Top 10 Inspirational Videos for Cycling/Triathlon

Morning rides aren't always this inviting

Morning rides aren’t always this inviting

There is nothing like a short sharp video to remind you on why you set that alarm for 5am (after most likely coming in at 2am on a Friday night) to go out and torture yourself on the bike. You may also use them instead of staring at a wall in the gym while you beast it on the spin bike – there is definitely one or two videos that I can weirdly recall all the worlds off by heart like a robot!

So to save time on your little crack of dawn search on YouTube I have put together 10 of the best to help you out of bed. It’s a mix of cycling intensive videos with a healthy dose of just plain universally appealing motivational footage. Enjoy.

[Don’t seem to be linking at the moment]

Best Hawaii Ironman motivation and inspiration

Ironman – Till I Collapse


10 Extreme Triathlons to do before you die – #Triathlonbucketlist


‘The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves’

So got into this triathlon craze then? Got all the kit, been posting some decent times? You may even have moved up to the Ironman triathlon.

Well sorry to break it to you, but you aren’t ‘done’ once you have completed an Ironman, not matter how fast you are or how many times you have been on the start line at Kona (mind you fair play if you got there!). Here’s a list of 10 that you need to start planning for (in no particular order).

1. Double Brutal, Llanberis, Wales (@BrutalTriathlon)

Looks scenic, bet the swimmer is hurting though

Looks scenic, bet the swimmer is hurting though

On the 20/21st Sept (2014) competitors will set out on a 4.8 mile swim in the beautiful (cold though!) Lake Padarn, followed by a brutal 224mile cycle which will continue into the darkness. With aching legs and a sore ass – seriously just take a week off work and pedal all day everyday to toughen that backside up – you will set out on a ultra marathon of 52 miles up yet more hills, much like this:

When you are just about standing up,vomiting from 36hours of energy bars and your head swimming with nausea, you probably won't mind the rain

When you are just about standing up,vomiting from 36hours of energy bars and your head swimming with nausea, you probably won’t mind the rain

Think you can handle that? Oh yeah I forgot to tell you the ‘hill’ route, is really climbing up and down Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales……..You can see why they call it Brutal right?

You can check out the race details here:

2. Savageman Triathlon, Deep Creek Lake State Park, Maryland, USA (@savagemantri)

That devil looks familiar.....I wonder what other cycle race he featured in......

That devil looks familiar…..I wonder what other cycle race he featured in……

The SavageMan 70.0 Triathlon is the flagship event of the SavageMan Triathlon Festival and it has already established legendary status because of some gruelling features:

– The Westernport Wall is one of the unique experiences in any triathlon with a 31% grade lined with screaming, cowbell-ringing crazed spectators.

– As you struggle up the Wall (and as the video below shows, lots of falling off bikes by exhausted competitors) you can look down and see all the names of those athletes who successfully made it up the climb cleanly. That ‘Bill Smith’ is an ass, you don’t want him to beat you right?

-The crossing of the Eastern Continental Divide at Big Savage Mountain, a 7.1 mile, 1950′ elevation gain ascent with multiple, extended stretches approaching 20% is, without doubt, the most Savage climb in all of triathlon. So savage, in fact, that all athletes are timed in their ascent for the Big Savage Challenge.The record ascent of 31:30 has been set, makes you think how long it would take an average athlete – aka that is 40minutes of pain at least!

3. Newton 24 hours of Triathlon, Lake Mills, Wisconsin


So what’s a good opening Ironman, 12hours? 11:30? Well how about doing that non-stop for 24 hours? The Newton Triathlon is a continuous loop short course with a 0.24 mile swim, 11.2 mile bike and 2.6 mile run. Athlete’s compete to cover the most number of laps in 24 hours in either the swim – bike – run or bike – run format. The winning relay team/solo in each category is the one that covers the greatest number of legs/laps in the allotted time, and if there are relay teams/solos completing the same number of laps, then the fastest team/solo on their final lap is the winner. Apparently there is no night swimming……so just you and the road, don’t think that will make it easy though!

4. Silverman Triathlon, 70.3 IRONMAN in the Nevada desert (@NVSilvermanTri)

At least it looks like a good road.....

At least it looks like a good road…..

If you are going to do a half Ironman distance – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 12.1 mile run – this is the tough one (there is also a full mind you). During its six-year-run it has drew thousands of competitors and is recognized as one of the toughest courses in North America (including the toughest list by LIVESTRONG).

