For cyclists seeking the ultimate challenge in the ultimate destination, the third annual “Tour of the Dragon” mountain bike race, taking place in Bhutan on September 1, 2012, provides participants an opportunity to test their mettle in a destination unlike any other in the world. With rugged terrain, quickly changing altitudes, and spectacular surroundings, this one-day road race offers riders a chance to test their skills and to prove their endurance in a stunning natural setting that remains largely untouched.
Starting in Bumthang in central Bhutan, the event – often dubbed the “Death Race” by participants – crosses four high mountain passes before concluding in the capital city of Thimphu in western Bhutan. It is not just the length of the race, however, that is truly challenging, but also the high elevation and extreme variation of altitude: The 268-kilometer (approx. 166-mile) race spans elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,340 meters (3,937 to 10,958 feet), and riders gain 3,790 meters (12,434 feet) and lose 3,950 (12,959 feet) in total during the race.
As grueling as this one-day race may be, it is breathtaking, with pristine natural surroundings encountered along the way. From some of the last virgin forests in the world to stunning views of some of the world’s highest peaks, the untouched ecosystems that riders will experience during the Tour of the Dragon make the effort worthwhile.
Participants at this year’s event will also find themselves riding alongside royalty. His Royal Highness, Prince Jigyel U. Wangchuck, who is a biking enthusiast and President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, conceived the race and is one of the few people who have completed it in record time.
For riders concerned about making the trip to Bhutan for a one-day event, there is so much else to see and experience in this peaceful and happy country. Many of Bhutan’s top hotels are offering race participants 10-night packages, which will also make riders feel like royalty.
For further information on the Tour of the Dragon mountain bike race, visit the event website at www.tourofthedragon.com. For information on the Kingdom of Bhutan and additional accommodations, visit the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s website at www.tourism.gov.bt.
Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)
Tourism in Bhutan today is a vibrant business with nearly 200 private operators. The Tourism Council of Bhutan adheres strongly to a policy of high-value, low-impact tourism. Tourism in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and economically viable. Bhutan does not limit tourist arrivals; in fact, tourism is now a top priority for the government. “The Royal Government of Bhutan recognizes that tourism, in affording the opportunity to travel, can help in promoting understanding among people and building closer ties of friendship based on appreciation and respect for different cultures and lifestyles.”
For more information about the Tourism Council of Bhutan, visit www.tourism.gov.bt
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