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NorthCape4000 – 12 days from Lake Garda to the North Cape


NorthCape4000 – 12 days from Lake Garda to the North Cape

Road Cycling Collection by Martin



122:51 h

2,782 mi

90,525 ft

Cycle until you can’t go on – that was my goal when I signed up for the NorthCape4000 at the beginning of 2021. The NC4K is a long-distance, self-supported race. This means you can’t accept any outside help, for example, from a support car.

As the name suggests, the race finishes at the North Cape – the northernmost point of the European continent that can be reached by land. You ride in one direction until there’s literally nowhere left to go.

I started preparing for my adventure in spring. Alongside structured training, I prepared my packing list and bike setup – very important as the race is several days long – so my adventure began long before the start gun. As I’d ridden in similar races such as the Transcontinental in 2018, I already had an idea of my setup. I just had to tune my Cannondale SuperSixEvo a little bit. After a few minor adjustments, I found what I was looking for – the feeling of being one with your bike. Supernova gave me bike lights – I was looking forward to the inevitable night rides.

My motto in races like this is to experience fully and really go for it. I like to race for the best position possible as that allows me to make the most of it. I base my packing strategy on this: pack smart, but not everything. I try to take things I am likely to need and not prepare for every eventuality.

So after a few exciting months of preparation, marked by Coronavirus-related uncertainty, I stood at the start of the race in Rovereto near Lake Garda, on 24th July 2021, together with my friend Björn Holzapfel. You can read what happened over the following 12 days, here.

You can find more information about my setup and the race in issues 14 and 15 of lifeCYCLE magazine and in two episodes of the Gravel Podcast with lots of info and inspiration here:

On The Map


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NorthCape4000 (NC4K) 2021

2,821 mi

93,775 ft

93,325 ft

Last updated: December 15, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • NC4K – Day 1

    201 mi
    12.1 mph
    14,725 ft
    12,575 ft

    It's Saturday, July 24th, 2021, 8:20 a.m. Together with my friend Björn, I am in the front row of the starting grid of the NorthCape4000. Behind and next to us are 190 other cyclists who, like us, will be on their way to the North Cape in ten minutes. The last visits to the toilet were done, the tense

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  • 296 mi
    -- mph
    9,425 ft
    11,775 ft

    My alarm clock rings exactly at 2:30 a.m. Björn stays in bed a little longer, I get ready and a quarter of an hour later I sit on my bike and start the quiet night. I enjoy the silence of the night and am happy about the still cool air. Shortly after sunrise I meet Steven again, who had been driving

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    by Martin

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  • 255 mi
    -- mph
    14,075 ft
    11,100 ft

    The third day, like the second, starts after almost four hours of sleep. Still, I feel strong and refreshed when I get up and pack up my things. The first destination of the day is Budapest. I want to get through the city before rush hour if possible so as to lose as little time as possible. I can't

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    by Martin

  • 268 mi
    -- mph
    8,850 ft
    11,725 ft

    Spending the night in a bus stop is never as comfortable and relaxing as in a hotel. But at the same time you save the time for check-in. When I left my camp in the middle of the night, it was raining lightly, and there was thick fog everywhere. The fact that there is now a descent over several hundred

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    by Martin

  • 284 mi
    -- mph
    5,225 ft
    5,100 ft

    When I leave the hotel between 2 and 3 a.m. the receptionist, with whom I checked in a few hours earlier, looks at me a little incredulously. The temperatures in the middle of Poland fell a lot that night and so I have to stop after a few kilometers to get arm and leg warmers out of my pockets.


    I feel

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    by Martin

  • 240 mi
    -- mph
    4,450 ft
    4,850 ft

    Fortunately, when my alarm goes off, the rain has stopped. I leave the bus stop and realize that the streets of the small town are completely flooded. The road climbs out of the town. No water has collected here. After a few kilometers the rain starts again. The intensity increases quickly and so I drive

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    by Martin

  • 14:19
    247 mi
    17.3 mph
    3,150 ft
    2,875 ft

    I went to sleep earlier than usual the previous evening and so I get up earlier than on the previous days. My goal for the day is to catch the ferry to Helsinki in Tallinn, around 400 kilometers away. I leave Riga through empty streets and make good progress on equally deserted streets. After about 30

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    by Martin

  • 03:05
    46.1 mi
    14.9 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,000 ft

    The ferry ride wasn't as relaxed as I had hoped. Since I was completely soaked, I first had to change clothes as much as possible in order not to cool down.


    When the ramp of the ship descends in the port of Helsinki, I am the first person allowed to leave the ship and sail on Finnish soil. I roll out

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    by Martin

  • 20:58
    281 mi
    13.4 mph
    9,975 ft
    9,875 ft

    After my most restless night so far, I put on my cycling clothes again at the bus stop and continue my journey. After a few kilometers I discover a large truck stop next to the road. This is open around the clock and so I take the opportunity at 3 a.m. to buy a coffee and some breakfast and eat in a

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    by Martin

  • 11:01
    31.7 mi
    2.9 mph
    425 ft
    500 ft

    As on the previous days, I feel wide awake when the alarm clock goes off. In contrast to the previous night, the night was extremely relaxing. I feel a slight rumble in my stomach and go looking for the sanitary facilities at the campsite. Something seems to be wrong with my digestion. I get dressed

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    by Martin

  • 15:19
    192 mi
    12.6 mph
    3,025 ft
    2,950 ft

    After I've slept in, I put on my freshly washed cycling clothes. After about 20 kilometers, the track finally leaves the country road and I am looking forward to hardly used roads towards Oulu, the northernmost city on the Baltic Sea. In Oulu I meet “Bikesutra”, an experienced long-distance rider who

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    by Martin

  • 13:36
    138 mi
    10.1 mph
    3,400 ft
    2,800 ft

    After a relatively long night, I don't really feel rested in the morning. But I really want to go further, I want to finish the race! But before that comes the fourth and therefore last stamp before the finish. We receive this in the Santa Clause Village, which is located directly on the Arctic Circle

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    by Martin

  • 28:00
    302 mi
    10.8 mph
    12,575 ft
    12,825 ft

    The day begins as the previous one ended: with rain and headwind. The temperatures even dropped again a bit. In sections it is just three degrees. Our motivation is completely at the end. The route to the North Cape is less than 500 kilometers long and yet it never seems to have been further away. The

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    by Martin

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    2,782 mi
  • Duration
    122:51 h
  • Elevation
    90,525 ft

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