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Transcordilleras 2022 — eight-day bikepacking race through the Andes


Transcordilleras 2022 — eight-day bikepacking race through the Andes

Mountain Biking Collection by Laurens ten Dam



49:33 h

659 mi

90,575 ft

I had just won Gravel Locos 2021 in Texas when I met a Colombian cameraman who told me about a race in his native country. The words ‘Andes’, ‘eight days’ and ‘25,000 metres of elevation gain’ had my attention. But when he added that Mauricio Ardila – my teammate at Rabobank from 2008 to 2010 – had won the previous edition and was now organising it, I was completely convinced. I called Thomas and Dennis of the Live Slow Ride Fast Crew and said, ‘We're going to Colombia in February!’

The Transcordilleras is a self-supported bikepacking race of 1,100 km (684 mi) and 25,000 metres (82,000 ft) of elevation gain through the Colombian Andes. Over eight days, parts of this mountain range are crossed, mostly unpaved, from the vast eastern plains to the colonial city of Santafé de Antioquia. The Andes have an average altitude of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft). As a boy from the flat land of North Holland, that meant only one thing: training and adapting to the altitude.

Two weeks prior to the race, I went to a training camp with Tom Dumoulin and Koen Bouwman in Medellin. To get used to the altitude, we slept at 2,200 metres (7,200 ft). It was a trip down memory lane and it’s how training camps used to be. We had a lot of fun, trained hard, ate healthily and relaxed. Live slow...

As the Transcordilleras is self-supported, you have to carry everything you need over the Andes. At the finish, there’s no bag with clean clothes or a mechanic to repair your bike; you have to arrange everything yourself. Smart packing was therefore of vital importance. Mauricio helped me with that. I put together a packing list that was as light as possible. In one of the photos of the first stage, you can see what I packed.

Two weeks later, there I was at the start with Dennis and Thomas – packed and ready. Everything I had with me would bring me to the finish in Santa Fe de Antioquia. Was it enough? And was my condition enough to beat the ambitious Colombians? You can read how I did in the daily reports and watch the video below.

On The Map


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Transcordilleras 2022

659 mi

90,450 ft

89,675 ft

Last updated: May 31, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Transcordilleras 2022 − Day 1

    69.1 mi
    9.3 mph
    16,650 ft
    7,775 ft

    The first stage was 110 kilometers long with 5000 vertical meters and consisted of 80% gravel. I started in good spirits but should have been more suspicious afterwards. The first part consisted of 15 kilometers of smooth asphalt and the climbs were not allowed to have a name. As soon as the gravel started

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 04:32
    74.8 mi
    16.5 mph
    7,000 ft
    9,500 ft

    Day 2 started well. The start was delayed by 2 hours to 8 a.m. The organization decided to give the tired bodies of the people who had come out of the mountains at 3 a.m. the necessary rest.


    I started with a scared heart. Day 1 had a huge impact on all participants and we all wondered, including myself

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    by Laurens ten Dam

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  • 07:01
    93.7 mi
    13.4 mph
    12,525 ft
    13,700 ft

    Again today I drove around with Pete for a day. The weather was not as good as the days before and the descents were a bit slippery. I descended better than Pete who didn't want to take any risks at all and was able to release him on the descent to the finish.


    So I nibbled something off my 13 minute backlog

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 06:54
    87.5 mi
    12.7 mph
    12,075 ft
    17,175 ft

    This was a difficult day for me. First of all, I went down on a descent at the beginning of the ride. The derailleur hanger of my Diverge bent so that I could no longer use my lightest gear. And let the organization have just completed the steepest climb of the round halfway through the stage.


    It was

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 07:53
    96.7 mi
    12.3 mph
    15,350 ft
    6,725 ft

    156 kilometers and 4700 vertical meters: this was the queen ride. It was showdown time. Pete had been having stomach and intestinal problems for several days. He had to get off the bike a few times during the rides before this and the second time it happened today, I thought to myself: “How many times

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 06:58
    93.5 mi
    13.4 mph
    12,625 ft
    16,025 ft

    I was so sure that I would win this day. In the beginning we rode quietly in the group and we had to avoid a huge landslide while climbing with our bike on our neck.


    The finish was again today after a descent. Except for my little slide, I've been descending better than Pete all week. That slider hadn

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 05:19
    92.0 mi
    17.3 mph
    9,500 ft
    9,375 ft

    I could no longer catch up with my competitor. It gave me some space to enjoy. The stage was also easier, it went over asphalt, which gave my tired back and arms a chance to rest. I pumped some extra pressure into my Pathfinder 42 tires from Specialized and hopsa, we went for it.


    Today Pete and I tolerate

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    by Laurens ten Dam

  • 03:29
    51.7 mi
    14.8 mph
    4,850 ft
    8,925 ft

    The Champs Elysees ride. You laugh about it but that's how it really felt. I had the feeling that I had completed a Grand Tour like the Giro, Tour or Vuelta.


    No champagne for me on this ride, which was short with 3000 meters of descending and only 1500 meters of altitude. The podium was decided and nothing

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    by Laurens ten Dam

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    659 mi
  • Duration
    49:33 h
  • Elevation
    90,575 ft

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