This recognition has lead to the 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship (which recently announced that it would rotate between locations around the globe) being held in it’s third and final year in that location. Henderson, Nevada will still host a yearly IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, so here’s your chance to take part in one of the toughest courses on the pro circuit.

5. Norseman Xtreme Triathon, Eidfjord, Norway (@nxtri)

Reminds you of that fishing program of discovery right? Although these racers are stupid enough to jump in the cold waters!

Reminds you of that fishing program of discovery right? Although these racers are stupid enough to jump in the cold waters!

The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is a point-to-point race held in Norway’s Hardangerfjord to the local town, Eidfjord, where racers then make a transition on to bikes, cycling 180km (with the first 40km giving an ascent of 1200m above sea level) to Austbygda. In the final ‘run’ leg is a climb up the Gaustatoppen mountain (1880m). Because of racer fatigue and the dangers of weather changes runners have their own personal support crew (this race is unsupported, so you are convincing some of your mates – no doubt paying for them as well, it what must be the most expensive country in the world – to provide you with all your food and drink, massages might be handy too) up the mountain plus they must carry a backpack with emergency food and clothing, To reach the Norseman mountain finish competitors must be within a certain time at the foot of the climb or otherwise you get the lower course route & a different finishers T-shirt (one that I suspect you burn out of disappointment!). Just so you can get an idea of the weight of expectation now on you readers – the male record finishing time is 10:23:43 and the women’s is 12:17:04, so a tad harder than your traditional Ironman!

6. Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon (London to Paris, nonstop, including swimming the English Channel) (@EnduromanEvents)

I think this picture represents the race, lots of time to think by yourself!

I think this picture represents the race, lots of time to think by yourself!

The Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon is the longest point-to-point organized triathlon I have ever seen – mind you on the day you are either the lone solo or a solo relay team. The triathlon starts with a jog through London and the English countryside, aka 87 mile run (140km) from London’s Marble Arch to Dover on the Kent coast. This is followed by a cross-channel swim (shortest distance 21 miles/33,8km) to the French coast, but you don’t have to follow English Channel swimming rules – no speedos and duck fat necessary, swimsuits allowed. Of course you could try to be like Mark Bayliss (@bigBayliss) and set the solo record with no wetsuit! After that you finally finish with a 180 mile (289,7km) bike from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paric. The clock starts at Marble Arch, London and stops at Arc de Triomphe, Paris. Only 13 athletes have ever completed the challenge, the current record being held at 73 hours and 39 minutes. Rachael Cadman is the first female finisher and has a time at 97h37 on 23 August 2011 (fourth fastest overall).

7. Deca Ironman, Global locations 

Get sick of doing length after length in the pool, well these racers do 2.4 miles every day for 10 days......oh and all the other biking & running

Get sick of doing length after length in the pool, well these racers do 2.4 miles every day for 10 days……oh and all the other biking & running

There are a lot of crazy ultra-events out there, but this one might take the cake, at least for the lack of mental stimulation! The Deca Ironman in Monterrey, Mexico is an annual race in which competitors complete 10 Ironman-distance triathlons in 10 days. The fastest cumulative time wins.

Here’s a description from the Competitor website:

Each day, all of the racers head over to the University of Nuevo Leon. Once athletes complete the 2.4 miles of swimming in the pool, they take to the bike and ride over to the local track about 1.2 miles away. The track is located in the Parque Ninos Heroes. Once at the park, athletes must complete 93 laps around the track to obtain the 180 km of riding. After the bike, athletes run the opposite direction around the same track. The 26.2 marathon is made up of 22 laps.

So basically pain and laps!

If that isn’t enough there was also this year the Triple Deca Ironman attempt by 50 athletes in Brescia, Italy. This event which was designed to see what was possible! no doubt the sport science were queuing up! It was running until the 8th October, I am currently hunting for results! Keep tabs on the website;

8. Red Bull Caveman Triathlon, Belgium 

Next frontier for adventure racing?

Next frontier for adventure racing?

Ok before you get too excited (as I was) this race consists of only a 250 mountain bike, 350 run and a 250 kayak. It was pretty much an exhibition race in Belgium’s Grottes de Han with some of the country’s top runner & mountain bikers, as well as Olympic athletes.

I always enjoyed downhill segments on triathlons until I saw this!

I always enjoyed downhill segments on triathlons until I saw this!

