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Turn Cycling - Transcontinental Race, Burgas

On the 27th July, Mektrax sponsored rider Niel Copeland took to the start line of the 7th edition of the Transcontinental race in Burgas, Bulgaria. The Transcontinental was conceived by ultra racing legend Mike Hall and in this editions the riders would cover a distance of over 4000km and 40,000m of climbing in a single, self-supported, stage. Considered one of the hardest ultra races in the world, riders are responsible for everything themselves. No outside assistance is allowed and they must only use what is commercially available to every one. 

"The TCR (Transcontinental Race), is one of the most brutal yet beautiful things you can do on a bike. I was covering an average of 300km every day with 3000m of climbing. Day one alone was 350km and 4500m of climbing in 15.5 hours riding time. Normally you'd take a week off after a ride like that, instead I had 4 hours sleep and was up at 4am to get riding again.

The course is largely rider selected with 6 parcours sections that everyone must do. These were really designed to break the riders with gravel hike a bike, ridiculously steep gradients and some of the longest climbs in the alps. The ascent of the Timmelsjoch and the Galibier, whilst insane with that much fatigue in your legs, were just incredible moments.

My race was impacted by a medical issue requiring 3 hours in A&E and then later on a mechanical problem which meant I was stuck in Klagenfurt for 4.5 days. There are worse places to get stuck. Still, scratching (quiting in ultra speak) was not an option and when the problem was fixed I continued to race hard all the way through to Brest, France.

For the first time in the history of the TCR a female won, beating all her rivals both male and female. Covering an average of nearly 400km a day, Fiona Kolbinger put in an incredible ride to finish in just 10 days, 8 hours. 8 hours ahead of second place Ben Davies. Fiona spent only two nights sleeping in a hotel, the rest of the time sleeping rough in bus shelters and doorways."

Niel rode in Mektrax kit that has been specifically designed with the demand of ultra races, like the Transcontinental, in mind. Extensive reflective materials, extra pockets and the best endurance pads available ensure that he's both seen and comfortable for the super long days in the saddle. Stay tuned for his full race review coming soon.