World’s toughest cycling races to challenge yourself in 2018

27/12/17

No matter how easy or tough was your 2017, there's something that will make you forget all your worldly problems:


Participating in the world's best and hardest cycling competitions.


If you're looking for ways to test and push your limits in 2018, look no further. For cyclists seeking new challenges that balance between the possible and impossible, these seven cycling races are the ultimate find.

Let's get started!


Worldwide

Ironman

When: All year round
Where: Different locations worldwide
More info: www.ironman.com

Ironman is a one-day long-distance triathlon race that consists of a 3.86km swim, followed by a 180.25km bicycle ride and a 42.20km run. The 16-hour race (on average) is non-stop and has no breaks to relax and recharge, which makes it an extremely difficult challenge for participants.

This sporting event is one of the toughest of its kind and tests all limits, physically and emotionally. Thus, anyone who reaches the finish line on time is crowned an Ironman.

In Ironman, amateurs and professionals compete side by side, on the same course and at the same time. Being able to beat the track next to professional athletes, is another thing that makes these events so spectacular and greatly popular.

The best part?

There are various races across the world on all continents, so you can find the closest one for you to test your skill and physical abilities.

Ironman triathlon

Image source: Ironman


Africa

Absa Cape Epic

Bike type: Mountain bike
When: 18-25 March 2018
Where: Western Cape, South Africa
More info: www.cape-epic.com

How high can you get with your bike? Absa Cape Epic participants know the answer to this question better than anyone. Every stage of the 8-day race is an epic, mountainous, and scenic climb.

Since 2002, the route has been redesigned every year, but it always starts and finishes in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The race is open for professional mountain riders and amateurs, men and women as well as veteran riders. An average of 600 teams of two riders take part every year - all duos have to stay together until the end of the race.

However, think twice (at least!) before you apply, as this is not an easy challenge.

This year’s race will cover the total distance of 658 km with 13 530 m of climbing, and it will include four consecutive days of riding over 100 km.

One of the winners of Cape Epic called it the “Tour de France of mountain biking." Magnificent and threatening - will it become your New Year’s biggest challenge? Watch this video and decide:


Europe

The Transcontinental Race

Bike type: Road bike
When: 29 July 2018
Where: Geraardsbergen, Belgium
More info: www.transcontinental.cc

If you’re looking for an adventure with your road bike, and are ready for an ultra-distance cycling challenge, check The Transcontinental Race (TCR). The organizers of this self-supported bicycle race across Europe call it “a beautifully hard bicycle race, simple in design but complex in execution.”

In less poetic words, this is one of the toughest ultra-endurance races in the world. However, there’s not much time to feel pain or exhaustion as the racers need to worry about navigation, logistics, and strategy. Any form of support from other athletes, friends or family is prohibited.

The clock stops only when the rider crosses the finish line, and there is no fixed route, just compulsory checkpoints along the way, so racers need careful planning to choose the best roads and resting times.

The brave participants usually cover 3,200 to 4,200 km, and the winners take between 7 and 10 days to complete the race. Since the first TCR in 2013, the race has grown from 30 to 1000 participants, however - last year only a third of them were successful.

Usually, the TCR spreads across 12 different countries starting in northwestern Europe and finishing around southeastern Europe. For example, last year’s race started in Belgium and ended in Meteora, Greece.

Image source: cyclingtips.com


Asia

Hero MTB Himalaya

Bike type: Mountain bike
When: 27 September - 6 October 2018
Where: Shimla, India
More info: www.facebook.com/MtbHimalaya

The annual mountain bike race Hero MTB Himalaya started in 2004, and this year will happen for the 14th time. The race is almost 500 km and 8 days long, going through many unexpected terrains and untouched parts of the Himalayas.

The challenge or the race is its drastically-changing terrain types, from mud to sand, from off-roads to loose racks. Not to mention Himalayan rivers that the participants must face during the race.

According to its organizers, Hero MTB Himalaya is the ultimate test of human endurance and passion. By riding higher up the mountains, the challenge is to explore the depths and mysteries of the majestic Himalayas, while enjoying the stunning scenery and spectacular sunrises.

Image source: @MtbHimalaya


North America

Race Across America

Bike type: Road bike
When: 12 June 2018
Where: Across the US
More info: www.raceacrossamerica.org

The Race Across America (RAAM) is a transatlantic bike ultramarathon across the United States. Open to amateur and professional racers, in solo, 2, 4, and 8-person relay teams, RAAM spans 3000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, and crosses 12 states.

RAAM is one of the longest endurance events in the world, often called “the world’s toughest bicycle race.” Running from the west coast to the east coast of the United States, it also must be one of the most scenic ones.

The official website of the race states: “For 36 years RAAM has been challenging ultra cyclists from around the globe to push their physical and mental limits to the farthest reaches. The Race has become a global icon, having had over 35 countries represented.”

It’s true that there’s no other competition in the world quite like the RAAM. The race has no stages, i.e., it runs nonstop from start to finish, with the winning competitors needing slightly over a week to complete the course.

RAAM is open to professional and amateur athletes, and the participants range in age from 13 to 75. So start warming up for this major event, if you have the guts!

Image source: bikerumor.com


South America

La Ruta

Bike type: Mountain bike
When: 1-3 November 2018
Where: Costa Rica, Central America
More info: www.adventurerace.com

La Ruta is a mountain cycling and endurance race that goes from coast to coast of Central America. The 259 km long race crosses five mountain ranges, and forces participants climb a cumulative 11,887 meters, which makes this race extremely challenging no matter of your physical fitness level.
Just think about it:

The daunting terrain is so harsh that 500 years ago people needed 20 years to cross the land. Today, following almost the same trails, the participants of La Ruta beat the track in three days.

La Ruta is one of the most challenging endurance races in the world, and it's also one of the most beautiful ones due to the incredibly diverse flora and fauna found in Costa Rica. A pleasure for eyes and a challenge for your willpower, this race is promised to be an adventure of a lifetime.


Australia

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Bike type: Road bike
When: 17 March 2018
Where: Across Australia, from Perth to Sydney
More info: www.indianpacificwheelrace.com

The organizers of The Indian Pacific Wheel Race calls it the toughest race on the planet. And there's a good reason for that.

The 5500 km long route goes through the entire continent from the shore of the Indian Ocean near Perth to the Pacific Ocean in Sydney. The race goes through deserts, wineries, rolling hills, winding coast roads and harsh alpine regions, as well as include major cities, like Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

As you may have already suspected, this race is not for everyone, and not only because it's tough. The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is a solo, single-stage and unsupported event, which means, the participants must survive the race all by themselves.

While this competition has no monetary prize, athletes from all over the world come to participate in this memorable adventure. It's a great way to disconnect from the everyday worries - the organizers of the event guarantees that the only worries in your mind during it will be riding, finding food and water, and a place to sneak for a few hours of sleep.

Ready to challenge yourself in 2018? Pick the race and go for it.