The Transcontinental Race is back after a two-year absence – and so are the bikes.
What’s often described as the world’s hardest self-supported, ultra-distance race runs more than 4,000km across Europe.
Riders pick their own course between this year’s start in Geraardsbergen, Belgium and the finish in Burgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
Along the way, they have to go through control points. Their crafty positioning places terrain varying from the Passo di Gavia to rocky Romanian mountain tracks on route.
Therefore, the bikepacking rigs the competitors have chosen are as diverse and hardy as what lies ahead of them.
Fifty brave souls took to the start and here’s a selection of what they’re riding.
Ben Davis – Giant TCR
Nominative determinism was strong at the start of the Transcontinental Race (TCR) as 2019 runner-up Ben Davis set off on a Giant TCR.
The Tailfin-sponsored athlete is using the brand’s rear rack and what appear to be unreleased bikepacking bags.
A rim-brake mechanical Ultegra R8000 groupset is the Bristol rider’s drivetrain of choice on a sparsely laden bike.
The front Hunt wheel carries a Son front dynamo hub, which powers the Edelux II front light and looks to be a charging point too.
A deeper-section Hunt wheel is at the back and both rims are shod with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyres.
Fiona Kolbinger – Canyon Endurace
In 2019, Fiona Kolbinger became the first woman to win the TCR, finishing 10 hours clear of Ben Davis.
The German also rides an appropriately named bike: a Canyon Endurace.
The bike has an Ultegra disc groupset and is lightly loaded with Apidura bags.
Front and rear lighting and charging comes from another Son dymano hub.
The 27-year-old doctor opts for Shimano TT extension bars, but, as far as we can tell, without a photo of a pet on the stem.