Connect with us

Phuket

Mountain bikers eye US$1mn in ‘toughest race on earth’

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Mountain bikers tempted by the US$1 million (about 3.2mn baht) in prize money up for grabs in a new South African endurance race are given a warning before they sign up: “This could change your life, or end it”.

Teams of two will have to come up with a US$10,000 entrance fee to race on December 3 in The Munga – a gruelling unassisted 1,000-km ride across South Africa’s semi-arid Karoo desert region at the height of summer.

But the pair that crosses the finish line first in the southern Cape wine-country hills of Stellenbosch will collect $750,000, dwarfing the sum shared by the winning Tour de France team.

The challenge of mountain biking almost non-stop across the desert with barely any food or sleep ranks The Munga among the world’s most punishing endurance events.

But it is the cash that makes the race stand out.

“I’ve observed in me and guys around me digging deep in extreme races and they were doing that for nothing more than intrinsic motivation and war stories,” Alex Harris, the endurance athlete and explorer behind the event, said.

“I am convinced the money and format will make people dig deeper than ever before, hence the ‘toughest race on earth’,” added Harris who, as well as being a multiple national track cycling champion, has walked unsupported to the South Pole and climbed Mount Everest.

Harris says 20 percent of the entrants will be experienced or professional cyclists with a chance of victory, while the remaining 80 percent will be amateur adventurers who just want to finish the race within the five-day cut-off time.

Riders will have to successfully mix strategy and psychology, choosing when to catch a couple of hours’ sleep or stop to eat while all the time keeping an eye on the mental and physical state of their teammate.

“Two things will happen as the race gets to the business end: one, there is the psychological stress that eats away at you and, secondly, your body starts to break down,” Harris said.

“You start to get ‘sleep monsters’ and they come on at any time, night or day. This force pulls down on your eyelids and you just want to roll up in a ball and fall into a deep sleep.

“If that happens when you’re on a bike, you’re in trouble.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Chon Buri13 hours ago

Faulty wiring, poor construction, unsafe materials in Mountain B fire

Chon Buri13 hours ago

Mountain B: Owner out on bail, Bangkok club inspection, viral moment

Central Thailand15 hours ago

Thai woman murders her abusive boyfriend in front of a monk

Sponsored23 hours ago

Super luxury villas in Phuket with breathtaking ocean views

North East15 hours ago

UPDATE: Sexy Thai model fined 5,000 baht for dancing topless in club

Thailand15 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Poll says 64% Thais had enough with PM Prayut

North East16 hours ago

10 year old killed & 5 injured after pickup hits motorbike sidecar

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime16 hours ago

Court releases Mountain B owner on bail for 300k baht following fire in eastern Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Thailand has 5 BA.2.75 antibody-resistant Covid-19 sub-variant

Tourism17 hours ago

UK student conquers mountain in Thailand blindfolded

Home Services17 hours ago

Top 5 reasons to get a maid service in Thailand

Cambodia17 hours ago

Nigerian monkeypox case who fled Thailand is banned from Cambodia for 3 years

Thailand17 hours ago

Red Shirts lead rally against Thailand PM on August 23

Bangkok18 hours ago

Emirates is recruiting cabin crew in Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Netizens slam cannabis firm for encouraging underage users

Transport19 hours ago

Drunk driver in 2 hit-and-runs drags motorbike taxi 300 metres

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending