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  1. #1
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    Toughest Endurance Race

    Tough... difficult... epic... whatever.. Consider what you want (technical, length, duration, level of competition, weather, percent of racers who finish, etc.), but no fixed criteria... based on your own perceptions.

    Basically, what is the most challenging race out there for those who like to go long on dirt.

    I'll put out the third stage of the OMD in Portugal this year. OH MEU DEUS :: TRAIL BIKE :: NOTÍCIAS

    August in Portugal with 500km (Euro-miles?),13,000m of vertical and a 66h time limit. Mostly fire roads with some singletrack and a few sections of pavement. First aid station was 90km in... I didn't finish the joint, so I hope they make it harder next year... I don't want any of that "well last year was tougher" after I roll the finish in 2013.

    This thread has probably already been covered, but it is time for a refresher.

  2. #2
    zrm
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    All lot of people would say either CDTR or CTR. Stage races are their own animal and can have difficulty factors based on different reasoning - terrain, typical weather/conditions, time in the saddle, etc. As to one day events there are a of of tough 100 milers out there. The Vapor trail adds another 125 miles onto an already tough course. My home town 100 miler the Breck 100 is considered one of the hardest 100 milers but like I said, there are a lot of tough races out there and there's going to be a lot of opinions/favorites.

  3. #3
    Wrench
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    I'd love to do the Breck 100.

    However, the hardest in terms of logistics and endurance is TD.

    But I'm biased.

  4. #4
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    Tour Divide.
    CyclingCentralVa.org

  5. #5
    Livin' the Dream
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    I think for one day, Breck 100. For stage, got to be the TDR.
    DO RIGHT AND FEAR NO MAN

  6. #6
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    Iditarod?

  7. #7
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asbury View Post
    I think for one day, Breck 100. For stage, got to be the TDR.
    TDR isn't really a stage race. A stage race is a series of individual races with starts and finishes. TDR and CTR are long point to point races. It' my understanding that TDR isn't necessarily the hardest from a terrain point of view - it's mostly dirt roads (not that that is easy, it's just not 2000+ miles of rocky singletrack). What sets TDR apart is the distance and isolation and all that comes with that.

    If the CTR was the same distance as the TDR.........

  8. #8
    Wrench
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    I agree, ZRM. From a terrain point of view, Tour Divide doesn't compare. Still slightly more complicated than Leadville (Hadn't seen leadville pooped on yet in the thread, felt like it was time.)

    However, the distance (2700+ miles) the distance per day the winners go (170+ miles) and the isolation/logistics needed are the tough part. When you have 200 miles of absolutely nothing, and the only place you have to stock up is an old gas station? Situation gets real, real fast.

    That being said, I'd love to do a stage race.

  9. #9
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by FNFAL View Post
    That being said, I'd love to do a stage race.
    Breck Epic just finished up. Great race.

  10. #10
    Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Breck Epic just finished up. Great race.
    I know. I've been following it. Sadly, a snapped crankarm on my SS puts me out of the mountain game until Tuesday. Building a new race bike currently paycheck to paycheck. All I have is my Cyclocross bike in road form.

  11. #11
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    One Day: The original Butte 100, with well over 19,000 feet of climbing.

    More Days: Arrowhead 135, with potential camping at minus 40F.
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  12. #12
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    TDR and La Ruta are brutally tough but for 100miler, Breck, Vapor and Wilderness are on the Top 3 for me.

  13. #13
    TEAM TOPEAK - ERGON
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    From my experience, my Top 3 are...
    1. Colorado Trail Race
    2. Yak-Attack
    3. Vapor Trail 125

  14. #14
    ccm
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    Iditabike, for a mega distance race
    if you can't walk or bike, you die. when on your own between check points you don't have any help and no options for bailing out

    Northshore Overlord 6 Hour, for a shorter endurance race
    ride as many different steep rocky rooty technical trails as you can in 6 hours. The moment you lose energy and focus and become sloppy, you are done (won't kill you though unless you are really stupid or have too much ego)

    For most of the other races I've tried, the cut off times are so generous, they aren't that hard to finish if you are fit and well prepared (ie, you are more than just a weekend warrior)
    Some ultra high altitude races might be tough too, because altitude sickness can kill you

  15. #15
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    Dirty Kanza 200 has to be in consideration. Just a gravel grinder but still a tough endurance race.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabiZcut View Post
    Dirty Kanza 200 has to be in consideration. Just a gravel grinder but still a tough endurance race.
    I finished that one, and am crying myself to sleep at night thinking of Trans-Iowa next april.

