Author Topic: Transcontinental 2019  (Read 20490 times)

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #300 on: August 08, 2019, 01:56:04 pm »
I have no experience of either, but I would have thought that audax is about the best prep you can do for an ultra-endurance race, short of doing an ultra endurance race.
Surely it's loads better than doing any sort of 1 day race/crit/TT?

Audax is a broad church, so it depends. Many of us can do a 200 or a 300, but it's getting up, having had 4 hours sleep, and doing it again, and again, and again, and again. Then you have to consider that the route for much of the TCR has just bonkers levels of climbing. The CP3 parcour was something like 5000m of climbing, in 160km, Then you had another 900m or so to get over the hill into Austria. I massively underestimated the climbing.

I didn't mean a 200, I meant LEL or PBP or long DIYs. The more days in a row, the better. Most ultradistance races seem to delight in mountains, so I guess climbing would be an advantage too - you are fairly limited in what you can achieve near home on that score. A couple of club-mates did Le Loup - I reckon that probably has the bashing out miles day after day thing down (and the last week certainly had enough climbing), but it's not got any of the self sufficiency elements of TCR.

On a slight tangent, is TCR (or similar) good prep for doing RAAM? Less brain work, more just churning out Watts.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #301 on: August 08, 2019, 02:05:58 pm »
@QG

from what I've read I'd agree with everything you've written- the TCR seems brutal in terms of all the "soft" skills involved.  James Hayden seemed particularly good at that - riding his own race, not racing the guys over the first two checkpoints and playing the long game.  Fiona did that as well- the number of guys who dropped out trying to keep up.  Jasmin Paris had a similar experience in the Pennine Way race with the second place guy bailing within a few miles of the finish.

You can eat cr@p for 2-3 days on an audax- but how does your body cope with that for 15 days? Can maybe manage sores, injuries and so on if the end is after ~36 hrs.  A pre audax bike service will get you through to the end, how do you service your bike when sleep deprived.  Gravel parcours abuse, etc. 

Now the dust has settled a little,  first question, do you want to try again? Then, if yes, what would you do differently to prepare?  Would a hilly 1000-2000 be better than RATN as prep?  Do you need to train further south to replicate the heat? Do you need to carry less?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #302 on: August 08, 2019, 02:19:54 pm »
@QG

You can eat cr@p for 2-3 days on an audax- but how does your body cope with that for 15 days? Can maybe manage sores, injuries and so on if the end is after ~36 hrs.  A pre audax bike service will get you through to the end, how do you service your bike when sleep deprived.  Gravel parcours abuse, etc. 

You can not eat on a 200. Sure it won't be fun, but you can do it. I've done 150km of a 300 on an empty stomach (I puked and couldn't eat), it painful, and slow, but I did manage it. It's just not sustainable.

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Now the dust has settled a little,  first question, do you want to try again? Then, if yes, what would you do differently to prepare?  Would a hilly 1000-2000 be better than RATN as prep?  Do you need to train further south to replicate the heat? Do you need to carry less?

RatN and TCR in the same year is a stupid idea for me. People like Hippy may be able to do that, and maybe one day I would be able to, but right now, RatN did too much damage, meaning that I couldn't do as much training in the last couple of months as I'd like.

Training for the heat is tough, with a 9-5 job, getting down south to train for 2-3 weeks in the heat isn't plausible. What is more, if the route is going East to West (the traditional direction), then it probably won't be as much an issue. I'm hoping that next year is Geraadsbergen to Burgas. It gives a first 600km of rolling Belgium and France before things get gnarly.

I'm thinking I may spend a weekend a month down in Limburg, just banging out climbs.

Did I take too much? Yes. I had more battery capacity than I needed. It's the only thing I have in the bag that I didn't use (aside from the first aid kit). But that's only saving me maybe half a kg. I'm still umming and ahing about whether to carry bivvi kit next year. I may replace it for an emergency bivvi and a down jacket. In eastern europe, finding hotels with late checkin was a lot easier than in western Europe. A lot of people were caught out around CP3 because all the hotels in the valley were booked for a sportiv.

What you pack on your bag is basically your fears. Fear the cold? You carry cold weather clothing. Fear not getting a hotel? You carry bivvi kit. Fear saddle sores? you carry extra creams and extra shorts.

Not taking bivvi kit would save me about 1kg. Not much as an overall proportion. When I unpack my bike, I'm tempted to do a kit grid of everything I took that is in Fiona's bags, and then another with all the kit not in Fiona's, for comparison...

