1. Most Horrible Thing Ever
Teams of two pedal Pisgah singletrack to reach 36 checkpoints during 36 hours of straight riding. No sleeping, no resting, no entry fees, no prizes, just brutal mountain biking. February.
2. The Barkley 100-Miler
Considered one of the toughest 100-mile foot races in the world, ultra runners gain almost 53,000 feet in elevation by running five 20-mile loops in Frozen Head State Park in Eastern Tennessee. Runners have to earn a spot at the starting line, and since the Barkley’s inception in ’86, only seven competitors have finished the race. March.
3. Odyssey Endorphin Fix
Adventure racers know the Odyssey Endorphin Fix as the toughest three-day race in the country. Traditionally, the race pits competitors against the terrain of the New River Gorge, but in 2009, the location moved to Pipestem State Park in rugged Southeastern West Virginia. For good measure, the race production company added a half-day to the Fix, making it a brutal 3.5-day expedition race. April.
4. Triple Crown Bouldering Series
Three separate bouldering competitions scattered throughout the fall at three legendary bouldering crags attract the strongest climbers in the Southeast. Each competition draws a fun-loving crowd, but don’t let the party vibe fool you: winning the Triple Crown is a benchmark accomplishment and these climbers bring their A-game. October, November, December.
5. Assault on Mount Mitchell
This classic road cycling race to the top of Mount Mitchell, N.C., the highest mountain in the Eastern United States, begins in Spartanburg, S.C. From there, cyclists pedal 102 miles, gaining 11,000 feet of elevation along their way to the summit. The final push up the peak is brutally steep, and cyclists train all year just to make sure they have the legs to cross the finish line. June.