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Istra Land 2023

Happy riders, smiling and friendly faces, toasts, and long dinners: welcoming riders at the finish line has never been such a pleasure!

One year after that first mud fest of 2022, Istra Land is back for redemption. And how sweet redemption can taste in the land of sun and sea.

The anticipation and expectation that a relatively short sports event can bring along are fascinating. The weather apps get increasingly consulted as the crucial day approaches, and the packing part of bikepacking is rethought and adjusted multiple times. But it's all part of the adventure, right? So, finally, welcome to Istra Land 2023, and welcome to the never-ending Istrian summer.

Of the 400 registered riders, 230 gathered at the start line of this second edition. 96% of them completed the whole loop and made it back to the finish! That's 221 smiling riders: we've never heard of such a high success rate.


Gregor Lah has set the fastest course time: 17 hours and 20 minutes to cover 400 km with 5500 m of climbing! The first night saw the arrival of other ten other riders before sunrise. We welcomed the first woman at the break of dawn: Hannah Ghazi-Idrissi returned to Sežana in just 22 hours and 10 minutes.

Keep these numbers in mind for 2024! The perfect trail and weather conditions will be hard to match, and these FKT could last for a long time.

Istra Land 2023 hosted riders from 32 countries. The most represented country was Italy, with 40% of riders, followed by Germany (15%), Austria (14.7%), Slovenia (8%), and Switzerland (5.5%). Not only Europeans joined! Riders flew in at the start line from all over the world, including Canada, the US, and New Zealand, rising remarkably over-sea participation. The less represented nations ended up being Greece and Ukraine, with just one rider per country at the start.

The oldest rider was born in 1952 (71 years old) and finished in two days and 11 hours; the youngest in 2003, finishing in one day and 18 hours. Also, three father-daughter/son pairs joined.


The finish line has been open in Sežana from Saturday, September 30th at 2:20 to Monday, October 2nd at 18:00, with participants arriving at all times of the day and night. The last rider closed the loop just 15 minutes before the official cut-off, completing the loop in 81 hours. There's space for everyone at Istra Land: it's both the perfect holiday and the perfect race. Sure, the impeccable weather conditions have been of great help. It's not every day you can leave for 400 km with just a windbreaker at the end of October.

Happy riders, smiling and friendly faces, toasts, and long dinners: welcoming riders at the finish line has never been such a pleasure! And as someone joked... we better prepare for a bikepackers invasion next year!

Photo and text credits: 


cyclist in sea landscape
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