By Cimarron Chacon — The inaugural Rift Gravel race held on July 27, 2019 in Iceland was unworldly. Presented by Lauf Cycling and managed by Utah’s GRO Races, the event takes place on a remote 200 K gravel route. The course circles the active Volcano Hekla in the southern region of Iceland and incorporated 5 major river crossings.
The first year saw 265 registered participants, and 32 pros. The field was a mix of riders from the US, Europe and Iceland. This meant that many of the top athletes were racing unknown competition. The Pro men’s races was incredibility exciting to watch as the day played out. The field started out with nine riders, then soon became just four: Ted King (Cannondale), Colin Strickland (Meteor, Giodana), Christian Meyer, and Ingvar Omarsson (Novator). However about halfway in Christian got a flat, and the others pulled away. The all turned up the heat knowing they all had the podium to battle for that top stop. Colin Strickland proved to have the power stores that day and eventually pulled ahead for the win. He beat second place Ted King by just over 1 minute.
The Women’s pro race was dominated by Alison Tetrick. Ali took the lead early, pacing herself with the 10 ten mens racers. She finished a full 20 minutes ahead of second place Maria Ogn, Gudmunsdottir. Both the men’s and women’s race saw a local Icelandic racer on the podium.
The Rift also has a second award, the Viking King and Queen. To be crowned you also must participate in a series of Viking games on Friday before the event. The combination of your score in the race and the games determines the king and queen. They are awarded the coveted Yellow Wool Jersey, hand knitted by Icelandic Grandmas. This year the Matt Acker was crowned King and Alison Tetrick queen.
For more info on the event and travel go here https://www.therift.bike/
For a play by play of the event and the Pro Competition, watch the video King of the Ride: The Rift
For a complete look at the results go to https://app.lap.io/event/2019-the-rift/results