From: Czech Republic
From: Czech Republic
Loïc Nys Taymans
I am a 30 year old architect from Brussels. 20 years ago my passion for travel pushed me to use a bicycle. First I travelled in Belgium, later on in Europe to end up finally somewhere in Asia. With 3 friends I rode around the world 5 years ago. The eager to discover new places and people by bicycle become after this intense adventure even stronger, since then I don't stop to travel with my beloved friend. In the coming TCR I want to push my boundaries as far as I can.
From: Berlin & Essen, Germany
What kind of cyclist?
An "endurance explorer". My primary motivation is not really the sport itself; cycling is ‘just’ the mode of transport with the highest factor of efficiency x autarky x self-efficacy. I’m strongly motivated by the “exploration of the world and myself, on the largest and smallest scale”, as corny as it may sound. “What’s behind the next turn?”, “By how much would I need to multiply today’s distance to get the circumference of our planet?” “For how long have those crickets been mating”, “Pizza”… such thoughts buzz through my mind on the typical touring ride.
I first heard of TCR only in 2017 and started following the news and the forums just as a spectator, observing “those maniacs” in their habitat. I quickly realized I’m pretty much that kind of maniac, too. Self-supported endurance-road-cycle-travelling is what I had been doing for years – in principle, but not on a TCR-scale, of course – not knowing there is a scene and label around it. I always loved competing against myself and by myself but regretted not to be able to share my experiences with anyone in a direct way. The TCR looks like the perfect remedy: A focus on individual effort and adventure but embedded in a community of people who understand each other’s stories better than anybody else. And the race-character will certainly help me push my self-competition because it sets new benchmarks. I’m incredibly looking forward to the event!
Outside of cycling:
Other important worlds of mine are: Academic research/teaching, music (making and consuming), fascination with natural sciences and all kinds of art forms. So: Enough stuff to keep my mind from getting bored on long days in the saddle.
Marin de Saint-Exupéry
From: Leeds, UK
I have been cycling since 2012, inspired by the Brownlees when Olympic fever took over. Before then, I had been playing volleyball for 12 years and I was in need of a new challenge. Thanks to Jonny and Alistair, I have been trying my hand at triathlon where I have been racing at half ironman distance.
My first memory of ultra distance/ adventure cycling however was back in 2009 when I watched a BBC documentary of Mark Beaumont cycling the world. I remember thinking then, that one-day I would ride my bike across a continent. So when I came across The TCR, it just added to what was then, just a pipe dream. Fast forward to 2017, I decided to put my hat into the ring.
For me, The Transcontinental offers escapism from the normal 9-5 desk job, it provides an opportunity to push yourself to limits I yet know I have and a chance to explore places that very few people will get the chance to see. I hope I can embrace the challenges that will no doubt come my way once I leave The Mur. Finally, on arriving in Meteora I hope that I have a few stories to tell and the passion to move forward and take on even more challenges whether on two wheels or elsewhere.
Originally from St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Matthew is a TCR veteran, competing in No.4 (12th) & No.5 (5th). He's still relatively new to this game, having started cycling in 2011, and is always looking for challenges to test him further each year. He has been pushing his comfort zone this by competing in the Italy Divide this year for a bit test off road, but is really looking forward to getting stuck into the pointy end of the TCR in July!
Matt is an ambassador for Jam Cycling, primarily working together to train with power and understand what happens to power and performance over the course of ultra distance races.
Over the past 5 years, Matthew has been using his adventures to provide a fundraising platform for Action For Kids, having raised nearly £3,500, and will be continuing to support this charity at this years Transcontinental Race.
Also known as Birdman (@b1rdmn on instagram & twitter), he can usually be found riding from G!RO Cycles in Esher who support him on his journeys. As a routemaster and ride captain on the G!RO Sunday shop ride, the cycling community around the cafe have been sucked into cheerleading on his adventures, and have become avid dot watchers.
Riding a bike, wherever, whenever. By the time I got more and more hungry to explore the world with the bicycle. Realizing that only the will needs to be strong enough for riding further opened my eyes a lot.
To be honest it does not really matter where the finish line is. As soon as I am on a bike, it is distressing and bringing balance back to me, if it was lost due to anything. Cycling is a medication for me, the longer I go, the better I feel. I cannot remember any long ride or race where I reached the finish line and felt destroyed.
