But if you really want to put your endurance and high intensity training to the test, there's plenty to do this October — from sweating through 21-mile laps on a mountain bike in the rocky Colorado desert to the legendary Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Get out and go.
2015 Ironman World Championship, Oct. 10 in Kailua-Kona, HI
There are four ways to get an invitation to Hawaii’s annual Ironman championship: earn a slot at a qualifying race (the traditional route); win one through the Ironman lottery; get in via the Legacy program by (among other requirements) having finished 12 full-distance Ironman-branded races; or score a place through the race’s charitable eBay auction.
But no matter how you enter the world’s most coveted annual triathlon, make sure you’ve trained obsessively before tackling its 140.6-mile all-day (and, for some, all-night) swim-cycle-run. Finishing a race like this is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it’ll be the bare minimum for the hundreds of world- class endurance athletes participating. ironman.com
Levi’s GranFondo Bike Race, Oct. 3 in Santa Rosa, CA
Slated to include 7,500 cyclists, the mass start of this chip-timed road race is a spectacle in itself. But it’s once riders get away from the start and establish their pace that this event sets itself apart with its varied course topography, including 30 miles of flatlands and nearly 120 miles of treacherous elevation changes as riders wheel through red-wood forests near the craggy, breezy coastline. levisgranfondo.com
Hike the Long Trail, Early October in Vermont
By month’s end, biting arctic air creeps down from Canada and rushes Vermont into an unusually early winter (or ski season, depending on how you look at it). There’s no better time to hike Vermont’s Long Trail (the name of the Appalachian Trail for this 100 miles) than early October.
Capital to Coast Relay Race, Oct. 16-17 Austin to Corpus Christi, TX
Autumn in Texas isn’t just about football. It’s also about the return of the epic two-day, 223-mile relay race that stretches from Austin to Corpus Christi. Teams generally compete in groups of eight to 12, with vans on hand to ferry runners to the next leg of the race. Set to begin at 4 a.m. Friday and run into Saturday night, this one is only for the most dedicated road warriors. capitaltocoastrelay.com
12 Hours of Penitence Mountain Bike Race, Oct. 18 in La Garita, CO
Penitente Canyon in Colorado’s San Luis Valley hosts this fall’s most interesting new endurance mountain- bike race. For 12 hours, participants—solo or in relay teams—will try to complete as many 21-mile laps as possible over sunbaked rocky, sandy terrain.
Lake Powell Half-Marathon, Oct. 17 in Page, AZ
The setting of this race—a remote, striking region of the American Southwest where surreal sandstone cliffs jut out of startlingly blue waters—makes it feel as though you’re competing on another planet. Northern Arizona’s cool, dry fall air combines with amazing views along the route, and the area as a whole offers ample opportunity for other outdoor activities like kayaking and swimming. thelakepowellhalf.com