The Rift 2023 100km Review

Me- average cyclist in my 60’s.

My bike- Specialized Diverge Carbon Comp with Maxxis Rambler Silk Shield 700x40 tires (no flats). On my Roval Terra C rims the tires measured about 44. I don’t think there would have been much difference between 40 and 45 tires, but I would not go less than 40. Of course, if you could go 50, that might make a difference. I think the Ramblers where fine, but something more aggressive might have helped on some of the sections.

The course is AMAZING, but VERY challenging. It’s hard to describe, but I clearly underestimated the difficulty - it’s rough and will beat you up. There’s no gravel route local to me that could have prepared me for the course. The future shock probably helped, but I was still beat up after the ride. There was one long really crappy section that I stopped to chat with some Icelandic mountain bikers on full suspension bikes and the first thing they said to me was – “you’re on the wrong bike”. I think that sums it up.

Luckily- we got fantastic weather for the ride. Overcast and cool with very little wind. The wind during the fun ride the day before was brutal and the weather can change quickly- so be prepared.

The 100km course was out and back- although it’s uphill to the turn-around, there is a fair amount of climbing on the way back down too. The first water crossing happens early, so you will have wet feet. I walked across like most back of the pack riders. I had wool socks and my feet did not feel cold during the ride. There are some deep sandy sections that I tried to ride without success and wound up walking those sections.

I have a Garmin 530 and had a hard time getting the course onto the Garmin. I had to import the gpx file into Garmin Connect and then transfer it to the 530. After the fun ride I figured I’d make sure the course would work…and it didn’t. I kept getting an error message- “no navigable route”. Thanks to the three German cyclists who knew immediately what the problem was- I needed to have Garmin’s Europe map on the 530!! So- I had to use my PC (which I had luckily brought with me) and Garmin Express to download the map. Unfortunately, the Europe map was too large to fit on my Garmin! So- I found a map of only Iceland and downloaded that one to the 530 and it fit. Success- the course would now load. I’ve been told newer Garmin’s can take micro SD cards and some will do auto area updates, so be sure to check before race day which Garmin you have.

I took the week before the race to see the sights. Iceland was an amazing country. The landscapes are incredible! Food is CRAZY expensive….just about everything is CRAZY expensive, but the trip was totally worth it.

Another item is off the bucket list!!