The Transcontinental Race for those unaware of is a super hard race crossing Europe. It is totally self-supported – that means that riders have to carry their necessary gear and sleep, eat and take break whenever they need to. It is also a race without a specified route, participants are given few checkpoints scattered around the continent and they have to make choices according to their preferred route they want to take.
It is one of the most hardcore racing experiences.
This year the race had particular interest for Greeks since it was finishing in Meteora, the rocky monastery complex.
Chas Christiansen (San Francisco) from Mash and Nico Cabrera (Chicago) from All City, two messengers in search of adventure, active member of our scene, decided to join the race.
The race this year was in memoriam of Mike Hall, founder of The Transcontinental Race, that tragically died in an accident while racing his bike in Australia. So the atmosphere was electrified even from the begining. Few hundred riders registered for the race, 4 Greeks between them, as they started from Belgium towards completing the first checkpoint in Germany. The race consisted of 4 checkpoints overall and then a finish at Meteora. Checkpoints were taking you from Belgium to Germany and then Italy, Slovakia and Romania before Meteora.
It is really hard to explain the feelings and emotions that derive from such a physical effort. Spending 16 hours on the saddle, sleeping in gas stations and riding through storms as the thunders cracking around you is something that needs to be experienced. The ride, the images in their heads is hard to be given easily via words.
The only thing true is that The Transcontinental Race is bringing an new type of racing experience in Europe. The basic difference is that by mapping your own route it puts you in a situation to use your brain and make discissions constantly. This is a more creative approach than the set route ultra distance races.
Chas and Nico didnt manage to finish at Meteora because another engagement with the World Messenger Championship in Montreal meant that finishing would have made them miss their flight, so they decided to fly from the last checkpoint in Romani to Athens. They promised to come back next year together and join the race as stoked as can be.
They managed though to spend a day in Athens with us and obviously we took them straight to the beach for a muscle relaxing swim to the Greek riviera.
Congratulations to all participants of The Transcontinental Race.
All photos by Pedal ED and The Transcontinental Race.
Additional photos Agi Kolyvas.