Return to Iceland: Glacier 360 Stage Race
2 years later: Return to the Land of Fire and Ice!
"A three-day international endurance stage race, in Iceland? Yeah, I'm in!" My good friend Bergur Benediktsson, an Icelandic adventurer who works for Lauf Cycling, had invited me to be his teammate for the 2nd running of the Glacier360. It was a race circumnavigating the giant Langjökull glacier, and I jumped at the chance to return to this remote, harsh, and visually mind-blowing country.
I had been to Iceland two years earlier on a film trip for First Tracks Productions' Off The Beaten Path, where Bergur and I had met, and had gotten a good taste of what Iceland had to offer through off-trail riding on a fat bike. This was my chance to test my mettle on technical singletrack, doubletrack, and Iceland's infamous mountain "roads" on my racing mountain bike.
I had also gotten a good taste of Iceland's infamous weather on that film trip. Winds that had literally blown me off my bike, icy rain, dense fog that rendered any navigational skills useless, and temps that never rose much above 50 degrees even at the height of summer. I had been inspired by the Icelandic athletes I had met who were as rugged and determined as the conditions through which they were accustomed to riding. With huge smiles, boisterous attitudes and unending cheerfulness, they had led the filming team through the gnarliest weather and terrain. Their attitudes and our laughing at the ridiculousness of it all had made riding in the challenging conditions fun.
Besides, those of us crazy enough to travel around the world competing in endurance races do it to challenge ourselves, and what could be better than combining hard racing with wild weather, with a good friend and local Icelander as a teammate? Yeah, sign me up.
The race was three days of racing up and down mountains, on lava, across deep rivers, in every weather condition Iceland could throw at us. And the wind... oh, the wind! Bergur and I were great teammates, we both had different strengths that complemented each other well. We raced hard and rode smart, supported and pushed each other every day, and shared lots of laughs on the bike and in the incredibly beautiful settings all the racers were camped at each night as we soaked in the natural hot springs after the long days. We ended up with the win in the Mixed Duos category, and our time also landed us 3rd in Open Men's Duos.
I have a full write-up of the race, complete with photos, coming out in Bike Rumor magazine so stay tuned! And go register for the 2018 version of Glacier360!