Author Topic: Transcontinental 2019  (Read 17649 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Transcontinental 2019
« on: November 30, 2018, 05:36:14 pm »


Route is out. This one's going East to West, finishing in Brest!

* Start: The Black Sea coast Bulgaria.
* Control Point (CP) 1: Buzludzha Monument, Shipka, Bulgaria
* Control Point (CP) 2: Vranje, Serbia
* Control Point (CP) 3: Passo Gardena, Corvara, Italy
* Control Point (CP) 4: L'Alpe d'Huez, France
* Finish: Brest, Brittany, France

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

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2018, 08:01:42 pm »
 :thumbsup:


( Until I saw the new route, I didn't realise the "old" pattern was getting a bit stale! )

Looks straightforward - I've ridden up Alpe D'Huez, and ridden to Brest a couple of times on no sleep. Surely the rest would just work itself out, no?
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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 09:49:11 am »
My entry is in. I'm hopeful of a place as I was a CP1 volunteer this year.

Already lots of discussion centered on the amount of gravel riding in this year's edition. CP2 Parcours is an 80km stretch! Apparently the ascent of Alpe D'huez for CP4 parcours will also be a bit feral.

I'm now feeling quite smug, having built up a new bike with potential for massive tyre clearance and new, very strong, tubeless compatible wheels. I do though, have sympathy for those on a tight budget who are going to have to make do with whatever they've got.

Even with my setup, I'm already leaning towards the idea of carrying, or at least planning to obtain, tyres specific to the rough stuff purely for use on those sections, with road rubber being in place for the remainder.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 10:25:33 am »
I'm really curious how going the other way and therefore moving from poor road surfaces and more infrequent services to, for many people, more familiar territory, will play into dropouts and the like. Dealing with rough roads and poor driving is easier when you're fresh as long as you can remember it is likely to get better.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 10:29:16 am »
The Parcours for CP 2 shouldn't be that bad from the look of it.  Similar in nature the the gravel sections in the Giro this year.  The road is used by motor vehicles in the summer and should be well packed and solid.

Alpe D'Huez could be more of a challenge given the fact that the current Parcours in the race manual is "for illustration purposes only".  References to TCR "doing things differently", there being "multiple routes that are a lot less simple than the smooth tarmac of the traditional route" and specific mention of the Megavalance downhill endurance race  and Pic Blanc make me think we could be looking at a gravel climb all the way to the cable car station at the top of Pic Blanc.  There is a gravel route up over the Col de Sarenne that leads onto the trails to the summit and then down into Huez town itself.  With the CP in Ornon we would be going down the hairpins, not up them. 

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 11:55:56 am »
I'm really curious how going the other way and therefore moving from poor road surfaces and more infrequent services to, for many people, more familiar territory, will play into dropouts and the like. Dealing with rough roads and poor driving is easier when you're fresh as long as you can remember it is likely to get better.

Yeah, that thought had occurred to me too. Every pedal stroke will be taking me closer to home!

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2018, 02:14:05 pm »
I'm really curious how going the other way and therefore moving from poor road surfaces and more infrequent services to, for many people, more familiar territory, will play into dropouts and the like. Dealing with rough roads and poor driving is easier when you're fresh as long as you can remember it is likely to get better.

Generally the further east you go, the easier it is to get food and accomodation.  In the Balkans, hotels are plentiful, open late and cheap and it's easier to sleep outside when it's hot.  And often the road surfaces are mostly pretty good in eastern Europe - although you can be unlucky. 

I think it will be psychologically harder to go from east to west, knowing that you will be heading for colder weather where you will be more likely to need more layers in the evenings, have more chance of rain, and have to search harder to find food and water.  Also headwinds will be more likely, especially on that final diagonal across France.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 02:28:22 pm »
I'm really curious how going the other way and therefore moving from poor road surfaces and more infrequent services to, for many people, more familiar territory, will play into dropouts and the like. Dealing with rough roads and poor driving is easier when you're fresh as long as you can remember it is likely to get better.

Generally the further east you go, the easier it is to get food and accomodation.  In the Balkans, hotels are plentiful, open late and cheap and it's easier to sleep outside when it's hot.  And often the road surfaces are mostly pretty good in eastern Europe - although you can be unlucky. 

I think it will be psychologically harder to go from east to west, knowing that you will be heading for colder weather where you will be more likely to need more layers in the evenings, have more chance of rain, and have to search harder to find food and water.  Also headwinds will be more likely, especially on that final diagonal across France.

Thanks for that perspective, I was just basing it off social media! Really interested to see how this plays out know, seems like there are swings and roundabouts to both directions (as you'd expect) but we've only explored one set so far.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 02:37:51 pm »
Yes, it will definitely throw up some different psychological challenges going this way. 

Another is that, in the past, there has been the motivation of reaching an exotic goal, somewhere you've probably not been to before but seen pictures of, etc.  While Brest has some cachet from PBP, it is not a very nice place and the weather is often not great!  Also it is the one part of the PBP route that is not much fussed about PBP.   

