Jonas Deichmann

Cape to Cape Challenge – 18,000km in 73 days

Cape to Cape Challenge – 18,000km in 73 days

Road Cycling Collection by Jonas Deichmann

72

Tours

788:48 h

10,514 mi

262,050 ft

In endurance cycling there are three main continental crossings, two of which I’ve already completed; Eurasia in 2017 and then Panamerica in 2018. It became a dream for me to be the first person to complete all three, and the Cape to Cape Challenge was born.

Spanning from the North Cape in Norway to Cape Town in South Africa, this 18,000 km journey spans the length of Finland, down through Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. From there, a single day’s transfer to Cairo, Egypt marks the start of the second leg down through Africa, passing through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

This is my story of the 73 day journey to ride this distance and the many cultural shifts that you experience as you pass through no less than 14 countries. This is my story of the changing landscapes, the kindness of people, the diverse wildlife, and the struggles I faced; food poisoning, violent public protests, language barriers, mechanical issues and dehydration.

Despite all this, I reached Cape Town to complete this epic crossing, beating the previous record by some 30 days. I was joined by ultracyclist and photographer Philipp Hympendahl until Egypt, where a severe case of food poisoning forced him to abandon.

You will find some discrepancies between the daily distances, riding time and average speed between my daily diary entries and the komoot Tours. The diary is based on the actual data from my board computer, which I wasn't able to retrieve unfortunately. Therefore, the komoot tours have been rebuilt, trying to remodel my tours as accurately as possible. However, speeds and riding times are only based on estimations of the komoot algorithm.

Keep an eye out later this summer, when I'll be releasing a documentary film and book about the project.

I’ve explained more about this challenge here:

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • 09:03
    120 mi
    13.3 mph
    6,875 ft
    7,750 ft

    We are starting the challenge at the North Cape on a spectacular day, without a single person about and the most wonderful blue sky.

    A last minute delay meant that I set off at 9.45am, on the route along the Arctic Ocean covering 186 km. A beautiful route, of course accompanied by plenty of hills and headwind!

  • 09:46
    141 mi
    14.4 mph
    4,550 ft
    4,300 ft

    With an early start before 6am, we turned away from the coastline. You're constantly faced with reindeers crossing the road so we tried for ages to get a good photograph …

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  • 11:16
    175 mi
    15.6 mph
    3,575 ft
    3,475 ft

    Continuing to ride over endless Finnish hills, the headwind kept blowing in our faces. Surprisingly it was warm, even 't-shirt weather', which helped to make the windy conditions easier, as we shared turns in the wind.

    We crossed out of the Arctic Circle in the evening, riding into the only real city in the north of the country, Rovaniemi. Another 290 km completed, battling the wind all the way.

  • 10:40
    153 mi
    14.3 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,475 ft

    We'd arrived into the city late on the third day, and being really tired allowed ourselves a lie-in to start at 8am today, after waving off Pål, our videographer.

    Following …

  • 10:04
    142 mi
    14.1 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,725 ft

    Waking on the veranda, we made an early getaway and rode some 60 km before having any breakfast today. Then in the next town after having something to eat, it …

  • 12:42
    178 mi
    14.0 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,625 ft

    A wet and cold early start at 6am, where the tarmac road quickly became a gravel one. Having reached the Finnish Lake District, we rode past lake after lake, spectacular. …

  • 11:37
    171 mi
    14.7 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,600 ft

    It was well worth the later start at 7.30am today after the late finish yesterday and to make the most of the hotel breakfast!

    Frustratingly, the first 40 km seemed …

  • 07:36
    125 mi
    16.5 mph
    875 ft
    850 ft

    Phew, what an awful day on the bike. The combination of lashing rain that lasted all day, a tough headwind and cold teamed together with Russia's busiest road make for …

  • 09:29
    149 mi
    15.7 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,400 ft

    With the exception of the headwind, the awful weather from yesterday's ride was with us again today. Philipp has suffered for the past week and now I too am beginning …

  • 08:32
    134 mi
    15.7 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,350 ft

    More of the same, we left early to make our journey to Moscow in yet more pouring rain. This huge motorway had only 30 cm of hard shoulder to ride …

  • 09:30
    135 mi
    14.2 mph
    3,000 ft
    2,850 ft

    On this eleventh day, we left Moscow on the huge ten-lane ring road. Thankfully, the traffic quickly subsided after we headed toward the Black Sea on the highway. As well …

  • 10:27
    157 mi
    15.0 mph
    4,700 ft
    5,050 ft

    It was an early beginning of sunrise for another leg on the shoulder of a busy high-speed highway. Since both a hilly route and a strong cross wind started, it …

  • 08:11
    129 mi
    15.8 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,425 ft

    Back on track, we rode to Voronezh to get Philipp's broken phone fixed and did some essential bike maintenance.

    As it's a big industrial town, it took a lot of …

  • 12:34
    191 mi
    15.2 mph
    5,500 ft
    5,325 ft

    Really keen to crack on and get out of Russia, we got going super early at 4am in a bitter 3 degrees! The weather forecast shows that tomorrow's weather is …

  • 10:09
    163 mi
    16.1 mph
    2,750 ft
    3,075 ft

    Another 4am start meant that we could ride hard in the morning before we had to turn direction. Here, the wind blew so hard that we were relieved we'd made good time this morning.

    We crossed this bleak and beautiful steppe landscape with a hefty crosswind, making it difficult to stay in control of the bikes at time. Perhaps for a while we could enjoy our ride through Russia as the road traffic had calmed, despite the wild weather.

  • 10:32
    157 mi
    14.9 mph
    3,950 ft
    2,625 ft

    From steppe to rolling hills, not only the landscape changed today but also the people.

    We faced more hard crosswinds in the morning, but cracked on non-stop to reach the …

  • 10:26
    163 mi
    15.7 mph
    4,000 ft
    4,050 ft

    After a very interrupted night and barely any sleep on the restaurant floor, we set off very tired today. Thankfully it was already warm at 5 am, easy to feel …

  • 14:43
    146 mi
    9.9 mph
    10,975 ft
    10,750 ft

    Welcome to Georgia!

    Crossing the Caucasus, we had some hefty climbing today across the mountains, and I adored every bit of it. Both of us were very keen to get …

  • 13:00
    162 mi
    12.5 mph
    4,075 ft
    5,400 ft

    Ideal conditions, lovely weather and even a tailwind, Georgia has been kind to us today. We rode on a flat road through the wine region of Georgia, flanked by tall …

  • 08:50
    144 mi
    16.3 mph
    450 ft
    700 ft

    Once again in Azerbaijan the kindness and hospitality of these people shows clearly. Having stopped at a gas station to eat something after an early start in darkness, the owner …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    72
  • Distance
    10,514 mi
  • Duration
    788:48 h
  • Elevation
    262,050 ft

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Jonas Deichmann

Cape to Cape Challenge – 18,000km in 73 days