The ISDE has seen significant rule adjustments over time, but it has always been a test of skill and endurance. Riders must follow a prescribed route at a predetermined pace, over the course of six gruelling days. Stringent regulations control when and where riders can perform maintenance on their machines and access tools and spare parts. The event is not for the fainthearted, as competitors typically cover a staggering total distance of more than 1,000 miles and are responsible for taking care of their own machines.

Within the predefined route, there are crucial set challenges, known as Special Tests, where riders are subjected to stopwatch scrutiny down to fractions of a second. The rider who clocks the lowest overall time at the end of the day is deemed to hold the coveted leadership position. Cumulative timings from all six days ultimately determine the supreme victor. Meanwhile, the collective scores of all team members decide the team's destiny. The course of each Special Test can be explored on foot before the event, but the true test comes when riders confront each challenge for the first time – and the stopwatch starts ticking when they cross the starting line.

In essence, the ISDE is an enduro event where, for eight hours each day, riders must navigate a demanding course spanning approximately 200 miles, all while adhering to precise time limits. It's a relentless battle which demands great athleticism and precision, where the swiftest and most consistent contender in the daily Special Tests typically emerges as the ultimate champion.

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Photo: Team GB rider Daniel McCanney is pictured on day three of the FIM ISDE in Portimao, Portugal in 2019
Credit: © Dario Agrati