The Rift is a 203 km gravel race with 1950 m of elevation through the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland – taking place on the tectonic split between North America and Eurasia. An ever-growing battlefield that grows an inch every year. The battlefield sculpted by volcanic eruptions is vast, rugged and unpredictable – making the Rift a challenge of endurance, mental fortitude and most likely the bare elements. And in the end – a gravel battle between the continents! 

In January 2023, I started to document the journey of Christoph Döttelmayer from training in the cold winter Alps to the finish line at The Rift in July. Chris is an enthusiastic amateur cyclist from Austria who loves everything he's doing and still he needs to find time for training and racing next to his full time job. 

This is the 1st of three series I will share from the 8 months long production. With the following images, I wanted to give you an overview how tough is The Rift race and how beautifully brutal is the playground. The 2nd series will be about the new 1OF1 G1 gravel bike, and the 3rd will be the full documentary film - hopefully we will finish the post production soon. 

Here are few words by Chris about his experiences out there:
'My training this year has been amazing. We moved right to the mountains in April, because we wanted to live close by them. This brings a whole new daily playground for road, gravel and trail riding. Although I didn't race as much as I wanted, I was physically prepared for the big take on this race and also mentally I knew this was probably going to be the hardest race I would have ever done. The weather is also always something extra to add in Iceland which can change in every 5 minutes -  it´s so unpredictable. Comparing the times of the winners from the previous years gave me an idea of what I excepted from my race: my goal was to ride under 9 hours. 
Of course I get nervous before the start. It was a nice feeling standing just behind some of the biggest names in gravel racing. After the first 7km of neutralized tarmac section, there was a left turn where we entered the gravel sections for the first time and the race officially kicked off. After this turn it felt like all hell was breaking loose. Dust, rocks flying around, people just pounding their pedals. I was ready for the shready without fully knowing what will lay ahead. 
I crossed the finish line after 08:48 with a 27th spot from 420 riders. What a feeling. Personal goal achieved. Totally f'd. I have never been so destroyed after a race. I have I never looked so much forward to stop and die next to my wife, meet with her and my
brother from another mother Gabor. Happy. More than anything in the world.'

And a few Behind-The-Scenes images from the production filled with lots of smiles, friends and familiar faces all around the race. 
© 2023 Gábor Nagy

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