Author Topic: TCR no8.  (Read 28180 times)

Geriatricdolan

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #325 on: December 24, 2020, 09:34:58 am »
+ Romanian rather than Italian emergency back up if things go wrong!  I really wasn't keen on that.


SO if I say that the Balkans are (perceived to be) less safe than France and Italy, I am wrong all along, but then you say the same... how does that work?  ???

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #326 on: December 24, 2020, 10:26:29 am »

Regarding these concerns, I was more concerned with the location of controls in the past years, the one on top of the Transfagarasan, leading to riders riding over the bear infested northern slopes during ear dinner time and the one forcing riders to ride through landmine infested parts of Croatia. After both those years I have my doubts about the TCR's safety concept.

This year plan A was to use the Transalpina pass with an all off-road descent, so all of the mountain track risk + bears + Romanian rather than Italian emergency back up if things go wrong!  I really wasn't keen on that.

I rode through Croatia in 2016: Otocac, Vrhovine and on to Bihac in Bosnia.  It was a shock to see burnt out houses and bullet holes in buildings in the town centres, but I didn't feel there was special danger in what I was doing.  The route was all on roads. I certainly didn't go wandering off the road into fields or on tracks.  I know you have personal experience of the Balkan war zones so your perspective is extremely relevant.  Was I missing something?

The combination of people of a generation who don't have in depth knowledge of the area and the habit of sleeping in ditches and abandoned houses combined with (sometimes poorly marked) minefields and booby trapped houses. You knew so you didn't go wandering off the road but I know from the reports that many TCR riders do that in search of a sleeping spot. Actually I was a bit scared of that as a dot watcher in that edition. I did comment on online reports if someone was wandering off into an area with a lot of minefields.

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #327 on: December 24, 2020, 11:02:34 am »
+ Romanian rather than Italian emergency back up if things go wrong!  I really wasn't keen on that.


SO if I say that the Balkans are (perceived to be) less safe than France and Italy, I am wrong all along, but then you say the same... how does that work?  ???

Different context. I'm talking about mountain rescue services. You were taking about how safe the country is to visit for travellers. Also you were talking about different countries, were you not? That bit of discussion was about Ex-yugoslavia.
Romania is less pleasant to cycle in than those. But Italy is nearly as bad!

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #328 on: December 24, 2020, 11:04:05 am »

Regarding these concerns, I was more concerned with the location of controls in the past years, the one on top of the Transfagarasan, leading to riders riding over the bear infested northern slopes during ear dinner time and the one forcing riders to ride through landmine infested parts of Croatia. After both those years I have my doubts about the TCR's safety concept.

This year plan A was to use the Transalpina pass with an all off-road descent, so all of the mountain track risk + bears + Romanian rather than Italian emergency back up if things go wrong!  I really wasn't keen on that.

I rode through Croatia in 2016: Otocac, Vrhovine and on to Bihac in Bosnia.  It was a shock to see burnt out houses and bullet holes in buildings in the town centres, but I didn't feel there was special danger in what I was doing.  The route was all on roads. I certainly didn't go wandering off the road into fields or on tracks.  I know you have personal experience of the Balkan war zones so your perspective is extremely relevant.  Was I missing something?

The combination of people of a generation who don't have in depth knowledge of the area and the habit of sleeping in ditches and abandoned houses combined with (sometimes poorly marked) minefields and booby trapped houses. You knew so you didn't go wandering off the road but I know from the reports that many TCR riders do that in search of a sleeping spot. Actually I was a bit scared of that as a dot watcher in that edition. I did comment on online reports if someone was wandering off into an area with a lot of minefields.

Thanks. Good point. They could have warned more explicitly about those risks.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #329 on: December 24, 2020, 11:30:54 am »

Looks like we are basically saying the same thing!

It is entirely plausible that we are both in violent* agreement.

Regarding Hungary, it has been on TCR routes in recent years and there is guidance on routing in the country in the manual so it is clear there is no veto on going there.  The reason they haven't routed there is that Romania is not in Schengen - so there would be border controls wherever you went to the south.

As I said before, we saw border controls spring up within Schengen pretty quickly back in March, so I'm not sure that it means much, but that's clearly the reason.

A basic principle of travel is that you are a guest in someone else's country and you have to take it on those terms, and fit in with their values, their dress codes, their laws, etc. 


Yes, however the rules and laws in Hungary have changed since it was last on the route of the TCR. Part of being a guest in another's country is not turning up where you're unwanted... I would not do a TCR if it went through Hungary.


