Nil’s Further Race Report

For Sale. Pair of legs. Slightly used. 

Well, that was quite the weekend. Friday morning 9am sharp saw the start off for Further Truth, a 500km / 16000 vert hike-a-bike race through the Pyrenees. It soon became apparent that this was not any ordinary race or adventure. Camille, the race organiser, had been working for over a year to create what he calls the ultimate “love / hate” course. I can tell you, it’s a piece of fine art. The terrain was brutally hard and amazingly rewarding at the same time. Bikes had to be pushed, carried, shoved & lifted over the most demanding terrain. But where there is so much vert going up, one gets rewarded with the most stunning views and free miles rolling down. That is when not having to carry the bike down…

Day one went well - I had a blast! Right from the start it became apparent that we were up for something special. There were a few stretches that reminded me of riding/pushing bikes uphill in the Aorangi Forest Park. Good times. After nearly 200km's, 5550 vert and 16+ hours on the move I called it a day. I was cold and tired and ready for some sleep. I found a place next to the road to roll out my bivy and rest for a couple of hours before pushing on into the next day.

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Day two. I don’t think I ever climbed 1700 vertical meters in 20km with a loaded bike before. Roads soon turned into gravel, gravel into paths and paths into just wilderness. Stunningly beautiful French scenery but demanding to get through. And then I slipped. My foot got stuck in a pothole hidden under the long alpine grass. I’ve busted my knee. Game over. From there on it was a matter of getting back safely to civilisation before scratching out of the race. Disappointed that it was over after 250kms, but it is what it is. Can’t wait to give it another go next year!

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Massive congrats to Marin de Saint-Exupery and James Mark Hayden for taking first and second, in an event that just saw four finishers this year.

- Nils van der Heide

Jo Burt best describes Further:

"To succeed at Further you need to be part road cyclist, part mountain biker, part hiker, part fell runner, mostly belligerent, an expert strategist and with a broad vocabulary of swear words. Being an Olympian might also help. Or you can just do your best and see what happens.” ( )

Link to this years route: