Show me the way to Canakkale

The Transcontinental Race No.4 may be done and dusted for 36 riders (at the time of writing), but for many, the race is far from over. To dedicate tonight's blog to the 113 riders still out on the road, we are going to report in reverse order.

Goodbye, yellow brick road

There have been only 7 more scratchers from the last two days, we keep this up and we could have a TCR finishers record! Unlucky for some, number 13 Gavin Scott hadn't been feeling well for a little while and checked in to a hotel in Split to recover. Unfortunately he still felt ill after 24hrs of rest so had to scratch. Franziska Kühne (029) announced her scratching yesterday, citing that things had changed for her and she couldn't go on at a respectable pace, but that she would tell us the whole story at some point. Oriol Hernandez Gorrindo (138) scratched yesterday at Knin, Croatia. Pairs team Abigail Connor and George Aldridge (207) scratch in Turin, Italy. And finally Daniel McNicolas and Luke O'Brien (224) scratched in Milan, Italy.

CP3 Complete

Currently snoozing in a bright green tent in the alps is our 'Lanterne Rouge' Hanneke van der Werf (148), just 30kms off CP3 which she will surely reach early tomorrow morning. A huge well done to Johanna for pushing through those hard ascents, we can see that she's been in the Alps for 8 days now, pretty tough going! Johanna might not make the finishers party (well, she still could, technically - ask James Hayden how). but she's a hero for sticking with it and reaching 3 checkpoints. 

Just leaving CP3 is pairs team Mattia Biffi and Alberto Varni (228). They are taking it a bit steadier than others, we've heard they've been thoroughly enjoying themselves having slap up meals with new friends and generally enjoying the Alps:

Mattia Biffi and Alberto Varni (228)

Mattia Biffi and Alberto Varni (228)

Maybe one of their new friends is Helmut Wagner (023). He too has been taking life at a luxury pace, had a nice lie in until 11am at a hotel in Alleghe, rode up the parcours and on to Cortina, where he knocked off for the day at 3pm. 

Now out of the Alps and on their way through the Veneto Plains are brothers Daniel & Guillermo Nicolás Muñoz (209). They're either having the time of their lives together, or, (as we would do if we spent 12 solid days with our brother), spending all their time giving each other 'Road Rash' punches and calling each other a Smeg Head. Either way they're taking their time about it.

In the same area is Lionel Bobb (117) who has decided to skip CP3 entirely. For Lionel, this is less of a race and more of a celebrity PR tour. Lionel is one of the friendliest people you'll ever meet, and his photos are testament to this. Here he is with his fans:

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092) made excellent progress today. She posted on Facebook saying that she knows she has been slow, that she tried to pedal faster but it made her feel bad and tired. Cheng-Hui, take it from us - you're doing great. Taken in context, it's only taken you 12 DAYS to cycle to SLOVENIA. It would take us 12 months, crying bitterly all the way. She's loving the views and is still feeling happy: 

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092)

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092)

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092) (Photo Credit: Andrea Collino)

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092) (Photo Credit: Andrea Collino)

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092)

Cheng-Hui Hsieh (092)

100kms down the road in beautiful Croatia is Louise Soplanit (149). We showed a picture of her yesterday meeting Pierluigi Talamona (126) yesterday. Here she is reaching the top of the Grimselpass:

Just ahead of Louise is Pierluigi Talamona (126) who at 68 is the oldest racer in TCRNo4:

Pierluigi Talamona (126)

Pierluigi Talamona (126)

And whilst we're at it we should mention our youngest rider too Joseph Todd (89) who finished the race 22nd overall in 12 days 7 hours and 30 minutes:

Joseph Todd (89) Photo Credit: James Robertson

Joseph Todd (89) Photo Credit: James Robertson

Sleeping somewhere in Senj is Reinhold Mueller (169) and Henning Bock (165) the cycling photographer, who is using the race as an opportunity for a lie-in most mornings apparently. And around 100kms in front of Henning is Laurent Carlier (205) who started as a pair with Romain Mousset riding in support of Cystic Fibrosis. Romain scratched around CP3, but Laurent is doing rather well solo. 