    DK200 is a good intro to Ultra-Endurance type stuff.

  17. #17
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    Trans-Iowa is something I do not even want to consider....

  18. #18
    RIDE...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cholopolitan View Post
    Tough... difficult... epic... whatever.. Consider what you want (technical, length, duration, level of competition, weather, percent of racers who finish, etc.), but no fixed criteria... based on your own perceptions.

    Basically, what is the most challenging race out there for those who like to go long on dirt.

    I'll put out the third stage of the OMD in Portugal this year. OH MEU DEUS :: TRAIL BIKE :: NOTÍCIAS

    August in Portugal with 500km (Euro-miles?),13,000m of vertical and a 66h time limit. Mostly fire roads with some singletrack and a few sections of pavement. First aid station was 90km in... I didn't finish the joint, so I hope they make it harder next year... I don't want any of that "well last year was tougher" after I roll the finish in 2013.

    This thread has probably already been covered, but it is time for a refresher.
    Transportugal garmin s also brutal, long stages, 4000mts climb every day, more than 100kms, and very short times, ah!, no support beatiful views, best food and hotels, will try again next year

  19. #19
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    I have never done a 100 miler, but I tried the P111K in Pisgah last May. The winning time for this 69 mile race was 6:57, which is longer than most of the winners' times for 100 milers. The hard part of this one doesn't even start until you already have 50 miles in your legs and then you have a 3,000 ft. climb with multiple HAB sections.

    I didn't finish, along with about 25% of the other starters. Maybe not THE toughest race out there, but it sure kicked my butt.
    Friends don let friends ride road bikes.
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  20. #20
    Daniel the Dog
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    This race makes most of us look like little girls:

    Badwater Ultramarathon: 135 miles in 130-degree heat - CNN

  21. #21
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    Trans Iowa is the hardest race I have done so far. Easily twice as hard as DK200. Chalk it up to brutal weather and terrain, navigation, time cuts at checkpoints, and sleep deprivation.

    I hope to go back for V9 next year.

  22. #22
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    Zuma

    Montezumas revenge.. like the breck epic just held in one day or one 24 hour period..Common, you get to climb a fourteener or two as i recall, at night no less...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cholopolitan View Post
    Tough... difficult... epic... whatever..
    That's all up to you. The route does not make a race tough. Tough comes simply from pushing yourself to (and beyond) your limits. This can happen in the local short track race or out on the Tour Divide.

    You can also go easy at the local short track trace or on TDR.

    Tough is what you bring not what the course brings.
    Mark Farnsworth, Raleigh, NC
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  24. #24
    This place needs an enema
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    ~1 day (dirt): Vapor Trail.
    ~1 day (snow): Arrowhead.

    ~3 day: Grand Loop.

    ~5 day (dirt): CTR.
    ~5 day (snow): Idita 350

    ~More = Idita 1000.

  25. #25
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    This is a tough question to answer, since not many people have raced in all of the potential candidates for "hardest endurance race." Mike C. is probably the most qualified guy to respond so far, since he's done most (all?) of the biggies.

    I also like the way that Mike breaks down the races by the number of days. I've only raced the CTR and ITTed Kokopelli's--and they are actually surprisingly difficult to compare. The CTR is obviously a LOT longer and far more committing, which would make it seem like it should be harder. But the all-out effort required to complete Koko quickly is pretty damn challenging. Apples and oranges?

    I find it revealing that two of the three on Jeff's list are ones that he wasn't able to complete. The unslayed beast is always the most feared. I wonder if his list will change when he knocks these two off!

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