03 TPBR – Race Summary

Here’s a very late summary of my 2019 Three Peaks Bike Race (TPBR); rather for the sake of completeness. And who knows, maybe there’s someone out there – a future TPBR rider or the like – who has some use for it. If you’re new to this blog and are looking for some more exciting and complete representation of my riding and racing, you may e.g. wish to check out my visual Transcontinental Race report.
In this current post I’ll simply provide you and myself with some facts and figures of my 2019 race. I also added my short Strava descriptions of each ride, but obviously they don’t do justice in any way to the richness of my TPBR experience and the hundreds of situations and encounters I had, good and bad.

If you first want to find out what the race is all about, better start here:
01 TPBR – This year: Three Peaks Bike Race
If you want to find out about my preparation, check this: 02 TPBR – What I changed: Equipment & Racing Approach/Behaviour

Below you find some data and visual impressions on a daily basis. At the end you find a few overall stats. I should mention that during the 8 weeks leading up to the race I couldn’t do any sports due to a broken finger that I didn’t want to risk; I’m very content with my race performance given these circumstances, but hope to perform better next time with more preparation.

Here you find a map of my recorded GPS tracks. For better usability, follow this link.

Day 1, Vienna – Linz

Start: Sat. 20. July 2019, 16:00h, Vienna, Austria
185 km, 1.110 m
Moving time: 7:10 h
Elapsed time: 8:45 h
Stopping time: 18%
Average speed: 26 kph
Finish: Sun. 21. July 2019, 00:45 h, Hörsching shortly behind Linz (Austria)
Sleep (end of stage): front roof of commercial building

Went quite smoothly. Had to stop once to sort out issues with my Wahoo Elemnt map display. Around 1:00 am at night a thunderstorm came up. Good timing to try to get some rest under the front roof of some commercial building. Surrounded by a raging storm. Didn’t really sleep. But was no other option really.

Thunderstorm while sleeping in Hörsching after Day 1, ca. 1 am at night.

Day 2, Linz – Haiming

Start: Sun. 21. July 2019, 05:37 h, Hörsching, shortly behind Linz (Austria)
313 km, 2.396m
Moving time: 13:10 h
Elapsed time: 18:10 h
Stopping time: 27%
Average speed: 24 kph
Finish: Sun. 21. July 2019, 23:50 h, Haiming (behind Innsbruck, Austria)
Sleep (end of stage): Hotel

Dear diary, 

I had deliberately set my GPS track to a destination far beyond what I deemed realistic; just to give myself something to push towards. Surprisingly I managed to get there – despite the first 100km in the rain. 

I fell behind the field because I was one of the few who decided to have some sleep in the first night (yes, I learned from my TCR mistakes). But today I fought myself back to the front of the midfield. Surprising. 

Not surprisingly I‘m getting tendon issues due to that sudden spike of activity (there was rediculously little training) – I will set my cleats back to the middle of the foot before climbing stelvio tmrw, to relieve my Achilles’ tendons. 

Wonder where I will end up tomorrow; I.e. if I have to pay the bill for todays effort or if my legs are just getting started…

Strava entry, day 2

Day 3, Haiming – Lago di Como

Start: Mon. 22. July 2019, 07:17 h, Haiming (behind Innsbruck, Austria)
269 km, 3.377 m
Moving time: 13:10 h
Elapsed time: 18:45 h
Stopping time: 30%
Average speed: 20,5 kph
Finish: Mon. 22. July 2019, 23:50 h, North-Western shore of Lago di Como (IT)
Sleep (end of stage): park bench

I‘m exhausted.

Strava entry, day 3
Descending from Reschenpass
Climbing Stelvio with Music (Art Farmer – Modern Art)
Descending from Stelvio (westbound)

Day 4, Lago di Como – Torino

Start: Tue. 23. July 2019, 08:43 h, North-Western shore of Lago di Como (IT)
235 km, 973 m
Moving time: 10:30 h
Elapsed time: 14:50 h
Stopping time: 29%
Average speed: 22,5 kph
Finish: Tue. 23. July 2019, 23:33 h, shortly behind Torino (IT)
Sleep (end of stage): campsite

Heavy heavy… especially with over 40 degrees in the Italian flatlands. 

Big climb tomorrow..

Strava entry, day 4

Day 5, Torino – Sault

Start: Wed. 24. July 2019, 07:26 h, shortly behind Torino (IT)
281 km, 4.350 m
Moving time: 15 h
Elapsed time: 29:30 h
Stopping time: 49%
Average speed: 19 kph
Finish: Thu. 25. July 2019, 13:01 h, Sault (Provence, FR)
Sleep (end of stage): launderette

I extended the ride through the night. Very ineffectively. But felt extremely uncomfortable in my dirty kit. And needed to change to my better bibs. Destination was Sault where there was a Laundromat. 

Tired.. we’ll see how the rest of the day goes.

Oh and… It’s my birthday.