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 03:10:07 pm »
Yes, it will definitely throw up some different psychological challenges going this way. 

Another is that, in the past, there has been the motivation of reaching an exotic goal, somewhere you've probably not been to before but seen pictures of, etc.  While Brest has some cachet from PBP, it is not a very nice place and the weather is often not great!  Also it is the one part of the PBP route that is not much fussed about PBP.   

Yes, I wondered about that aspect! I was almost tempted to try TCRno.5 (despite complete unsuitability of my fitness, my personality, bike and finances) based on the images of Meteora!

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2018, 03:37:59 pm »
Yes, it will definitely throw up some different psychological challenges going this way. 

Another is that, in the past, there has been the motivation of reaching an exotic goal, somewhere you've probably not been to before but seen pictures of, etc.  While Brest has some cachet from PBP, it is not a very nice place and the weather is often not great!  Also it is the one part of the PBP route that is not much fussed about PBP.   

Part of the appeal for me on this one is the fact that getting home will be much easier!  Assuming I finish.  Brest to Roscoff, ferry to Plymouth, train home.  All much easier to arrange at short notice and no stress about packing up the bike, flights etc.

Worst case scenario the family could actually drive over and meet me at the finish.
 
If the weather is a repeat of this year riding into cooler weather could actually be a relief as well.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2018, 04:03:15 pm »
Yes, different things to think about.  Relief from the heat could be a big motivator to push on. 
These are the kind of things that you tend to dwell on during the long, lonely periods.  One can think about it beforehand, but can't know for sure how it will feel at the time. 

The final ride across France might be tough.  Tempting to think that, in the overall context, it's a roll-in from the top of Alpe d'Huez.  But it is almost a full Diagonale so a worthy long-distance ride in itself, against the prevailing wind on very tired legs!



Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2018, 05:27:11 pm »
Interesting view points Frank.
I'm with Scrantaj on the whole "riding towards cooler weather" and (for a majority of the riders) "riding back towards home, as being a huge carrot.
I hope that you have been given the all clear by the doc and are free to ride next year.

Good luck to all of you who are entering.

Jonah.
All the gear and no idea.Three dimensionally dyslexic.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2018, 07:27:55 pm »
Meanwhile, there is some VERY mild whining on FB about the gravel, and owning bikes without decent tyre clearance.

I'm thinking that were I in that situation, I'd just ride 25mm and take a spare tyre; it would do no harm at all to replace your most worn tyre before crossing France anyway (at which point you'd be chucking an old tyre away - boom, you're now riding with 300g less luggage :P )
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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2018, 07:35:42 pm »
If you take your time there will be plenty of roadside facilities on the run into Brest.

(You'd be looking at around 31 days. The TCR lanterne rouge last year took about 40 days, so it could happen...)

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2018, 08:58:34 pm »
Meanwhile, there is some VERY mild whining on FB about the gravel, and owning bikes without decent tyre clearance.

I'm thinking that were I in that situation, I'd just ride 25mm and take a spare tyre; it would do no harm at all to replace your most worn tyre before crossing France anyway (at which point you'd be chucking an old tyre anyway - boom, you're now riding with 300g less luggage :P )

Yes, saw that. Whatever the terrain is, it would be fine on 25s. Just might have to take more care descending, but you're not going to ride a slow tyre for 3820km to go a bit faster for 80km
.
A tyre won't wear out in that distance but it might get cut up. I've never carried a spare but, having had to replace a tyre on both tcr and indypac (both damaged on tarmac) I'll concede it's not the worst idea. Although a tyre has to be badly damaged not to be bootable. And they're not exactly heavy but the bulk is more of an issue.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2018, 09:01:53 pm »

I hope that you have been given the all clear by the doc and are free to ride next year.


Yes thanks, I'm now fully repaired and doctor reckons I should be fitter than before. More importantly, my wife is open to the idea of me doing a long race this year, hence me getting excited by this thread!
I think I read somewhere that you're sitting it out this year?

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2018, 09:27:41 pm »

I hope that you have been given the all clear by the doc and are free to ride next year.


Yes thanks, I'm now fully repaired and doctor reckons I should be fitter than before. More importantly, my wife is open to the idea of me doing a long race this year, hence me getting excited by this thread!
I think I read somewhere that you're sitting it out this year?

Thats great news. I'll look forward to following you.
Yes, year off for me. It was pretty intense and a little selfish time wise the last couple of years prepping for the event, so next year we plan to do a bicycle tour together with the dogs in a trailer instead. I'd like to have had a crack at one of the shorter events, specifically Normandicat or Gravel Tro Breizh, but they are a bit too early in the year.
We will be based in Brittany for the Summer so will likely apply to volunteer for the finish. If we are not required we will certainly ride out and catch as many of the riders as we can en route during the final miles.
All the gear and no idea.Three dimensionally dyslexic.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2018, 10:20:42 pm »

Thats great news. I'll look forward to following you.
Yes, year off for me. It was pretty intense and a little selfish time wise the last couple of years prepping for the event, so next year we plan to do a bicycle tour together with the dogs in a trailer instead. I'd like to have had a crack at one of the shorter events, specifically Normandicat or Gravel Tro Breizh, but they are a bit too early in the year.
We will be based in Brittany for the Summer so will likely apply to volunteer for the finish. If we are not required we will certainly ride out and catch as many of the riders as we can en route during the final miles.

