03 Transiberica – The very late post-race post

You are now at post 03 of my Transiberica series. If you want to check them out in order, voilà:
01 Transiberica Bike Race 2021 – Live Tracking (Cap33) & About the Race
02 Transiberica – Equipment & Packing List
03 Transiberica – The very late post-race post

Dear readers, and dear diary (after all, that’s what this blog is, too), I thought..: why not speed things up? I had published my Transcontinental Race 06 report 1,5 years after the race (it still found many readers and I got a lot of positive resonance about the format. Thank you!). So with this post coming ca. 3/4 of a year after my Transiberica 2021 finish I’m reducing the delay by half!

PODCAST: Before we start… to my German speaking readers: Last October (2021) I had been kindly invited by Pascal of the Gravel-Podcast who interviewed me about my Transiberica Race – it was great fun. In that episode you find a lot of information, anecdotes and also more general things, that you will not find in this blog post. So, if you’re interested you may want to have a listen. Viel Spaß!
“Gravel-Podcast – Die Transiberica ist immernoch in Spanien”

Now my actual blog post:
I will not bother you with a detailed daily report of my race. On 10 days and 3000km there are simply too many things happening to do them justice in a report that anyone would still want to read. With my interactive Transcontinantal-Race-map I had already found an alternative way to take you by the hand on my trip but still spare you hour-long reads. …and I have a similar goal this time, but by different means:

  • 03a) first: a few words on my most important takeaways
  • 03b) my Instagram-stories from during the race – because in this case both their form and their content are closely linked to my race experience. I will explain…
  • 03c) facts & figures, Strava tracks & short reports & pictures: some stats and a map that summarise my race, some photos, the daily Strava-captions and links to each stint on Strava where you find more information and also more pictures.

03a) My most important takeaways from Transiberica 2021

I think all “ultra” (whatever that means) endurance racers can relate: You proudly accomplish your first race, and then the idea is:

Let’s do this again, but better.

In my case the first race was the Transcontinental Race 06 in 2018, and “better” meant to me: largely reduce my suffering / increase my enjoyment and increase my daily mileage. In between I had the Three Peaks Bike Race 2019, which I finished, but did not really improve any of those factors due to an injury-induced lack of training before hand. But 2021 was my year to seriously tackle that “better racing” mission.

I had a few goals:

  • sleep better and more regularly
  • more efficient riding through less stopping time – make 300km/day
  • focus more on enjoyment, moments, landscapes, the social element. Do not “celebrate” suffering but instead avoid it as much as possible.

And to get right to it: I mostly succeeded!

Sleep better

I slept every night (more or less) either bivaking outside or in BnBs. I underestimated how cold it would get at night in the dry and elevated landscapes, so I certainly had a few miserable nights. But I took rests, and was mostly somewhat revived for the next day. Usually I rode on until at least midnight, and got up again a few hours later. BIG improvement over my Transcontinental Race performance where I often rode through the night and had very ineffective next days, with huge fluctuations in daily mileage and even sleep induced crashes (see my TCR blog post/map).

Sleeping spots outside ranged from bus stops to parking lots to football fields. Since large parts of the Spanish Peninsula is a plateau at a few 100 meters altitude and additionally very dry (sometimes deserts, cooling down quickly) or at rivers (i.e. cold & humid), it got incredibly chilly at night. With only my bivak, silk liner and sleeping mat I was clearly under-equipped and often declared my sleep over just because I wanted to cycle to warm up; i.e. bad conditions for sleeping, good conditions to get up early and make some mileage. Still… I had rest, slept or at least closed my eyes and that was enough to not be sleepy the next day. I guess my average bivak sleep was 4-5 hours. I slept 7 out of 10 nights outside.

Proper beds I found mostly through booking.com in affordable hotels. 3 out of 10 nights I spent in beds. Having a shower, charging devices, and having a literally clean and fresh start for the next 2-3 days. While sleeping in proper beds my average sleep was probably around 8 hours.

Only in two instances I was very close to falling asleep on the bike – that was in the two last nights: On day 8 I did a massive stint and in the end managed to catch up with some riders by doing some good old night riding. That day I had checked both Checkpoint 7 (Portugal) & 8 (back in Spain) that included two massive climbs. I was on top of CP 8 at midnight, full moon and Venus in the night sky – what a view and feeling, especially combined with the accomplishments of the day. At altitude I branched off from the road to take a hiking route through the wild mountain landscape into the very end of a long valley, because this would allow me to ride downhill almost entirely until CP 9 and saved me about 2000m of climbing. So I had already done 250km and 4700m of climbing that day, then that hike over rocks and dirt tracks and super challenging rubble descent into the last village of that valley, so was crazy exhausted. Weird feeling to arrive in that village – like an alien intruding human civilization and a random landing spot. Anyway: The valley went along some water stream, so it was very cold, humid and foggy – i.e. a kind of coldness that really gets in your bones. Since it would have been too cold for me to sleep anywhere I was forced to continue cycling until the villages got a bit bigger and the valley a little bit wider until I found a little square far enough from the water so the temperature at the sleeping spot would be a bit milder. That feeling of riding when you’re dead tired, after 8 straight days of cycling, the massive stint that day… your eyes just want to close. And they do, and all you can do is talk to yourself, shake your head, listen to loud music, scream sometimes just to get your adrenaline up again to keep you awake. Delirium – surreal. All that on pitch black, smoothly paved valley roads in the middle of nowhere, a slight decline pulling you forward; like on a monotonous highway.

The other instance where I got too close to falling asleep on the bike was the following and last night, after day 9. Again I had another massive day behind me with 320km and 2400m of climbing, including the super challenging Checkpoint 9 climb. The conditions were similar to the night before. I wanted to ride on for as long as I could so I’d have as little mileage left for the next and last day to the finish line. So I moved on, but got somewhat trapped in a similar situation: cycling along a valley with a river that made it too cold and humid to sleep. Again battled my eyes closing (failed a few times, but just about did not crash), stopped a few times to kind of pep-talk and collect myself, until I finally found a parking lot in a village that worked for me – see the 4th picture here. At least I had managed to reduce my remaining race distance for the last day to a comfortable 180km.

Some sleeping spots:

Ride more efficiently

I certainly reduced my stopping time. I tried not to give in to the continuous itch to stop for another cold drink or ice cream. Also: I kept a healthy pace, and as mentioned I slept more, so my daily mileage increased. Over all my average daily mileage was 297km, so I just about missed my 300km/day goal, but I didn’t mind. Close enough. Average daily elevation gain was 3177m.

Apart from being more rested thanks to (somewhat) regular sleep, another positive factor was eating. Don’t get me wrong: I still ate mostly crap which is the perfect thing to do: calories, carbohydrates, some protein, salt… the body doesn’t care where exactly those basic ingredients are coming from. What I did better was: i ate more frequently/continuously. Constantly taking a handful from my food pouches that I had placed between my aerobars: Haribo, M&M peanuts, Cliff-Bar (I brought many of those, love them), Chips. Even some fried pork skin that they sell in Spain and somehow appealed to me, hah. And of course occasional café stops, proper meals, sandwiches, many gas-station stops with the obligatory half liter Coke and icecream. That worked well. next time I should just eat a bit more.

Focus more on enjoyment, moments, people, places

Definitely worked! I was in great contact with other riders. Everyone in this scene seems to be kind – I realized that again. Additionally I tried to be as receptive and observant as possible for all things around me on my trip. Weird moments like where I found dozens of books spread all over the road, or the kind employee of the rural supermarket with who I communicated through gestures only, who handed me two cold pieces of watermelon on a 42°C day. The forest that had burnt down, was all black and still smelled like a camp fire… what a view and vibe. Being heavily chased by pair riders Richard & Sam Gate (father and son) on the last 180km, and arriving just 8min (in a 10-day-race!) ahead of them. And many more unforgettable moments and experiences that I will keep in my heart, but not write down here.