However with races continuing to push the limits of crossing mountains, rivers, deserts my tip is to fully expect Red Bull to take this further and put a World Series on (like their Cliff Diving). I mean its a triathlon in a cave! And there is a huge catalogue of caves around the world which are the size of multiple football pitches………so Red Bull ummmmm *hint*……..

9. SwissMan Xtreme triathlon, Jungfrau, Switzerland (@suixtri)

A race list featuring hills wouldn't be complete without a Swiss entry!

A race list featuring hills wouldn’t be complete without a Swiss entry!

So the second triathlon from the Xtreme series to make the list is the SwissMan (there is also a final third called the Celtman and is suitably Scottish) a race which brings you right from the palm trees in Ascona, southern Switzerland (I swear that is what the website says!) biking over 3 Alpine passes and then a run up to the foot of the Jungfrau Glacier. The dramatic changes in scenery must make this one of the most incredible adventures in an Iron distance triathlon. 

10. Global Triathlon, The World!

Will this include the Pacific in 25 years?

Will this include the Pacific in 25 years?

Dan Martin (@DanMartinAdv) – Endurance cyclist, who has done both South Korea to Cape Town & London to Cape Town – set out on a project to do the Ultimate Triathlon – a global one. The project moved along pretty well – there was  interviews on BBC News for example – but never quite came together. I wish him well for this project in the future.

Lets face it this would be a triathlon career signed off wouldn’t it? No-one has ever done it……challenge laid down readers!

12 Top Endurance Races featuring #CostumeRacers; It is Halloween after all!


So as we all eagerly prepare our costumes for All Hallows Eve (I don’t think we will get trick or treaters in the condos of Singapore expat community!) and Twitter becomes filled with #Halloween hashtags; I am guilty also!

I thought I would touch on some of the most notable events or racers which like the challenge of dressing up. WARNING The entries below are a funny mixture of stupidity, bravery, stubbornness and novelty, complete with some very interesting running sores no doubt!

1. Vincent O’Neill, 89Km Comrades Marathon, South Africa

Rhino finish

The Rhino runner Vincent O’Neill, supported by Asics – I must admit I like there tagline ‘Better Your Best’, followed on from his entry in the 2012 London Marathon (also in a Rhino suit and with the fastest time in Save the Rhino’s history of 4hr 17min [makes you think you should up your game right?]) with a 10hour 38 minute finishing time at the 89km Comrades Marathon. Immense.

Apparently the race was one of the hottest in recent years which must have been just an additional factor with all that chafing in the 11kg suit! Hats off to you Vincent, and we salute your effort to raise funds & awareness to fight rhino poaching.

2. Bogsnorkelling Triathlon in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

The Bog Triathlon first ran in 2005, following a demand for more dirty fun around our famous Waen Rhydd Bog. Whilst embracing the local flora & fauna, competitors will run 7.5 mile run followed by 2 lengths of the 60 yard peat bog trench and then a 19 mile mountain cycle. Make sure you have a shower afterwards!

Check out more on the race and other barney events (bath-tub paddling, penny farthing racing etc)

3. Chariot Racing in in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales


I wonder if you are allowed to get the spikey bit to stick out the wheels of the cart!?!?

So I couldn’t literally make a list of fancy-dress events from Green Events in Wales, but alongside the ‘traditional’ Bog snorkeling (and one more event to feature later) I have put this gem in. Held in conjunction with the Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival in November this event finally lets you put tha old mountain bike to good use! Bring a good rain jacket though……it is Wales….in winter……..

I loved Ben Hur and always wanted to be a Roman when I grew up. Enough said. (Details here:

4.  Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon, Voorheesville, NY -‘Best Costume Trial Race in the Americas’ – RunnersWorld ‘The Trail’ 2012


Run this year on Sunday 27th October, costumed runners are supported by a host of fancy dress volunteers on a course that runs through Albany Running Exchange’s version of a graveyard. If a half is not your thing, there is always the Squirelly Six mile run. (Details here:

5. Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival, Oregon

Not just Zombies....unless that fly is on a dead frog!

Not just Zombies….unless that fly is on a dead frog!

1,980 riders in a festival mash-up at Bend, Oregon where the ingredients are comprised of bikes, beer (you gotta have beer), and the dead…..and yes possibly a few random costumes….

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

And beer!

And beer!