The ferries are basically a lot of stress.  Especially when they open up other routes, which will likely happen if the race is able to go ahead at all.  Partially this is my comfort zone, in that I don't like to have to make complex decisions when riding but it's not entirely that.

Firstly you have to make a call when you make a booking.  If you make the booking early, more likely to get the wrong time.  Leave it late and there might not be space.

When you've made it you have a hard deadline which = stress. 

How does the check-in process work?  How long do you need to allow?  More stress.

One approach is to throw money at the problem and make 3 or 4 bookings to be sure of the optimal crossing, but that would be expensive and not open to all riders. 

What will actually happen is that a lot of riders will get their partners to do the booking for them.  Mostly these are not bad people and will probably otherwise obey the rules, but this kind of complex decision creates circumstances which invite cheating into the race.

Missing a ferry in Bari and riding 6-7 hours to Brindisi is unlikely to be a winning strategy.

Agreed, the ferries are regular, but I wonder how much capacity they run at. I've used them in the past on my way to Krete, but I did so booking in advance. It's going to be an interesting element.

A brief search on greece-ferries.com shows that there are two a day from Bari to Igoumenitsa, but they are only 30 minutes apart in the evening. So missing a ferry would mean upto a 24 hour wait for the next departure. Where as from Brindisi there are two a day, at 1300 and 2100. Obviously this may change nearer the time, it may be the timetables aren't finalised. But if you miss the 2000 from Bari, then getting to Brindisi for 1300 the next day seems distinctly plausible. You'll arrive in Greece about the same time you'd be leaving Bari if you waited...

It could be tho that you get to Bari after say 0500, you're unlikely to make it to Brindisi for the 1300 sailing. So is it worth continuing for the 2100? or get a hotel room for the day, and rest, eat, etc...

A lot of very stiff, but well rested cyclists are going to roll off the ferry in Greece...


I'm not a fan of the big off-road sections.

I think on this we are in agreement.

Quote

Again, I accept that it is partly my comfort zone.  I appreciate that they are very pretty (especially if you get there in daylight) and they are, in principle, a good test of bike handling skills, but I think there are serious safety issues with them. 

They are great for someone who knows what they are doing to ride on a mountain bike, on a sunny day.  But there will be lots of people with little off-road experience riding them on the wrong bikes with the wrong tyres, with luggage which impairs bike handling who will be going up regardless of the weather and time of day but with inadequate clothing if the weather turns bad - as it does at 2750m - especially at night.  With a high col on road, you can get back down to safety if the weather closes in, but on one of these you are stuck.   

FWIW these sections were not part of the race when Mike ran it, other than the Strada dell'Assietta in 2015, which he put in because Ultan Coyle was riding a TT bike.  When I did it in 2016 it was possible to ride entirely on tarmac.   

The Strada dell'Assietta is classed as gravel, but it's very different from the gravel sections that were in the Balkans on the last two editions. You can take a pro tour pelaton along the white roads. You wouldn't do that on either of the recent Balkan sections. At least one rider in 2018 took his tracker off the bike, walked up the parcours, and then reattached the tracker before continuing, that should never be the preferred option... I do feel that the route should be safe to ride for anyone on a road bike. In that respect CP3 is a little bit outside that. But in the grand scheme of things, it's only 16km, so I'll largely swear at the mountains and hope. But I have some knowledge and experience of being on foot in mountains like these (just not with a laden bike). One thing I will be adding to my pack tho is a compass. The free section near the summit, I will feel more comfortable with a compass, but that's me. I am pretty certain I am going to do the route west to east. I think I want to climb up those switch backs, not try and ride down them. Esp as I'll be on GP5k tyres... That also means that the descent at the other end is on tarmac. I don't know if this will be quicker, but I think it will be safer.

I notice there is an Alpine hut at the western end of the route. There are also two drinking water sources on the parcour, and one at the western end.

J

* for values of violent
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Geriatricdolan

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #330 on: December 24, 2020, 02:58:03 pm »
But Italy is nearly as bad!

I've lived in Italy for 27 years and I strongly disagree with your statement...

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #331 on: December 24, 2020, 03:52:01 pm »
Good to hear!

I'm sure there are lots of great back roads in Italy but, outside the parcours most riders won't be on those roads.   

My experience is mainly riding along the Po Valley in 2016, from Bergamo and on to the Slovenian border.  Lots of close passes - which is what every other TCR rider has reported from that strip. 

