Samarathon Desert MTB Race
An unforgettable experience of MTB team marathon, based purely on desert paths which are unique to Israel, from the Negev, through the Arava and all the way to the Eilat Mountains. The Samarathon Desert MTB Race is a three-day event including a prologue + 2 race stages in a special desert-festival atmosphere.
The Samarathon Desert MTB Race is a relatively young MTB event, having its routes in 2015, as a 2-stage race. In 2016 we added a time trial-style prologue in Mitzpe Ramon and the Hava singletrack. In the third edition we were hoping to grow into a 4-day event, with a prologue and 3 stages, but as of 9/11 the event goes back to the original format, with a slightly longer prologue in a new area and with upgraded point-to-point stages.
Desert riding is unique and may be very different from your familiar rides. You may face hot weather even in the middle of winter; no trees, vegetation or shade; sandy or loose terrain; unending ascents and super-flowing singletracks with perfect traction, designed and built by riders for riders. This means that the Samarathon Desert MTB Race is aimed at tough and seasoned mountain-bikers who can wrestle with 3 long riding days in harsh desert conditions. Those facing the challenge will get to relax in the wild and awesome Riders’ Village with delicious food, cold drinks, fresh fruit shakes, music and more of the famous hospitality of Samar.
The MTB competition will be run at the highest level, with professional timekeeping, meticulous course signing, teams of course-marshals, emergency vehicles, feed zones and media teams.
The desert riding trails are the highlight of this event. We took the absolute best of what the arid far South has to offer: Amazing Single tracks, hand crafted by the Samar Bike Hotel team as part of the Israel Bike Trail, authentic Nakebs (camel trails) formed by ancient caravans, gravel and 4X4 tracks in stunning primordial vistas, heart and lung-tearing ascents and impressive wind-swept plateaus requiring team-work or peloton skills. From all those we have created courses that will challenge you to the utmost and at the same time make you sound involuntary cries of joy…
The race starts with a 35km’s route from Sde Boker based on the Halukim singletrack: A combination of 4X4 roads and medium-level singletracks, flowy segments and hard peloton segments, relatively moderate gradients without any dramatic ascents or descents.
80 km (1100 meters climb). Following a short shuttle, the course will start from Kibbutz Lotan and connect to the IBT at the bottom of the edgy Ketura ascent, then climb it to Neot Smadar. From there to the unique singletrail crossing Kasuy sand dunes and along the cliff’s edge to the head of Shaharut descent. It’s down all the way into the valley, followed by a 5km hand-built singletrack leading back to a relatively flat dirt road back south. The riders will then enter Sasgon Valley at the entrance to Timna Park. A sweet dessert in the form of Timna singletrail and the finish line in the riders village.
60 km (600 meters climb): Start from the wind-swept plateaus of Ovda Valley, on 4X4 roads into the dry streams of Milhan and Metek, to the IBT singletrail of Berech Mountain and the great descent into the Arava Valley. A varied day of built singletrails, loose gravel and sand roads, technical 4X4 descents and to top it all – a spin in the breathtakingly beautiful and ancient Timna Park