We’re not biased, all types of riding can be fun; whether that’s a long, hilly road ride, a slippery, muddy XC race, or a high-level bumpy mountain bike ride. Often fans of the sport will enjoy variety in their bike-riding, which events they participate in, or the events they watch.
So, in this list we’ve included that variety. Even if you usually just stick to watching the Tour de France, branch out this year and see what’s on offer.
Škoda Titan Desert
The legendary race across the sands of Moroccan Sahara will take place between April 30 and May 5 this year. This is an event like no other: for six days and six nights you will live under the harsh conditions of the desert, share a nomadic bivouac with the rest of the participants and form a team spirit like no other. If you are willing to race in the heat of the African sun and test your will to survive, this event is for you. The registration is still open, so hurry up!
24H of Finale
If you like:
– Riding your mountain bike for hours at a time
– Hanging out with your friends
– Beautiful destinations
then this is the race for you!
24H of Finale is located on the Italian Riviera, and claims to be like a mini-festival but with the mountain bike as the focal point. This race takes place over 24 hours and can be entered as a team or completed solo with an event centre to rival other similarly scaled races.
Participants of this race will ride on an 11.7km circuit, competing with others to finish the most laps within the allotted time. Teams composed of 2, 4, 8 or 12 will ride in relays.
Dates for 2023 are yet to be released, so keep your eyes peeled (or check out their website)!
If you’re a fan of the 24-hour race style, but prefer a road ride to a bumpy ride, then the 24 Heures Velo ŠKODA cyclosportive is the race you want. Riders will complete as many circuits of the legendary Bugatti circuit in Le Mans as they possibly can in 24 hours.
The ride covers a 4.2km circuit (including 600 metres of climbing) and can be completed solo or in teams of 2, 4, 6 or 8 riders. The race will take place at the end of August, and what better time to visit this beautiful part of France. But you can only spectate this year, as entries sold out in 28 minutes! It must be good.
Unlike the 24H of Finale, the GB Duro takes the form of a linear race, with riders starting in one place and finishing in another. They in fact finish around 2,000km away on the other side of Great Britain, following the infamous LEJOG route. The route is completed in 4 timed stages of around 500km each, and the lowest aggregate time wins the race, though they don’t consider it a ‘race’ as such.
This all-terrain route takes in some of the most scenic riding that the UK has to offer, passing through 6 national parks. But for this privilege you’ll encounter around 30,000m of climbing. An epic challenge. Riders of this race are self-supported, meaning you mustn’t have a support crew, have no pre-arranged resupplies/bookings/or stashed goods, you can’t share gear and you definitely can’t travel by motorised means. It’s tough, but that’s sort of the point.
One (of many) interesting features of this race is that it has a no-fly policy. This is in keeping with their leave no trace principles, and goes beyond it. They also endeavour to get more women on the start line, with 50% of finishers in 2021 being women. Unfortunately, entries closed on 13th January, but the dot-watching is mesmerising, so keep an eye out for this race in August 2023.
Grinduro is not one single race, it’s actually a brand that organises a specific type of race. They have events worldwide, in Germany, California, Pennsylvania, Wales, Italy and Japan. So you’ll not be short of adventures for this one. Though you might have to try a little harder if you’re planning on trying the #nofly policy. These races follow the style of GB Duro in that finishing times are based on 4 timed segments. However, instead of each segment being long and gruelling, they are roughly 5 to 7 minutes each.
Grinduro races are a cross-over between a gravel road race and a mountain-bike style enduro. They consist of one long loop of mixed terrain including road, gravel and MTB singletrack, with each of the four stages contributing to your positioning. It’s not all about the racing either, they consider the event to be more of a party with a few serious racers mixed in. Most people are just out to have a good time, so you can find your people wherever you sit on the spectrum.
With a number of dates and locations on offer, you might find something that suits you!
The Fred Whitton Challenge
For those of you who are fans of skinny tyres and hill climb segments, the Fred Whitton is for you! Renowned for being possibly the most difficult sportive in the UK, the Fred Whitton (usually, with small changes each year) covers around 180 km, with almost 4,000m of climbing taking in some of the iconic climbs of the Lake District. The strongest of riders usually finish in 6 hours, but it isn’t uncommon for the average to take over 11 hours.
The event, beginning in 1999, is a charity challenge, named after Lakes Road Club member Fred Whitton following his untimely death. He was a huge part of the club, instigating club activities and attending all their training weekends. Club members thought they would cycle the route in his honour and use it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. This is now a yearly tradition and has raised over £2,000,000!
The event will take place in May 2023, with the ballot now closed. Spectating on the climbs is always a fun activity though, so why not head to the beautiful Lake District regardless!
This is only a small selection of the variety of events on offer around the world. You’re sure to find something to dip your toe into the world of racing! There’s nothing like a goal to get you off on the right foot in the new year, so get something in the diary and enjoy the training!