6. Lloyd Scott, The ultimate charity runner

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd Scott, MBE, was back in the day an English former pro football goalie but is now an unstoppable charity fundraiser, best known in the UK for his charity marathons. After surviving leukaemia  Scott has raised more than £5 million for a number of charitable causes, through what he calls “alternative charity fundraising events”, including the list below. Note this is only a highlight and is still epically long. Read down it with a smile and then tweet him some support – @

• April 1989: London Marathon – Just 3 weeks before life saving bone marrow transplant for leukaemia

• November 1993: Everest Marathon – Staged 18,000 feet up the world’s highest peak

• May 1996: Sahara Marathon des Sables – 150 mile ultra marathon carrying all equipment.

• Oct – Jan 96-97: Scott 2 the South Pole – Expedition to the South Pole

• March 1997: 125 mile Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon

• July 1998: Completed 135 mile Death Valley ultra marathon in 140 degrees of heat

• Feb 2001: Climbed Mt Aconcagua, Argentina (22,841ft)

• October 2001: 168km Jordan Desert Cup ultra marathon – dressed as Indiana Jones

• April 2002: London Marathon in deep-sea diving suit – Taking 5 days, 8 hours, 29 mins and 46 seconds to complete; followed by New York CIty & Edinburgh marathons

• August 2003: Completed the Marathon of Britain – 175 mile ultra marathon

• October 2003: Completed the world’s first underwater marathon in deep-sea diving suit in Loch Ness – taking 12 days


• Oct-Dec 2004: Cycled Penny Farthing across Australia – Perth to Sydney nearly 3,000 miles taking 50 days

• May 2005: ‘Swam’ from John O’Groats to Land’s End in swimming pool on back of a lorry, taking 12 days

• September 2005: Completed Great North Run in Apollo 17 spacesuit on bouncy stilts

• April 2006: Completed London Marathon as St George in 100lb suit of armour, pulling 200 lb dragon, taking over 8 days. Helped Sir Steve Redgrave break world fundraising record of £1.8 million


• April 2007: Completed London Marathon as Indiana Jones – ‘chased’ (but really pulling) 350 lb boulder around course


• May 2007: Trekked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

• April 2008: London Marathon as Iron Giant – 9 feet tall robot, weighing 70 lbs, on stilts taking 6 days


• April 2009: London Marathon as The Beatles (Sgt Pepper uniforms) in the Yellow Submarine

• July – Sept 2009: Land’s End to John O’Groats walk with life size tyrannosaurus rex – ‘T-Rex Treks’ taking 72 days, raising £175,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust

• June 2010 – World’s deepest underground marathon, 12,000 feet down at bottom of world’s deepest mine in, South Africa – sever heat and humidity over 2 miles underground

• April – May 2011: Magic Marathon – dragged around London Marathon as Brian the Snail from the Magic roundabout, taking 27 days

7. Las Vegas Great Santa Run

Like being back in school

Like being back in school

“Now in its 8th year, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run has raised millions of dollars for Opportunity Village and individuals with disabilities. The Great Santa Run has become a must for visitors, a community involvement activity for local businesses, a holiday tradition for families and an international spectacle.”

And for those weekend stag parties it would be the most surreal hangover walking out on this! Not to mention probably strikes an element of fear (:P) – is it just me or does anyone else think a Santa race is just one down from a clown race?!?!

8. Man vs Horse, llanwrtyd Wells, Wales


According to legend this race was created after a drunken argument in the local pub, Neuadd Arms, in 1980, whereby it was suggested that over a significant distance across country, a man was equal to any horse. It was only in 2004, on the 25th race that a man finally beat the horse at 2hours 5minutes and 19 seconds – although after cyclists were allowed in in 1985, Tim Gould beat the first horse by 3 minutes in 1989 – don’t think your 2 wheeled friend is allowed now though! The 2013 race attracted an entry of 65 horses, with 44 completing the course, enabling it to lay claim to being “the world’s largest horse race”. Gripping stuff right? I actually missed out in a chance to do this because of an injury in the Cork marathon, it’s definitely on the list!

You can find out more on wiki of course

Highlights from last year are here:

9 Wife carrying championship

Lets hope this man doesn't just put his head between her thighs during the day....

Lets hope this man doesn’t just put his head between her thighs during the day….

Wife carrying  is a weird viking sport in which male competitors race while each carrying their ‘wife’. The World Championship claims it has been held annually in Sonkajarvi, Finland since 1992, but I have been to some of those places in Scandinavia and Siberia, and there must be some nomad tribes competing in the depths of winter ever since they raped & pillaged the collapsing Roman Empire or parts of Middlesbrough.

