This weekend sees the 24th staging of Red Bull Dolomitenmann, surely the most extreme team relay race in the world, take place in Lienz, Austria.
Only the toughest athletes dare enter a race that is based upon four disciplines – a mountain run, paragliding, white water kayaking and last but not least mountain biking. The competitors will battle against rapid floods, unpredictable winds and extreme terrain to achieve success for their team.
This year there will be 110 teams and 440 athletes fighting it out over a distance of 60 km in the air, on the ground and in the water over thousands of kilometres of differing altitude.
The run takes place over 12km, but this not your average athletics track. There's a 2,000 km differential in altitude to contend with, plus rocks and other obstacles which will have the competitors scrambling and crawling in a lung-busting start to the contest.
The paragliding also includes a couple of tough runs with equipment in-tow and a flight over the Dolomites mountain range covering a 2,441 metre range in altitude before more sprinting is involved in the kayaking.
The athlete has to sprint and swim through the river Drau, before undertaking a seven metre jump with the boat into the river, where the kayaker must battle extreme white water and perform Eskimo Rolls and slaloms before dragging himself out of the boat and carrying it to the check point to meet the mountain biker of the team.
In the final stage of Red Bull Dolomitenmann, the biker must overcome a 17.4 km uphill passage with an altitude of 1,695 metres.
Race organiser Werner Grissmann said: "The bikers take the direct track to the Dolomites. No ways exist there, even walking is simply impossible there."
The downhill track comprises an average decline of 26.4 percent and it is 9.4 km long. After overcoming the pain of all that, the athletes will be welcomed by thousands of spectators at the Main Square in Lienz.
Check out the video below to get a feel for the kind of extreme fitness required to suceed in Red Bull Dolomitenmann...
The main contenders in the professional race are likely to be the Kolland Topsport Kleine Zeitung team, which has Jonathan Wyatt (five-time running winner), Christian Amon (two-time paragliding winner), Christophe Soukup (runner-up 2010 mountain biking) and Herwig Natmessnig making up the team.
Their closest rivals on paper look to be the Red Bull Team, which includes Harald Hudetz (five-time kayaking winner), Markus Kröll (seven-time Red Bull Dolomitenmann winner), Alban Lakata (two-time biking winner), and Wendelin Ortner (six-times paragliding winner).
In addition to the athletic action, Lienz turns into the party capital of Austria for the duration of the event, with bands, DJs, parties and displays from the likes of Hannes Arch to complement the racing.