For this reason one of the main objectives in designing TCR routes in the last few years has been to avoid the Po Valley - but it hasn't worked this time as most people will go that way from CP2-3.  And I fear the coast rode down through Rimini and Ancona will be similar - although would be good if its not. 

Maybe they will ban certain roads to force people to take other routes... 

Geriatricdolan

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #332 on: December 24, 2020, 04:28:42 pm »
Good to hear!

I'm sure there are lots of great back roads in Italy but, outside the parcours most riders won't be on those roads.   

My experience is mainly riding along the Po Valley in 2016, from Bergamo and on to the Slovenian border.  Lots of close passes - which is what every other TCR rider has reported from that strip. 

For this reason one of the main objectives in designing TCR routes in the last few years has been to avoid the Po Valley - but it hasn't worked this time as most people will go that way from CP2-3.  And I fear the coast rode down through Rimini and Ancona will be similar - although would be good if its not. 

Maybe they will ban certain roads to force people to take other routes...

SS roads are the same as the main A roads in Britain... SP roads are more like secondary A or B... if you stick to SS roads, you are going to get the same treatment whether you are in France (N roads), Italy, UK or wherever. It's down to the organiser to come up with sensible routes that naturally avoid the busy roads... nothing wrong with Italy as such... the Po valley is the most boring area to cycle, it's also the fastest A to B... I wouldn't think routing an "adventure race" such as TCR along the Po valley adds much to the race...

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #333 on: December 24, 2020, 04:31:25 pm »
Aah yes, people who want to cross a continent but can't handle traffic  ::-)


Regarding these concerns, I was more concerned with the location of controls in the past years, the one on top of the Transfagarasan, leading to riders riding over the bear infested northern slopes during ear dinner time and the one forcing riders to ride through landmine infested parts of Croatia. After both those years I have my doubts about the TCR's safety concept.

This year plan A was to use the Transalpina pass with an all off-road descent, so all of the mountain track risk + bears + Romanian rather than Italian emergency back up if things go wrong!  I really wasn't keen on that.

I rode through Croatia in 2016: Otocac, Vrhovine and on to Bihac in Bosnia.  It was a shock to see burnt out houses and bullet holes in buildings in the town centres, but I didn't feel there was special danger in what I was doing.  The route was all on roads. I certainly didn't go wandering off the road into fields or on tracks.  I know you have personal experience of the Balkan war zones so your perspective is extremely relevant.  Was I missing something?

The combination of people of a generation who don't have in depth knowledge of the area and the habit of sleeping in ditches and abandoned houses combined with (sometimes poorly marked) minefields and booby trapped houses. You knew so you didn't go wandering off the road but I know from the reports that many TCR riders do that in search of a sleeping spot. Actually I was a bit scared of that as a dot watcher in that edition. I did comment on online reports if someone was wandering off into an area with a lot of minefields.

I was in single figures for most of the fighting in the Yugoslav wars, but was amply aware of the landmines before any of the times I toured round there. 

If someone enters an adventure race across an entire continent, but isn't aware of some fairly recent and protracted fighting in a large region of that continent and of the problems  stemming from that, and doesn't learn pretty fast when they see the bombed out buildings and roadside memorials that still litter the region, then that person is probably beyond help.

Regarding Hungary, it has been on TCR routes in recent years and there is guidance on routing in the country in the manual so it is clear there is no veto on going there.  The reason they haven't routed there is that Romania is not in Schengen - so there would be border controls wherever you went to the south.

As I said before, we saw border controls spring up within Schengen pretty quickly back in March, so I'm not sure that it means much, but that's clearly the reason.

A basic principle of travel is that you are a guest in someone else's country and you have to take it on those terms, and fit in with their values, their dress codes, their laws, etc. 


Yes, however the rules and laws in Hungary have changed since it was last on the route of the TCR. Part of being a guest in another's country is not turning up where you're unwanted... I would not do a TCR if it went through Hungary.
You don't want to go to Hungary, you don't have to go to Hungary.  Thanks for presuming on my safety though, you might want to do less of that in the future.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #334 on: December 24, 2020, 07:33:02 pm »

The ferries are going to be interesting, cos if you just miss one in Bari, then you could do the 100k to Brindisi and get the one from there... I like the idea of rest before the final 400k sprint to the finish. I can see the ferry equalising things a bit, with riders at the pointy end bunching, before the aforementioned sprint.