Stuck in the middle

From Bosnia & Herzegovina through to Turkey riders are much closer together, all taking a very similar path south to Canakkale. Those who have deviated from the norm are Rose McGovern (136) who is rather tired and currently sleeping in Sarajevo. She accidentally pressed discard instead of save on her Strava yesterday, so we're afraid yesterday didn't count Rose. Up you go again, them's the Strava rules. We do feel her pain - we pressed delete on a blog last week and had to lie down for 10 minutes in a cold sweat. Here's Rose at the top of Passo Giau:

Rose McGovern (136)

Rose McGovern (136)

Close to Rose and currently travelling down the M-18 and dodging angry dogs on the way in to Bosnia is pairs team Rebecca Harrison and Alistair McGregor (213). 

Rebecca Harrison and Alistair McGregor (213)

Rebecca Harrison and Alistair McGregor (213)

Also taking an alternative route is Thierry Mourlanne (071) who is now on the A1 coming down to Niš having completed CP4. He is one of the few riders to take the Serbian / Bulgarian route, along with Dragan Mladenovic (137) who is from Svilajnac, Serbia, so that makes sense. 

we can't mention all riders, but we'll just pick a few to see how they're getting on:

This little video is from Giorsio Raboen (229), perfectly summing up his race so far. After his partner Lamri Adjis scratched earlier in the race, Giorsio decided to push on solo and is doing well, having just crossed the Kosovan border after making it to CP4 earlier today. He had a crash at 50km/h yesterday but it seemed it wasn’t serious enough to stopping him from carrying onwards.

Johanna Jorsten (141) is looking like she'll take second-placed woman on her way to the finish, with only Emily Chappell (007) in front of her. Lately she's been sampling the delights of the Macedonia roads:

We are the champions

When we last wrote, only 8 people had crossed the finish line. Now, they're popping in every half an hour or so. In finishing positions from 9th, we have:

168. Vincent Muehlethaler
72. Michael Wacker
133. Daniel Fisher
154. Matthew Falconer
223. Sylvain Blairon
84. Samuli Makinen
12. Stephane Ouaja
212. Andrew Boyd
212. James Stannard
142. Stuart Birnie
171. Jacopo Porreca
16. Philipp Schwedthelm
166. Michal Wolff
66. Frank van der Sman
89. Joseph Todd
144. Andy Sallnow
226. Peter Tannenberger
226. Christian Schaefer
91. Ryszard Deneka
26. Bjorn Lenhard
42. Zbynek Simcik
70. Benedikt Hartmann
225. Bernd Frick
225. Josef Frick
173. Craig Boddice
140. Stefan Slegl
46. Jurgen Knupe
175. David Winton
24. Chris White
167. Urs Arnold Kutschera
30. James Mansell
218. Gualtiero Rossano
32. Patrick Miette
14. Jack Thompson

A huge congratulations to all that have made it to the finish line, especially our first pairs team in Andrew Boyd & James Stannard (212). All of you, have yourselves an Efes and some chicken nuggets (but not you Nelson Trees, we heard you ate 60 the other night, you've had quite enough! Oh, alright then, go crazy). Here are some shots taken from Canakkale over the last few days:

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Jacopo Porreca (117) Photo Credit: James Robertson

Jacopo Porreca (117) Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

Photo Credit: James Robertson

What kind of race is this again?

It's the kind of race where you can take time off pedalling to help the locals with their chores:

Olly Kan & Matthew Pollard (203)

Olly Kan & Matthew Pollard (203)

Where you're on the road for so long you start going mouldy...

Stuart Birnie (142)

Stuart Birnie (142)

... or begin hallucinating tortoises:

Mikko Mäkipää (044)

Mikko Mäkipää (044)

A race where you get so damp you need nuns to dry you out. Yes that's right, nuns: 

Matt Brady (079)

Matt Brady (079)

And you're able to get this excited about a Mountain pass:

 

Where you will literally ride until your skin starts falling off:

'Tis but a scratch! Photo Credit: James Robertson

'Tis but a scratch! Photo Credit: James Robertson

And at the end, you'll need a wheelchair:

Stephane Ouaja (12)

Stephane Ouaja (12)

Yip, that sums up the Transcontinental Race.

 

And finally...

It's the finishers party on Saturday night, and with more riders than ever making it to the finishing line, it 's set to be the best one ever. It'll also be our last blog of the series, so we'll make sure it's a corker. Start your beautifying regime now dot-watchers, let's have our own party!

 

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien