TransAm 2017 Race what have I done?

So you might gather I do a ton of miles cycling, well my previous best ever month is 2300 miles. So how about 4280 miles: Add in some serious climbing, up to 11,000 feet, crossing the Continental divide three times in the Rockies, mix in 40 degree temperatures, storms and winds, doddle then.

The Transamerica unsupported bike race starts from Astoria Oregon on the Pacific West coast. The fixed route takes in ten states; Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming through Yellowstone park, the heights of Colorado almost all above 8000ft, dropping to the plains of Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and finally finishing in Yorktown Virginia on the Atlantic coast.

Great Route Graphic from Newton bike shop oasis about half way.
Great Route Graphic from Newton bike shop oasis about half way.

From the start of June me and the Tripster will be lining up with about 150 other riders to take on this beast, scared, you bet the numbers are freaking me out. Doing 200 miles a day for 21 days would just get me inside the top 10 finishers, ok for a full fitness, trouble free flat(ish) ride that’s possible. But climbing up and over many passes and spending time at altitudes of 8000ft will take its toll on this flatlanders legs and lungs. Getting through Kansas and Missouri without killer headwinds or dodging violent storms will be down to luck too.

Plenty of attention will be required to make sure the backside, hands and feet get through the toughest months test they have ever seen, damage is inevitable, limiting it is crucial for long days in the saddle.

The greatest challenge by far though will no doubt come from the temperatures. From the start last year riders had to cope with over 100 degF in Oregon to then climb over Mackenzie Pass which is still closed to cars through snowfall. High altitude desert through Yellowstone, and the cold heights of the Colorado ski resorts provides a wide testing range to cope with. The biggest challenge is staying smart with hydration, carrying more liquid than ever considered on other events.

The sudden realisation that a June start means in just over 3 months I have to be ready for a month of mad miles is a shock. Many reasons have meant the big training rides have not begun so better put that right quickly as March approaches. Stay tuned for planning and bike/kit updates


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