The Transcontinental Race or else TCR is a Unsupported Bikepacking Race across Europe. The TCR is held annually and is one of the hardest ultra endurance races in the world! I followed the race action excitedly last year, so I want to write about it in more detail this year.
Transcontinental Race Report – Media, Videos, Podcasts
Not only the race itself is outstanding, but also the media coverage. For example, there is a highly recommended official Transcontinental Race podcast that posts new episodes directly from the race several times a day from the start of the race.
Transcontinental Race Route
Something very special about the TCR is the route: the route varies every year. The participants do not have a fixed route, but have to drive to checkpoints. The choice of route between the checkpoints is left to each participant individually.
So far, the distance has mostly been between approx. 3,200 and 4,200 kilometres and the winners sometimes only need 7 days to cover the distance.
This year the race starts in the city of Burgas in Bulgaria and the finish is in Brest in France.
Transcontinental Race participants and winners
The Transcontinental Race is a great success and is becoming more and more popular: only 30 people started for the first TCT 20130. In 2016, there were already 600 applicants, half of whom finished.
Transcontinental Race Bikes 2019
Exactly these events also always show what the current state of bikes is and which bikes can really reliably handle such a diverse route.
To find the 2019 Transcontinental Race Bikes, I looked around on Instagram: in doing so, I picked out the pictures showing the bikes of the participants. The hashtag for this is #tcrno7 and with that you can find even more exciting photos of the participants, the bikes and also the racing action.
Alina Kilian rides a Specialized Roubaix
Alina Kilian is sponsored by Specialized (Brand Ambassador) and rides the high-end road bike Specialized Roubaix. I can’t tell exactly which trim level she’s driving.
Anyway, the road bike is one of the lightest speciallized bikes. As an extra it has the 2.0 Future Schock suspension on board through which the handlebar springs up to 20 mm.
The waterproof Apidura Expedition Series is used for the bags.
Matthieu Lifschitz is on the road with a custom built bike
Matthieu Lifschitz put a lot of thought into building his bike and the result looks very smart! The frame of his steel bike was built by the French company Victoire Cycles. The bike is not completely made of steel, because carbon is used for the fork.
In his Instagram post, he goes into great detail about the Transcontinental Race Bike’s features. It’s definitely worth a look.
Pockets: The bags on the wheel as well as on the fork are made by smaller bagsmiths. The brands in question are also mentioned in his Instagram post.
Ross Lovell is a copywriter for Sigma Sports based in London. With him, another rider will start with an absolute high-end Transcontinental Race Bike: He also rides the Specialized S-Works Roubaix with top equipment.
For tires, he opts for 28mm Continental GatorHardshell (the bike can take up to 33mm wheels) and for gears he goes for a wireless SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset. Of course, its S-Works Roubaix also has a 2.0 Future Shock that should make riding through rough terrain a little more comfortable with 20mm of travel.
Bags: This is also where it gets exciting. Ross Lovell goes for Apidura again! He uses a mixture of race, expedition and backcountry series.
Full details of his bike and lots of background information can be found on the London-based Sigma Sports company blog.
Tom rides an Enigma Evoke titanium road bike with carbon fork
Tom drives an Enigma Evoke. A titanium road bike with carbon fork and probably 32mm wide tires. For the gears he uses a Di2 and the bikepacking saddle bag is from Apidura. From the looks of it, from the Backcountry Series.
Peter James rides a Specialized road bike and trusts Apidura
Peter James rides a road bike from Specialized. Can you tell which model it is? When it comes to bags, he also relies on Apidura and mixes the Backcountry Series with the Expedition Series.
Huko Vesl rides a ROSE TEAM GF FOUR DISC
Huko Vesl sits at the Transcontinental Race on a ROSE TEAM GF FOUR DISC road bike in the chic color Caribbean-Blue. I would say that bike is upper class with its Ultegra groupset and 990 gram light carbon frame.
Bikepacking bags: Once again, the proven Apidura bikepacking bags are used here. All the bags look like the backcountry series to me. Except for the saddle bag: this is from the waterproof Expedition Series.
More fancy Transcontinental bikes
Transcontinental Race Registration
So interest in the TCR has become very high in the meantime. Therefore not all interested parties are allowed to start. The selection process for the Startet is not entirely clear. The organizers simply say that it takes a mixture of experience, motivation and luck to get started.
The current registration page changes every year. So it’s worth taking a regular look at the TCR blog.