In 2018 Marion Dziwnik and I started together in the Transcontinental Race - as the only women's team. After a few years of fixed gear racing and "Umdieweltreisen" (travelling around the globe) for the Red Hook Criterium, we felt like having a new adventure.
The TCR works like a big alley cat, but of course with much stricter rules and "a few" more kilometers. Depending on the route planning, something like 4,000 kilometers and 40,000 meters of altitude difference add up. There is a start, a finish and, in between, four checkpoints - the rest is your own thing.
You can choose to ride it solo or in a team and the riders have to finish completely without support. No drafting, no help from friends on the way, nothing. Only those who start in a team may support each other within the team.
In this Collection you can find the Tours that made up our route. The start was in Geraardsbergen, Belgium and the finish in Meteora, Greece. The stages are not necessarily suitable for following, because the main goal of the route planning was to be fast. Nevertheless, it was a great adventure and that's exactly what I want to tell you about here. And of course some passages are still very beautiful – but see for yourself!
We notice the load from the previous day. 421 kilometers leave their mark. That's why it's only 220 kilometers today. Also because we wanted to spend the night before Switzerland. We don't feel like hitting half of our budget on the head for a single accommodation.
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At sunrise we drive along Lake Constance. Unfortunately, today is also the day my knee pain starts. My saddle slipped backwards. But I won't notice that until days later. I get tape because I know where the pain is coming from and what I can do to alleviate it. If I had known back then that I would drive the entire distance to Checkpoint 3 with this pain, I would have scratched here and now.
Over the Brenner and over fields. Fantastic bike paths and idyllic villages. We usually start at 5 a.m. and enjoy the peace and quiet. The route planning was not so ideal here, but it worked. We strengthen ourselves properly, because tomorrow we are going to Checkpoint 2.
The most beautiful stage in the race. With two of the most impressive passes I've ever ridden: Mangart Sedlo and Vrsic Pass!We regularly meet other TCR racers, are enthusiastically received at Checkpoint 2, get to hear once again how clean we still look and learn that the leading team (Chas and Nico) is only 20 minutes ahead of us. We are tempted to shoot after them for a moment, but then we'd better take a break first.
Today we drive into the Czech Republic on really beautiful roads. Had we known what to expect on the road afterwards, we would have appreciated it even more. Marion loses a screw on her shoe cleat, but thanks to the YouTube tutorial I can still get her shoe off the pedal at some point. Today I am definitely her heroine.
The Reward: After three hours of pushing, we actually did it: We are on Mt Bjelasnica, 2,067 meters above sea level. This whole area is of great historical relevance. The 1984 Olympic Games took place here, but people were also locked in these buildings during the war.Incidentally, with our 28 mm tires, driving down is out of the question. After another hour we reach the CP4 Hotel again and treat ourselves to a big breakfast.