Dot-watchers: If you haven't yet discovered the wonders of the 'replay' button on Trackleaders stop what you are doing and go and watch as it's a joy to behold. You can wind back the time and watch as the riders conjoin to form a scaly blue snake munching it's way through the mountains, with James, Bjorn and Bernd at the head.
The blue snake lost a few scales on the way - Ben Davies (#195) was the first to break away from the group and take a more Northerly route via the highest mountain in Austria - the Großglockner. This was not due to a wrong turn, it was in fact his plan to take this route in an attempt to avoid any banned roads. At least he was rewarded with spectacular views and an experience him and his legs will never forget.
We were watching through our fingers as the second routing casualty of the day Adrian Hegedus (#80) left CP1 and started going even further North than Ben, right up past Kitzbuhel. This morning he wrote on Instagram (read in a weary voice) "After 48 hours, 700km+ and lots of meters climbed, I've got to CP1." Well Adrian, if you enjoyed that, you're in luck...
Karolina Maciejewska (#63) avoided the morning soup by taking a route straight through what is known as... the Ötztal Alps. it also looked like Constantin Schutt (#84) did exactly what I yesterday predicted someone may do and went South, taking another completely unnecessary switchback in the form of the Passo del Rombo, during which time I made a lovely cup of tea in my favourite 'I told you so' mug.
The mountains play havoc with the trackers so it's not easy to see the exact route the riders are taking, which is why it looked like Rachel Batt (#245a) took a high zip line right across the Wildspitze mountain, reaching the South East main road where Jim Stewart (#245b) was presumably waiting with a tapping foot.
There's still about half of the riders to pass through CP1 so plenty more dot-watching fun to be had. It's not a Transcontinental Race unless a rider takes an necessary mountain pass, climbs a ski-slope in their cleats, or becomes so completely lost and disallusioned they just give up and live in a cave.
Ede Harrison (#179) was the first woman through CP1 and is currently in 32nd position overall. If you want to see a view of just the female riders, use Free Route and use the toggle in the top right hand corner to show you a layer with just the female riders. The next closest is 150km behind, Anisa Aubin (#21), who is putting in a very good show as we've reported that she came straight from the North Cape to Tarifia Bike Race to compete in TCRNo6. Karolina Maciejewska (#63) is not far behind Anisa at all, at last reporting she was only 5km behind, but she's taking a different route to CP2 and I suspect one that'll cost her.
The pairs race is being dominated by James Craven (#253a) and Jonathan Rankin (#253b) who are incredibly sitting in positions 11th and 12th overall. This is really exciting, as historically pairs have never made a top ten position this early on. It's an interesting category. On one hand you have the benefit of a team mate for encouragement and support, plus you can draft. But unless you're completely synced you have double the stops, double the faffing, double the mechanicals, and two decision makers; plus you can only ride as fast as your weakest rider. In TCRNo3 Neil Philips and Timothy France won the pairs category and came in the top 20 overall, the following year Neil Philips did the race solo and came fourth overall. So keep your eyes on James and Jonathan for future endeavours!
In other news...
The trouble with the Alps is the unpredictable weather. Whilst some were enjoying themselves in the sun... (Dario Demarco #192)
...others were bracing themselves from mini hurricanes (Giannis Massas #190):
Transcontinental Race (English) has 8,464 members. The Official Discussion Group for the Transcontinental Race, for racers, followers and fans. Keep it...
Some enjoyed a bath...
...Others stayed in the bath too long
Some are keen to let the water in:
Others are trying to keep the water out:
The other trouble with the Alps is you often have to ask the residents to moooove out of the way...
We'll leave you with some of the more interesting sleep spots found by the rider: