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The Riders & Bikes Of The Transcontinental Race

The Riders & Bikes Of The Transcontinental Race

– It’s the morning of
the transcontinental race and here we are at sign on. We’re gonna have a little
chat with the riders about their builds and exactly why they are the way they are. (gentle music) So if you could start with your name, your cap number and where you’re from? – Yeah, my name is Bjorn
Lenhard, my cap number, obviously, number two, because of second place last year and I’m coming from Dresden in Germany. – You were second last year, just won the Transatlantic
Way Race as well, a hot favorite, I think, certainly from what we’ve seen here. What’s your strategy going
into the race this evening? – [Bjorn] Well, I just
ride as fast as I can, and as long as I can. (chuckles) No, there’s no real strategy, I mean, it depends on the wind and the weather, or how far I can go till tomorrow evening, and then I will see how I feel, maybe what the weather says, I mean if you have nice tail wind maybe you cycle one or two hours more if you have head wind
maybe you stop earlier, or if you have rain you stop. You cannot really, really
make out a strategy in the beginning. – And in terms of the races
that you’ve done here before, do you have any distinct
memory that’s your favorite? – Oh well, there are too
many memories, to be honest. There are too many stories I could tell, things I have experienced,
it’s just amazing. And it’s every time, you
know, you have new experience, new adventure, meet new
peoples, it’s just fantastic. – [Interviewer] And obviously,
you’re a very seasoned ultra-endurance rider, for the people at home
that might be watching this and thinking, oh, that’s maybe something I could give it a go, what’s your piece of advise to a beginner? – That’s a good question. Maybe you should start with shorter race, not just straight away
with the Transatlantic, or the Transcontinental, and to finish such a race, I mean, you always have to keep in
mind, you have to keep moving. Every minute you stop somewhere, it doesn’t get you to the finish line. (gentle music) – Okay guys, so if we could
start off with your names, where you’ve come from,
and your cap numbers. – Uh, I’m Nico Departago-Cabrera, I’m from Chicago, and I’m cap number 256B. – [Charles] My name’s
Charles Christiansen, I’m from San Francisco,
California, and I’m 256A. – So these guys are riding as a pair, and it’s not your first time
at the Transcontinental, is that right guys? – No, this is our second time around. – [Interviewer] So what
happened last year? – Well, last year we had a little bit of a problem with our scheduling and we committed to the Cycler
Messenger World Championships in Montreal, Canada, and this was our first
endurance race ever, so we got a little behind schedule with some routing mishaps, and got to the fourth checkpoint and realized we were not gonna
be able to make our flights to compete in the Worlds. We didn’t have the budget to reschedule, so we scratched to checkpoint four to make World Championships happen for us, which was very bittersweet, because we got a taste of the greatness of this type of race, but then had to scratch
with one checkpoint to go, so we vowed before we
even left checkpoint four that we would be back again. – And here you are, fantastic. So what are you doing this year, having done the race last year, is there anythings that
you’ve changed in terms of your setup, or your strategy
with the route or anything? – Definitely, so last year,
we kind of routed ourselves as if it was an alley cat race. Like, alright, what’s the
straightest line to get to the checkpoint and we’ll go there, ’cause that’s where we come from. And in doing so, we wound
up cutting a lot of mileage, but adding a whole lot of elevation. Which doesn’t seem as stressful on paper, but then when you get out
there in the field, it’s like, oh, this is why you ride
a little longer to go around the mountains. So we definitely were smarter
with our routing this year, but one of the big things we did this year that we didn’t have last year, was having a dynamo hub. – [Interviewer] Yup. – [Nico] To power our lights, and also be able to charge
stuff while we’re moving. We wound up having to carry
so much extra gear last year, extra battery packs,
wall plugs, everything. We would have to stop so much more often, so we could charge things and this set up this year
will help keep us moving, we’ll be able to ride
longer into the night and spend more time in the saddle. – Yeah, for sure, nice one. And Chaz, just about your bike, can you just talk us a little bit through your frame? ‘Cause it’s something quite
special you’ve got there. – [Chaz] Yeah, definitely. This is a low frame, it’s
hand built in San Francisco by a friend of mine, Andrew Lowe, he started out building track frames, and he’s gone on to, some say, real bikes, but gravel and road bikes, so this is special to
me because it was built six blocks from my house
by a friend of mine. And it’s all set up with Sram Etap Hydro, which is nice because we
can charge our etap shifter batteries with our dyno hubs. – Nice. – So we’re kind of like
a weird, closed ecosystem of cycling, where we’re
like, very high technology, but also very self-contained. And I kind of have a menagerie of bags but all built in San
Francisco, by a friend of mine, Outer Shell, to kind
of just make it happen, try and carry as little as I can, but as much as I need. – You’ve definitely gone
for the shoe doping, glasses doping approach. – For me, it’s the little
