This year’s Hell of the Marianas will go ahead amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the course will be shortened.
Instead of the usual 100-kilometer race, the Dec. 6 event will only cover a distance of 68K, according to race director Jay Diyco of the Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation. Diyco added that they decided to shorten and alter the course since no pros and off-island bikers are allowed to compete in the event that’s dubbed as the Century Cycle Race (thus the 100K distance). NMICF will be working on local events for now and hopes to bring back the original distance and course next year.
This year’s Hell of Marianas will only have two divisions, solo race and two-person relay team.
For the individual category, bikers will start and end the race at the former Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi and will pass through Mobil Tanapag, 5 Corners, La Fiesta, and 4 Corners (no Radar route). In the relay, the first lap, which will have bikers leaving Mariana Resort for Mobil Tanapag and 5 Corners and back to start/finish line, while the second and lap will bring riders to La Fiesta and 4 Corners (no Radar) before heading back to Marianas Resort.
Registration fees are $30 (solo) and $60 (relay) if settled on or before Nov. 30. Entry fees will increase to $40 (individual) and $80 (relay) starting on Dec. 1.
Last year’s Hell of the Marianas drew more than 100 bikers, including men’s champion and Australia’s Kevin Biffiger. The biker from the Land Down Under completed the 100K course in 2:57:02, more than seven minutes behind Edgar Nohales Nieto of Spain. Biffiger was handed the victory after Nieto and four other members of the lead pack took the wrong turn in the third leg of last year’s race, missing the turnaround point in Kagman and were eventually disqualified.