As I come from the Baltic Sea, I am used to the cold. I am also used to riding in the rain, for longer time. But there is one force of nature that I really have great respect of. Heat. When heat comes into play, I have to have everything under control, even more than usual. I remember days that I ate more than twenty ice creams per day. I remember days that I was so sick that I had to rest in the shadow of a tree for hours, for a day.
Aside of the unique feeling of freedom on the bike, I love to just stop riding anywhere and put out the bivy and fall asleep.
Having the chance for finding and taking time for long rides is a great gift! For the future there are so many unknown places on my bucket list, let us see where it takes me!
From: London, Wroclaw, Zurich, Glasgow and Paris and then where I take my bike with me.
2018 is the first year when I started to think big. Bigger ride, bigger distances, bigger commitment to myself. As it happens, TCR is my first organised event. I decided to partake in the event after a number of individually completed solo rides for my work charity in previous 2 years. I love how the notion of space has been shrinking lately for me,. firstly, with my current playground in the UK, and in the past few weeks with the European continent. Cycling does represents the purest form of freedom and have has been my companion since I was a little kid. I am very much looking forward to embarking on the TCR journey together with all riders and others being part of the wider community! Allez!
From: Saint Remy, France
I'm a Belgian cyclist. I made somes B.R.M., I ride Pavés, Born to Ride 2018 97 hour 1160 kms, I'm member of the Chilkoot team. Before that I ran a lot of marathons and trails. I like alpinism. For me the TCR is like the Everest, a physical and mental adventure. With my wife, we founded Tutaonana for helping a very poor orphanage in the eastern part of D.R.C. in Africa.
From: Bristol, UK
Mike has ridden silly distances on bicycles for most of his life. Inexcusably, he's only just learned to clip in. His favourite road is Gospel Pass in Wales.
Between rides, Mike goes rock-climbing and volunteers for a local charity. He also bakes a very serviceable flapjack.
Transcontinental No. 6 will be the first race he's ever started. He's hoping it will be the first race he's ever finished.
Mohamed El Alami
I love cycling and challenges. after 3 years of national races and getting married, i started looking for new challenge for my sports life, i think Transcontinental race is a big challenge, and is giving me extra big reason to keep riding my bike
Thank you Mike and you all.
From: Baydon, Wiltshire, UK
I came fairly late to road cycling, but started with MTBs back in the later '80's, then Triathlon until my knees gave up! I'd ridden many sportives but got inspired to start riding longer events after hearing an interview with Mike Hall and watching "Inspired to Ride". This year I rode my longest single day event to-date, LWL18 which was a great test. I've been lucky enough to have quite a few trips to the Alps and Dolomites, which has given me experience of climbing some of the major mountains cols. I'm lucky enough to have a wonderfully supportive family, even though they think I'm nuts. My kids are all grown up now, so I have the opportunity to do something 'selfish'. I'm equally excited and apprehensive about TCR as I know it will take me to places, both mentally and physically, I've never been before. Away from riding I run a small business involved with teaching professionals' software engineering skills. This means a lot of travel and makes training difficult, though I do take my bike with me when possible. I love drooling over maps, so the route planning part is keeping me busy. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the startline...
From: South Africa
From: Heidelberg, Germany
Cycling for me is independence. I can ride when I want and where I want. The "where I want " changed a bit during the last two years as I experienced that I am able to do long rides. For me this experience opened a whole new world. In many ways.
Cycling from dawn til dusk lets me experience people, different daytimes and landscapes as a silent observer.
One of the most wonderful things is, that I am physically capable do long rides. I got my first road bike in 2014, so in certain ways, I am kind of a newbie. This gives me the great feeling of freedom. I remember being very exited before I made my first 100km on the bike, the same before the first 300km. Every time I was not sure if I could make it. But I always could do it. Only a matter of mind. This experience is very valuable to me.
What I also love is that certain link between people who like to spend the whole day on the bike. I don´t need to explain too much. Finally, it is just wonderful to ride a bike.
Dotwatching my husband and the other riders during the past two years during the Transcontinental Race and other endurance races increased the wish to ride, not only to watch them. So my husband and I decided to do this years transcontinental race as a pair. This means not only a lot of cycling, but spending time together. Just the two of us. Since we have kids this is quite a luxury.