UPCOMING: Köln, Do. 2.2.23 – Vortrag beim “Travel Slam” im Globetrotter (German)

[in German only]

Am
Do, 2. Februar 2023, 20:15h
bei Globetrotter Köln
Richmodstraße 10
Köln, 50667

findet ein sogenannter “Travel Slam” statt: 3 Vorträge von Reisenden. Am Ende wählt das Publikum den Favoriten und es gibt eine Bonus-Runde.

Ich werde 15 Minuten lang mit Bildern von meinem Transcontinental Race No. 8 (2022) erzählen. Alle drei Vorträge des Abends drehen sich um Radreisen. Bin schon gespannt auf die anderen beiden von Carsten Grüttner (Kanaren per Rad) und Wolfgang Hollmer (Ein Scheibchen Europa für Sharron). Ich bin gespannt und freu mich drauf!

Eintritt: 10€, auch Abendkasse (die gehen nicht an mich)
Weiter Infos und Anmeldung: hier www.travelslam.de

Malte Hager • Maltes Transcontinental Race | Köln, 02.02.2023

– 4200 km mit dem Reise-Rennrad durch Europa

Einen Kontinent durchqueren in 2 Wochen… 4200km und zigtausend Höhenmeter von Brüssel ans schwarze Meer; mit dem Fahrrad und ohne Hilfe von außen. Malte Hager wird von seinem abenteuerlichen Transcontinental Race berichten: Einem der renommiertesten Ultra-Langstreckenrennen der Welt, das er im Sommer 2022 absolvierte.

Mit minimalem Gepäck, eher stringenter Vorwärtsbewegung, glitzernden Alpenpässen, Osteuropäischer Bergwildnis, Mikro-Begegnungen, ungekanntem Schmerz, Hundejagden, menschlicher Verbundenheit, Rausch und Rührung: Bei dieser Ausnahmeerfahrung konnte Malte sehen wie die vielfältige Landschaft und Kultur Europas innerhalb kurzer Distanzen variiert und wie auch der eigene fluktuierende körperliche und mentale Zustand zu jedem Zeitpunkt wenig Gewissheit über den weiteren Verlauf des Radreiserennens gibt.

Malte wird erzählen wie er auf diesen Irrsinn kam, wie das Rennen verlief und sich anfühlte und was ein Baseballschläger und Lebkuchengebäck damit zu tun haben.

Homepage: www.cyclingtourist.com
Instagram: @maltecyclingtourist

Köln, Fr. 20.1.23 – Podiumsdiskussion “Geschichten vom Ultracycling” RTC dsd e.V. (German)

[in German only]

[edit: von Ankündigung zu Rückblick umgeschrieben]

Am Freitag, 20. Januar fand eine Podiumsdiskussion mit mir und zwei anderen Ultra-Fahrern – Thomas Krechel & Andi Schaich – aus meinem Verein statt. Ausgerichtet von meinem Fahrradverein RTC dsd e.V.
Organisiert von: Fabian Starke
Postergestaltung: Andre Kniepkamp
Alle Fotos: Paul Hense @paulhense

Hat sehr viel Spaß gemacht. Danke für das Interesse und die guten Fragen!

Film: Onboard the Transcontinental Race

Wir haben außerdem die großartige Doku “Onboard the Transcontinental Race” von Antonin Michaud-Soret gesehen. Die empfehle ich euch wärmstens! Kann hier gestreamt werden, es lohnt sich! Außerdem könnt ihr Antonin mit einem Stream direkt unterstützen. : )

Foto: Paul Hense @paulhense

Die Event-Beschreibung war:

“Geschichten vom Ultracycling”

“Geschichten vom Ultracycling Im vergangen Sommer waren viele von uns eifrige Dotwatcher bei den „Ultracycling”-Abenteuern einiger unserer Mitglieder; darunter Andi Schaich beim Mittlegebirge Classique, und Thomas Krechel & Malte Hager beim Transcontinental Race. So manche Geschichte haben wir schon gehört und verfolgt, aber noch nicht Live und von allen zusammen. Freut euch auf einen bunten Abend mit

  • Geschichten (und Bildern/Karten) vom Ultracycling – Gelegenheit für Fragen und Austausch (ggfs. auch mit unseren anderen Ultrafahrer*innen)
  • ein Blick auf die gepackten Räder
  • wir schauen gemeinsam die großartige Kurz-Doku „Onboard the Transcontinental Race” (Regie: Antonin Michaud-Soret)

Wir sind zu Gast bei VAN DYCK Rösterei in Köln Mühlheim, aus diesem Grunde ist es eine geschlossene Veranstaltung und eine voranmeldung im MUP ist erforderlich. Auch damit es nicht zu voll wird.”

