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Intrepid cyclists complete 150-mile bike race in depths of Alaskan winter

As Britain braces for another sprinkling of snow, US riders take on the real deal

While cyclists in Britain have been coming to terms with wintry conditions in recent weeks, spare a thought for some intrepid riders in Alaska who took part in a 150-mile race that proved so tough that only two of the 12 entrants managed to complete it.

A further six cyclists completed a shorter, 100-mile course in the race, which took place in the stunning mountain scenery around the Sheep Mountain Lodge in the state’s Glennallen area, where the temperature at this time of year can hit minus 50 degree Centigrade and never climbs above zero.

Officially known as the Sheep Mountain 150 Winter Bike race, the 150-mile event was won in 33 hours, 7 minutes by Jeff Oatle from Fairbanks, with Bill Fleming of Anchorage coming home in 34 hours, 14 minutes.

Six others completed the 100-mile course, with that race won by Frank McGuire, also of Anchorage, in 32 hours, 28 minutes.

The riders undertook the race on fat bikes, similar to mountain bikes but with much wider tyre clearance of up to four inches, allowing them to be used on surfaces such as sand, gravel and, of course, snow.

More information on the event can be found on its website.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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