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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.
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  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.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  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.

  24. #24
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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!

  26. #26
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    Tour de Burg...

    You have no idea.
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    I get paid 3¢ every time I post on MTBR.

  27. #27
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    Surprised the Pisgah 111k hasn't been mentioned

    Suffering per mile, I would imagine this one ranks near the top. Tis burly.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid View Post
    Suffering per mile, I would imagine this one ranks near the top. Tis burly.
    As the guy who came up with the course, I asked Eric if we should back it off in 2013 (having just finished totally brutalized).

    He said, "nope."
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    Tour de Burg...

    You have no idea.
    When you going to come out and ride the Vapor Trail 125, ya Sally?

    (Just kidding, I know your real name is Angela).
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    When you going to come out and ride the Vapor Trail 125, ya Sally?

    (Just kidding, I know your real name is Angela).
    Can I get UCI points at the VT125? Wanna upgrade my license to Über-Pro.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    Can I get UCI points at the VT125? Wanna upgrade my license to Über-Pro.
    Hmm, sorry no.

    You can score points toward being identified as a reckless person, and I believe the Ministry of Silly Walks will give your application for enrollment stronger consideration as a Vapor Trail 125 finisher.

    EDIT: Almost forgot! This year you can get one of these in your goodie bag:

    Zukes for Dogs - Hip Action, Mini Naturals, Z-Bones, Jerky Naturals, Power Bones, Z-Filets

    A sweet custom wool hat.

    Free Red Bull at aid stations.
    Last edited by TomP; 08-30-2012 at 10:23 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  32. #32
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    For one day on Dirt, I don't think it gets harder than Vapor Trail 125. Breck 100 is darn close because of terrain, but the simplicity of not riding 8 hours in the dark (and hiking a 13,000 ft peak with your bike on your back in that dark) makes it an easier event to finish
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  33. #33
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Hmm, sorry no.

    You can score points toward being identified as a reckless person, and I believe the Ministry of Silly Walks will give your application for enrollment stronger consideration as a Vapor Trail 125 finisher.

    EDIT: Almost forgot! This year you can get one of these in your goodie bag:

    Zukes for Dogs - Hip Action, Mini Naturals, Z-Bones, Jerky Naturals, Power Bones, Z-Filets

    A sweet custom wool hat.

    Free Red Bull at aid stations.
    Bummed I'm gonna miss it again...2 years in a row thanks to this silly work thing...
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  34. #34
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    take care of business

    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard View Post
    Bummed I'm gonna miss it again...2 years in a row thanks to this silly work thing...
    We're sorry you won't be there Matt. You'll be back. Sometimes you have to take care of what's important--but it'll come back around.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  35. #35
    Daniel the Dog
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    Test of Endurance 100 in Blodgett, Oregon would be a bearcat of a race. I did the 50 and did 8,500 in climbing. You double that and how a tough race....

  36. #36
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    I nominate the Pisgah 36 (aka The Most Horrible Thing Ever). Starts at midnight on Friday runs till noon on Sunday and is held in February. Lots of cold, lots of darkness, lots of creek crossings. Rarely has any finishers...

  37. #37
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    Remembering some of dicky's old blog posts on the pisgah deathmarches....i dont doubt they are a serious competitor for the hardest out there. Id love to suffer out there someday
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  38. #38
    Just Ride
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    For its 56 miles and 11000 ft of climbing I vote Vision Quest in Southern California, happens each spring in the Cleveland national forest!

  39. #39
    Daniel the Dog
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    Wow

    Quote Originally Posted by ssjohn View Post
    I nominate the Pisgah 36 (aka The Most Horrible Thing Ever). Starts at midnight on Friday runs till noon on Sunday and is held in February. Lots of cold, lots of darkness, lots of creek crossings. Rarely has any finishers...
    Sounds miserable but what do I know

  40. #40
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    Cascade Cream Puff has to be on the list - especially this year, total sufferfest. 18,000 feet of climbing

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    If the CTR was the same distance as the TDR.........
    Now that would put the CTR in a world of it's own. One in which I would never ever consider doing. approx 500miles of Hike a Bike
    Rolling on 2 Fat Tires-BlogUpdated when I feel like it or when I get mail

  42. #42
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard View Post
    For one day on Dirt, I don't think it gets harder than Vapor Trail 125. Breck 100 is darn close because of terrain, but the simplicity of not riding 8 hours in the dark (and hiking a 13,000 ft peak with your bike on your back in that dark) makes it an easier event to finish
    People used to ask me why I didn't ever to Montezuma's Revenge. (or some reason I can't understand they thought it was right up my alley ) My reply was "because I have no desire to hump my bike over the top of Greys Peak in the middle of the night".