Anmeldung erforderlich unter folgendem LINK. (ggfs. auf Warteliste)

TCR No. 8 – about *official* results, stats, penalties update & subjective conclusion

CONTENTS:
1. Official Results
__1.1 Leaderboard
__1.2 Rider status – stats & cases
__1.3 Distances ridden & FMC error
2 Penalty updates
__2.1 General penalty stats
__2.2 Update MNE-border penalty
__2.3 HS07 Austrian highway
3 Concluding remarks… (subjective)

First of all: Congratulations to all fellow riders!! No matter if you finished or not. It was a tough race and fantastic adventure. And also: Thanks to all dotwatchers, followers and friends of the race! Without you it would all just be half the fun.

With this one I want to provide an update to my previous post; now referring to the official results (as opposed to just preliminary) of this year’s Transcontinental Race No. 8. I think that previous post may be interesting to some nerds that haven’t read it yet. It goes into a lot of details, but I think they raise more general points and questions. But: I should also acknowledge what the official results and also penalty outcomes were – after all appeals, and some discussion that certainly took place. Hence this post: I will provide you with some updated stats, add some new little stats, report on how the penalties turned out, and will have a few concluding thoughts.

1. Official Results

The official results were published on 26th of October 2022 and you find them here. Everything that follows is obviously only my own compilation of and commentary on some information out of it.

1.1 Leaderboard

The top of the leaderboard of the ca. 4250km race incl. all penalties looks as follows:

SOLO overall:
1. #100 Christoph Strasser – 9D 15H 0M
2. #75 Adam Bialek – 9D 23H 22M
3. #160 Pawel Pulawski – 10D 2H 6M


SOLO Women:*
1. #1 Fiona Kolbinger – 10D 13H 44M
2. #14 Amrei Kühne – 11D 19H 48M
3. #48 Meaghan Hakkinen – 12D 11H 21M


*there are mixed views on whether to spell out the women’s podium or not (also among women). e.g. female-directed TCR itself does not spell it out. So, for those who like it, I do.

PAIRS overall:
1. #252 Theo Daniel & Stephane Ouaja – 12D 8H 50M
2. #251 Richard & Sam Gate – 13D 3H 16M
3. #256 Christopher Dunand & Jonathan McCarthy – 13D 9H 49M

Please check the official leaderboard to have a look at the other amazing riders at the top and throughout the list!

Congrats to everyone! Incredible what these riders achieved. Assuming the distances quoted further below, these top riders did as a daily average up to 450km + several thousand m of climbing.

I’d like to give an honourable mention to Ulrich Bartholomoes who was a top-contender against Christoph Strasser; he ended up in a very unfortunate situation at a ferry that turned out not to run. That situation was not exclusively on him (worth its own discussion), but was responsible for him not making the top 3. So:
4. #50 Ulrich Bartholomoes – 10D 3H 2M

Another rather extreme case was rider #233 Krystian Jakubek who arrived physically in second place. But due to massive penalties he was now placed on 6th position – among them the border crossing penalty and some of the rather “surprising” unique penalties I mentioned. (The case also stirred some discussion that I will not go into now. If interested, check the “unique penalties” section in my previous post)

In the pairs, the outcomes of penalties changed the second position so that it now goes to “the Gate Family” – congrats! They had considered the “illegal” border crossing into Montenegro (check my previous post where I handle this in detail), but decided against it, because they assumed it might be penalised. And they were right! So them ending on 2nd position was not a matter of luck, but a matter of deliberate strategic choices.

Just because it may be interesting to some, here’s also a table of the Top10 solo riders with a comparison between physical arrival ranking and post-penalty official ranking. It illustrates how big the impact of penalties can still be. I didn’t calculate it for the whole field, but just for illustration: I myself arrived physically as the 66th rider, and am now ranked on 61 – despite a 5:30h penalty. Really doesn’t matter or do anything to my sense of achievement, but shows that penalties have effects for the whole leaderboard.

1.2 Rider status – stats & cases

And here are just some general stats regarding the rider status:

SOLO-Riders:

  • 41% arrived within the time cutoff (16 days, i.e. General Classification)*
  • 12% Finished outside of the GC
  • 47% of starters scratched

To my knowledge, the scratch-rate is the highest of any TCR edition so far.

Two riders’ status were changed from “Finisher” back to “GC”*. Among them Jesko von Werthern who was originally suspected by the Race Direction to have stayed in private accommodation (which would mean: supported), but could explain and prove that this was not the case.

4 riders who originally arrived within the 16 days to achieve GC status, lay beyond the 16 days including their penalties; technically outside of the GC. This was particularly due to the border penalty (5,5h). The race direction decided to leave those riders within the GC. They justified this by acknowledging that the penalised border-crossing was deemed ok to use in edition 4, but not in this one, so there may have been confusion. I know that to some of those 4 riders this did matter, so I’m glad it turned out that way. Congrats!!

*”GC”/”General Classification” means that the rider arrived within the time cutoff AND followed all the most important rules & requirements, and is therefore awarded a ranked position. “Finisher”s are mostly riders that arrived at the finish line after the cutoff, but did ride all the distance through the Checkpoints

PAIR-Riders

  • 31% arrived within the General Classification
  • 19% Finished outside of the GC
  • exactly half of the pairs riders did not finish.

In one case one rider of a pair scratched, but the other continued the race, so he was awarded Finisher status: #251b Olivier Caty. Congrats! Obviously he could not be listed in the GC as his effort with a mix of supported and unsupported could not be compared to solo-riders’ rides.

The high DNF-rate overall is remarkable. And it is not entirely clear to me why it is so high. Some people – among them some of the most experienced TCR veterans – claimed this to have been the “toughest edition yet”. But obviously that is hard to define let alone verify. Every edition is unique; too many factors that make them incomparable.

Clearly, this edition was the longest yet in terms of distance, while the cutoff time of 16 days remained. So riders had the same limited time to arrive at a longer distance. Possibly that had a discouraging effect on a few riders who realized they wouldn’t make it in the time they previously envisioned.

1.3 Distances ridden & FMC error

Speaking of it… related to the distance of this edition I have some more stats. Firstly, based on 13 riders only, for who I had the actual ridden total distance, I established that Followmychallenge overestimates riding distances by ca. 6% on average (but can be up to at least 12%). (I also checked: this deviation does not depend on the distance)

If you rode TCR No. 8 and know your total distance based on your own tracking (not FMC), feel free to drop me a line. It’s an interesting data point!

I applied that information to all total distances reported by Followmychallenge; i.e. substracted 5,5% from the FMC-distance to arrive at an estimate of the actually ridden distance. This will not be correct for each individual rider, but in total I assume deviations will be random and equal out.

On average Finishers rode around 4260km. More precisely, the mean distance was 4280km; while 50% of riders rode more and 50% rode less than 4240km (i.e. the median). The difference is due to some extreme positive outliers like Mikko Mäkipää who did 4591km (not because of bad planning; quite the opposite, as many will know). 50% of riders lay within 4190km and 4340km (i.e. the blue box).

2. Penalty updates

If you really want to read up on some “inside TCR” penalty insights, I recommend to check out my already often mentioned previous post on the preliminary results. There you find a detailed description and discussion of all things penalties.

2.1 General penalty stats

On average, solo riders received 4,5 hours of penalties. That accounts for the fact that the wide-spread border-crossing penalty was reduced (see below). Among those riders that received a penalty, it was on average 5,0 hours.

Independent from the reduction of the border-penalty, for 33 riders (37%), some penalties were lifted. That means that 33 riders successfully appealed. That is 45% of riders who got a penalty, which seems to be in line with the “guilty until proven innocent” policy that I discussed in my previous post. It is not known to me how many of the remaining 55% handed in an appeal that was rejected, how many did not hand in any appeal at all, and how many of those in turn would have been successful with an appeal. I do know a few cases where mid-pack riders decided not to appeal because it didn’t matter to them, even though they were sure not to have committed the infringement.

