge is spread further a field into the race scene. I’d never seen him on a start sheet before, so who was he?

Radar

The Transatlantic Way

Matt and Brad have been riding together for years, on increasingly difficult rides and races. This is unexpected for Matt, as he was told “no bikes for the rest of your life” by his doctor after an injury, only to take on Ireland’s Transatlantic Way, a 2500k route along the west coast of Ireland years later… Matt and Brad finished in 7 days, 15hours, and 43 minutes, finishing first place out of seven teams!

Sean Conway: Europe or Bust – A Filmmaker’s View

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Sean Conway: Europe or Bust – A Filmmaker’s View

In 2017 German endurance cyclist Jonas Deichmann set the world record for cycling across Europe, fully self-supported, in an incredible 25 days. This is a 6500km journey, starting in Portugal on the Westernmost point, crossing a further 7 countries all the way to Ufa at the Easternmost point of Europe.

However, the world’s fastest cycling record is something that has eluded another endurance athlete for years. That of UK based and Zimbabwe-born, bearded adventurer Sean Conway. Sean has set other incredible records, including the first person to swim the length of Britain, and also setting a record for a full triathlon of the UK, where he cycled, ran than swam within a mile of the entire coast of mainland Britain. But a world’s fastest is something that came within his reach when he attempted the Europe crossing in 2017, the same years as Jonas’ record. Unfortunately for Sean, after just 1200km, when approaching the French Pyrenees, he had to pull out because of an injury.

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Into the Rift: the Story of the Atlas Mountain Race

Into the Rift is a deep-dive into what it takes to compete in and complete the Atlas Mountain Race:

“To simply finish the Atlas Mountain Race means navigating 1,200 kilometres of the most rugged and remote roads in Morocco. To win requires riding almost non-stop, night and day, for days on end. It is a combination of strength and sleep deprivation that only a few riders in the world can manage. Alone, unsupported and loaded down with supplies, each competitor must constantly battle mechanicals, heat exhaustion and saddle sores to get to the finish. There is no prize, no money, simply the satisfaction that comes from pushing oneself to the limit while exploring the forgotten corners of a beautiful country.”

Radar

‘GP-1200’: Girona to Portugal Cycling Adventure

Our friend Sami worked on a project with Jack Ultra Cyclist and it’s worth the watch this Friday afternoon!

From the East coast of Spain to the Western shores of Portugal, in October 2019, Jack decided he needed a challenge and so set about riding the route non stop…

A journey of 1,200 kilometers with 11,910m of elevation gain, Jack finished the ride in 56 hours, fresh and relatively unscathed.

As part of this challenge, Jack was eager to raise awareness about mental health, in particular the stigma that is often associated with such conditions. Talking open and candidly about his own struggles with drug use and depression and how the bike has allowed him to overcome these difficult times, ‘GP-1200’ looks to turn a chapter in what can only be described as ‘a silent killer that affects us all,’ be it directly or indirectly.

“Riding my bike from Girona to Portugal is nothing compared to my early teenage years and my struggles with mental health. I just hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire others to go about pushing their own limits in search of happiness.”

Tugende: the Race Around Rwanda

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Tugende: the Race Around Rwanda

I arrived in Rwanda on the 26th of January and was greeted by a spooky line of doctors and nurses wearing masks, they were filtering us before border control, asking us to remain about two meters away from them while they would conduct a short interview.

The world was barely aware of the virus outbreak at that time, Corona was still a light Mexican beer, flying was no biggie and I was just happy I had managed to sneak in business class and have two dinners, champagne, and a screen to watch films.

My only concern was finding the next race I could cover. I hadn’t started enjoying that one and I was already thinking of the void after it.