Familiar Faces Among The Riders Racing Unsupported From London To Istanbul.
Although self praise is famously no praise, our record in helping people out with their cycling related adventures is fairly good. And when we get wind of a race or a gathering that exemplifies the independence of spirit associated with packing a small bag, grabbing a couple of spare tubes and pointing that front wheel in the direction of the Unknown, we try to lend a hand in whatever way possible.
One such event is underway as we speak.
On Saturday morning last weekend at Westminster Bridge, the starter’s flag dropped for the Transcontinental Race, a competitive unsupported ride between London and Istanbul.
Anybody who followed last year’s WCR Grand Tour will be interested to know that its winner, Mike Hall, is the organizer.
The field of 30 racers also contains some of those who were vying with Hall to set a new world circumnavigation record, Richard Dunnett and Juliana Buhring to name but two.
Riders are at liberty to choose their own routes, as well as to decide when and where they sleep, eat, update their Twitter pages, that sort of thing.
They are, however, not at liberty to do their eating, sleeping or Tweeting in the back of a support vehicle. Everybody rides alone.
They must also visit two specific locations along the way: the Muur van Geraardsbergen in cobblestone infested Flanders, and the altitude-and-hairpin infested Stelvio Pass in Italy’s eastern Alps.
Belgian Kristof Allegaert is one of the few to have already hit both of them, and judging by ground covered since Saturday, hasn’t been having too many lie-ins or seven-course dinners. Or even been devoting much time to his Social Media commitments, though he did bemoan the absence of ice-cream in Italy via Twitter this morning. He’s obviously not looking hard enough.
Plenty will happen between here and the finish in Turkey. It’s calculated that the fastest might make it there by the 14th, with a finishing party planned for the 19th by which time everybody should have arrived.
The Grand Tour in 2012 had considerably fewer finishers than starters, though, and by the same token the Transcontinental’s demands may result in the original thirty racers dwindling to… 28? 14? 3?
You can keep tabs on all the action via GPS tracking. We’ll also have updates here until we have a winner.