The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. Several types of carry may be practised: piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist). The competition also has probably the best prize in sport – your wife’s weight in beer!

Of course this entry wouldn’t be complete without a video

10. Formula H20

Whale racing can only be next.......

Whale racing can only be next…….

Formula H2O Racing is the weird and wonderful sport that features scuba divers competing on diver propulsion vehicles (DPV) around the superstructure of artificial reefs. Didn’t see this at my University fresher’s fair!!

According to Natalie Oriente the Marketing Director for the The Wreck Racing League, Formula H2O racing is a “way to showcase the underwater sights and provide a level of competition not previously available to recreational scuba divers”. Refreshingly the sport also aims to highlight the need for artificial reefs; so a tad more environmental than Formula 1 gas gurgling monster machines and parades of beautiful women – statement of fact rather than a criticism, the movie Rush is currently hot on the mind I must say.

If I have you interested, check out; this video from youtube (insert isn’t working atm:

Or the league website:

11. World Naked Bike Race, Global


The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles but some on skateboards). So if you have been walking through a major city on a warm sunny day and a load of naked people cycled by this was probably it. And sorry nudists, our capitalist, materialistic world has made clothing compulsory so I will put this in the fancy dress category – German nudists aside!

The dress code motto is “bare as you dare” and I love the wiki quote:

“There is no mandate to cover intimate parts; this is a distinguishing feature of the WNBR against other cycling events.”

You can check out the history of this novelty of human social creativity on wiki, but basically there was lots of Naked Bike Rides – mainly German – but in 2003 Conrad Schmidt conceived the World Naked Bike Ride after organising the Naked Bike Rides of the group Artists for Peace/Artists Against War (AFP/AAW); with the first WNBR event in 2004 being a collaboration between the WNBR group (riding on 12 June) and Manifestación Ciclonudista in Spain (riding on 19 June), establishing a precedent as a solstitial Saturday observance.

You can google your own youtube videos, you pervs.

12. ‘Nasa Astronaunt does Boston marathon in space’

So how do you conclude this weird and whacky list of fancy dress running, cycling and holding one’s breath. Well I googled the final frontier.

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

210 miles above Earth, Expedition 15 crew member Sunita Williams attempted something no other astronaut has ever done. She ran the Boston Marathon while in orbit on a station treadmill, finishing in a time of 4:23:10 (which for the physics geeks out there was 8mph on the treadmill but flying around the Earth 5 miles a second – circling the planet at least twice). The Boston Athletic Association had issued Williams bib number 14,000, which had been sent electronically to NASA and then forwarded it to Williams.

I have no doubt this achieved her goal – “ to encourage kids to start making physical fitness part of their daily lives. I thought a big goal like a marathon would help get this message out there.” – Sunita Williams.

But the story continues and Sunita also did the Nautica Malibu Triathlon “held in Southern California” using exercise equipment, including a stationary bike, treadmill and strength-training machine specially formulated for weightlessness, to simulate the triathlon experience in space. Her finishing time was 1:48:33  after “swimming” half a mile (0.8 km), biking 18 miles (29 km), and running 4 miles (6.4 km).

Makes you ask what did you do this week right? Some more casual reading on this off-world endurance test can be found at:

Thus concludes our list today

So if you are planning to do something stupid over the next 12 months and don’t mind a bit of chaffing, I hope this blog has stimulated some ideas!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree - Chafing is a serious problem!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree – Chafing is a serious problem!

12 bike rides to do before you die – #Cyclingbucketlist

Is this what it is all about?

Is this what it is all about?

Bored in the office? Find yourself staring out of that window across from the desk? Well let’s put together a list of bike rides (which have all been achieved) which you can post on your computer screen and stare at for the next 3 years, until you get divorced and blow all your savings to have some good stories for when you are old.


When will you escape?

No1 – Riding across the World’s Largest Salt Lake – Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above mean sea level.

It is not as flat as a pancake, in fact much like cycling across cobble stones due to the way the salt dries in hexagonal tiles, but as uncomfortable as it would be to ride up & down for a few days the reflective surface has been compared to heaven on earth. It is about as far from an office as you can possibly get – no road markings, masses of pink flamingos bathing in pools of water and the only reference point being the Volcan Thunupa island (an old coral reef) on the horizon.