Strava entry, day 5
Climbing the Colle delle Finestre with music
Approaching the Lac Serre Poncon around sunset

Day 6, Sault – Sète

Start: Thu. 25. July 2019, 13:43 h, Sault (Provence, FR)
197 km, 397 m
Moving time: 8:45 h
Elapsed time: 10:50 h
Stopping time: 19%
Average speed: 22,5 kph
Finish: Fri. 26. July 2019, 00:35 h, Sète (Mediterranean Sea, FR)
Sleep (end of stage): hostel

Got my legs and my brain back. My very long but necessary break in Sault (eating, washing clothes, spending time deliberately aimlessly) took until ca. 14:30h. Considering that I’m quite content with these 196km even though it is far below what I want as a daily average. 

I cycled with very few stops and continuous pace. And even the land bridge before Sete was open and worked out great. 

Listened to the Podcast “Zeit Verbrechen”… kann ich sehr empfehlen!!

Strava entry, day 6
First time Mediterranean water

Day 7, Sète – Ax Les Thermes

Start: Fri. 26. July 2019, 08:18 h, Sète (Mediterranean Sea, FR)
223 km, 2.497 m
Moving time: 11:30 h
Elapsed time: 14 h
Stopping time: 18%
Average speed: 19,5 kph
Finish: Fri. 26. July 2019, 22:20 h, Ax Les Thermes (Pyrenees, FR)
Sleep (end of stage): hotel

Rain & Achilles pain

Strava entry, day 7
Approaching the Pyrenees with the occasional heavy rain shower

Day 8, Ax Les Thermes – Spain

Start: Sat. 27. July 2019, 09:17 h, Ax Les Thermes (Pyrenees, FR)
150 km, 3.315 m
Moving time: 8:45 h
Elapsed time: 12:30 h
Stopping time: 27%
Average speed: 17 kph
Finish: Sat. 27. July 2019, 21:53 h, shortly behind Spanish border (Pyrenees, SP)
Sleep (end of stage): hotel

Rough day for me. 

First overslept, cause I forgot to set an alarm. 

Then pouring rain almost constantly. Lots of climbing (two big passes) and obviously colder with every gained meter of altitude. Then after 1h of climbing realized I forgot my wallet in the hotel. Back down and back up in the rain. – while being soaked. and even colder when in that state you descend: further cooling wind and no work to keep you warm. 🥶 after the descend from arcalis Ordina I kept shivering for 30min in some café. 

Checkpoint 3 (last one) done. 

But a great conclusion: Found a fabulous little hotel just behind the border in Spain. 

Dialogues you never hear: „Where shall I put my bike?“ – „I suggest you just take it on the room.“. Here that actually happened ❤️

Strava entry, day 8
Singing in the Rain – On Arcalis Ordina

Day 9, Andorra – Barcelona

Start: Sun. 28. July 2019, 06:42 h, shortly behind the Spanish border (Pyrenees, SP)
220 km, 3.369 m
Moving time: 10 h
Elapsed time: 11 h
Average speed: 22 kph
Stopping time: 9%
Finish: Sun. 28. July 2019, 17:41 h, Barcelona (SP)

Finished Three Peaks Bike Race on Sunday, 17:40h after 2100km/22000m/8days. 

Wow… today I was on fire. Started at 7 and basically went through without a break. I took over 3 other racers who got up much earlier and had a headstart of at least 50km. Very satisfied. Also overall: with this trip I doubled my yearly mileage 😂 – involuntarily there was hardly any training. So, i‘m quite astonished I managed to finish at all. 

At the finish line I was sprayed by Rainer with sparkling wine and treated with a cold beer. Thanks SO much! 

Thank also to YOU followers for your interest and messages of encouragement. It was highly motivating to know I was not alone on the road.

Strava entry, day 9
Cycling through a canyon
Approaching Montserrat on the final parcours


Total distance: 2073 km
Total elevation: 21784 m
Total time: 8 days, 1 hour, 45 min
Stopping time (weighted): 27%
Daily mileage: 260 km
Daily elevation: 2723 m
Sleeping: 4x Hotel/Hostel, 4x bivy/other/none

Lessons learned…

A) I should reduce the stopping time (27%) by a lot. E.g. bringing it down to 10% could increase my daily mileage by 40 km to 300 km/day
B) a ride/sleep rhythm by day/night works. I should even more fight the impulses to ride on at night.

Author: Malte Cyclingtourist

Hi, I'm Malte, cyclo-hedonist, endurance traveller, occasional bikepacking-racer (mostly road) – www.cyclingtourist.com – Strava: Malte Cyclingtourist – Instagram: @maltecyclingtourist

4 thoughts on “03 TPBR – Race Summary”

    1. hah, yes, I remember, Richard! That was very encouraging!
      and about performance… Thanks! I would have aimed for more, but was happy with it given I couldn’t do any riding during the 2 months before (broken finger) : D
      This year will hopefully crack the 300k/day (average) threshold. Really looking forward to seeing you in Bilbao. And hoping the race goes through


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