Located in Siberia, Russia, Lake Baikal is considered the deepest and largest freshwater lake by volume in the world. The Great Baikal Trail, a network of hiking paths, circle the lake. The trails are popular with tourists in the summer, but in the winter the lake itself, not just it’s shore, becomes an attraction.
From mid-January until mid-April, Lake Baikal freezes with an ice depth of up to 140 cm. Vehicles can safely drive over the ice. Land known as islands in the summer become accessible by foot in the winter. Hikers, skaters, ice fishers and cyclists enjoy the lake during the winter.
On Feb. 14-16, Russia staged its annual Ice Storm ice ultramarathon competition on Lake Baikal. Competitors had three days to race 250km across the lake. Around 50 athletes competed on bikes, skates and kicksleds.
In -15°C temperatures participants had three days to complete the race. Some choose to race, while others simply aim to finish the race.
This year, Ziemnik Maksymilian, of Vienna, Austria finished first in the men’s bike category with a time of 9:28:54. Ekaterina Lukasheva, of Irkutsk, Russia, was the fastest female cyclist, finishing in 9:38:56.
In the BBC’s video, one racer reflects on the introspective nature of the race. “It’s sort of like a mediation,” he says. “Once you start there are a lot of people around you, but two minutes later you are alone.”