A mini-post about: *human encounters* in self-supported endurance (e.g. Transcontinental Race)
Fellow riders on the road by the nature of it understand so well the experience of a race. That’s why encounters on the road are so deeply special: No words needed to express how rough the last night was, how beautiful the descent, how mesmerizing the landscape, how pain- and doubtful the last morning, how itchy the bibs. Because all of that is tacit common understanding among riders and creates an immediate connection.
On top of that, based on my experience, riders of these races are a special and pleasant bunch: many in touch with themselves, curious and (often calmly) enthusiastic, humble because they got to know their limits so many times, and all that is why they’re part of the race in the first place. “Sociable loners” as Anna Haslock (of @thetranscontinental ) once phrased it.
Now imagine..: a trip where both your inner and outer world are constantly in flux… and then you bump into a fellow rider, maybe one you’ve already met 400km ago. These are “home” moments. A landmark in time that makes you look forward to the next one and socially contextualizes the route between now and then.
A similar connection occurs with media teams on the road, and volunteers at Checkpoints: they have seen so many riders and the same landscapes, that they look beyond the obvious craziness of such a race, naturally empathizing more with the acute emotional state of the rider they encounter. Especially volunteers: from their position of stability they manage to get us back on the ground when we may feel there is none.
I’m grateful for these social experiences. They make these races what they are beyond „just“ tough rides. 🙏
The above pictures were taken by the kind media crew of @transiberica_club (www.transiberica.club) in ‘21. You see Julio (cap28) and myself at Checkpoint 4. 7:30h in the morning. We both and the media crew had a rough night for sure, the desert was still cold, a long hot day ahead. We simply had a good time in that moment.
See you on the road!
Malte, Cyclingtourist & #TCRNo8cap63