The ferries are basically a lot of stress.  Especially when they open up other routes, which will likely happen if the race is able to go ahead at all.  Partially this is my comfort zone, in that I don't like to have to make complex decisions when riding but it's not entirely that.

Firstly you have to make a call when you make a booking.  If you make the booking early, more likely to get the wrong time.  Leave it late and there might not be space.

When you've made it you have a hard deadline which = stress. 

How does the check-in process work?  How long do you need to allow?  More stress.

One approach is to throw money at the problem and make 3 or 4 bookings to be sure of the optimal crossing, but that would be expensive and not open to all riders. 

What will actually happen is that a lot of riders will get their partners to do the booking for them.  Mostly these are not bad people and will probably otherwise obey the rules, but this kind of complex decision creates circumstances which invite cheating into the race.

Missing a ferry in Bari and riding 6-7 hours to Brindisi is unlikely to be a winning strategy.
They do seem like genuine negatives to the ferry issue!

But wasn't much the same crossing a feature of the early races? Did these problems manifest back then?

(As a spectator I found the ferry options really cool! And I loved the ferries on Blacksheep's Scottish Audax as a rider, but that was a very different scenario.)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #335 on: December 24, 2020, 08:15:09 pm »
The Strada dell'Assietta is classed as gravel, but it's very different from the gravel sections that were in the Balkans on the last two editions. You can take a pro tour pelaton along the white roads. You wouldn't do that on either of the recent Balkan sections. At least one rider in 2018 took his tracker off the bike, walked up the parcours, and then reattached the tracker before continuing, that should never be the preferred option...
I'm puzzled by this. Why remove the tracker? Surely it records the same whether it's on the bike or in your pocket/luggage?
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #336 on: December 24, 2020, 08:41:22 pm »
The Strada dell'Assietta is classed as gravel, but it's very different from the gravel sections that were in the Balkans on the last two editions. You can take a pro tour pelaton along the white roads. You wouldn't do that on either of the recent Balkan sections. At least one rider in 2018 took his tracker off the bike, walked up the parcours, and then reattached the tracker before continuing, that should never be the preferred option...
I'm puzzled by this. Why remove the tracker? Surely it records the same whether it's on the bike or in your pocket/luggage?

They left the bike at the bottom, they just walked up and back down again.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #337 on: December 24, 2020, 09:01:09 pm »

But wasn't much the same crossing a feature of the early races? Did these problems manifest back then?


I've not heard anyone speak about it but there were some differences in that:
- the channel ferries in the first two races were soon after the start so people could predict their arrivals fairly reliably, and would be less tired when making decisions.
- the Ancona-Split ferry on the second and third editions were both people doing a bit of lateral thinking and gaining an advantage from essentially a short cut (more in the second than the third).  I think in both cases it was just a few riders. 

There was a ferry in the original / 2020 route, across the Danube, and not that far from the finish.   

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #338 on: December 24, 2020, 09:16:14 pm »
The Strada dell'Assietta is classed as gravel, but it's very different from the gravel sections that were in the Balkans on the last two editions. You can take a pro tour pelaton along the white roads. You wouldn't do that on either of the recent Balkan sections. At least one rider in 2018 took his tracker off the bike, walked up the parcours, and then reattached the tracker before continuing, that should never be the preferred option...
I'm puzzled by this. Why remove the tracker? Surely it records the same whether it's on the bike or in your pocket/luggage?

They left the bike at the bottom, they just walked up and back down again.

J
Ah. Okay. This makes me feel better about every hill I've ever walked, seeing as I've never been racing any of them!
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #339 on: December 24, 2020, 09:23:32 pm »
Ah. Okay. This makes me feel better about every hill I've ever walked, seeing as I've never been racing any of them!

On RatN 2019 I walked every single hill in Limburg.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #340 on: December 27, 2020, 02:42:40 pm »
Boy you are a tough crowd to please!
Im with QG on this. More than enough adventure to be had.
Drilling into a first draught of the route there are some mouth watering iconic places/climbs popping up.
Im also not familiar, like QG, with riding in Italy beyond the Alps & Dolomites  (aside from one organised cycle tour to Florence & Tuscany)
Much of the climbing that was lost when the race was moved away from the Balkans seems to have be gained back when travelling down the spine of Italy.
Im also a little concerned about the traffic, particularly on the Po valley after some negative experiences on TCRno5 and will try to mitigate that where possible.
From a selfish point of view Im really happy that the start has remained in Brest.  Our place is a couple of hours down the coast in Southern Brittany (assuming we can get there!) With the previous TCR's we drove across from there to the start in Belgium. This time it will be a similar route but on a bike from the start to Roubaix.
Happy route planning.
often lost.

