As we polish up our last issue of the year, the Offbeat Races issue, our attention has turned toward all the wacky bike stuff going on out there. This Friday, the self-proclaimed world’s hardest ATB Race-Experience is taking place in the Southwest Kingdom of Vermont (SKOV). According to race promotor Old Mark, their lawyers recommended calling it a race-experience rather than just a race due to the intensity of the “course” if one can call it that. “This race is designed to break your spirit and your wheels too,” reads the copy that’s come across my desk. “Tougher than a Tough Mudder, more iron than an Ironman, more marathon than the Barkley Marathons, rougher than the Rough Riders and more shackles than Shackleton. RED BULL wanted to buy this event from us but we said no because even wings won’t save you from the depths of this PAIN CAVE.” If you’ve done something so terrible that no amount of apology can make you feel relinquished of your emotional debt, if you need to pay alms and would self-flagellate if only you could find the ole cat-of-nine-tails, this may be the event to you, if their promotional material isn’t hyperbolic.
The start/finish is at Analog Cycles in Poultney, Vermont. The race-experience is over 75 miles long and hard to measure due to it going through a…..Vortex? “The actual distance changes as much of the course runs through gores where, like the Bermuda Triangle and numerous canyon washes in the American Southwest, time and space and what we collectively refer to as the physical sciences don’t act right.” Elevation gain on the course is 12,365ft, give or take 500 feet. There isn’t one single flat spot in this race. What the course lacks in flatness it makes up for in seemingly every other type of trail dynamic and material. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to ride through? According to the SKOV ATB website, yeah they got that: “Tarmac, disused, chip seal, dirt, gravel, double track, fire, paved, warm-mix and a type of road indigenous to ONLY Vermont called the Class IV.” The trails themselves range from snowmobile and ATV paths to stream beds and washouts, and everything in between.
If this sounds up your alley and you can make it up to Vermont, make sure to be at Analog Cycles by 5 a.m. on October 5th. You are welcome to camp in their lawn, which seems very appropriate for an event of this style. Registration is $25.
To get more information, see photos, find out what kind of bike you should or shouldn’t ride, and to get to the registration page, check out atb.life.
Be sure to check back here at dirtragmag.com after the race to get the rundown on what went down. Find out if anyone disappeared into the vortex never to be seen again, got chased into the woods by a Sasquatch, forever lost in Vermont, drowned in maple syrup, wheels tacoed and eaten by bears, caught in a Maple Creemee soft serve machine, broke a femure scrambling up some nonsense ravine they’d just fallen/”ridden” down, or who knows what.