bit of motivation that helps when it gets really tough, to just have that little bit of color, or that little bit of flair, to just remind me, like, this is fun, this is
like, stay lighthearted, this is a shout out to my friend JP from Toyko and Squidbikes, they had the idea of painting the shoes to match the glasses, and I saw them do it for
Trackle Across Nationals, and I was like, that’s
my TCR jam right there. – Nice, well best of luck guys. – Thank you. – we’ll be following on Doc Tracker. – Cap 256. – That’s the one. – 256, what up. (gentle music) – Cool, so if you could start
by telling us your name, your cap number, and where you’re from? – Sure, so Roger Seaton, cap number 34, and I am from the UK. – Excellent, thank you. And I believe this isn’t
your first Transcontinental, is that right? – Yeah, I did it last
year, but I pulled out due to family reasons quite early, after a friend unfortunately was killed. – And this year, you’re not just gonna try and do the same thing again, you’ve gone for a slightly different tact, you’ve gone for a Brompton, tell me a bit about that. – [Roger] Well, I said if I
was ever gonna do this again I’d do it on my most fun bike, and I have fun every
time I ride this bike. Also I smile a lot, and I’m thinking, getting
on the bike in the morning after a long previous
day, it’s good to smile, so I decided to do this
on the Chapter 3 Brompton. – Excellent, and I think what we’ve noticed most
about this bike is, obviously there’s not a massive
amount of storage space, so it’s used very wisely. What are you little hacks
that we’ve got in this one? – So first, well, you don’t need much, the more you’ve got, the
more you’ve gotta carry, so very, very minimal gear, but obviously the luggage in the back has got the minimal amount in it, we’ve got things like spare inners taped between the frames, a
spare tire just in case, because I reckon pram tires
are gonna be hard to get from where I’m going. – [Interviewer] Probably yeah. – And that’s the hardest thing, tires and inners yeah, they’re
gonna be quite hard to sort if you wreck one, so, it’s basically optimize
all the space for performance, and making sure that it’s
as light as possible, streamlined, nothing gets in the way, nothing falling off or rattling, which is real irritating. – Fantastic. And you say it’s something
you’ve ridden a lot before, is it something you’ve been training on, both, especially for the
longer distance type miles? – Yeah sure, so I commute
on one of these daily and I’ve done so for about
five or six years now, but doing this on the Brompton, gone for long back to
back rides of 300-400 plus kilometer rides, back to back. Which is the key thing, back to back, hill repeats, which brings a
smile to a club rider’s faces when they go past me. Yeah, just making sure
you can get the speed up so the average speed’s are a bit slower and you take a bit more effort but it can be done, so
making sure that ultimately, can this be done on a
Brompton, and it can be. – Well I think it could be a world first. Best of luck, that’s fantastic, thank you. – Thanks. (upbeat music) – So before we get onto this bike, will you start by giving us your name, your cap number, and where you’re from? – [Rene] Hi, I’m Rene, I’m cap number 158, and I’m from Germany. – Fantastic, thank you. And we actually came across this bike before we spotted Rene, we’ll take a closer look
at every individual part, because this is quite a
spectacular home-build. So am I right in thinking that all the, I can only call hacks, on this bike, you’ve made yourself, is that right? – Yes. – So um, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s (chuckles) let’s
start in front of us, on the aerobars here. You’ve got a little compartment, what have you got in there? – I’ve got mostly food in there, so this is just Clif bars, basically. It also has my backup light, and my main light here,
and my spot tracker, and a small computer, which
I have for my power meter. – Yeah. And interestingly, we
talked about suspension. You’ve got both the canyon seat post, and a suspension stem on the front there, what’s that one there? – It’s a redshift suspension stem, and I think it’s really
important in such a long race that you’re comfortable on your bike, because it’s not about going fast, it’s more about the time
you can spend on your bike, so if you can stay for half
an hour longer on your bike, because you’re not that
fatigued, not that tired, then it’s totally worth it. – Absolutely. And sort of, not just
the storage you’ve got on front here, but all of the storage, I can’t even call them bags,
that you’ve made on your bike, they’re all made of carbon
fiber, is that right? – Yeah it’s made of carbon fiber, and this one here, this material on top
is called Cuban Fiber, it’s a material which is used in sailing– – Okay. – Because it’s super
light and super strong. – Fantastic, and that’s
all completely waterproof? – [Rene] Yes. – Great. So in addition to the
pack on the front here, we’ve got the sort of
extended top to your bag, also one in the back
there, what’s that one for? – The one in the back
is for my sleeping gear, so for my sleeping bag
and my sleeping mattress, and I also take a bivvy, which is in my pocket from my tri suit. – Yeah, fantastic. And then there’s some other
really interesting parts that aren’t for storage. So you’ve got two bottle
cages, what are they for? – They’re for Coke, cuz, uh, (laughs) you always need caffeine and sugar, so I have two bottle cages,
