re-sized endurance MB marathons

Endurance marathons on your mountain bike

We recently wrote about two endurance marathons –  Furnace Creek 508 and the  Simpson Desert mountain bike race – about which more later – and so thought we would do some research into the subject. These extreme events are gaining in popularity – does this suggest a rather macabre side to the human psyche?

Our own experience of marathons is on foot and we hated almost every yard of the actual run but when you finish, when you have bested your personal best, achieved your goal and maybe even raised a few bob for your local charity the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is huge.

It must be the same for the marathon mountain bikers…….and having made some enquiries we have found some information on the north American endurance mountain bike races which we thought you would appreciate.


The world of mountain biking comes under the jurisdiction of the UCI – Union Cycliste Internationale (International Cycling Union) which is based in Switzerland. They run/manage all world championship events such as the recent UCI mountain bike and trials world championships that were held in Canberra, Australia. The UCI were established in 1900 but it was not until 2004 that the UCI held marathon mountain bike championships. The 2009 event was held in Austria with Roel Paulissen from Belgium winning the men’s event and Sabine Spitz  from Germany winning the women’s event.

Non-UCI events routinely cover much longer distances. The typical event in the USA is either based on time, usually 6, 12 or 24 hours, or distance, the most common being 100 miles (161 km) Events based on hours typically allow either people to compete individually or as part of the team. Distances events are almost all solo events. The number of these events and those taking part in them have grown greatly. The first such events began to be held routinely in the early 1990s Typical each year there were less than 10 events each with less than 50 racers. In 2006 nearly 100 events were held and most had more than 150 racers.

It is these non UCI events that we will report on today.

Montezuma’s Revenge is a 24 hour endurance mountain bike wilderness race held in Colorado each August. Competitors are required to climb a 14,272-foot (4,350 m) mountain-Gray’s Peak. The course varies from year to year but is always extremely demanding. The winner is determined by who covers the most distance in the 24 hour period.

Wilderness 101 Mountain Bicycle Race is a 101 mile (162 km) race held annually in late July. The race starts and ends in Coburn, Pennsylvania. The course is a single loop covering roads, forest roads and trails. The total climbing in the race is approximately 10,000 feet (3050 meters.)

Chupacabras is a 100 km race in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  The annual race has taken place every October since 1997. It is sponsored entirely by the private sector and draws hundreds of competitors each year, primarily from Mexico and the southern US.

Leadville Trail 100 MTB is one of the oldest of a growing number of 100-mile (160 km) races. It was first run in 1994 and has become one of the best known marathon events in mountain bike racing. Entry is by lottery, with entries due by the end of January each year for the race that is run the second Saturday in August.

Breackenridge 100 is an endurance mountain bike race held annually in mid July Breckenridge, Colorado. The race offers two distance classes, 100 miles (161 km) and 100 km (62.5 miles). No awards are presented to those doing the shorter version, it simply offers easier alternative for those riders not ready to take race the full 100 miles.

Mohican MTB 100 is an endurance race of 100 miles (161 km) held annually in early June in North Central Ohio. The course contains over 11,000 feet of climbing on singletrack, doubletrack and dirt roads. This course is very scenic, almost entirely tree covered and more than 90% on dirt. This course is only one lap and is almost entirely in the 5,000 acre (20 km²) Mohican State Park.

Lumberjack 100 is an endurance race held in June at Michigan’s Big M Cross Country Ski and Mountain Bike Trail in the Manistee National Forest.  The race course consists of four 25 mile laps in the Udell Hills area.  The course contains over 8,000 feet of climbing and is 99% singletrack. Due to venue limitations, only 250 racers are allowed to participate.

Shenandoah 100 is a 100 mile (162 km) endurance race held annually on the Sunday during Labour Day weekend. The race course start and finish points are near Stokesville, Virginia and is mostly contained in the George Washington National Forest and has nearly 12,500 feet of vertical climbing over the 100 miles.

Endurance 100 is an endurance race of 100 miles (162 kms) held annually in late August in Utah.

So there you have a brief compendium of the main endurance marathons held in the US – we hope you will get yourselves motivated to take on this challenge – get yourself fit and then glow in the aftermath personal satisfaction and achievement. Below is some action from Utah in the video from BrianHeadInsiders

We promised to update you on how the crazy guys are in the Simpson Desert classic – day 3 and its getting tougher – still one man with 100% – thanks to Sue George of for this extract.

‘Once again the Simpson Desert threw in a bag of tricks for the riders. A change from the normal race route has been necessary as the Warburton Crossing leading onto the Birdsville Track is impassable. Day three was diverted up the little used sand track, known as the K1 Line.

Good conditions were experienced for the first few hours of the stage. However, by around 10:00 am riders were pushing into a northerly headwind while slugging through soft sand. By 10:45 am, the wind blew up a massive dust storm that has continued through most of the day and evening.

Nevertheless, 13 riders completed the morning stage, including the one remaining 100% rider, Alan Keenleside from NSW. Keenleside was well supported throughout the day by 2008 winner Lynton Stretton, who despite suffering a knee injury, is doing everything possible to help him remain undefeated by the desert.’

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2 Responses to “Endurance marathons on your mountain bike”

  1. goods
    2013 | 7 May at 03:20 #

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  2. Adam Shaw
    2013 | 31 December at 18:45 #

    Pay attention summer of 2014! Something on this list that has been no longer IS COMING BACK in some form or another in Colorado and it will be going primal. Endurance racing isn’t dead. It is just reenergizing AWAY from the comercialized events

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