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:
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!
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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.
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.