International Cycling

Riders circle Iceland under midnight sun

2015-06-26 21:16
(File, Shutterstock)

Reykjavik - Jens Thor Sigurdarson crosses the finish line exhausted and hungry yet invigorated: he's just completed a gruelling 1 358km three-day non-stop cycling race circling Iceland under the midnight sun.

"This was just about as difficult as I had expected," says the 37-year-old Icelander, his muscles aching and on the verge of collapse.

"The first thing I will do now is go home, get some sleep and have a good meal."

Sigurdarson and his team-mates have just finished the WOW Cyclothon, an annual race on Iceland's Route 1, the main ring road around the volcanic North Atlantic island.

Riders start in the capital Reykjavik and finish in Hafnarfjordur, just south of the start, covering flat and mountainous terrain.

Relay teams

The backdrop for the race is awe-inspiring: pristine snow-capped mountains, flat lava fields and green summer meadows, deep fjords punctuating the long treeless coastline, and erupting geysers, all set against a sun that never sets this time of year.

About 1 160 riders took part in this year's race, featuring competitors from at least 11 countries, including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.

In the solo competition, riders had up to 84 hours to complete the circuit, while the relay teams - men's, women's, and mixed - had 72 hours.

The solo competition "must be some sort of masochism I can't understand", smiles Benedikt Ingi Tomasson, one of the race organisers.

In the relay, cyclists take turns on their bikes, sleeping and eating in their team's support car when it's not their turn to ride.

Read more on:    iceland  |  cycling

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