FEBRUARY: HELL’S GATE
In most off-road events, spectator assistance is forbidden. To ascend the final climb at Hell’s Gate in Ciocco,
Italy, however, help from the spectators is actually
mandatory. It’s virtually impossible to manage the final
section without aid, whether it’s a shove or a human
chain pulling the bike up with a rope. A morning qualifier
whittles the field down to a dozen or so finalists who
advance to an evening race that includes six laps around
a brutal course that is usually covered in snow and ice.
After completing the six laps, competitors must make
the final climb to Hell’s Peak, which is the toughest part
of the race. In 2011, only two riders finished in the prescribed time limit.
FEBRUARY: KING OF THE MOTOS
The King of the Motos is actually a sideshow that has
been held for the last two years a few days before the King
of the Hammers, which is an elite, four-wheel-drive, rock-crawling event. It is supposed to be invitation-only, but if
you really want to spend a day lifting your bike through the
rocks of Lucerne, California, you can probably get in. It’s a
mass start that heads straight up a big rock pile, followed
by a long, high-speed section of desert whoops. Then the
riders fight their way through another rock pile, and that
pattern repeats itself again and again.
MAY: ERZBERG RODEO
The Erzberg Rodeo is more of a party than a race.
Hundreds of enthusiasts come to the active mining town of