For now I need to get my bike working again (see thread about rear mech), and get my head ready to cycle again. I may try a 300k audax next weekend. Maybe.

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

S2L

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #303 on: August 08, 2019, 02:34:06 pm »
Without knowing much about > 1,000 km rides, it seems to me that in order to do well (let alone win) TCR, one has to be comfortable doing multi day rides... and by comfortable I don't mean barely scraping through the time limits  of a 600 km Audax, which are very very generous for the distance.


quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #304 on: August 08, 2019, 02:42:01 pm »
Without knowing much about > 1,000 km rides, it seems to me that in order to do well (let alone win) TCR, one has to be comfortable doing multi day rides... and by comfortable I don't mean barely scraping through the time limits  of a 600 km Audax, which are very very generous for the distance.

As with may things "It depends".

In theory, with 15 days to do 400km, You can do 266.6km per day. For 15 days. If you average 20kph, that's 13.15 hours in the saddle per day, giving you 10.8 hours per day to sleep, faff, eat, etc... but, averaging 20kph for that long, over the terrain in question is harder than it seems. When you're having to get off and push your bike up 30% inclines on the CP3 parcour (even Fiona walked that bit), that means you need to be going faster else where to make up for it. In theory you can descend the mountain quickly, to make up the time, but you will never actually achieve this. You can't descent fast enough, it's just too dangerous. The fastest time for completing CP3 was about 19 hours, many were taking over 30.

The 40 hours for a 600 isn't as generous as you think it is when you apply the amount of hills of the TCR. It's like doing one of the ACP SR rides, but doing it at BRM pace. Has anyone achieved the Cambian 6C in 40 hours?

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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #305 on: August 08, 2019, 02:43:58 pm »
Training for the heat is tough, with a 9-5 job, getting down south to train for 2-3 weeks in the heat isn't plausible. What is more, if the route is going East to West (the traditional direction), then it probably won't be as much an issue. I'm hoping that next year is Geraadsbergen to Burgas. It gives a first 600km of rolling Belgium and France before things get gnarly.

There's a fair amount of information about heat aclimation in some of the Trainer Road podcasts. In particular, they seem to think that getting into a sauna for 30 minutes after doing a training ride can help with heat tolerance. So it is definitely possible to prepare for a hot race while living in a cold climate. I believe that the benefits of this sort of stuff wear off quite quickly, so while it's worth experimenting with, it may only work if you are able to do it in the few weeks before the event.

S2L

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #306 on: August 08, 2019, 02:51:05 pm »


The 40 hours for a 600 isn't as generous as you think it is when you apply the amount of hills of the TCR. It's like doing one of the ACP SR rides, but doing it at BRM pace. Has anyone achieved the Cambian 6C in 40 hours?

J

It is very generous if you think that there are riders out there who can do a 600 in 24 hours but wouldn't even dream of doing TCR. I assume the same riders can probably do an SR in 40 hours, if they put their mind to it.
Ultimately, the Pendle 600 has 10K of climbing and could qualify for SR status by sheer numbers and people have done it in BRM time.

I met Fiona at LWL last year, she was in the leading group with us doing 35 km/h for a little, until willingly or not she got dropped. There are fast people out there, not all have the mindset to go for 10 or more days



Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #307 on: August 08, 2019, 02:58:09 pm »
I'm pretty good at mechanical stuff, reasonably competent at route planning, and sorting out shelter and food is surely a matter of having done you homework and allowed an appropriate cockup factor.  All of which is, IME, several orders of magnitude easier than riding a bike a long way.

Can you do all of that (well apart from the route planning), when you haven't had more than 4 hours sleep in the last week? Can you do that when you don't speak the language? and don't have phone signal?

Probably not very well, which is why I tend to do my homework.  I'm used to overcompensating for an unreliable body with obsessive (and for many people, excessive) planning, and don't find the organiser-provided facilities on a typical AUK event particularly helpful (I can't rely on them for food, for example), so probably underestimate how much they benefit other riders.

But I can't homework my way into endurance racing, no amount of planning and good luck will make my digestive system work properly, or allow me to function on a massive sleep deficit.

Through that lens, LEL and TCR are equally unachievable, so maybe I underestimate the barrier that the soft skills can be.  Thousands of metres of climbing on fuck all sleep simply dwarfs the effort involved in sitting down and spending some quality time with maps and Google, which frankly sounds like Type 1 Fun.


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OTOH, I know people who can churn out miles but are rubbish at bike fettling, have no mechanical sympathy or are allergic to maps, or whatever.  It's always slightly baffling to see people defeated by the easy stuff, but it seems to me that if you're good at riding a long way on a bike, you can often compensate for poor planning by riding more.  That's probably not the way to win races, thobut.

Or are just defeated by the heat, and their own incompetence when it comes to feeding the body properly...

BTDT, in far less audacious circumstances.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #308 on: August 08, 2019, 03:21:50 pm »
The longest audax I've attempted is the 2,100km Wild Atlantic Way in 2016.  The time limit was 175 hours, so 7 days 7 hours.  Daily averages 300km a day. So it sounds like it would be a similar schedule to a 15 day TCR. The only proper controls were the sleep stops at the end of each day.  It has plenty of climbing and steep stuff.

It took my stomach about two days to settle into the routine and normal appetite returned.  I was getting about 3-4 hours sleep , and found that each day, in terms of distance and sleep, was perfectly repeatable.  One mechanical where my chain went in the spokes, and I had to true the wheel at the side of the road. Sadly on what would have been my final day I got Shermer's neck and after a futher 200km of plugging on, had to abandon, a little over 100km from the finish.

Some riders have completed the Trafalger - Trafalger audax 3100km permanent this summer. 

There are definitely audaxes you can do that will help prepare you for the physicality of TCR.  Some of the other skills you may already have, such as mechanical skills and route planning, and thinking on your feet when tired etc.  If you didn't fancy audax format the Transatlantic Way ride, at about 2300-2400km would also probably be good prep, other than dealing with hot weather.

The Shermer's neck put me off trying anything longer than the Wild Atlantic Way.  I'm going back next year, to try and finish the event, but opting for the new option that averages out at 240km a day and just under 9 days.    Hoping to do it on a recumbent, the frame of which is on order.

The TCR, based on the numbers, does have some brutal days out there but it also has some gentle ones. For instance Fiona had a section through Switzerland of 474km and only 1,164m of ascent.  That is flatter than some 400's in Suffolk / Norfolk.

The advantage (and curse) of TCR is that essentially you set your own time limit, other than passing the checkpoints by certain times. Are the closing time of checkpoints based on a 15 day schedule, and I presume if you miss them then you are out of the GC?

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #309 on: August 08, 2019, 03:25:01 pm »
In Sölden right now: let's see if I can shout a "bonne courage" to Beate Weiland. She should be passing by any moment now. (Random encouragement is still allowed, I hope?)

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #310 on: August 08, 2019, 03:54:11 pm »
Training for the heat is tough, with a 9-5 job, getting down south to train for 2-3 weeks in the heat isn't plausible. What is more, if the route is going East to West (the traditional direction), then it probably won't be as much an issue. I'm hoping that next year is Geraadsbergen to Burgas. It gives a first 600km of rolling Belgium and France before things get gnarly.

There's a fair amount of information about heat aclimation in some of the Trainer Road podcasts. In particular, they seem to think that getting into a sauna for 30 minutes after doing a training ride can help with heat tolerance. So it is definitely possible to prepare for a hot race while living in a cold climate. I believe that the benefits of this sort of stuff wear off quite quickly, so while it's worth experimenting with, it may only work if you are able to do it in the few weeks before the event.

"You know all the space I take up in the garage with bikes, tools, turbo trainer etc ?"

"Yeah"

"Do you think I could squeeze a sauna in there as well ?"

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #311 on: August 08, 2019, 04:00:34 pm »
having done plenty of long audaxes and two tcr's my view is that tcr is much harder because of several factors - uncertainty about the planned route (including road surfaces, traffic levels, sleep stops and food locations), longer overall distance (the body goes into a different survival mode after days 4-5), and a pressure to push yourself all the time (audax control times are very relaxed).
i would not call tcr super hilly - on average it is close to a typical 1km vertical per 100km. yes, there are stretches with lots of climbing, but they come and go. i made many mistakes on both tcr's which have cost me a fair amount of time, but all of them added to a greater adventure - and that's what tcr is about!

the nearest "tcr" experience on an audax was a tinat600 in wales - a proper tough one - i encourage you to try it out!

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #312 on: August 08, 2019, 05:46:01 pm »
Training for the heat is tough, with a 9-5 job, getting down south to train for 2-3 weeks in the heat isn't plausible. What is more, if the route is going East to West (the traditional direction), then it probably won't be as much an issue. I'm hoping that next year is Geraadsbergen to Burgas. It gives a first 600km of rolling Belgium and France before things get gnarly.

There's a fair amount of information about heat aclimation in some of the Trainer Road podcasts. In particular, they seem to think that getting into a sauna for 30 minutes after doing a training ride can help with heat tolerance. So it is definitely possible to prepare for a hot race while living in a cold climate. I believe that the benefits of this sort of stuff wear off quite quickly, so while it's worth experimenting with, it may only work if you are able to do it in the few weeks before the event.

"You know all the space I take up in the garage with bikes, tools, turbo trainer etc ?"

"Yeah"

"Do you think I could squeeze a sauna in there as well ?"
You're thinking about it the wrong way.

"You know how you say that we have to make certain sacrifices for my bike riding? How about we get you a sauna so you can have your spa day anytime you want?" ;)

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #313 on: August 09, 2019, 12:42:15 pm »
I think fiona was pretty well prepared.

She'd done LEL, she did regularly with Olaf's audax group in Western Germany until she moved to dresden, where she booked up with Bjorn. So loads of advice from those sources.

When I did my first tcr I'd done pbp and lots of audax, plus some unsupported time trials. I felt I was one of the more experienced ones.

However she will have learned a lot from her experience, as we all do from a first ultra. She said as much in her interviews, that she could go faster next time.

S2L

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #314 on: August 09, 2019, 12:46:30 pm »
Nick Van Mead finished in the early morning, he runs a BBC blog... he also was at LWL 2018 and finished ages ahead of Fiona, which goes to show how different TCR is from Audax

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #315 on: August 09, 2019, 02:27:37 pm »
Concur with Zigzag. TCR is a different animal than repeated long rides on home turf so its not prudent to compare like for like.  Ive ridden a fair few 300's, a few 400's and a couple of rides beyond 500km inside 24 hour periods on a loaded bike and been pretty chipper next day. A few days into TCR is a whole other ball game though, things get ugly.  Quite why its different is debatable and likely a host of reasons, and probably vary from rider to rider. The elevation is a big issue IMHO though as its stacked at certain critical points where there are horrendous climbing days then maybe a couple of rolling/flat so overall elevation is misleading.
I'm in Brest at the mo and the guys coming in are getting nailed by headwinds/ lashing rain on the final run in. One of the high place finishers from previous editions commented that this race was the hardest thing they have ever done.
Its a very different vibe from the previous finishes in Greece, but I think that adds texture and variety to the history of the race.
often lost.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #316 on: August 09, 2019, 02:48:03 pm »
Thanks for all the interesting thoughts and contributions.

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #317 on: August 09, 2019, 04:37:37 pm »
90 km/h winds forecast out Brest way at the moment.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #318 on: August 09, 2019, 06:33:30 pm »
I have no experience of either, but I would have thought that audax is about the best prep you can do for an ultra-endurance race, short of doing an ultra endurance race.
Surely it's loads better than doing any sort of 1 day race/crit/TT?

Audax is a broad church, so it depends. Many of us can do a 200 or a 300, but it's getting up, having had 4 hours sleep, and doing it again, and again, and again, and again. Then you have to consider that the route for much of the TCR has just bonkers levels of climbing. The CP3 parcour was something like 5000m of climbing, in 160km, Then you had another 900m or so to get over the hill into Austria. I massively underestimated the climbing.

I didn't mean a 200, I meant LEL or PBP or long DIYs. The more days in a row, the better. Most ultradistance races seem to delight in mountains, so I guess climbing would be an advantage too ...
For this specific question I would say Yes (i.e. if you are constrained to organised* events, with a choice of more than 1-a-year within 500 miles-ish of home). Clearly hardly any audaxes have the exact same demands as TCR, but that's not the question - clearly RIDING a TCR is the best practice for riding another one!

Many riders currently still struggling to Brest would also find PBP a pretty challenging ride. For more of a self-sufficient, variable-weather and some big hills event, LEL would be better (did someone say that a top female TCR rider also completed LEL recently? Hmm?).

If you showed me a finisher of the Mille Pennines, I would rate their chances of a top-half TCR finish very highly, given no other information.

I have no idea what events would test the soft (non-pedalling?) skills - I guess some sort of small field ultra-run would be pretty good, but not perfect; I don't enough about other niche endurance sports to recommend something ...