Now after appeals the number of riders without any penalty rose to 12 (previously 6). That means 86% of solo riders received a penalty. So the updated diagram on how this number developed over the years is as follows:

2.2 Update MNE-border penalty

Most remarkably: The border crossing penalty was reduced from 9:35h to 5:30h (i.e. 4 hours). As a reminder: 60% of riders received that penalty, which is why this penalty matters quite a bit, and as you may have read in my previous post, the penalty was also quite controversial. This means that effectively the sanction was turned from a penalty into a mere rough compensation of the time riders saved with that border crossing. Coincidentally that is a suggestion I proposed in my post; but I strongly doubt I had any impact on the decision.

How many riders actually crossed here legally? I did not check for each rider who originally received the penalty, if they now got a reduction in penalty (beyond the 4h they got anyway), but: Originally 52 riders got the border-penalty. Now in the official results there are still 53 riders with a total penalty above 5,5 hours; one of them was added (Jesko, see above). Given that it is highly unlikely for many riders to get beyond 5 hours of penalty without the border penalty, I assume that no rider (or at most very very few) provided evidence that they actually crossed legally. So, probably almost every rider who crossed that border did it without the technically required stamped paper. In my view that supports my theory that 60% of riders had a different expectation as to what actions were totally ok as opposed to the race direction’s view.

LostDot statement about the decision: Along with the email regarding the official results, riders also received this explanation as to why that penalty was applied:

“The ideal means of using an unmanned border would be to find a means of using it legally, and document that as per the instructions in the Race Manual. […] If we had prohibited the border in question it would have prevented the kind of considered planning we want to encourage on the Race. If we had provided instructions on how to cross the border it would have prevented those with the foresight to plan correctly from having the edge on their competitors. If we had not penalised that border those who made the decision to use the legal entry due to failing to get legal permission would have been very unfairly penalised. For an adventure Race that requires compliance with the law (as all races do) I feel the decision was fair and measured.”

This explanation is in line with the pro-penalty arguments I myself laid out in my previous post. As I said there, too: it is a matter of judgement. In this case it was a pro-penalty judgement, but with a reduction of the penalty, which I think makes the penalty less controversial. (But if anyone cares: I’m still not 100% convinced for quite a lot of reasons.)

2.3 HS07 – Austrian highway

As described in my previous post: This penalty was given to 50% of riders. Based on the sample of tracker details that I checked (followmychallenge & some Strava records) I could not find anyone who actually took that illegal stretch of the Austrian B180 and would confidently say: Except for at most 1-2 riders, no one took that road, so the penalty was entirely unjustified. If I am wrong: please let me know! I have not heard anything about it from LostDot (race organization).

I had previously suspected this penalty would be lifted altogether, as it must have been given in error. But I have reason to believe that this penalty was only removed where riders appealed. This is a bit hard to prove as the final results do not split out separate penalties, and I do not know which riders appealed and which did not. But I know one rider who received this penalty in error ((s)he did not commit the infringement), did not appeal, and still had the same total penalty in the final result. That gives reason to suspect that many other of the still standing penalties regarding this road are unjustified. So the race direction did not acknowledge their (supposed) error – despite certainly receiving many valid appeals against this penalty, where they had to correct it. They handed out an erroneous penalty to 50% of the field and stayed with it where no appeal was made. Remarkable. And unclear to me what conclusions to draw from that about the processes behind penalties.

Again, in case anyone knows more… please let me know.

3. Concluding remarks…

Ok, the following section is purely subjective:

I think to any rider who participated, this race edition was again a very exciting experience, and to many certainly had the quality of a lifetime milestone. Finishing or even just starting TCR is a big deal. Riders gave all their heart and body to the challenges thrown at them. Went again through probably some of the highest highs and lowest lows of their lives, within just 2 or so weeks or even just hours. In that way the notorious Transcontinental Race contributed so much again to so many people’s lives. All that was definitely the case for me.

At the same time the race may also go through a transformation. Race direction is changing: There’s a new team taking over that includes one in my view very experienced and accomplished rider and a charismatic and invested race director. I am so curious to see where they take that race! And regardless of whether I will ride a TCR again or not, I am thankful for them to not only keep that amazing race running, but also develop it further.

