In little over three weeks time I will be on my way out to Belgium to start this years Transcontinental Race or the TCR.
The 4000km (2500mi) race starts in Geraardsbergen, Belgium and finishes in Istanbul, Turkey travelling through France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria. It’s an unrouted (with the exception of four checkpoints along the way), unsupported bike race. There are no stages, there are no rest days, the first rider to Istanbul wins.
I’ve no intentions of winning it, I’m in it for the adventure. I plan simply on making the finishers party, in a brewery, 14 days after race start in Belgium. I will need to carry all of my clothing and equipment while riding an average of 285km (178mi) per day. To put that into perspective it’s a wee bit more than riding Glasgow to Inverness, everyday, for 14 days. Riding 4000km will also include a bit of climbing, over 42,000m of climbing, equivalent to ascending Mount Everest 5 times or Ben Nevis 31 times. Whatever way you equate it, this race is going to be tough, seriously tough.
I’ll be taking the RATHAD out with me. A few adjustmenets will be made to tailor it to this monster randonnée-race. I say randonnée-race because really, it’s neither. A race would have a specific route and a randonnée there are no winners. Yet the TCR is a race, there are winners, all the while it has the randonee aspect of control points and brevet cards.
In the next couple of weeks before I go I plan to drop a few more posts on the adjustments I’ve made to the RATHAD, the route I plan to take and the kit I’ll carry along with me.