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!
What you can do in the first stage you have as a bonus for the whole race, they said. "You", the experienced racers that I have squeezed into the TCR since the beginning of the year. We thought we'd listen to it. All in all, we needed three power naps of 30 minutes each to make this first stage. We fetched…
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…
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…
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.
It's done. The minimum goal of achieving CP3 is right ahead of us. And the steepest ascent in Poland is behind us. Angela Walker, who finished the TCR in the women's team last year, is waiting for us and is happy that we made it. She immediately shows us a message that the "Fahrtwind" team left especially…
Somehow we're on the home stretch, but somehow the goal is still really far away. We seem to be back on a popular route because we keep meeting other racers. I'm missing a bit of Hungarian change for a coffee and this nice Englishman wants to invite me. Unfortunately I cannot accept that. I was still…
On the way to Checkpoint 4 we drove through the suburbs of Sarajevo. One of the pro tips for route planning is to avoid the center of the cities. That usually costs too much time. The interesting thing here is that I often had the feeling that I was much closer to the city and the people in this very…
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…
Yes, that is the part of the Transcontinental Race that I would never have driven if I hadn't had to go to Greece: Albania.
A fascinating country, we are often asked if we are sisters. The fact that two women simply cycle alone is a bit suspect here. Most of us are treated very kindly, only once in a…
After four hours of sleep we are back on our bikes: queen stage at the beginning - queen stage at the end! Sometimes I wonder how we did it all. We are the first and to date the only women's team that has completed the TCR within that time (which hopefully won't stay that way).
I've always known it was…
Road Cycling Collection by Laurens ten Dam
Road Cycling Collection by MySwitzerland
Hiking Collection by Gornergrat Railway
Bike Touring Collection by Berg Bier-Tour