Further development of the race will require approaching and listening to riders. In my view there is a lot of potential to make the event more about riders and their experiences again; my impression was that in many ways there was a lot of focus on many other stakeholders, incl. the organization itself. Maybe rider-input (incl. the rider now on board of the team, yaay!) will realign some of the race-policies with the reality of riders on the road, and with the decisions and sacrifices riders make with their best intentions for 1,5-2 weeks straight. I think an empathetic way of addressing riders has incredible potential to make the social/community experience even more magical to everyone and emphasise “trust” as the most important element to keep everything within the spirit. That may also involve a re-orientation of the roles and tasks of volunteers and dotwatchers. I might issue another post on those ideas, but not sure (also not sure if anyone needs it hah. If you’re interested, follow me here or on Instagram; I will not post it on Facebook). And obviously if you have ideas, comments or wish to a chat with me and/or other riders, get in touch! (no matter what stakeholder group you belong to)

My previous post definitely triggered some public discussion. I received a lot of messages, heard many stories, some but not all of which I then added to the previous post. At the same time I really don’t want to overstate it; the private discussions were certainly more heated and extensive than the public ones, and I believe that also has to do with who has what incentives to be involved. I’d encourage every rider to not be shy thinking and talking about what makes a great ultra-race – not only related to TCR. There is still SO much potential in this young and growing sports discipline.

I’m excited about following the next TCR. And all the other beautiful races that exist. Maybe I’ll meet you at some point (again) at a starting line! Cheers!

20.10.2022 – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – TCR No. 8 – Video, Zeitungsartikel & Insta-Reel (German)

[material in German only]

20. Oktober 2022
Die lokale aber auflagenstarke Zeitung Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger hat über mich und meine Teilnahme beim Transcontinental Race No. 8 veröffentlicht:

//www.instagram.com/embed.js
Erschienen am 19. Oktober 2022 im Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Autorin: Larissa Rehbock

05.10.2022 – Gravel-Podcast – TCR No. 8 – Vorläufige Ergebnisse & Penalties (German)

[material in German only]

5. Oktober 2022
Pascal vom Gravel-Podcast hat mich eingeladen um über die vorläufigen Ergebnisse und Penalties (Strafen) des Transcontinental Race 08 zu sprechen.
Klicke hier oder unten.

15.09.2022 – WDR Lokalzeit (live TV) – TCR No. 8 Interview & Clip (German)

[material in German only]

20. September 2022
Das Kölner Team der WDR Lokalzeit hat mich für eine Kurz-Reportage zu Hause besucht und für ein Live-Interview ins Nachrichtenstudio eingeladen um über mein Transcontinental Race No. 8 zu sprechen.
Klicke hier oder unten.

02.09.2022 – Gravel-Podcast & Video Interview – TCR No. 8 vorher & nachher (German)

[material in German only]

2. September 2022
Pascal vom Gravel-Podcast hat mich und meinen Fahrrad- und Vereinsfreund Thomas Krechel eingeladen um über unsere Teilnahme am Transcontinental Race No. 8 zu sprechen. Und zwar vorher & nachher.
Klicke hier oder unten für das YouTube video. Das ganze Gespräch wurde auch als Podcast episode (nur Audio) veröffentlicht.

Und hier das gleiche als Audio-Podcast:

01.09.2022 – Kölnische Rundschau – TCR No. 8 – Artikel NACH dem Rennen (German)

[material in German only]

1. September 2022
Die Kölnische Rundschau (Autor: Moritz A. Rohlinger) hat einen weiteren Zeitungsartikel über Thomas Krechel, Jens Horstmann mich und unsere Teilnahme beim Transcontinental Race No. 8 veröffentlicht. NACH dem Rennen. Wir sind alle drei Kölner; Thomas und ich sind auch im gleichen Fahrrad-Verein.

Es gab auch VOR dem Rennen bereits einen Artikel in der Rundschau (hier klicken).

Erschienen am 01. September 2022 in der Kölnischen Rundschau, Autor: Moritz A. Rohlinger

23.07.2022 – Kölnische Rundschau – TCR No. 8 – Artikel VOR dem Rennen (German)

[material in German only]

23. Juli 2022
Die Kölnische Rundschau (Autor: Moritz A. Rohlinger) hat einen Zeitungsartikel über Thomas Krechel, Jens Horstmann mich und unsere Teilnahme beim Transcontinental Race No. 8 veröffentlicht. Wir sind alle drei Kölner; Thomas und ich sind auch im gleichen Fahrrad-Verein.

Erschienen am 23. Juli 2022 in der Kölnischen Rundschau, Autor: Moritz A. Rohlinger