The course is 85% on gravel roads. The soil surface varies from packed and fast to loose and sandy. There will be several river and stream crossings which can be tricky. Water can be ankle high in spots. The first 3rd of the course is all climbing. There are two very steep (but short) climbs that you might expect to walk. The second 1/3 of the course is rolling to flat and the last 1/3 is mostly downhill.
All bikes are allowed, hardtails are good, but you will be fastest on a pure-bred gravel bike. The Lauf Seigla was made for Icelandic gravel and is of course our favourite for the course. We'll have a few steep hills that might need some walking but overall the course is favourable for 1:1 gearing or slightly easier.
The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, especially in the highlands where sun can become snow in matter of minutes. We recommend that you bring a broad variety of clothes and pick your battle gear the day before the race - our local weather forecasts can be found here: https://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/areas/south/#station=6315
The closest weather station is called Hella, the small green dot on the map.
Average high temperature for July is 57°F / 14°C with easterly wind prevailing and light precipitation (heavy rain can occur though, just ask Yuri Hauswald). We'll have around 18hrs of sunlight but it will hardly get dark as the sun barely dips below the horizon.
It's hard to say, it's Iceland, and the weather is unpredictable. There could be strong winds, horizontal rain or sunny skies (i.e. bongó). There are water-crossings so your feet will get wet. The best remedy is wool sock - and perhaps extra wool socks. On a great day shorts and short sleeves are terrific but bringing a jacket is always wise as things can turn south in a matter of minutes.
The average high temperature in July is around 14°C / 57°F.
There are 5 water crossings where you should proceed with caution. The stream isn't strong but depth and width can vary. Depth of half a 700c wheel and width of 5-10 m / 16-32 ft isn't unusual. As with all crossings the riverbed can vary - you might encounter pea size gravel to baby-head size rocks. If you're insecure crossing on the bike, we recommend walking over.
As mentioned above in "What should I wear?", wearing wool socks can save the day. Wet feet coming from 5°C / 41°F water into 14°C / 57°F may take some time to warm up again in regular cycling socks.
Check them out: https://bit.ly/2S5hknX
Yes. The course will be will marked, however it's important also to load the route onto your cycling computer as we'll be riding where the roads do not have names.
We urge you to bring the nutrition you normally use. That said, the aid stations will be stocked with fluids, gels and assorted food.
But please make sure you have what you need in order to fix mechanical failures out on the course. Things like extra tubes, plugs, pump, hex keys, etc.
Cell reception in the highlands is sparse. However, we strongly recommend, insist, that all riders carry their cellphones and keep them on at all times. Should something happen on course it's good to be able to ask a rider to call course staff on the next available spot. Also, we're riding around an active volcano, Hekla. In the unlikely event of the volcano erupting, authorities will issue a warning prior to the volcano going off to all cellphones in the area. Just remember, do not hide in groves or recesses, stay on high points because of toxic gas emitted by the volcano, which is heavier than the air we breath.
Most people speak English in Iceland, but it is good to know "Skál" (cheers) and "Þetta reddast" (it'll be fine).
We recommend checking out this video to fully blend in - Jæja, já and jú.
Hvolsvöllur is a small town, and one without a bike shop. You'll find convenience stores, gas station and restaurants but be aware of opening hours. The stores are not open before the majority of riders head out on race day. Make sure to get what you need in advance.
Groceries at Hvolsvöllur:
Krónan (Austurvegur 4, 860 Hvolsvöllur) Open 9:00-18:30
Convenience stores at Hvolsvöllur:
N1 (Austurvegur 3, 860 Hvolsvöllur) Open 8:00-22:00
Björkin (Austurvegur 10, 860 Hvolsvöllur) Open 10:00-22:00
Groceries at Hella:
Kjarval (Sudurlandsvegur 1, 850 Hella) Open 9:00-20:00
Convenience store at Hella:
Olís (Þrúdvangur 2, 850 Hella) Open 8:00-23:00