The battle at the front of the race is excruciatingly close as the rocks and near vertical sections slow the leaders down. This makes for some of the most fun racing to watch, as any small mistake or poorly chosen line through the rough stuff can make the difference. The riders come from all over the world, and the race is the Erzberg Rodeo, an incredible enduro event that runs twenty miles up the face of Austria’s Iron Mountain.
Over the course of four days the giant field of 1800 riders is whittled down to an elite group of 500 starters for the final full hare scramble to the top. The final start is split into ten groups of 50 riders, each released in massive drag race to the first corner. That’s when the real difficulty begins, as the second segment of the race is a huge dirt wall to climb.
With dirt, craggy rocks, wide open flats, and muddy forest segments, the racers face more adversity than in any other event. This race looks as if the sprint from Paris to Dakar were condensed down into 20 miles of wildly varied terrain, and it takes nearly the same level of perseverance to make it through. The winner of this race takes away a trophy made from a rock picked off the mountain, the respect of his fellow riders, and some bragging rights. If you don’t think it’s awesome, then I don’t know what to tell you.