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Transcontinental Race No.5 #TCRN05 - 28th JULY 22:00 - ?

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Transcontinental Race No.5 #TCRN05 - 28th JULY 22:00 - ?

24 Jul 2017 13:16

The Transcontinental race. Possibly one of the hardest races on the planet. It's just you, your bike and your gear. That's it. No support cars. no team mates (well, pairs compete but you know what I mean!). No broom wagon, not much of a peloton and, crucially, no route. You get given checkpoints, short sections of parcours that must be ridden and a few excluded roads. The rest is up to you.

I have a couple of friends competing this year. I've been told the hardest part isn't the training, it's the planning. Choosing your bike and kit, refining options and making sure you don't over-pack. on route knowing where to get food, where to sleep, what roads to use, whether you should have multiple routes depending on your legs. It's an enormous undertaking and I think even getting to the start-line is an achievement.

After the tragic death of TCR race director Mike Hall in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race it was unsure if this years event would happen. A team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure it will and I'm sure the race will be a fitting tribute to a much loved man, sadly taken.

The race starts in Geraardsbergen on 28th July at 22:00 (CET). Check point 1 is Schloss Lichtenstein in Germany. Check point 2 is Monte Grappa in Italy. Check point 3 is the High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia. Check point 4 is the Transfagarasan Highwayin Romania. The finish is Meteora in Greece. You finish when you finish. First one there wins.

To anyone taking part, good luck and take care. Come Friday, it's dot-watching time!

http://www.transcontinental.cc
Vincenzo Nibali:
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User avatar King Boonen
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24 Jul 2017 17:26

Thanks for starting this thread! I've never followed this race, but I'll definitely keep an eye on it this year. The Indipac race was amazing to follow, so I'm excited to follow this.
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User avatar Jspear
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26 Jul 2017 17:09

I was reading about Henri Desgrange the other day and how he didn't like having teams in the TdF, or support cars, etc etc. And I couldn't help thinking if he was around today he'd sponsor events like this instead of the race he did create.

I dunno how many takers he'd get to do it on a fixed gear, obviously, but I think he would still appreciate what the athletes do.
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26 Jul 2017 17:29

NIce post KB but probably not for the Pro RR forum where it will get lost very quickly. Move it to General and I'm sure it will get far more follows:)
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Re:

27 Jul 2017 08:56

Jspear wrote:Thanks for starting this thread! I've never followed this race, but I'll definitely keep an eye on it this year. The Indipac race was amazing to follow, so I'm excited to follow this.


No worries, it's surprising how fun dot-watching is isn't it? :)

This one is slightly different due to riders planning their own routes which adds to the excitement.

Leinster wrote:I was reading about Henri Desgrange the other day and how he didn't like having teams in the TdF, or support cars, etc etc. And I couldn't help thinking if he was around today he'd sponsor events like this instead of the race he did create.

I dunno how many takers he'd get to do it on a fixed gear, obviously, but I think he would still appreciate what the athletes do.


Yep, it's probably why I like this kind of racing so much, it just seems the most honest kind of racing available. I know at least one person has finished on a fixed wheel and there is one person this year racing fixed. If I had the time to do this and got in I would also do it on my fixed wheel I think.

ferryman wrote:NIce post KB but probably not for the Pro RR forum where it will get lost very quickly. Move it to General and I'm sure it will get far more follows:)


That's a fair point. I'll shift it across now.
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27 Jul 2017 09:49

The official rider list has been released:

http://www.transcontinental.cc/riders

And the tracker site is up and running:

http://www.trackleaders.com/transconrace17
Vincenzo Nibali:
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27 Jul 2017 14:02

Kinda Stage 1: 28th July, 22:00 (CET). Kapelmuur, Geraardsbergen Belgium - Schloss Lichtenstein, Lichtenstein, Germany.

The Kapelmuur probably needs no introduction here. It has been the decisive climb in De Ronde on many occasions, producing unforgettable sights. As such, finding an image was easy, but finding one fitting for such a race was hard. Images of crowds gathered on the verges in huge numbers, cheering on the professional peloton didn't seem fitting for a race which will only occasionally be punctuated by brief meetings with other competitors and the fleeting wave from a knowing dot-watcher. This felt more appropriate:

Image

The Muur takes on a different shape in this race. It is at the very beginning. The place where the riders will embark on their journey, hopeful that they have planned everything down to the last detail. While some may feel the need to emulate Tommeke and flex their legs, many will set off into the night at a sustainable pace, getting a feel for their loaded rigs and listening for tell-tale brushes and shifting of straps and buckles that need to be tightened.

