Inside the Hardest Bike Race on Earth With Eszter Horanyi

Horanyi savoring the race in the Dixie 200Hornanyi takes a breather atop Powell Point during the 2011 Dixie 200, which she went on to win.

This morning, June 8, over 100 riders will line up in Banff, Canada, to undertake what might be the hardest bike race on earth. The Tour Divide, which began as the Great Divide Race but has now morphed into this longer iteration, sees riders traveling some 2,700 miles along the Continental Divide from Banff to the small outpost of Antelope Wells, New Mexico, on the Mexican border. Riders race completely self-supported, carrying everything they need for the journey that they won't be able to purchase along the way. The current Tour Divide record of 17 days, 9 hours, and 1 minute was set on an individual time trial ride last summer by Victor, Idaho, native Jay Petervary.

Lining up for her maiden Tour Divide is Crested Butte, Colorado, racer Ezster Horanyi. Of the hundred-plus starters, Horanyi is just one of 10 women who will attempt the race this year (not including Caroline Soong, who is racing on a tandem with her partner and 2011 Tour Divide winner Kurt Refsnider). And though it's her rookie attempt, Horanyi has to be considered a favorite to win the women's race and possibly even set a new female record. Judging by some of her most recent results—1st woman and 3rd overall at the Stagecoach 400, 1st woman and 9th overall at the Arrowhead 135, 1st woman and 5th overall at the Colorado Trail Race—she's also likely to finish faster than the majority of men in the race.

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