8 Challenges Every Cyclist Should Try (Are You Up To The Test?)
You’ve decided to take up cycling as a hobby. Whether it’s to spend more time with friends, making the environment a better place or to get in better shape. Any choice to get on a bike and cycle is a good choice.
But you’re at the point where you feel you need to challenge yourself. What can you do?
While a challenge can mean something different to everyone, there are a whole host of cycling challenges and experiences out there. No matter your skill or fitness level, you can test yourself! Check 8 challenges that every cyclist should try below.
1. A Century Ride
What is a century ride? A century ride is a 100-mile road bike ride. This shouldn’t be confused with the metric century 100 kilometers which only gives you 62 miles to cycle.
This is considered a rite of passage for many cyclists. However, before you take the plunge and sign up this is an extreme challenge and all factors should be taken into account.
The weather, climbing involved and your overall health can have immediate effects on your ability to complete the ride.
If you feel you are ready for this intense cycling challenge you can find one in your local area!
2. Hotter’N Hell Hundred
This grueling cycling challenge takes place in no other than Texas. Much like the century ride, it is a 100-mile ride across the country and it is known for its 100-degree temperatures and insane humidity levels. You might want to pack some extra water for this one.
With over 13,000 riders from across the globe all gathering in Wichita Falls, Texas this challenge is sure to test your every limit.
Over the course of 4 days of intense challenges, activities and feasts, this cycling challenge is a great way to feel like you are part of something bigger .
Taking place every year, you may find yourself in Wichita Falls, Texas for the challenge of your life! You will be supported by local volunteers, fellow riders, your loved ones and the pools filled with ice. This challenge is one way to make yourself feel accomplished.
3. Absa Cape Epic
So, you decided to take up cycling to spend more time with your buddies? This challenge is perfect for 2-person teams. The Absa Cape Epic takes eight days of mountain bike racing.
Whether you are an amateur, professional, Olympic or World Champion athlete, you can compete in this epic race.
Named as an ‘hors category’ by the UCI in 2021 for their 16,650 meters of elevation across 624 meters of single tracks and trails. This challenge is not for the faint of heart.
Taking place in South Africa, this race features some of the most difficult yet stunning terrains. If the steep inclines don’t take your breath away, the views sure will!
So, grab a buddy, sign up and try your hardest to complete the Absa Cape Epic. You may want to add in a few extra legs days before you go.
4. Unbound Gravel
You may recognize this challenge as the Dirty Kanza. This event is now known as the premier gravel race in the country. With a distance of 200 miles to be covered, the Unbound Gravel is a test of endurance and sheer willpower.
Over 4,000 riders all come together at the Flint Hills of Kansas for a course of 4 days every spring. The event offers a total of six distance races; 25,50,100,350 and a high school event. While 200 miles is still the goal, this event caters to riders of all skill levels.
However, you will need to count your lucky stars if you get the chance to compete as the exceptionally high demand means not everyone gets a spot.
5. Race Across America
Starting in Oceanside you will cycle through Calif and end in Annapolis, Md. In total you will cover an incredible 3000 miles across the country and 175,000 feet in elevation.
This race is exactly what it says on the tin and has even been described as the ‘World’s Toughest Bicycle Race’. Are you ready for the challenge?
This transcontinental event takes no prisoners as it has no stages. In other words there are no stopping points. With some of the fastest competitors needing slightly over a week to finish, this event really earns its name as the ‘World’s Toughest Bicycle Race’.
You will never race the same route twice, letting you challenge yourself and see a new part of the country each time.
If you prefer to work in a team or want to join with your buddies, you can compete with up to eight people in a relay to make it more fun. Or ride solo for the ultimate challenge.
6. Haute Route Alps
We’ve all seen the Tour de France. But are you ready to try out the track? The Haute Route Alps is a week-long race covering 800 kilometers of the Alps. With a mouthdropping 21,000 meter elevation gain.
There are 5 locations where this race takes place ranging from 1 week to 3 days of riding. Experience France in a way you never have before, on two wheels. Pick where you want to go and set the clock!
7. Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB
The Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB is famous for its single tracks, loose terrain and intense climbing. All of which involve great technical riding skills. Taking place in the gorgeous Colorado Rockies, you will find yourself at almost 12,500 feet throughout the race.
This is not for amateur riders and can take years of training to have the skills to compete. Which may not even be enough. Due to the global popularity of the event you will need to compete in a qualifying event or enter the event lottery for a spot.
8. Gran Fondo New York City (GFNY)
You may be aware that Gran Fondo cycling events take place all over the world. With the World Championship taking place in New York.
Starting at the historical landmark George Washington Bridge on the Hudson River, taking you on a 100 mile (161 kilometer) tour of New York City.
You are given the option to complete your ride at the halfway point of Bear Mountain. Or continue on your intense journey of 2,800 elevation.
If you choose to continue you will be met with closed roads, police moderated traffic junctions and an overwhelming amount of support.
You may even feel like a professional cyclist for the day!
You now have 8 challenges that every cyclist must try! From exploring the mountains of South Africa to cycling the streets of New York City, the opportunities to test your skills are endless.
Whether you prefer to compete alone or make it more fun with your buddies, there is a race for everyone. Some even offer more amateur suited tracks. Your success really does depend on your determination, willpower and strength.
So, even if you only began cycling to avoid the morning traffic on the way to work or as a way to get in shape, you can test your endurance through one of the events above.
Sign up today and see how far you can go!