By car this stage is ~610km, taking you through 3-4 countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany depending on route) and most riders will be hoping to arrive around the end of day 2 or the start of day three. While their routes will be longer this is the flat-land compared to what lies ahead and many will hope to make good time with fresh legs and to calm any early race jitters. The fastest riders will likely not stop, pushing on through the night and day to get that first stamp in the book and embark on their journey to checkpoint 2. When I was looking at the checkpoints I noticed that it would be possible to route via the Trouée dArenberg on the way to checkpoint 1, I wonder if anybody takes it in? Possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity for some riders...

When they arrive at the checkpoint they will be greeted by the "Fairy Tale Castle of Württemberg", overlooking the Echaz valley. this modern castle was built in 1840-1842 and was inspired by the novel Lichtenstein by Wilhelm Hauff (available at the Gutenberg Project for those of you who are lucky enough to own a kindle and can read German). Again, images are easy to find but most exceed the size limit we have here, however this one felt fitting:

Image

One checkpoint down, 3 more to go until that mad dash to the finish in time for the party...
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28 Jul 2017 21:29

Just seen footage of my friends rolling out, the race is on!!
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29 Jul 2017 19:02

When it rains, it pours.
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29 Jul 2017 19:27

Awful news. Frank Simons, cap no. 172 has died in a road traffic accident. There are rumours floating round but I won't spread them here. There is a police investigation ongoing. The TCR is a community as well as a race and I'm sure everyone involved is thinking of his family and friends, I know I am.

Frank's wife has said that he would want the race to continue so it will. I think we all wish all the riders well. Anyone who rides a bike understands the dangers that are out there and the risks we are forced to take. It's not right and too often tragic. Ride hard and try to stay safe folks.
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29 Jul 2017 23:46

:( not again!

Ah my heart goes out to his family and friends....
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30 Jul 2017 15:15

That is really tragic
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30 Jul 2017 16:24

:( Oh nooo, so sad. So sorry for his wife and family and friends. :(
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31 Jul 2017 13:37

Kinda Stage 2: ? July/August, ? (CET). Schloss Lichtenstein, Lichtenstein, Germany - Monte Grappa, Italy.

The racers will have mixed emotions when they reach CP1. The tragic news about Frank Simons will have reached everyone on the road and will no doubt have played on the minds of all, but the elation of hitting that first checkpoint, seeing some friendly, possibly recognisable faces and getting a stamp on the card will make the race seem a lot more real to many.

Checkpoints on the TCR are not like stops on any other rides or races. No food or provisions await you. A friendly face, a pat on the back or a hug (depending on preference) and the use of a wall socket is about all you'll be offered. With hotels around Schloss Lichtenstein the racers will have the choice of enjoying a real bed if they have planned a stop, bivvying in the grounds if the hosts are amenable or pushing on towards the next checkpoint, Monte Grappa.

At this point I'm very pleased to say that all of my friends have passed CP1 and are still in the race on route to the Alps.

The sights that will rear up as the racers head south will no doubt have some wishing they'd packed lighter. They must now cross the Alps. Monte Grappa is an imposing point in the Venetian Prealps and to reach racers will have to cross the whole mountain range as I doubt any will choose to detour via Nice and Sanremo, it's just too far. While perhaps the most remote climbs still lay ahead at CP3 and CP4, this will be a huge test for all and I hope everyone fares well and the puncture Gods are smiling down on those tyres.

Monte Grappa holds its own place in European history as the site of several battles in WW1 and the site of many Partisan deaths and murders at the hands of the Facists and the Nazis, both on the peak and in Bassano Del Grappa, during WW2. It is perhaps quite fitting that I write this on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele. Europe has been torn apart by war all too often with recent terrorist attacks threatening to rekindle the isolationist and nationalist mindset that can so easily lead to fear and distrust. The TCR feels like a uniting force, with racers from all over the world riding across Europe in a feat many may never have thought possible all those years ago.

