Third interview to the organizers of the five toughest MTB races in the world. In this occasion we offer you an interview with the Italian race Iron Bike.
Recently, the Mountain Biking UK magazine selected the five hardest MTB races in the world. Iron Bike (IB) is one of the top five.
What makes IB one of the hardest MTB races in the world?
IB takes place entirely in the mountains, each stage is considerably long, there are more than two mountains to pass every day with incredible total ascents. For 8 days bikers must press on regardless.
What do you think makes IB different from other events?
Bikers can participate at IB as solo racers and not compulsorily in team; it features special stage, times are taken at each start and for each special stage, the time spent at the refreshments along the race course is neutralized to allow each single rider to stop enough time to fill up energy!
But probably the real difference can be better understood in the following quote of one Belgian rider: “IB is more than a simple mountain bike race, it’s a real test for the character that can give a lot to your life. When you are aware of how you have faced IB difficulties, many problems of everyday life seem easier to be solved”.
How many bikers attended the IB last year and how many were women?
Approx. 133 bikers (the limit number is 130) among which there were 5 women.
What kind of bikers usually go on the IB?
Usually IB participants are bikers who train all year round for this kind of events, renouncing to participate to championships. They need to train a lot before IB and to recover after.
What percentage of the participants finish?
Usually IB finishers are approx.50 to 70 out of 130 participants.
How did the IB originate?
IB originates from the desire to transfer to the mountain bike world the same emotions felt taking part to the great car and motorbike events such as Paris-Dakar, from which IB was inspired. It was also designed to show places and landscapes difficult to be reached and discovered.
How has the IB evolved through the years?
IB always aimed to be international and through the years it received bikers from over 30 different countries. On the other hand the number of participants did not increase because we had to limit it to 120/130 bikers for safety reasons, to be sure to give the necessary assistance to everyone.
How many people are involved in the organization?
Approx 100 people (almost all volunteers), 10 motorbikes, all terrain vehicles (car and trucks), one helicopter.
Where do the funds come from to finance the event and what percentage comes in from (sponsors, fee participants, hosting city, etc)?
30% from entry fees, 40% from public sponsors and 30% from hosting cities and private sponsors.
Finally, what would you say to a biker to convince him to choose the IB over other MTB races?
Nothing. We do not want to convince anybody because we cannot accept all riders who wish to participate. Moreover interested bikers can gather all positive and negative details of the race through blogs, social networks, technical forum and so on…it would be very difficult to influence their decision!
Román Urbina, founder of La Ruta de los Conquistadores
Francesc Sallent, director de la Transpyr
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