It was the best of times!
The WOW cyclothon is the largest in number and longest road race in Iceland. Held annually in June since 2012, the WOW cyclothon takes riders 1,358 km around Iceland in a maximum of 72 hours. This event combines magnificent nature, unity, persistence and teamwork in an amazing way. Last but not least this is not just a race to the finish line but also a large fundraising event for a selected charity. Read up on some magnificent moments from the 2018 WOW cyclothon.
The solo riders ride alone the entire way and usually have just one super hard goal in front of them: to finish the race. It's a unique ultra cycling challenge and this year, this was one of the most exciting categories as four out of five solo riders finished the race, with Eiríkur Ingi Jóhannsson finishing first in just 56 hours and 12 minutes. That is a massive record to break and the cyclothon crew had to race to put up the finish line ahead of schedule when it was clear he would be arriving much earlier than expected. But that wasn’t the only shocker in this category. This year, Elín V. Magnúsdóttir became the first solo woman to finish the race, doing so in 82 hours and 57 minutes, in the early hours of Saturday morning. We all got a little something in our eyes when she rode through that finish line, the first solo woman in the history of the race. Such heroes – much WOW!
Each A-team has a maximum of 4 cyclists and 2 designated drivers/assistants. This is a tough category since these teams ride nonstop and there’s not much time between exchanges to get much sleep. In the end, team Airport Direct won the men’s category, coming in at 39 hours and 53 minutes and team Lókal Girls won the women’s category coming in at 45 hours and 18 minutes.
This is WOW cyclothon’s most popular category. B-teams have a maximum of 10 team members who can all take turns cycling and driving. Team Sensa was the first team to cross the finish line, winning the men’s team B category in 34 hours and 54 minutes. XY Cycling won the Women’s B category with 43 hours and 59 minutes and Team Verkís won the mixed gender B category with 40 hours and 45 minutes. To see detailed results from the WOW cyclothon 2018, click here.
Hjólakraftur or Cycling Power is a unique health project aimed at empowering children and teenagers toward activity by cycling. Cycling Power has formed groups around the country, spreading the gospel of cycling to young people who, for various reasons have been losing the battle to all sorts of lifestyle issues and hadn’t found their place in the more common team sports.
Cycling Power has participated in the WOW Cyclothon since 2014 and have competed in their own category in the past few years. This year, a whopping 15 Cycling Power teams entered the race, each team with about 10 kids. Needless to say, these teams are usually brimming with good sportsmanship, amazing comradery and excellent athletic ability and they have a history of crushing the pledge competition.
The Icelandic Rescue Services
Speaking of heroes, the Icelandic Rescue Services or ICE-SAR, are the Icelandic nation’s designated heroes, rescuing countless tourists, domestic and foreign, from peril in the Icelandic wilderness. They’re a volunteer-based organization, giving their own time and volunteering their expertise to help others in need. These people truly embody what it means to be a hero and their selfless work keeps the rest of us safe. So when it comes to donating to a charity, they’re an obvious pick. This year, the WOW cyclothon teams raised 14.5 million ISK for ICE-SAR. That’s money well raised if you ask us!
If you'd like to see Iceland from a different perspective, make lifelong friends and set a truly worthwhile goal, sign up for the WOW cyclothon 2019 and get your team in gear!
Header photo by Erlendur Þór Magnússon