In total, we pedalled across 80km of this prehistoric salt lake, via the rocky outcrop of Isla Incahuasi in the middle. As we set out onto the crusty surface, the only landmark we had was Volcan Thunupa at the far end to guide us, there being no road markings to follow.

A great blog on this ride can be found here:

No2 – Keirin racing in Japan


Keirin is a very popular gambling sport in Japan. Nine riders race on the track at the speed of 70km/h employing different tactics as their don’t compete against the clock but first over the line. Riders are grouped into two groups – ‘Senko’ riders who have more endurance and are positioned at the top of the LINE and leads the LINE. Then there is ‘Oikomi’ riders who have more instantaneous force (I suppose the ‘Chris Hoys’) who follow and block other ‘LINES” and protect the ‘SENKO” rider of their LINE as they head towards the goal. Only in Japan and Korea is this Olympic sport held as a gambling sport with about 3800 registered riders classified into ‘S-class’ and ‘A-class’ (S-class being superior to A-class). The Keirin Grand Prix is held every December.

No3 – Nyalam Tong La pass, Nepal-Tibet


Nyalam Tong La or Yakrushong La is a Mountain pass in China on the Matsung Tsangpo-Phung Chhu watershed divide where the Friendship Highway connecting Kathmandu, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet crosses at 5,150 metres elevation. One of the highest paved passed in the world this route gives unforgettable panoramic views with breathtaking scenery of Shishanpagma mountain (8012m) and countless other mountains!

No4 – Cycling through Death Valley, USA; the Furnace Creek 508 ultra cycling race being the optimal way!


Furnace Creek 508 is an ultramarathon bicycle race that takes place annually each October since 1989 in Southern California. Its route starts in Santa Clarita, California (25 miles north of Los Angeles), goes northeast to Towne Pass and drops into Death Valley, traverses Death Valley in the southern direction, crosses Mojave Desert and ends at Twentynine Palms, California. The race is named after the total length of its course (508 miles) and the location of its midpoint (near Furnace Creek, California).The Furnace Creek 508 identifies riders and teams with “totems”; animal names said to signify or have a special meaning for a rider or team.

No5 – Death Road (Yungas Road really, who knew?), Bolivia


Cycling the so-called world’s most dangerous road is much like an extreme sport like skydiving or come to think of it more like BASE jumping because let’s face it there is no expert guide controlling your propulsion! The 40mile route, lined with stone and wooden crosses, has over 25,000 backpackers a year hurtling at 30mph over a surface more like a dirt track than a paved road. If your thing is perilous hairpin bends, unobstructed 600m cliff drops while you hug vertical rock-faces on one side, and in its upper reaches clouds obscuring the deadly jungle abyss around you; then well you should book a flight asap!

A interesting BBC report on this rider’s badge of honour can be found here:

No6 – Riding in a team car in the Tour de France


The Ride behind the Race.

Ok this is not actually an activity with a bicycle between your thighs but it is about the closest you will ever get to living the Tour de France (if you never make Pro of course). And yes you could dress up like this guy and chase cyclists up the mountain, but sitting behind Dave Brailsford in the car as Sky cross the finish line could top your Dad screaming at the car radio when England missed a World Cup penalty – we all need some stand out memories right? There is a great article from on being buried in the backseat under cycling equipment:

I must google this guy's name.....

I must google this guy’s name…..

No 7 Part of a pair in a tandem TT at the Paralympics

Of course there is always Land's End to John O'Goats as well.......

Of course there is always Land’s End to John O’Goats as well…….

Visually impaired cyclists use a tandem bicycle with a sighted pilot  to compete in paralympic track and road competition. Disciplines include the time trial and individual pursuit.

Just have to find an extremely talented paralympic athlete now who can

Here is a quick video on when the tandem was featured in the Olympics also [Paris 1924, the same Games at the Chariots of Fire in fact!], should we start lobbying now?

No 8 – Pico de Veleta: cycling Europe’s highest road


When a mountain climb hasn’t even featured with the pros in Vuelta a Espana (and really those Tour organisers are sadist, I mean they literally sent people out in the 60s to find these sick climbs!) you know it is going to be a long day. This 3,384m climb is the highest paved road in Europe and apparently ranks 15 in the world’s hardest climbs – number 15 coming from the Himalayas. The 40km+ ascent even has personal accounts warning of a lack of oxygen at the peak.

