February 27, 2016
At The Tri Store we really love endurance sport, be it a marathon, an Ironman or a bike trip across continents and most of us have done at least one of the above. So last year when the Transcontinental Race hit our radar for the first time we followed it with interest. On the face of it just seemed a great concept and I knew it was something I had to enter!
For those of you that aren't familiar with the Transcontinental Race (TCR) is an annual (this will be its fourth year) self-supported bike race across Europe and into Asia. It is perhaps most easily summed up as where time trial meets cycle touring and Audax. The race isn't multi stage – it is a single stage time trial, so the moment the clock starts it keeps counting until you reach the finish whether you are riding, eating or sleeping. Much like an individual time trial drafting is not allowed. Where cycle touring comes in is that you have to carry all of your own kit or buy what you need en route – so no support vehicles or pre-booked hotels, it is fully self -supported. You pick the route you want to take provided you pass through the designated control points where you get your Audax style brevet card stamped.
2,400 miles (3,900 km) in distance and 30 vertical miles (48,250meters) of climb
This year's race starts in Geraardsbergen, Belgium and makes its way via four checkpoints: the Puy de Dôme (France), then the Furkapass (Switzerland), the Passo di Giau (Italy), and finally Durmitor (Montenegro) before the long stretch to the finish in Çanakkale, Turkey. So that is roughly 2400 miles (3900 km) in distance and 30 vertical miles (48,250meters) of a climb.
So when entries opened in October last year I filled in the very long application for it – that required working out rough routes, calculating the amount of climb between checkpoints and finding the coordinates of a couple of locations just to check that you had some savvy. Application in and we are told that we would know by the end of December so it was just a waiting game to find out if I had a place or not!
December 25th I turn my phone on expecting a couple of Christmas messages but instead, a message flashes up that I have an email from TRC……..
"We are pleased to be writing to you to offer you a place on TCR No4."
Gulp – well I had best get training!