That will be bliss!
I look forward to when my (wife judges that my) daughter is ready to go on a tour with us in her trailer.
if I get a place and make it to Brittany, it would be great to see you.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2018, 11:18:55 pm »

Gravel stretches are to be expected with the TCR, but the length and scope of them on this edition looks like quite a bit higher level than maybe the last couple of years (based on dotwatching, rather than riding, I may be wrong). It's making me reconsider tyre choices. Might have to see what I can find in .nl by way of rough stuff to train on...

With the traditional Belgium -> Greece route I had in my head that, it's the last 1000km that scared me most. It's all unknown territory. With the East -> West route, the biggest unknowns are all in the first couple of thousand km, when I hope to be freshest. Also meaning that the worn out bike parts stuff is going to happen in France, rather than the Balkans.

Carrying extra tyres, to swap depending on terrain, if you can swap the tyres in 20 mins, and you do it twice, that's 80 minutes total, plus the extra ~600g or so of weight to lug up the hills. I wonder how much slower you'd have to be on road tyres on the gravel, to make it worth swapping to gravel tyres for the gravel bits. And conversely how much slower you'd have to be over 3700km with gravel tyres, to make it worth the swap the other way. I'm trying to decide between Schwalbe G-One TLE all round, and Conti GP5000-TL.

Main down side of East -> West is the last ~1000km through France where you can't wear headphones to listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks etc...

I need to finish my application.

J

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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2018, 11:18:45 am »
TBH it doesn't sound much different from previous years.  The Sarajevo control last year sounded pretty tough and the strada bianchi stretch in 2015 was also tough.  In 2016 many of us did a couple of hours of gravel in Macedonia. 

Unless you absolutely need to because of damage, you definitely don't want to stop and swap tyres!  Definitely don't plan for it. 

Worth getting comfortable handling your bike for the gravel sections.  Go off road, where the mountain bikers go, ride as slowly as you can round tight corners, track stand, etc



quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2018, 11:44:48 am »
TBH it doesn't sound much different from previous years.  The Sarajevo control last year sounded pretty tough and the strada bianchi stretch in 2015 was also tough.  In 2016 many of us did a couple of hours of gravel in Macedonia. 

Unless you absolutely need to because of damage, you definitely don't want to stop and swap tyres!  Definitely don't plan for it.

That was kinda what I was trying to convey, tho with somewhat excessive verbosity and circumlocution.

Quote

Worth getting comfortable handling your bike for the gravel sections.  Go off road, where the mountain bikers go, ride as slowly as you can round tight corners, track stand, etc

Mountain biking... in Holland... :p

But yeah, I took a short detour down some off road sections in the Veluwe on Saturdays DIY 200.

Might have to see if I can plan some nice off road routes in the Ardennes as part of my training...

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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2018, 11:56:29 am »
Carrying extra tyres, to swap depending on terrain, if you can swap the tyres in 20 mins, and you do it twice, that's 80 minutes total, plus the extra ~600g or so of weight to lug up the hills. I wonder how much slower you'd have to be on road tyres on the gravel, to make it worth swapping to gravel tyres for the gravel bits. And conversely how much slower you'd have to be over 3700km with gravel tyres, to make it worth the swap the other way. I'm trying to decide between Schwalbe G-One TLE all round, and Conti GP5000-TL.
That's the sort of calculation I went through when commuting long distance, before deciding that tyres like M+ were not worth using. Overall, I saved more time by riding on faster tyres and repairing punctures now and then.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2018, 01:06:23 pm »
If you take your time there will be plenty of roadside facilities on the run into Brest.

(You'd be looking at around 31 days. The TCR lanterne rouge last year took about 40 days, so it could happen...)

I'm a little uneasy about the folk who enter and have zero intention of even trying to make it under the time cut. It's over subscribed, so chances are they have deprived someone from having a proper go.

Do you really need the numbered cap if you're just going on a tour?

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2018, 02:02:33 pm »
If you take your time there will be plenty of roadside facilities on the run into Brest.

(You'd be looking at around 31 days. The TCR lanterne rouge last year took about 40 days, so it could happen...)

I'm a little uneasy about the folk who enter and have zero intention of even trying to make it under the time cut. It's over subscribed, so chances are they have deprived someone from having a proper go.

Do you really need the numbered cap if you're just going on a tour?

I haven't done this race and nor am I likely to be able to, but it's something I've also seen in audax circles.   Riders taking part without the necessary experience, ability or planning*

It is my view that by entering you are taking away the chance of someone more able to take part.   Some organisers disagree, though, wanting to make their events accessible rather than encourage elitism.



* rider to me on the last day of LEL 2013 - 'it gets a bit cold overnight, my short sleeve jersey wasn't really enough'