“I flipped my bike, and it actually landed in a tree. Spectators by the course were kind enough to help me get it unstuck,” says Zac about his latest enduro race.

It’s called ‘enduro’ because it requires a significant amount of ENDURANCE.

This is just one of the many arduous challenges our Grade 10 student, Zac, encountered in the grueling ‘hard enduro’ race he participated in earlier this month. Known as one of the toughest international enduro challenges, riders come from across the globe to compete in the Red Bull Sea to Sky (S2S) challenge that takes place in Antalya. It starts on the beach and finishes at the top of Mount Olympus.

Zac, who, at 15 was the youngest international rider in the competition, was riding with some of enduro’s top names. Zac was even profiled by Enduro News. Arriving the week of the tournament for skills workshops and terrain scoping, one afternoon Zac was able to train under the instruction of Wade Young, one of the world’s best riders and the one who was expected to win this year’s event.

Like many of our young equestrians, tennis stars, singers, swimmers, and other IICS students who pursue their passions at a high level, Zac deciding to compete in the Red Bull Sea to Sky took a considerable amount of risk taking and being balanced, attributes the IB curriculum hopes to develop in students. This year we have a record number of motocross/enduro riders at IICS, including quite a number of girls!

Riding since he was three years old, and racing in his previous country, Germany, this S2S event was the most difficult thing he has ever done. Aside from the technical riding skill needed, the S2S is just plain physically intense. The race is three days long and each segment of the race takes consecutively longer time to complete. The first day’s Beach Race is a qualifier for the Forest Race (up to four hours long) and Olympus Mountain Race (up to seven hours long).

“It rained hard right before the start of the race, which made the riding conditions much more difficult. Some parts were hard just because it was effort intense, but not technically difficult. Some parts were hard because they required very technical riding to navigate the obstacles but they were not physically difficult. The worst parts were the long stretches highly technical, effort intense terrain that exhausts you physically and mentally,” said Zac, telling how some obstacles took multiple tries, turning around, trying again, and having help from spectators and other riders.  It was difficult for ALL the riders, and some of the top seeded riders didn’t come close to doing as well as they had hoped.

“The best thing I learned from this experience is that I have the courage to try anything. Nothing I have ever done was as difficult as this. And I survived it.”