which are a bit smaller for normal Coke bottles, which you can get at a petrol station. – Yeah, fantastic. I noticed we’ve got some aero
faring, is that, on the forks? – Yeah, it’s just an aero faring, to make the fork that
little bit more aerodynamic. – Fantastic. And just one other little
thing that I’ve noticed on the back there by your rear derailleur, what’s that for? – It’s for my toothbrush, but the one for cleaning the chain, and also for the chain oil. – [Interviewer] Fantastic. That’s brilliant. So when will we be expecting
to see you in Meteora? – Um, I’m not sure yet
because it’s such a long race, so a lot of things can
go wrong and can happen, but if it all goes well, I would hope for finish in 10 days or maybe a bit faster, we’ll see. – So if you could start off
by telling us your name, where you’re from, and
your cap number please? – Okay, my name is Anna Petters, and I’m originally from Sweden, I’m living in France right now, and my cap number is 97. – Fantastic. Now I understand this isn’t
your first long-distance event, but it’s your first
transcontinental, is that right? – [Anna] Yes. – [Interviewer] So what
have you done before this? – I did the length of Sweden in 2016, and I finished that and that was fun. It was very hard, but it was fun. – [Interviewer] And how long
is the length of Sweden? – [Anna] That’s a bit more
than 2,000 kilometers. – [Interviewer] Wow. So it’s about half the length of what you’re gonna be
starting this evening? – Yeah. I felt like I was in for a bit of more. – Yeah.
– Yeah. – Great. And your strategy in terms of how you’re gonna be riding and sleeping, what have you got planned for that? – I think I’m gonna try to
sleep out as much as possible, because that makes me more flexible, but I’m not gonna torture myself, if I find a nice hotel
and it’s right on time, I’m gonna take it. – Fantastic. And we’ve talked a little bit
about your setup and your kit, what’s your one piece of little luxury that you’re taking with you and why? – I think I’m gonna take my nail polish. – [Interviewer] I think it’s
fantastic, nice little perk when you’re feeling low. – Yeah, exactly. – And obviously, you’re
a really strong rider, having got through the length
of Sweden is not easy at all, especially with those weather conditions. – [Anna] Yeah. – [Interviewer] What do you do to prepare, not necessarily on the bike, but mentally, for when you’re having a bit of a struggle when things get tough? – That it’s gonna get better. Because I know from
touring solo all the time and doing everything myself, I know that I can work through it, I just need a calm moment, use my brain, think about it, and then I know I will be fine in the end. And it’s just me biking, and it’s only a bike
race, and that’s it, so. – [Interviewer] And we have
21 women on the start line this year, out of 240. Why do you think that is and
why aren’t more women here? – I think it’s a lot about
the preconceived ideas that a lot of women have in themselves that being alone on the road with a bike, meeting people, being afraid
of being alone meeting people, and of course stuff can happen
but I think most people, generally, are kind and
they want good for you, and you should have that
closest to your heart, and not be afraid. I think that’s one of the reasons
that there is less ladies, but it’s really not that bad. And you just have to trust yourself, and that you can do it and you can solve all the technical stuff, but basically the people
around you are kind. – So here we are with Giannis’ bike. Giannis is from Greece,
so it’s essentially a ride home for him. And underneath this really stunning paint, which Giannis did himself, is a true British classic,
there’s a Hercules, and it’s actually got a
custom made fork there for this bike. It comes complete with a
Shimano Tiagra Group set so a little more modern there. Full Apidura bike packing bags and a very comfortable Brooks saddle, and some really sweet
little finishing details. Got flip flops on the top there for some time off the bike, and also a lucky charm on the front from one of his friends back home. So Giannis, we’re just over
24 hours before the start now, before you ride home back to Greece. How are you feeling about it? – Um, exciting. It’s my first time here, and it’s amazing to be here for me, because I saw this race for years now and it was my dream to
be part of this race. – [Interviewer] Fantastic,
and the buildup to this race, have you been doing lots of
long distance bike rides, maybe at any other events
in the buildup to it? – No, I’m a long distance cyclist, and it’s my first time to
go and race in race mode. All my trips, it’s classic,
with classic pioneers, with my classic bike, that’s it. – [Interviewer] Maybe on your own? – [Giannis] Yeah. – [Interviewer] Yeah? – [Giannis] All the time. – [Interviewer] And so, to
be here in Geraardsbergen with all these people who are
into the same sort of thing into this long distance atmosphere, how does that feel? – [Giannis] It’s something new for me. – [Interviewer] Yeah. – [Giannis] It’s something
new, yeah, absolutely. – It’s exciting?
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Fantastic, well, best of
luck, we’ll be watching. (gentle music) – So that’s just a fraction of the riders and their setups for this
year’s Transcontinental Race. And all there’s left to do now is to see them off going up de Muur, and then follow their progress over the next couple of weeks. If you’d like to check out more from our trip to the Transcontinental, click just down here, and
don’t forget to subscribe.

