Desert Challenge

The cycling marathon is the beating heart of the Desert Challenge Festival, and is in fact the 23st edition of the “Sdom Circuit”, the longest-running and largest mountain bike contest in Israel.
At our festival, there are a number of participation options and an appropriate course for any type of rider: one or two-day participation, individual or 2-man-team, short or long marathon.
The participation options in the MTB races are:
Individual Races:
Friday - 59km - 2 laps of the Upper Pratzim route // min. age: 17 (2000) 
Friday - 29km - Upper Pratzim route // min. age: 13 (2004)
Friday+Saturday (Long two-day) - 59+48km // min. age: 17 (2000)
Friday+Saturday (Short two-day) - 29+24km // min. age: 13 (2004)
Team Races:
Friday - 29km - Upper Pratzim route // min. age: 13 (2004)
Saturday - 24km - Sdom-Pratzim // min. age: 13 (2004)
Saturday - 48km - 2 laps of Sdom-Pratzim // min. age: 15 (2002)

Rules & Regulations

1.      Participation is permitted for those who paid their fees and are on the participation list, as well as presented a valid medical approval in the registration process.

2.      Passing on your participation kit and running under a different name is forbidden and endangers the runner's health

3.      It is mandatory to run with a beam number and a time keeping chip which will be given along with the participation kits. Minimal participation age: 16.


Mandatory riding equipment

4.      Mandatory equipment: Functioning mountain bikes; appropriate helmets – helmets are mandatory at all stages; no less than 1.5l of water per rider; mobile phone for each rider; reserve tube for each rider; pump; tire-fixing kit. Organizers are not obligated to extract riders from the field because of a technical malfunction.

5.      Recommended equipment: Riding clothing and gloves; repair tools; drinks and energy snacks; sunscreen.

6.      Clothing: during the day we expect warm weather, and recommend you should dress light and protect yourself against the sun. It is best to pack light cloths and a wide hat for the end of the race, the chill out zone and the podiums.



7.      You should adhere to the instructions given by the tournament administration: referees, marshals, organizers, rescue vehicles, military and police. Should a participant fails to follow said instructions, he/she will be disqualified.

8.      The organizers reserve the right to prevent a participant from racing, should it be concluded they are in danger, health or otherwise.

9.      Littering will lead to disqualifying! You may not leave waste of any kind in the tournament courses. Each participant must collect their garbage. The check points will be equipped with garbage disposals – please use them.

10. Sportsmanship and proper conduct must be kept all throughout the tournament, and generally in life. Any participant deviating from the rules of conduct towards referees, marshals, other contestants or other users of the road (pedestrians, non-competing cyclists, vehicles etc) will be disqualified. Examples of improper conduct: violent bypassing, using foul language, pushing, preventing a bypass, or any behavior that endangers others.

11. A participant forced to withdraw from the race for any reason will report to the crew in person or by phone and will await their instructions. Participants leaving the course without notifying the organizers will bear the costs of the search and rescue efforts.

12. The routes are marked with arrows. You are not to deviate from the marked route. At each crossing, slow down and look for the official marking.


13. Categories in the various courses:

1.      Women up to 39

2.      Women 40+

3.      Men up to 39

4.      Men 40+

14. A category will be open once at least 10 people have registered to it. If this is not met, the participants will be transferred to the next category.

15. A participant's age is calculated according to their birth year (not day and month). For example – a participant born on February 1990 and one born on December 1990 are both 24 y/o for determining their category.

16. Minimal age for participation – 16 y/o.

17. Timekeeping will be done by SPORTSWEB.

18. Timekeeping is individual.

19. Each participant is measured a personal and pistol time. Winners are determined by the pistol time.

20. Cutoff time is 10:30pm

21. Appeals: you can appeal up to 30min from crossing the finish line, by filling up a form which you can find at the registration booths alongside 200NIS. If the appeal is accepted, the money will be refunded.

The organizers reserve to right to amend this document.

Friday 8/12 - 29 km Upper Pratzim
(59 km perform two laps of this course)

פרופיל גבהים מקצה 29 ק"מ רכיבה

Saturday 9/12 - 24 km Sdom-Pratzim
(48 km perform two laps of this course)

פרופיל גבהים מקצה 29 ק"מ רכיבה

Desert Challenge match-making at your service...
This is the place to find a cycling partner for the Veolia Desert Challenge couple's marathon!

If you're a partner short, send us an email to, with personal details, age, sex, physical/technical level, your goal in the race, and contact details.

We will publish them here on the page until you find someone to ride with!
 Saturday 9/12/2017 - Short Marathon - 24km
When? 7:45am from the festival site
How Long? 24km of desert terrain and 272m cumulative uphill
Who is it for?
Experienced cyclists with basic-intermediate skills and technique. Every cyclist who’s able to ride for 24km will enjoy the primal desert scenery around each corner of this course, and the white, winding canyons of the Sdom and Pratzim riverbeds, one of the most popular courses in the country. Halfway through the track you will find a food stop where you can stock up on isotonic drinks, and locally grown bananas and dates.
Course type:
Saturday’s course involves a steady climb up the twists of Pratzim riverbed, fast ride on Amiaz plain and a casual slide down the beautiful white canyon of Sdom riverbed.
Beginners will feel very comfortable in finishing this course, and skilled cyclists can use it to improve their time and capacity. It is fairly flat with little incline, and combines fast paced riding, alongside low winding limestone canyons, which require skills and technique, especially in the powdered paths created from vehicles.
Minimal age for participation - 13 (birth year 2004 and below)

Saturday 9/12 -  24km 
Elevation gain: 241m

Hight Profile 24km
פרופיל גבהים מקצה 48 ק"מ רכיבה
Saturday 9/12/2017 - Long Marathon - 48km
When? 7:30 from the festival site
How Long? Desert terrain course of 48km and 544m of cumulative uphill
Who is it for?
Cyclists with intermediate-high technique, skills and endurance (suitable for triathletes and road cyclists looking to try a friendly course).
The course is based on two laps, the first includes a short, steep climb on the “Mekorot Wall”, and the second is identical to the 24km lap. Cyclists able to ride for 48km will enjoy the primal desert scenery, the white, winding canyons of the Sdom and Pratzim riverbeds - one of the most well known and popular courses in Israel.
Course type:
Two nonidentical counter clockwise laps. The first lap starts from Pratzim riverbed, and 7km in cut to the “Mekorot Wall” - a short, gruelling, steep incline, which will stretch your legs and open up the competitive column. From there its a fast downhill toward Amiaz plain and into the winding canyon of the Sdom riverbed. At the start/finish line you can get cold, fresh bottles from your accompanies and you’re off to another lap, this time without the Mekorot Wall, but one which is identical to the short
24km marathon.
Halfway through the lap you will find a food stop where you can stock up on isotonic drinks, and natural/synthetic nutrition.
Categories & Age Groups
One Day Singles - Men/Women
Open - 17-39
Masters - 40-49
Grand Masters - 50+
Two Day Singles - Men/Women
Open - 17-39
Masters - 40-49
Grand Masters - 50+
Two Day Couples - Men/Women/Co-ed
Open - combined age 34-79 (youngest 17)
80-99 (youngest 40)
100+ (youngest 50)
In the Longer courses the category is determined by the birth year of the youngest rider and not by the combined age.

Saturday 9/12 -  48km (Two 24km laps around the course) 
Elevation gain: 241m

Hight Profile 24km
פרופיל גבהים מקצה 48 ק"מ רכיבה

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