Think La Ruta with more than twice as much climbing and less mud
Last year's Ironbike race attracted contenders from Holland, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil and Nepal.
The 2005 Ironbike had 8 stages covering 611 km & 21,000 vertical meters of climbing or 379 miles and 68,897ft.
Last year’s finish rate was 43% and in 2003 it was 46%. That’s far worse then La Ruta’s average finish rate of 75%. Just like La Ruta it gets harder each year. It’s not uncommon for it to be raining, cold and sometimes there's snow present on the peaks of some of the harder stages. Also like La Ruta, the reigning woman's champion, Sandra Klomp, is a 3-time race champ. My money is riding on La Ruta Lou in this match up (no pressure Lou).
This race has special tests each day and the start is totally different from anything I've ever raced. Participants leave in 1-2 minute intervals everyday in reverse order. Sometimes there can be a two-hour difference between when the first pair left and the last pair left. The fastest riders leave last.
Last year’s event:
Day 1 - Prolog
Stage 1 - 57km, 2180 m vertical
Stage 2 – 97km, 2942m - 3rd longest stage with 3 mountain passes.
Stage 3 – 122km, 3519 m
Stage 4 – 30km, 1136 m
Stage 5 – 147km, 4517 m - The “big” day with 5 mountain passes
Stage 6 – 86 km, 3415 m
Stage 7 – 70 km, 2180 m
Stage 8 – Some racers had their bikes stolen during the night so this day was not counted as a race day.