The Rift (2023)

Anyone planning to do “The Rift” this year? I and three of my friends are signed up. It is the first time for all of us. I have a lot of questions about the race course and logistics, but for now I will just start with a basic travel question.

What is the best way to get from the airport in Reykjavik to Hvolsvollur? Since there are 4 of there will be four big bags and four sets of luggage. Is there a car service that can handle that many people and that much luggage? I looked at renting a van for the time we are there, but it is any where from $1,300.00 to $2,500.00.

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Did it in 2021 and loved every minute of it…

As you have found out, car rentals are VERY expensive in Iceland. We ended up renting a cargo van for 4 of us and even then it was a tight fit. With all three rows in place we had to play Tetris in order to get the bike cases, luggage and us all in!!

Dunno if there are any car services available.

The course is awesome with every kind of gravel imaginable…from fine, packed gravel to baby-head boulders. Most of the climbing is in the first 80km. There are some washboard sections on the backside that can be brutal…literally ground us to almost a complete stop a few times.

Make sure you have a complete kit change at the bag drop, especially shoes and socks. The weather in 2021 was crap and I wish I could have put on dry shoes at the bag drop.

Feel free to hit me up with any questions…you’ll love the whole experience. Can’t say enough good things about the race and the country as a whole!


@Power13, thank you for all of the information you have shared about the race. I just read all of your posts from the previous years and it has been very helpful.

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I was there last year, it was a very expensive trip with my family but worth it. I am afraid that rental car is the only good option for transport. The course is rough, have your bottles securely mounted and train those steep rough downhill with your bike so you will do well in the event. If you have any questions regarding the bike setup and preparation just ask me. I did the course sub 8 hours which was my goal.


How big are the drop bags? How much can you put in them?

I did it in 2021 and met @Power13 there, If I recall the bags were large enough for shoes, kit, tubes and food. Pickup is right after a river crossing, and you don’t have another river crossing until a few km’s before the finish.

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Yeah, like @Harrisoncj13 said, it was a good size bag and you can get a lot of stuff in there. Definitely bring an extra pair of shoes if you have them.

Better to stuff as much exra stuff in the bag as you can and not need it….the org does a good job of bringing the bags back to everyone.

I am also a planning on attending this year for the 1st time. Can I add a couple other questions for you guys who did it, 1) hotels look booked so I rented a small vehicle that you can sleep in. I pick it up near the airport which is helpful. did you guys see many people using this as an option for lodging at the actual event (i.e. in the parking lot), 2) do you see any issues with this option? I think I may be challenged to fit the bike travel bag and the bike in the van. thank you

Definitely saw people doing it…in fact, Sarah Sturm did it the year I was there. Don’t know where people parked overnight though….but I’m sure the race organizers can help you out there.

Temps should be conducive to sleeping like that…you certainly won’t have to worry about being too warm.

The biggest issue I could see is being able to get it dark enough in the van…it never gets very dark in Iceland at that time of year. You’ll need to find a way to darken the interior in order to get good sleep, I think.

This is exactly what I did for lodging. My wife and I rented a small campervan for the entire week to sleep and explore in.

In 2021 The Rift actually included free camping for the weekend at the local campground in Hvolsvollur. I’d say dozens of people used this option. It was a short ride or walk to the race start and all the festivities.

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We had 6 people and 4 bikes last year. Managed to get everything in two Hyundai i30s. Helped having 3 of the bikes packed into Orucase bags. I brought along my Seasucker (that can fit 2 bikes) in case we needed it. Didn’t feel like putting the bikes together at the airport to load them up on it but did use it later in the trip after they were assembled.

Check AirBNB for places if you don’t. We found a pretty solid place just about 10k up the road from the start point of the race.

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