TCRNo8 – Transcontinental Race Preparations

This year, for me, participation in the Transcontinental Race No. 8 very fat in the calendar. Approx. 4000 km and 40.000 hm are a huge challenge for me and require a lot of training, but the equipment also presents me with major tasks and, above all, a lot of tests and purchase decisions. It starts with the bike (this decision has already been made), panniers, Lighting, sleeping bag, power banks and and and....

For me, the first thing to do is to get really fit and to ride often and then for a really long time. In this growing article I would like to share my preparations with you and hope that you can participate in the comments and also give me a tip or two. So please no false modesty, rather one or the other thing that I have already tried than standing there without help. I look forward to sharing experiences.

Let's hope that us Corona had already said in the past that "We have quality vaccines for the dominican population." does not thwart the calculation. Even if, then the preparation time for that TCR just longer than expected.

So I divide my preparation into different categories.

  • Bicycle, superstructures and add-on parts
  • Additional equipment (bags, tools, charging technology,...)
  • Sleeping (sleeping bag, air mattress, bivouac)
  • Training (where and what)

TCR road bike

I already had an article about my wish in February 2020 Bikepacking road bike Written and in fact my order was almost the same 😉 If you stay with the same bike after a year of research, it can only be right!

Pearl Gravel

I am now for that Pearl Gravel decided in carbon, but without scar dynamo. Why? I didn't want any lights or cables attached to the bike because I have very good battery lights and power banks. At the moment I'm reckoning that I'll be able to go to a guesthouse every two to three nights and charge at the TCR. The way I'm planning at the moment, I can get by for about 3 to four days without a socket and then have to charge again, but more on that later.

I use the Gravel frame as a basis.

  • Lightweight (Carbon)
  • more comfortable ergonomics
  • Round handlebar to mount the aero bar
  • Disc brakes
  • free tire choice

I have now configured a Shimano GRX600 and Ultegra Mix with DT Swiss wheels and ride 30mm Continental tires. I'll start with the Continental 4 Seasons in 30mm and then whether I'll stick with it. This setup should keep all doors open for changes for me.

As soon as my bike is finished and I have photos of course.

Syntace C3

Of course, as a long-distance rider, you also need an aero attachment, at least that's what I've been told. After some research on the net, I chose the Syntace C3 decided. A sporty one tri-top for which I also have the same increases have ordered. With the elevations, I can raise the attachment about 3 cm and thus have a more comfortable position while driving. The essay will then also be mine Wahoo Element Bolt attached and one or the other food pouch.

I've also ridden the attachment on my old bike without the increase and I have to say that you definitely notice the aerodynamic difference and the changed seating position is very good, especially on long distances.

Syntace C3
Syntace C3

Equipment

The attentive readers of my blog know that for years I have been the Panniers from Apidura from the Explorer series. This year there will be a few adjustments to the Menem bag setup. Not because I'm dissatisfied, but because the setup has to be adjusted a bit and I'm trying to make the handlebar roll superfluous 😉

panniers

So the first thing this year is a new one top tube bag added, also by Apidura. It probably will Racing long top tube pack with 2L volume. However, I still have to find a shop in Hamburg that has them in stock and then I would like to attach them first to see if everything fits. Of course I'll wait until my new one Pearl Gravel is finished, because that will be my long-distance racing bike!

Also, I don't know yet if my Apidura frame pack still fits in the new frame and I can then get the water bottles out properly. The Pearl frames seem to be a bit more compact and offer less space. I'm also going to get a food pouch or two and I'm seriously considering that Apidura Expedition Downtube Pack with a volume of 1,5L. If the small bag fits sensibly, I will store things there that I don't need that often.

Again, I will note updates as the setup process progresses.

Sleeping - bivouac

When I'm physically 100% fit again, that will be Bivouac my biggest challenge, because I don't have that much experience there yet. I want on that TCR Don't take a tent with you, because you need to save space and weight. In addition, it always takes a long time until the tent is packed up again the next morning and stowed away on the bike. I now have the following equipment ready for this.

Sleeping bag

I admit, I always try to spend as little money as possible when it's not about the bike 😉. Last year I treated myself to a new sleeping bag Ultralight sleeping bag Tinbo. It should enable a comfortable sleep up to 5°C. My old one, cheaper from Decathlon, was just way too cold. This one should keep me warm on a summer night. The length is 210cm and I long misery (193cm) fit in there well. The pack size is absolutely ok with 12cm x 21cm and so the sleeping bag does not take all too much take up space in the panniers.

sleeping pad

I've been using my sleeping mat / air mattress for two years now, so it's now my third season. the Hikenture sleeping pad offers just as much comfort as a light sleeping pad can offer. It's still easy to inflate in the evening after a long day in the saddle. You only need a few breaths to get enough air into the sleeping pad.

I can really recommend this sleeping pad for little money!

TCR training

Well, probably the hardest task. You can neither buy training nor do handicrafts 😂 unfortunately I have to say that I got out of winter really badly and sluggishly. Corona blues, I would say 😩. But I'm slowly getting going, although I keep having small health setbacks - in the form of tension and the following pain - but it's getting better and better. Because I couldn't go to the gym in winter, it was really difficult for me to keep fit. Mimimi... The black rolls are currently my constant companions.

I'm trying to stick to the HDI rule

  • H: frequency
  • D: Duration
  • I: intensity

My trips are getting longer. I'm not fit for long distances yet, but I'll give myself about three more weeks and then I'll go on full-day tours. I like to increase the intensity on the dyke when I'm riding with someone. When accompanied, it is easier for me to use the stamina I have already gained to increase my performance.

In any case, there are many long tours to my sister in the Harz mountains and a few overnighters have to be made. Now I'm happy that the weather is slowly getting better! Of course, training does not only include physical training. In detail, the following is on my todo list:

  • Easy training rounds (alone)
  • B2B Zone
  • Training rounds with others (intensity increase)
  • long-distance rides
  • overnighter
  • sleeping outside in the bivouac
  • Test bag setup
  • Packing List finalize

Summary

The preparations for an event like this Transcontinental Race are damn complex. It is important that I am physically and mentally fit in July before the start on July 27th in Brest (FR). I will urgently need the mental strength in particular to go to the starting line full of optimism. to be able to I try to share my progress with you and if you have any ideas or suggestions for me, I'd be happy to hear from you at info[at]rennrad-hamburg.de or in the comments below this article.

2 comments

  1. Thanks Ray for the articles. I only do day trips, but they are slowly getting longer.
    Can you tell me what kept you from tcr? For me at 50, I don't currently see that I will ever take part, if only because I usually drive at an average speed of 20 km/h, but without mountains because I live in Braunschweig.
    Regards
    Torsten

    1. Hey Torsten.

      I was held back by the uncertainty as to whether the TCR would have really taken place this year. I hadn't been able to plan my vacation the previous two years (I have a wife and children 😉 ) and didn't want to have the unclear situation again this year.
      I'm 47 now, but I don't think that's an obstacle! I'm not driving to win!

      If you look at the average speed of the drivers, you can see that they also have a pace of around 20 km/h. In races like the TCR, the main thing is to drive for a long time, i.e. to sleep little and to endure over 4000 km.

      The Harz is not far from you, I always like to go there to drive a few mountains, for example. In my opinion, the climbs in the Harz Mountains can be compared to those in the Alps.

      But I hear from you that you are flirting with such a long distance? Have you ever done a bikepacking tour? You can really test your limits over 1 to 2 weeks and it's a great experience. If I'm really in a good mood again, I would try again for a starting place at the TCR.

      Greetings Raimund.

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