Following the first edition of the Northern Frontier 4 dayer in November 2019, its sister 4 stager is now in the making. This epic challenge ride will feature a set of KOMs along the stunning border with Laos.
In far flung areas in the extreme North and near Laos in the West, signs for the Frontier Areas stand.
In these distant lands, riders already know they are remote, but to have it bluntly confirmed in three languages definitely adds to the sense of adventure.
In the past, many of these areas were out of bounds for foreigners on bicycles. Indeed, when we first rode Vietnam on bikes too many years ago, permits were needed to enter, and still to this day tourism activities in some more remote parts are not welcomed.
The first Northern Frontier ride took place late 2019, with a small group of selected riders taking on 17 KOMs over four tough days in the hills.
These test riders confirmed that the right balance of arduousness, adventure and attainability was struck and it will therefore go ahead again on the same parcours in late 2020.
Meanwhile, the Western Frontier ride is being laid out along the border with Laos. For this ride, we are still having ‘fun’ finding out where the line of ‘too much’ lies.
We recently headed out to check a potential Western Frontier stage. It looked solid enough on paper, but over the course of the 262km day with 5000m of ascent on every road type imaginable (including gravel), we decided to tone it down a touch given that of the four riders, only one finished without using some form of motorised transport.
The bikes that made that trip were an S works Tarmac running Continental Gatorskin 25mm, a Giant Propel with the same, a Rose with Continental GP4000s and the gravel specific Kinesis Tripster.
The outcome of the ride was set to have a big bearing on the upcoming Western Frontier course.
In the end it was an easy decision to keep this 262km mutli-surface beast for private clients and to continue with the original Western Frontier route that has long been in mind … much more on this to follow very soon.
The expected date for the first edition Western Frontier is April 2021, so mark the diaries if you want:
- 4 Days of around 150km with 2000 – 4000m of up
- 20 set ‘KOM’ climb segments
- A competitive edge, whether you compete with yourself or others
- No racing between the KOMs, so no stress
- Very remote, very spectacular mountain riding