$1 million prize: A bike race that could change your life—or end it

A grueling mountain bike race across the South African desert is being billed as “the toughest race on Earth” is expected to have hundreds of two-member teams lining up for a piece of a $1 million purse. Riders are warned before they sign up for “The Munga,” that “this could change your life, or end it.” The 620-mile ride across South Africa’s semi-arid Karoo desert region begins Dec. 3—the height of summer.

Two things will happen as the race gets to the business end: one, there is the psychological stress that eats away at you and, secondly, your body starts to break down.

Alex Harris, the endurance athlete and explorer behind the event

Riders will have to successfully mix strategy and psychology, choosing when to catch a couple of hours’ sleep or stop to eat while all the time keeping an eye on the mental and physical state of their teammate. But the pair that crosses the finish line first in the southern Cape wine-country hills of Stellenbosch will collect $750,000. The remaining $250,000 will be divided among second- and third-place finishers, and another team that finishes within the 120-hour cutoff.