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #341 on: January 13, 2021, 03:17:55 pm »
I've decided to withdraw.
I think you need to be really excited about these events in order to get round them. I'm not, so better to free up the place for someone who is really up for it.
Best of luck to those who are riding.

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #342 on: January 16, 2021, 07:27:22 pm »
I've decided to withdraw.
I think you need to be really excited about these events in order to get round them. I'm not, so better to free up the place for someone who is really up for it.
Best of luck to those who are riding.

Thats a shame Frank. I was hoping that we would finally meet. Another time!
I confirmed this morning so all being well, look forward to a couple of weeks of (mis)adventure.
Good call to let the organisers know in time. I imagine Anna will open up some new slots if, like yourself, more than a few entrants take a pass this year.
often lost.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #343 on: January 17, 2021, 12:02:51 pm »

I just confirmed my place.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #344 on: January 17, 2021, 12:29:32 pm »
Excellent. Look forward to seeing how you get on.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #345 on: January 17, 2021, 12:55:18 pm »
Excellent. Look forward to seeing how you get on.

Thanks. I'm feeling more comfortable about this route, and better prepared. I now have a coach, who is an experienced ultra racer and is helping me with my training. It's going well so far.

Need to make a couple of changes to the bike (upgrade to hydraulic brakes), and buy a new down jacket. Else kit wise I'm ready. Just need to build fitness, and finesse my route.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #346 on: January 17, 2021, 02:13:51 pm »
Cheers.
Multiple loops of the Rock here through to the Summer.
Getting away to France for a tour looks decidedly tricky with the current pandemic so will just have to suck it up.
Taxc bike on order so may be able to rig up some virtual mountain passes on the TV for a bit of variety!
often lost.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #347 on: January 17, 2021, 02:21:55 pm »
Cheers.
Multiple loops of the Rock here through to the Summer.
Getting away to France for a tour looks decidedly tricky with the current pandemic so will just have to suck it up.
Taxc bike on order so may be able to rig up some virtual mountain passes on the TV for a bit of variety!

I'm hoping that as things ease a bit here I can have the occasional weekend in Limburg to experience something hilly...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #348 on: January 17, 2021, 03:22:40 pm »
Cheers.
Multiple loops of the Rock here through to the Summer.
Getting away to France for a tour looks decidedly tricky with the current pandemic so will just have to suck it up.
Taxc bike on order so may be able to rig up some virtual mountain passes on the TV for a bit of variety!

I'm hoping that as things ease a bit here I can have the occasional weekend in Limburg to experience something hilly...

J


(Googles Limburg)
Ah yes day one of TCRno5. Cutting across the bottom of "Flat" Holland en route to the Rhine. Just East of Maastricht. "What the heck this is hilly  AF!"  Passed an Amstel Gold banner somewhere along the way there abouts. That will be a good spot to get some ups in for sure.

often lost.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: TCR no8.
« Reply #349 on: January 17, 2021, 05:46:41 pm »
(Googles Limburg)
Ah yes day one of TCRno5. Cutting across the bottom of "Flat" Holland en route to the Rhine. Just East of Maastricht. "What the heck this is hilly  AF!"  Passed an Amstel Gold banner somewhere along the way there abouts. That will be a good spot to get some ups in for sure.

I remember dot watching that, as all these dots headed for the Rhine, and thinking "Has noone heard of the Ardennes?" That area is lumpy!

I have a few routes planned for such things as Signal 3 ways:

https://www.strava.com/routes/15790729

Three times up the highest point in Belgium, from the three different sides. It's the biggest climb that isn't too far away. It's not quite the 2000+m passes that we're going to need to do, but it's a start.

This route is 1500m of climbing,  in 100km of Limburg. I think I can do it a day including train too/from Ams:

https://www.strava.com/routes/2768987201649032028

Closer to home I have a couple of routes ready to go once we're allowed to move again, 50km and 100km of the same basic hill, only an hour or so by train from home:

https://www.strava.com/routes/2770453097311889426

https://www.strava.com/routes/2768984576381740978

Closer to home, this is 900m of climbing and just 30 mins away by train:

https://www.strava.com/routes/2768986031791470540

But I can't do much with any of them until lockdown eases a bit.

The closest thing I have to a hill nearby is this route:

https://www.strava.com/routes/10586184

I use the word Hill loosely...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/