*if you just want a solo event, the long perms could work; something like Calais-Brindisi would be good practice (I *think* you're pretty much self-routing?), you could even self-impose a minimum speed above the 200km/day just to "improve" the experience :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 #319 on: August 10, 2019, 11:51:53 am »
The platonic ideal of the 'Transcontinental' ethos is surely an unsupported round the world trip. A sort of cycling  version of ocean racing. These 'ultra races' are an extension of other marathon cycling rides, but they are also limited versions of the ultimate ambition of a self-reliant global race. I blame the Wacky Races myself.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #320 on: August 10, 2019, 11:53:40 am »
The platonic ideal of the 'Transcontinental' ethos is surely an unsupported round the world trip. A sort of cycling  version of ocean racing. These 'ultra races' are an extension of other marathon cycling rides, but they are also limited versions of the ultimate ambition of a self-reliant global race. I blame the Wacky Races myself.

https://www.adventurebikeracing.com/worldbybikechallenge/

Like this?

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

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #321 on: August 10, 2019, 12:08:58 pm »
The platonic ideal of the 'Transcontinental' ethos is surely an unsupported round the world trip. A sort of cycling  version of ocean racing. These 'ultra races' are an extension of other marathon cycling rides, but they are also limited versions of the ultimate ambition of a self-reliant global race. I blame the Wacky Races myself.

https://www.adventurebikeracing.com/worldbybikechallenge/

Like this?

J

Indeed. The winner of the first PBP embarked on a St Petersburg to Paris ride a couple of years later. That led to a book with 100 illustrations.

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Terront avec l’appui de son entraîneur Duncan (un ancien très bon coureur) va dès lors se spécialiser dans les exploits au long cours. Il battit d’abord lors d’un défi mémorable Corre sur la distance de 1000 kilomètres derrière entraineur avant d’établir successivement deux records tout aussi mémorables qu’inutiles Saint Petersbourg Paris en 1893 et Rome Paris en 1894.Parti le 27 septembre 1893 de Saint Petersbourg sur des chemins déplorables Terront couvrit 1200 km en Russie avant de traverser l’Allemagne, puis la Belgique pour arriver finalement au vélodrome Buffalo (à Paris) après un périple de 3000 km effectué en 14 jours et 7 heures.En 1893, au sommet de sa gloire, Terront fut sans nul doute le premier sportif suffisamment célèbre pour qu’un éditeur publie de son vivant ses mémoires. Dans cet ouvrage, écrit avec Baudry de Saunier, Charles Terront parle de sa vie, de ses courses, de Jules son frère qui fut un très honnête coureur et il livre enfin à ses lecteurs sa méthode d’entraînement…La même année parut également un ouvrage de Duncan intitulé « En suivant Terront » qui entre autres au travers de 100 dessins retrace le raid Saint Petersbourg Paris.Le parcours de Charles Terront me semble remarquable, par son palmarès mais surtout par son étonnante capacité d’adaptation, passant du grand bi à la bicyclette et des épreuves de vitesse, aux courses de fond et même aux épreuves marathon sans aucune difficulté, démontrant ainsi des qualités athlétiques peu communes. Terront était aussi une sorte d’aventurier, de pionnier qui a su se servir de sa notoriété pour préparer et réaliser des exploits qui n’avaient finalement plus grand-chose à voir avec le cyclisme mais qui lui ont permis d’aller au bout de ses rêves. Alors Chapeau Monsieur Terront

S2L

Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #322 on: August 10, 2019, 12:22:01 pm »
It's a race, you are competing against the others, that should be the spirit. If you start with the idea of taking 20 days and do a bit of sightseeing, it's not in the spirit of the event

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Transcontinental 2019
« Reply #323 on: August 10, 2019, 07:21:13 pm »
I've just had a look at the route into Brest - they appear to tackle The Mighty Roc Trevezel of PBP fame  :o

Odd that no riders seem to have mentioned it on arrival ...  ;D
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 #324 on: August 12, 2019, 09:37:24 am »
The platonic ideal of the 'Transcontinental' ethos is surely an unsupported round the world trip. A sort of cycling  version of ocean racing. These 'ultra races' are an extension of other marathon cycling rides, but they are also limited versions of the ultimate ambition of a self-reliant global race. I blame the Wacky Races myself.

The thought process was actually the other way round.  Mike's idea for the Transcontinental came after he did his round the world race: to create a version of it that could be done by people with jobs / families who could only spare two weeks. 

He spotted a gap in the market!

The Wacky Races analogy is one that is frequently referenced!