100 comments on “The Riders & Bikes Of The Transcontinental Race

  1. Is anyone doing this with panniers? I would love to try this, but I would never do this without a proper tent and a few changes of clothes.

  2. As Swede I say Anna Petters! Thanks GCN and Katherine you are a perfect presenter! The sparkle in your eyes for bike riding sport are amazing!

  3. I like how they psyche each other out by saying, "It doesn't really matter how fast you go." But I guess that's racing 🙂

  4. Thank you for that glimpse of participants and their equipment. I would have watch through to the end had you chosen to interview all the riders. Their stories, their bikes, motivations and ingenuity are endlessly fascinating. Keep up the great coverage.

  5. Everything about this was awesome! Interesting characters, amazing bikes, great stories. Great interviewer and good shots with the camera, kudos GCN! Want more of this, please keep the coverage!!

  6. This was a very good piece. I never heard of this event. The interviews that you did with the riders from different places around the world were fun to watch. Especially with the two from San Francisco, close to where I live. Truely a International event. I'll stay tuned to GCN for race updates.

  7. These videos gave me the butterflies in my stomach. I really wish one day I can join this kind of journey.

  8. Stupid questions time…Where do people get water and food from, how often do they stop to refuel and where do they sleep? Plus I get a really sore undercarriage when I cycle over 8 hours, how do they deal with that!?

  9. Katherine is "cute as a button". Does anyone still say that? Anyway, nice job chatting with folks pre-race.

  10. I like that GCN are reaching out on the diversity of their videos. I hope to see more videos on endurance races/rides as it is incredibly inspiring. Good luck to all the participants.

  11. Thanks Katherine for putting together this great intro – a great journalistic insight to get to know some of the participants. It would be great to get to know all these heroes. Would be good to list all the introduced people so we can dot watch them more effectively

  12. I never thought I'd see the day that Chas ends up on a GCN video. Absolute legend – watching him and the other Mash riders is why I started riding bikes!

  13. Katherine reminds me so much of Maisie Williams… She's like GCN's Arya Stark – A presenter has no bicycle…

  14. I always love to see another Brompton tour rider! I love my Brompton and I will enjoy chewing the kilometers up in many different countries!

  15. these are the real life crazies , strong , independent and able to survive in any situation ( unlike the average sheep you meet on a day to day basis ) , you cant help but admire these folk can you 🙂

  16. Can we have a video about what’s in their bags and what’s required for them to bring? I’m new to this type of racing.

  17. The bike around the 4:15 mark is a real beauty – even more amazing that it's handmade. Would love a more in-depth look at it, preferably w/o all the luggage/stickers.

  18. Beginners should start with AUDAX , 200,300,400,600,1200km challenges, build up over a couple of years and if you prefer 600/1200 then trans conti is for You, i found out 400 was my limit, but you don't know if you never go.

  19. Really surprised to see so much carbon, very unusual for a long distance race. Guess there wasn't many of the top runners in the group interviewed though.

  20. I'm doing the TCR next year with a bike made by my mate Stan(big shout out to him) in a shed at his allotment. It's made from recycled copper water pipes from my local plumber(big shout out to him) modified with a hydroelectric power plant to charge my Di2 and tied together with natural hemp. My Grandmother Eileen(big shout out to her) has knitted me some bike bags and a 2 sizes to small jersey out of my late Grandfathers jumpers… All I need now is to grow a beard and get some pork pies for fuel….reckon I'll be cooler than anyone at this year's race😂 Seriously though, great feature GCN👍🏻

  21. that guy attempting on the folding bike (brompton?) is a rock star. gesus that must be impossible to ride that thing long distances.

  22. Brompton man appears to be sporting a half-mongrel as well as a folding bike. No wonder he smiles a lot!

  23. This Dresden-specific accent is absolutly impressive. Like how did he learn english without loosing any of it. Greetings from a Dresdener

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