Red Bull Cavemen: the underground adventure race

Olympic athletes battle it out at the first ever Red Bull Cavemen in Belgium's Grottes de Han .
Red Bull Cavemen - Kayak © Thomas Sweertvaegher
By Tarquin Cooper

Crossing mountains, rivers, wild landscapes and unsual terrain is what competitors have come to expect in adventure races. The more outrageous the location, the better.

This was certainly true of the recent Red Bull Cavemen which saw dozens of athletes duking it out in a cave by bike, foot and kayak.

The dark, wet and slippery conditions offered seriously technical terrain, where one slip on the narrow caverns would be punished instantly.

© Nathan Polis

On the startlist were Belgian's top athletes — nine time world champ trialbiker Kenny Belaey and 800m running champion Jan Van Den Broeck.

With Arnaud Dubois (BMX), Michael Bultheel (400m hurdles and 400m running) and Maxime Richard (two-time world champion kayak river sprint), there were three Olympic athletes from London 2012.

Red Bull Cavemen © Thomas Sweertvaegher

Red Bull Cavemen saw them take on an all-out sprint triathlon consisting of a 250m mountain bike, 350m run and 250m kayak.

Maxime Richard won in a time of 3 minutes 37 seconds to become the first ever Red Bull Caveman ahead of Bart Stienen and Jerome Richard.

Red Bull Cavemen
Red Bull Cavemen © Thomas Sweertvaegher

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Every athlete was giving it their all. The biking was pure speed, full control and technique on the slippery, narrow paths between these amazing rocks! It was an incredible vibe.

It was amazing day and a huge honor to be the first ever Red Bull Caveman!”

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