    I'm the course designer of the Breck 100 and my philosophy has always been a little hike a bike is fine but keep it to not much more than 45 min or so. I think most people don't mind some walking, but most prefer to suffer while pedaling, not walking. When Thane changed loop 1 of the B100 to go up Miners Creek to the crest of the Ten Mile one year, the vast majority of the racers didn't like it because it added so much hike a bike. Yes, it was harder, but that didn't necessarily add any enjoyment to the loop so Thane changed it back to the original layout the next year.

    Of course everyone's different with what they like and want. Pick your poison, there are plenty of sufferfests out there to choose from.

  43. #43
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    One day race - Strathpuffer 24hr. Scotland, just north of Inverness, first weekend of January. It's dark for about 19hrs and usually snowing, quite a lot. You have to be a special kind of stupid to try that.

    Most technical - Transvesubienne, La Colmaine to Nice, France. Less than 100km but took me nearly 12hrs, including the prolouge. 12,000ft of climbs and 20,000ft of downhill, and I was scared for pretty much all of the DH, never ridden anything like that before.

    Iron Bike?

    There was one in Finland that only 3 pairs finished from 100 starters, anyone know what that was? Mate did it and I can't remember the name.

  44. #44
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Interesting reply. We don't often get to hear of such folly as it seems most of us are here in the states. Those sound like fun.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  45. #45
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    Dirty Kanza is the hardest thing I've done on a bike for sure. Is it the toughest out there? Probably not. My vote is for Tour Divide. I can't imagine doing doing those miles day after day, self contained.

  46. #46
    DLd
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    Don't forget the AZT 300. I don't think I've ever heard it referred to as easy, but if it's not enough there's the AZT700.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    Fall in Fruita/GJ. F' yeah! Lunch Loops are riding sweet and so is everything else.

  47. #47
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    Andrewh8877, Offroad Finnmark I think is the race you mean.

    Difficult to decide on toughest race as its very subjective ... My day at Dirty Kanza was far harder than my Arrowhead 135 race as I hate the heat.

    Yak Attack as a stage race is very tough as at 5400m there isn't much air

    Salzkammergut Trophy is also a big day ... 211km and 7050m of climbing.

    I think Trans Iowa willl top everything I have done to date but then I forsee events yet to run that will be tougher
    shoestring-racing.blogspot.com

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  48. #48
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    Hi! does anyone of you consider : Craft 1000 miles Trans Czecho-Slovakia ?

    Registration for the race is on the first of January 2013 at 0.00 pm.
    According to 2012 experience all the places are taken within 60 minutes.

    So if you plan a great adventure without any support at all, 1700km long, 38.000m elevation, average speed 10km/h Do not hesitate! The registration fee is only 200EUR and I promise it will be one of the hardest races you have ever riden.

  49. #49
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    Hi Cowan

    I had tried to find this event on the internet a few weeks back but couldn't remember what it was called so thanks.

    Have you ridden it ?? any idea how easy it is to get to the start and back from the finish ???
    shoestring-racing.blogspot.com

    Derailleur? No thanks.

  50. #50
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    Hi Paul,
    sure, happy to help
    I´ve ridden the 2011. After few days it is all about your head. One can have a great shape, but when head fails...
    You need a strong motive to keep going really fast. Otherwise you became gastro-tour zombie
    I did not finish the 2012 /resp. finished 500miles only/ because lack of motivation when I arrived there.
    You see, there is an option to finish only 500miles. If you decice so during the race.
    The difficulty: it is very demanding. Even new bikes are wrecked in finish. New top forks stop to work after 3 days, holes in carbon frames, tires, broken alu frames..
    I belive only Alaska Iditarod is tougher race because of the extreme temperatures and dangerous surface.

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