The summit of the Monte Grappa is dominated by the A memorial monument and ossuary where the remains of 12,615 soldiers are guarded. 10,332 remains are unknown, showing just how tragic such recent history can be. Again, finding an image for this was not difficult. I hope this one captures the majesty of the climb and also a little of what the riders have had to pass to reach there:

Image

From here it's onwards to Slovakia and the Tatras Mountains. The leaders are already on their way. There's still along way to go but Cap No. 26, Bjorn Lenhard holds a sizeable gap over his nearest rivals Jonas Goy, Geoffroy Dussault, Ian To and James Hayden. It looks like the podium will likely come from this bunch.
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31 Jul 2017 14:55

Should I be surprised at the amount of riders who are entering Italy via the Timmelsjoch?
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31 Jul 2017 15:30

I think most people will head via Innsbruck. To understand people's routes can be difficult. You need to know what they expect to get from the race. There will be many who will never get such a good chance to cross the Alps, possibly again, so they may have decided that they want to ride certain roads as they won't challenge for the win. Their may be a personal reason. Some may think that the more direct way will be quicker if they think their climbing is better than their flat riding. Some may think it's quicker anyway or possibly less busy. It all factors into the choice of route and It can be hard to work out.
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Re: Re:

01 Aug 2017 01:06

King Boonen wrote:
Jspear wrote:Thanks for starting this thread! I've never followed this race, but I'll definitely keep an eye on it this year. The Indipac race was amazing to follow, so I'm excited to follow this.


No worries, it's surprising how fun dot-watching is isn't it? :)

This one is slightly different due to riders planning their own routes which adds to the excitement.

Leinster wrote:I was reading about Henri Desgrange the other day and how he didn't like having teams in the TdF, or support cars, etc etc. And I couldn't help thinking if he was around today he'd sponsor events like this instead of the race he did create.

I dunno how many takers he'd get to do it on a fixed gear, obviously, but I think he would still appreciate what the athletes do.


Yep, it's probably why I like this kind of racing so much, it just seems the most honest kind of racing available. I know at least one person has finished on a fixed wheel and there is one person this year racing fixed. If I had the time to do this and got in I would also do it on my fixed wheel I think.

ferryman wrote:NIce post KB but probably not for the Pro RR forum where it will get lost very quickly. Move it to General and I'm sure it will get far more follows:)


That's a fair point. I'll shift it across now.


Yeah, I've been planning to do this on a fixed in a few years as well. Registration is obviously less congested than London, Edinburgh, London ( which is an impossible waste of a day for most people.

More checkpoints now.
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01 Aug 2017 09:00

I can understand the appeal of LEL, seems the perfect gateway into bike packing. Having the arranged beds, food and on hand mechanics would be very useful and removes that whole "What do I do with my bike and bags while I sleep in a bus shelter" thing that many people (including me) worry about on the unsupported type stuff. I do think I might get a bit annoyed with it, I'm not much of one for sportives recently due to the "must be under X hours" mentality that seems pervasive in UK sportives. I've had people undertake me on blind corners 5 miles from the end of a ride and the general group riding ability is just getting worse and worse. LEL feels a bit like a 3-5 day sportive. I suppose if you're quick you can get away from the freds though.

PBP definitely appeals to me, fixed as well of course, because the entry requirements kind of guarantee at least a minimum standard of group riding. The Chilkoot rides, http://chilkoot-cdp.com , look good too. I was meant to be doing the Pavés ride fixed but had to pull out.
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01 Aug 2017 16:40

That's been the main appeal for me: feeling out the ride w/o handling all the logistics. I agree that PBP's qualifying requirements seem to make it a little more stringent. If it's not raining, I'll sleep on my bag and tether the bike with a cable. Then spring for a subsequent bed/shower to recover a bit more.

It's true that a lot of people can't even hold a line these days. My experience when last living in the UK (12/13) is that as with the US widespread cycling "culture" is only just now expanding in popularity and many on bikes lack race skills and the ability to assess long range, basic etiquette, handling, awareness (all part of group riding. LEL although a lotttery to register, has worldwide appeal, so I think you get a decent mix of experienced riders.
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02 Aug 2017 10:21

We have a race!!

Bjorn had pulled out a big lead but it looks like the route across Slovenia and Hungary, while longer, has been quicker than heading straight across Austria. James has made a big march on Bjorn who now probably holds a few hours lead. This may go out as Bjorn has crossed the Low Tatras and James still has to. Will James head north before Brezno and over the Low Tatras or will he take the low road towards Poprad.

Meanwhile Jonas and Ian are still within striking distance of the lead. There's a long way to go and it's going to start coming down to rest management and strategy if it continues like this.
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