So next time your boss thinks he is the tough guy, challenge him to ride this. This is what happens when they sent a Telegraph reporter up there:

No 9 – Cycle the 1100mile Iditerod trail from Knik to Nome

Could turn in to a bit of a walk I must add

Could turn in to a bit of a walk I must add

This is the one with the dog sleds right? Right.

But cycling in the Iditerod has also featured for over 100 years; there is even books out there with original accounts and photographs of men who rode bicycles instead of dog teams during the gold rushes – ‘Wheels on Ice, Bicycling in Alaska 1898-1900’ by Terrence Cole (that’s a history thesis if ever I heard one!)

These extraordinary cycle rides fit into the present because of the determination of five Anchoragers who set up an original 170 mile ride which was conceived as a ‘shakedown training run’ to test equipment and stamina. Three years after the original race in 1985, 4 men completed the 1,049 miles up the Iditarod dog sled trial to Nome in 22 days – imagine that on your CV! This ultimate bike race now runs as the Iditasport Impossible (1100miles) or if you are a little strapped for time – The Iditasport Extreme (350miles) or Iditasport 130.

Interested? Check out more details on one of my favourite, mad websites –

Before you click enter, you may want to ready this quote from the website by Patti Brehler (a participate in 1990 February race)

“Anybody can mountain bike on a wooded trail. For a real challenge, try pedaling through two feet of snow with a 20-lb pack in minus 40 degree temperatures.I rode the trail for only about two miles, and had to push my mountain bike the other 50 miles. It took me 37 3/4 hours to travel 52 miles, and sometimes it seemed more like a survival test than a mountain bike race.”

But please try to enjoy it.

No 10 – Great Divide bike race, Canada – Mexico


The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is a continuous long distance race from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA. As of 2010 the route was 2745 miles but this length is adjusted as the organizers continue to refine the race. Typically the entire route takes 6-10 weeks and the list of complications include ( :p) 

– Reliable food and water sources on some portions of the route are over 100 miles (160 km) apart

– Unpredictable mountain and desert weather can bring snow, rain, high winds, and temperature extremes at any time of year

– Riders should be self-sufficient and carry camping equipment as commercial lodging is not available for long stretches of the route

– You may want to be a tad handy at bicycle maintenance and repair

– Much of the route is not signposted so reading a compass is a good place to start on your preparations.

–  It is also not uncommon to encounter large mammals including grizzly and black bears, moose and occasionally cougars – really puts that ‘tough’ sales meeting half an hour ago into perspective!

No 11 – Race across America


The Race Across America, or RAAM, is an ultramarathon bicycle race across the United States that started in 1982 as the Great American Bike Race and is probably the best-known annual endurance events in the world. The race has no stages and runs from west coast to east coast in the United States – approximately 3,000miles (4,800km). In contrast the Tour de France is 2,300miles long with the distance divided into individual stages and spread over 3 weeks. As you can imagine sleep management is one of the biggest challenges of RAAM as the clock doesn’t top even for sleeping. Solos at the front of the race will typically sleep as little as 90minutes a day and in order to make the 12 day time limit, racers can’t afford more than 4 hours a day at the most.

In its traditional form, RAAM is a solo competitor event – a non-stop individual time trial – the race organizers often call this the Human Powered Vehicle Race Across America and is slated as a platform for technology advancement in cycling aerodynamics and human powered propulsion. The current solo record was set in 2013 as is 7days 22hours by Christoph Strasser – which works out at 15.58mph average over the distance (that includes any rest periods!). In addition to the solo effort, there are also team categories – 2,4,8 – and tandem bikes.

Personally I had a stab at a similar race – The Adventurist’s non-stop, solo Transcontinental Bike Race from London to Istanbul (about 2200 miles) in August 2013; which unlike the RAAM is completely unsupported i.e. no car with crew and food behind you – you can see my race report here:

No 12 – World Cycle Race – ‘If you want a bigger race, find a bigger planet’


One human, one bicycle, one lap of the Earth, one world record – the longest and toughest bicycle race on the globe.

It’s a lap around planet Earth against the clock and your fellow riders. The distance must be 18,000miles although the route is up to each rider (noting that you must cross at least 2 antipodal points); so this is really your chance to travel the world and do the ultimate endurance race. It starts on March 22nd in London/Singapore/Auckland – not to pitch it, but this is my goal, so why don’t you join me; more information here: