The Transcontinental Race (TCR) is an annual, self-supported, ultra-distance cycling race across Europe. It is one of the world’s toughest ultra-endurance races. The route varies for each edition and the distance has been between approximately 3,200 to 4,200 km, and the winners have taken between 7 and 10 days to reach the finish. Interest in the race has grown rapidly: 30 people started the first edition of the race in 2013; over 1,000 people applied for a place in the fourth edition in 2016, 350 of whom were successful.
It is not a stage race, the clock never stops from the moment the riders leave the start to the moment that they reach the finish, so it is a long individual time trial. Riders must therefore strategically choose how much time to devote to riding, resting, and refueling each day. Being self-supported or unsupported means that drafting is not allowed, receiving any form of support from other racers is not allowed, nor is it from friends or family; all food, accommodation, repairs, etc., must be purchased from commercial sources.
** From Wikipedia **
Official race website: www.transcontinental.cc
The spirit of the race
The Transcontinental Race is the definitive self-supported bicycle race across Europe. At the sharp end it is a beautifully hard bicycle race, simple in design but complex in execution. Factors of self reliance, logistics, navigation and judgement burden racers’ minds as well as their physiques. The strongest excel and redefine what we think possible, while many experienced riders target only a finish.
The Transcontinental is a single stage race in which the clock never stops. Riders plan, research and navigate their own course and choose when and where to rest. They will take only what they can carry and consume only what they can find. Four mandatory control points guide their route and ensure a healthy amount of climbing to reach some of cycling’s most beautiful and historic monuments. Each year our riders cover around 4000km to reach the finish line.
The race was founded by legendary Mike Hall – I cannot do justice to his legacy, so please read his amazing story here..
The rules of the race are simple yet complex:
The 2019 Edition
This years event runs East to West, starting in Burgas Bulgaria and finishing on the coast of France in Brest. Each rider determines their own routes between the mandatory checkpoints where your cardboard brevet card is stamped (each checkpoint also has a mandatory parcour section which is enivitably the toughest way to hit the CP – usually involving gravel). For this reason of self navigation, routes/distances/climbing varies between riders. This years checkpoints are:
- Burgas, Bulgaria (Start)
- Budludska Monument, Shipka, Bulgaria
- Vranske, Serbia
- Gardena Pass, Italy
- Alpe Du Huez, France
- Brest, France (Finish)
Above photo shows an approximate route, and the countries traversed, although I am likely to chose going around the alps through Switzerland (less total elevation) than cutting across northern Italy.
My planned stats look as follows:
- Total Mileage: 4,031km
- Total Climbing: 41,100m
- Cut off in days: 16
- Daily average req to finish: 256km, 2500m climbing !!
The 275 riders set off from Burgas on Sat 27th July at 6am, and the plan is to make the finishers party on Sunday 11th August at 8pm – wish me luck – sheer madness this !!!