The Rift (2023)

I was on 45m Pirelli Cinturto M which were highly recommended for the course, they were ok, didn’t have a puncture, the talk of rock strikes in the FB page, well all I can say is try The Grallock

This was my A event, and was my was my anchor to help me with some MH issues, and left feeling that wasn’t even a good bike ride, let alone even, and half of getting through it was more mental strength than riding ability, coming of that horrible rock section after feed station 4, thinking thank god that is over, only to be faced with all those stutter bumps was just enough to break your soul

i know that a lot of it was the conditiions, Iceland has been very dry and warm of late, and sandy conditions and stutter bumps made by car suspension bouncing on the sand, wouldn’t have been there if it had raining a bit more, for me you could be going down a nice smooth section and then hit the stutter bumps, vibrate so much that you just stop in a few meters, just makes it something I don’t want to experience again

I was a DNF I rung my ancle on one of the climbs that you had to push up (nobody I saw got up them, and I couldn’t get up the grade on the road, let alone a sandy gravel climb) and it just got worse and worse, i was fine on the road and “normal” gravel, but when we hit the vibration sections it would just shot with agony, I bailed at the 105 mile feed station, if I’d know the rest of it was road / normal gravel I would have continued, but as it was I was having to ride slower and stop more often

I this years conditions were a one off, because that just wasn’t fun

PS, agree with you on the socks, changing into a clean pair was nice, but the least of my worries

From that feed station, you just went back on the same “stick” that you came out on….the course map clearly showed this.

The stutter bumps on the backside of the course are pretty brutal, but overall, I had no issues completing the race in 2021 with 40’s.

What were the race day conditions like this year.

I’ve been here a week and not seen much (if any rain) most days have been 15 - 20 degree’s, and think that has been the week before, according to the local (our host) that makes the bumps worse as they are just compacted sand made by the car suspension, but it was dry 15 degree’s and not a lot of wind

I agree, I bought the 45’s because of the FB group, my 40 Bontrager GR2 are far better in the sand and would have been a better choice for the race

(Just wanted to restate, only reason I DNF was injury, not tyres)

Yeah, sorry…my tire response was more to Noegros than you. I didn’t make that too clear.

Sounds like the conditions were the complete opposite of 2021…only about 50*F and rain most of the day.

Hope your injury heals quickly!

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Ok that was a difficult course. The deep soul sucking sand and the washboards were horrible, then came the lava rock road from hell. Going into the race I was more concerned about the water crossings difficulty, wet shoes and socks, and the climbing on the front end of the race. Those were actually a non-issue. The water crossing were fairly straight forward and I only had to dismount for the bigger crossing at the beginning and end of the race. I could have easily worn the same SwiftWick Merino Wool socks for the whole race, but it was nice to change them. The climbing wasn’t bad other than the hike-a-bike sections, but I knew that going in.

The washboards and the lava rock road were just freaking brutal. I don’t even think mountain bike suspension would have made them much better. I was so happy to see a paved road. I almost cried tears of joy.

I finished 26th in the 50+ age group (10:18 time) and could have probably cracked the top 10 if I had got lined up closer to the front and didn’t waste so much time at the sock station. I also had a friend that crashed on the danger descent and I waited for him and rode with him until he recovered.

The funny thing is how awful I thought the gravel after the first crossing was during the pre-ride. But when I came back across it at the end of the race, compared to the rest of the course it was actually nice.


@moukari assuming your 8 hours was for the 200k?

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Yes :slight_smile: I saw that registration opened today, good memories from 2022 but next summer I am staying home. The summer is so short here so I have to enjoy it.

Damn…that is smoking fast. Well done.


I see so much talk all over the internet about The Rift, but comparatively very little about the Traka. Anyone here done it before or are planning on doing it?

Hoping to do the Traka in 25. That or Laurens Ten Dams event. Strade Bianche in '26.

Hi, did you ever figure this out? I have the same question for 2024.

I know that this was an old post, but I had to LOL when I read it. Your description of the course was spot on! It was brutal and I only did the 100 km route! On the way back I stopped to chat with a group of mountain bikers from Iceland and the first thing they said to me was - “you’re on the wrong bike”. Max’ing out whatever tire you can mount on your bike is a must.

There were plenty of times on that course when I wanted my mountain bike instead of my gravel bike.

Having (very jealously) read The Rift threads over the last few years, it seems like this year’s version was particularly rough. When I look at the videos, it looks like there are tons of people on mainstream gravel bikes. Tires maxed, to be sure, but still regular gravel bikes (i.e., not mountain bikes).

I ask because I want to give it a go next year, but don’t have an appropriate ride. I’ve ridden a friend’s Lauf Seigla fairly extensively, and it seems to fit well (though I’ve never done 200km on it before, that’s for certain). I was just going to get one as my training and then race bike. Based on these recent threads, however, I’m having second thoughts.

Do you all think a Seigla no longer is enough bike for this event? I’m a 50+ middle-of-the-packer who isn’t chasing every last watt. I also don’t want to buy something that is so hyper-specialized for this event that it doesn’t really translate into mainstream gravel after this event. I’m never going to be a mountain biker, so I suppose the question is which gravel bike is robust enough to have a fun race and yet isn’t too over the top for when I’m back and no longer riding around volcanos.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

Many of my friends have Lauf’s. Either true grit or Seigla. I haven’t done the rift but many of my friends have on their Seigla’s or true grits. It’s a tough race but nobody I know felt like they were underbiked. I have a Seigla and have ridden it on many different gravel surfaces. It works great for all of them.

Hey Tom-

Ive done the Rift 200k twice now and will be returning this July. The first year i did it on was a steel custom made gravel bike. The second year i did it on a Lauf True Grit. I was very happy to have the fork for the washboard. My riding partner has a suspension stem and was really lusting after my fork.

I cant say enough about the Lauf bikes and company. You will not be disapointed.

FYI- Im A 62 yr old 210 lbs rider in fairly good shape

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I think a gravel bike is the right choice. I love my Lauf Seigla, but I didn’t like the the leafspring fork so I changed it to a rigid fork and that is what I used at The Rift and would do the same if I ever go back to do it again.

Awesome, thanks everyone! Really appreciate the feedback and suggestions!