Bhutan Back in the Saddle for Death Race

Above: Only about a third of entrants last the course.

You could be forgiven for thinking the moniker of “Death Race” had been bestowed on Bhutan’s Tour of the Dragon cycling contest solely because its participants have to cover 268 kilometers in one day– but there’s the small matter of the 3,790 meters’ elevation gained and 3,950 meters lost during the race.

The abrupt altitude changes and wending valleys of the Himalayan kingdom form one of cycling’s great tests, but it is also an area of outstanding beauty– the national constitution requires 60 percent of Bhutan’s land to remain under forest cover.

The third annual Tour of the Dragon will begin in the western town of Bumthang on September 21, crossing four mountain passes before a sprint finish to the capital Thimpu.

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