Transcontinental Race #4 Round-up

TCR04 completed brevet cardHi folks, here’s the potted round-up of my race, sorry I didn’t keep Facebook updated.

First of all the bum is much better; thanks for asking. Soreness / chafing goes away after about 5 days, battered / bruised feeling never goes away but that’s life!

As you may have seen I finished the race yesterday in 16 days 8 hours 25 minutes. I think finishing position was 90th across the line (70th solo rider). That’s 90th of a starting lineup of 216 including pairs and solos. I’m pretty happy with that! My total distance turned out to be 3,797km and about 51,000m of climbing.

Some highlights:

The Alpine climbs were incredible and plenty of time to enjoy them as typical speed on a steep climb is 8km/hr, so for instance Furka Pass (2400m) took about 5 hours of constant effort. And that was one of 6 big climbs in the Alps alone.

You might have seen the video of me arriving at CP3 in Dolomites. That was the end of a fantastic day of last big Alp (Ofenpass) before breakfast, huge descent into Italy and along beautiful river through orchards before climbing again to 2000m through San Pellegrino pass to reach CP3 at eleven in the evening, having covered 255 mountainous km.

Another long descent from Italy to Croatia where I had ‘meltdown Sunday’. Very minor bike crash left me with a bit of equipment damage but seemed to also knock confidence and the house of cards teetered and I almost quit. My saviour Caroline Maynard ordered me to find hotel and rest. Normal service next day.

Into Balkans for more huge climbs in Montenegro and fascinating diverse ways of life in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. Definitely a region to go back and explore at leisure.

Greece was predictably baking hot and to be endured not enjoyed (I tried but failed to find my fave Greek dishes of Briam or Imam) but when I passed the Turkish border I had a surge of ecstatic energy and rode almost 24 hours straight (360km) to the finish line. I never felt tired until the last 10km and then I never felt so tired in my whole life.

The photo is me at Eceabat ferry terminal about to get boat to Çanakkale for the last 100 meters to the finish line. Maximum tiredness and dishevelment, I hadn’t slept in a bed for 72 hours and 930km of cycling. Amazingly I forgot to take picture at actual finish!

Now enjoying a little holiday in Çanakkale, some riders left already, others relaxing, some more arriving at finish. I’ll be going to Gallipoli beach tomorrow where my grandad landed 101 years ago.

Thanks so much to friends who gave encouragement along the way on FB, Twitter, Strava, email. It all helped motivate me for another day in the saddle.

I’m thinking of doing a show and tell about my TCR experience, somewhere near Winchester one evening maybe in a month or so. Would that be of interest? (I know you are a far-flung lot so maybe not practical for FB friends).

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