Tour of the Dragon (Mountain Bike Race)

Embark on one of the world’s most challenging mountain bike races, the Tour of the Dragon, held annually in the majestic landscapes of Bhutan. This extraordinary event takes cyclists on a thrilling journey from Bumthang in central Bhutan all the way to the capital city of Thimphu. Scheduled for the 2nd of September, the race covers an awe-inspiring 268 kilometers across some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain on the planet.

The Tour of the Dragon is not just a race; it is a test of endurance, strength, and mental fortitude. Starting before dawn in Bumthang, participants pedal through four mountain passes, with altitudes ranging from 1,200 to 3,340 meters above sea level, before descending into the lush valleys of Thimphu. The route is grueling but offers some of the most breathtaking views of Bhutan’s pristine natural environment, including dense forests, panoramic vistas, and remote villages.

This one-day event is often referred to as the “Mount Everest of Mountain Biking.” Cyclists battle not only the tough climbs and the long distances but also variable weather conditions that can range from sunny and warm to foggy and cold as they ascend and descend through Bhutan’s dramatic mountainscapes. The race is designed to push participants to their limits, offering an exhilarating experience that combines physical challenge with scenic beauty.

What sets the Tour of the Dragon apart from other mountain biking races is its deep integration with the culture and natural beauty of Bhutan. As racers traverse the diverse landscapes, they experience the peacefulness of Bhutan’s countryside and the spirituality that pervades its atmosphere. The race offers a unique opportunity to interact with local Bhutanese people, who come out to support and cheer the riders along the route.

For those not participating in the race, the Tour of the Dragon offers a fantastic spectacle of sportsmanship and determination. Spectators can enjoy various vantage points along the route to watch the cyclists, with the dramatic backdrop of Bhutan’s forests and mountains. Local festivals and cultural events coinciding with the race provide an additional flavor of Bhutanese tradition and hospitality.

Whether you are an elite mountain biker or an enthusiastic spectator, the Tour of the Dragon presents an unforgettable adventure. This event not only highlights the physical capabilities of the participants but also showcases Bhutan’s commitment to promoting eco-tourism and cultural tourism through sporting events. It’s a chance to push your limits, embrace adventure, and experience the heart and soul of Bhutan in a completely unique way.

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