The Italy Divide – Part 1: Rome to Bologna

What is the Italy Divide? Checkout my post from last April 2018 with all the info Dot Watching the Italy Divide The Bike for the Italy Divide I updated my Curve Cycling Belgie Spirit with a few modifications to accommodate going off road. Bigger tyres, more gears, and some MTB SPD pedals & shoes (for all the walking I’d end up doing). I also added some proper lights – Exposure Diablo and Strada for negotiating trails at night. The rest of the bike was as per my normal Transcontinental road bikepacking setup. Aero bars, with eTap blip shifters, Apidura bags, dynamo lights. Rome Starting the Italy Divide … Continue reading The Italy Divide – Part 1: Rome to Bologna

Chasing The Circus

The Tour de France Back in July of 2018 I was at a bit of a loose end. I had the TCR coming up in 3 weeks time, and I needed to get away on the bike for a weekend, mostly to just enjoy riding but also to try a few bits and pieces out ahead of the TCR. I also was super keen to take the opportunity to go and watch the Tour de France that was moving through northern France, so a short hop over the channel would give me a chance to get up close to the action. Planning After looking into ferries, … Continue reading Chasing The Circus

Dot Watching the Italy Divide

It’s Race Time! So spring has arrived (feeling like summer), and I’m about to begin the first race of the year. In previous years for me it’s been all about the Transcontinental Race, a 4,000 km self supported bike packing race from one side of Europe to the other. I would normally just be thinking about more training, planning, and general preparation for the TCR around this time of year. To mix things up a bit this time around I’ve thrown my hat into some off road riding and the Italy Divide. I’m not setting any expectations for the race other than to enjoy it as … Continue reading Dot Watching the Italy Divide

TCR No. 5: The Race to Meteora

Missed my last post, click here:  CP4 to Macedonia Start from the beginning here: TCR No 5 – The Start Good Sensations I set off, enjoying the cool air and fast road and made good time. Just before Bitola, the dubious sandwich I’d had a couple hours earlier was confirmed dodgy. I made a dash into the loos, and while there checked the tracker on my phone and spotted #80 Nelson was stopped just ahead in Bitola, and hadn’t moved in a while. 6th place wasn’t too far away, and with a bit of renewed nervous and excited energy, I moved onto the border. It seemed to … Continue reading TCR No. 5: The Race to Meteora

TCR No. 5: CP4 to Macedonia

Missed my last post, click here:  Poprad to CP4: The Transfăgărășan Highway Start from the beginning here: TCR No 5 – The Start Nearly There Breakfast was inside the hotel restaurant from 8, so I set my alarm. I was up at 7 on my clock and breakfast was already being served. Stephane and I had two fairly amazing breakfast plates with cheese, eggs and some meat, bread, olives and maybe some fruit too. At this time I was a little confused as to why breakfast was so early, but didn’t ask too many questions… (it’ll take me to the finish to realise the time zone had changed … Continue reading TCR No. 5: CP4 to Macedonia

Poprad to CP4: The Transfăgărășan Highway

Last post:  Bratislava to CP3: High Tatras Start here: TCR No 5 – The Start Target: CP4 I slept fairly well at the back of the petrol station, woken at around 3.30am by a delivery driver dropping off some fresh (!) 7 days croissants, I imagined. He gave me a quizzical look, I waved and he went about his day. Being disturbed, I was reluctant to try to sleep more so figured I’d decamp and get rolling, aiming to get ahead of the heat wave before it kicked into the day. I also checked the tracker, now very interested where everyone around me was, with both 131 Robert … Continue reading Poprad to CP4: The Transfăgărășan Highway

Bratislava to CP3: High Tatras

Catch up with the last post here: https://mattonabike.com/2017/11/13/cp2-to-bratislava/  To read from the start of my TCR, start here: https://mattonabike.com/2017/09/23/tcr-no-5-the-start/ Recovering in Bratislava Having arrived at the hotel in Bratislava at around 4 pm, I had all afternoon and evening to relax before deciding my next move. The hotel was right next door to a McDonald’s and a shopping centre with a food court. I had a long bath, washed my bibs and base layer and headed downstairs to explore in my hotel slippers, off bike shorts and t-shirt. It was a scorching afternoon, and was quite glad at my decision to stop for the afternoon and night, but … Continue reading Bratislava to CP3: High Tatras

CP1 Schloss Lichtenstein to CP 2 Monte Grappa

I had a relatively good night sleep at the checkpoint in Honau at the foot of the Schloss Lichtenstein Castle, albeit only about 4 hours. There were a few comings and goings in the night, but I needed some sleep and was happy to wait until dawn to get moving. It was chilly when I woke up, but it was a really nice morning with the stream bubbling away next to the hotel garden where I’d bivvied up. I ate what was left of the pizza and packed up my gear, being careful not to wake the fabulous volunteers snoozing in the gazebo. I was still half … Continue reading CP1 Schloss Lichtenstein to CP 2 Monte Grappa

CP2 to Bratislava

If you’ve not seen the earlier posts, you can catch up from the start of my TCR No 5 journey here: https://mattonabike.com/2017/09/23/tcr-no-5-the-start/ Heading into the Po Valley I was super hungry after the long climb up Monte Grappa, light was fading and was getting a little chilly. After a short chat with the Pedal Ed guys & Stephane, I layered up, said goodbyes then headed down the hill. It was super steep, and wasn’t all down hill. In fact, a considerable ‘reverse’ got in the way of speeding down the hill and left me peeling off a number of the layers as the hard work climbing again … Continue reading CP2 to Bratislava

TCR No.5 – Start to CP1

I was buzzing after rolling over the top of the Muur. Feeling some of the heat from the blazing torches and people cheering is an amazing experience. It’s not long before you’re following red blinking dots down the road. It is kind of surreal. I managed to make it over the top of the Muur in around 20th position. That wasn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly helped narrow the focus and get on with the job, but most importantly allowed me to navigate the Muur without holdups. As I picked up my route and settled things calmed down really … Continue reading TCR No.5 – Start to CP1