regarding #TCR2015

Well, I'm not in this year.
I must admit that Lee's idea is really nice, but I won't make it in time with recovery, being back in shape before the Alps will see snow.

But I was planning a bit on the route before I left home for the TransAm. And I wonder a bit if there's someone out there (besides Mikko - will be worth to watch his scenic ride I'd say) who would give it a try to make use of the bold NOT:

"There will be 4 mandatory checkpoints in the 2015 Transcontinental. Visit in number order is NOT
mandatory (but their scheduled operation is in order and they will close as indicated)."

One can say that using a ferry during the race is for lazy bumps and the "real shit" is riding it completely. Well, I fully respect such an approach from the sports perspective. Nevertheless, since the manual clearly indicated that specific ferries are allowed within the race (and one specific is still not ;-) ) it's worth to consider them in planning. We will see most of the riders following the number order of the checkpoints. For the part Start > CP1 > CP2 everyone will do so, we'll see a bit variation but they'll all head the same way. So far one can't gain much from choosing it's route a bit differently. Out of the Alps most riders will try to make a beeline to CP3, which is pretty flat in the first half. Italy is generally okay to ride, maybe not so nice in the Venice area with lot of traffic. Then one has to go a long stretch to Vukovar, a bit hilly and many options to pick a route. This will be by end of the first week (or second half of it), so one might not be the freshest. It's pretty warm during summer down there so having a few hours of rest might be heaven.

How about heading from CP2 down to the ferry in Ancona? This would be a downhill ride along the river Po and cost. Roads are pretty empty inlands. Okay, mosquitos are out there at night since they water all the peach and pear trees (take care where you snooze, these sprinklers start sometime in the middle of the night). So if the timing is right you can catch a ferry at early eveing in Ancona, book a cabin for yourself, either pick some food on the way or eat on the cruise. Having a 10 hours break and maybe 8 hours of babylike sleep (that ferry moves smoothly with the sea) and arriving in Split at 6 in the morning. Fresh and recovered you'll pedal along the beautiful coast, full of fruit shops along the road, no problem to get something to eat, proper road with guardrail. You will be in Kotor in the evening, refueling and then climbing the Mt. Lovcen in the darkness avoiding the heat of the day. Either you stay there and snooze at the rest area or you go down again. Next would be the part between CP4 and CP3 - a piece that requires some climbing - but no matter which way you do it, CP3>CP4 or CP4>CP3 it's a challenging section. And for those who take the ferry I would expect the first dog fights along that part, until here everything should be "dog-free". Once you make it to Vukovar the remaining part is then CP3>Finish. On the map it looks a bit weird going north from CP4 (away from the Finish) but in the end it seems less climbing in total than the way from Lovcen to Istanbul, especially the southern Greece option. But, one has to take into account the road warnings and traffic conditions. It might not be everyone's choice to cycle the Bulgarian route. So, by distance swapping CP3 and CP4 and incorporating a ferry ride probably won't be (much) shorter than the common route. The major benefits in my eyes are recovery break and less climbing.

Whoever now might start to consider this, don't throw away your initial planning. Keep both routes on your device. Once finished CP2 it's the right moment to check weather, legs and timing. That's the moment you should decide and book the ferry (if not booked already).

I don't upload or share any details or *.gpx-files - that's everyones own task. But if you feel lazy riding at the moment or it doesn't make more sense to train more - why not playing with the maps. Have fun! ;-)

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