James Thinks

writing is a kind of thinking

What is the Trans Pyrenees Race?

The Trans Pyrenees Race is a self-supported multi-day cycling race across the Pyrenees. It is the little sister of the Trans Continental Race (TCR). Both are run by Lost Dot. I've entered the second edition which has been postponed since 2020. It is often abreviated to TPRNo2. It starts on Friday 30th September 2022.

The race involves cycling from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and back. It's about 1500km over 6.75 days.

About 150 riders have entered, aging from 23 to 66. Most are solo riders but there also six pairs.

What are the rules?

TPR is self-supported, meaning riders cannot make use of facilities that are not available to everyone. We don't have to be totally self-sufficient; hotels and shops are open to everyone. On the other hand there are no support vehicles allowed which makes for a more level playing field for amateurs like me. Phoning a friend and asking them to find the nearest bike shop for you is considered unsporting. If you help another rider, say by giving them a spare inner tube, then they have to hand you their race-validating "brevet card" indicating that they're pulling out of the race.

There's no "Drafting" - cycling close behind another rider to benefit from reduced air resistance, apart from for those riding as Pairs, which is a different category.

The route is defined by a series of control points (CP) and Parcours (Pc) - the latter being a stretch of road which must be ridden, rather than a single point to pass through. Most of these have cut off times that must be reached to finish within "General Classification", which is my aim.

Map showing the Pyrenees with cycling icons and lines indicating controls and parcours The Control Points and Parcours for TPRNo2

Riders are free to plan their route through those control points however they wish, as long as they don't break local laws, say by riding the wrong way up a one-way street. A big part of the challenge is planning your own route and thinking carefully about food, water and accommodation.

Apart from that there's an agreement to race with a spirit of fair play.

The race is run by staff and volunteers at some of the controls. It is tracked by GPS with each rider carrying a tracker which regularly updates their position. There are also online "dotwatchers" who will be checking on riders for safety and compliance with the rules.

Why am I riding it?

As a personal challenge and adventure. I haven't entered a real race before, but I've done plenty of long bike rides and written here about why I find that enjoyable. I've no doubt there will be a fair bit of "type-2 fun" involved, but I hope to bring back some amazing memories as well.

What is your strategy?

It's frowned upon to share route and strategy before the race itself, so I'll be publishing a series of blog posts as I go along, giving more detail of my thinking during planning. I'll write these before I start - if I get time! It will be interesting to see how my plans turn out and how they differ from others.

Where do you hope to finish?

I hope to finish! I may look at the tracker myself during the race and get a little competitive if things are going well, but my main aim is to finish within General Classification (GC). Enthusiasts often talk about the "race within the race", where the riders at the back enjoy some friendly competition with each other.

How do I watch or find out more?

You can be a casual "dotwatcher" too. The official TPR website will have details and, nearer the start, a link to the GPS tracker where you will see all riders on the map. You can click on the rider dots for more information.

There will also be some race updates on social media.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/transpyrenees

Twitter: @transpyrenees

Once my cap number is known (around 29th September), there will be a hashtag associated with it on Instagram and Twitter, so you could search for photos of me in particular. It's likely that there will be more official photos of the leaders, however!

For example: "#TPRNo2cap001 for Solo Rider with cap No.1"

Update!

Read my full report of how the race went for me here.

Category: Cycling
Photo credit: Lost Dot/Komoot
Mugshot of James cycling on a road in the sunshine.

James Bradbury

I write about whatever is on my mind. I do so mostly to help me think more clearly. If other people find it interesting that's good too. :-)

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1500km from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and back over 6.75 days

Part of the challenge is planning your own route... food, water and accommodation

You can be a casual "dotwatcher" too