Long distance cyclists looking for a new challenge this year will certainly want to put the QuickEnergy Trans Continental Race on their bucket list. When this new event gets underway in August it promises to become Europe’s longest and most challenging unsupported bike race, running for more than 2000 miles between London and Istanbul. Organized by the Adventurists, the same group responsible for the legendary Mongol Rally, the Trans Continental Race has a number of key elements that set it apart from other long distance races such as the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia. For starters, it is open to anyone who can afford to pay the £95 or roughly $146 entry fee. That means the person you’ll be racing against probably won’t be juiced up on performance enhancing drugs and will be riding simply for the pure adventure of the ride.
As noted above, this race is also completely unsupported, which means the riders will need to be self-sufficient while out on the road. That will require them to carry all of their gear with them at all times from start to finish. An important part of their strategy will be knowing which equipment to bring along and what to leave at home. Carrying too much gear will add unnecessary weight to the bike while not having an important item could prove costly down the line.
Also unlike other races, the Trans Continental has no pre-set route for the riders to follow. Instead, they’ll be allowed to cycle any path they like, although they will be required to pass through a couple of checkpoints that fall at strategic points along the way. For instance, at least one of those CP’s is likely to fall in the high passes of the Alps, requiring all of the riders to navigate over that mountain range on their way to the finish line.
Speaking of navigation, riders will also be allowed to use maps, a GPS device or just about any other method to find their way across the continent. They are even encouraged to chat with locals to discover little known shortcuts or improvised routes that aren’t necessarily marked on any map. In keeping with the “unsupported” element of the race however, the riders will not be able to use a cell phone to call a friend for assistance.
The inaugural QuickEnergy Trans Continental Race begins on August 2 and registration is open now. If you’re interested in entering the race, or simply want to find out more, visit the race’s official website here.
[Photo Credit: The Adventurists]