Needless to say I also had my moments of negativity. Especially around the middle of my race I was fatigued and didn’t make the progress I hoped; several riders who had been around me for days were getting more and more ahead of me, which was frustrating to see. Apologies to everyone who was exposed to my fluctuations in mood. I overcame this negativity not so much through a change in mindset, but “simply” through improving my performance: with some big efforts in the last 3rd of my race where I checked Checkpoint 7 & 8 in one day and did a good bit of night riding. Anyway…

I also tried to capture some of my encounters, situations and moods on social media, mainly Instagram stories. I had many followers – maybe also you – who watched them with interest, engagement and interaction. This was a very important experience to me, because it may have made me more attentive, selective in my attention, and more reflective; I looked out for things and situations that I would like to show, reflected them and myself. On a 15-hour cycling day there’s plenty of time to think about what story to tell with what image or words.

Which leads us to…

03b) My race through the lens of my Instagram-Stories

I think both form and content of my Instagram stories this year are well suited to make them this years main feature to let you participate in my racing experience.

The form, because – as mentioned – my goal was to focus on the positive, special and on enjoyment, to be more observant and reflective. That is exactly what Instagram stories are in form: a selective representation of moments. I also wanted to focus more on the social element, and as a social medium (even though some doubt it) these stories were a form of communication that brought me closer to you or anyone who was interested in me and my race and to many people that I was interested in, too. Such a race is an opportunity to experience many productive facets of loneliness: being with oneself, self-reliant and self-aware. This social interaction with loved ones and strangers and loved strangers managed to remove many of the unpleasant elements of loneliness while preserving the productive ones.

The content-level of these Instagram stories is for rather obvious reasons suited for taking you with me on my race: they depict things that I saw and experienced; often accompanied with some text, to give context. And on a somewhat “meta” level: the way I designed the stories – some humorous & ironic, some plan or even boring – they tell something not just about their subject but also about my state of mind and mood and take on things in the moment.

So, without further ado…
CLICK HERE to go straight to my Story-“Highlight” in Instagram, containting 100 stories. (requires Instagram account)

For anyone without an Instagram account, I created this compilation of all 100 stories in one video (ca. 15 Minutes). It’s the same content, but you miss some of the usability features that Instagram offers (like pausing or skipping stories)

03c) Facts, figures, pictures & Strava tracks…

Map of my race

And now… first a map of my race. Better click this link to open a larger and better to navigate version of the map. You also find a preview below.

The map shows:

  • Start & Finish (Bilbao)
  • the 9 checkpoints in between & compulsory parcours per checkpoint
  • my individual route (the way I rode it)
  • sleeping locations & types

Stats overall & per stint

Race start:
Sat. 14th of August 2021, 22:00h at night
Bilbao, Spain, Guggenheim Museum

My overall stats:
2897km, 30980m
– daily average: 297km and 3177m
9d17h54min – 9 days, 17 hours, 54 min
– arrived on 18th position (out of 59 solo-riders at the start)

This means: in terms of daily mileage I almost reached my 300km-goal, and improved my performance by ca 25km. In the field I arrived on a similar position as in previous races, namely about top third of finishers, and top half of starters. This means that the field was stronger in this race overall compared to Trancontinental Race No. 6 and Three Peaks Bike Race 2019.

day0/day1 – f***ing up and catching up


(Strava) 14.8.21, 22:00h Bilbao to 16.8.21, 00:13h Xerta
Total distance: 518km
Total elevation: 3017m
Elapsed time: 26:13h
Moving time: 19:27h
Stop time: 25%
Sleep afterwards: bivy on local football pitch
Further remarks:
– Two personal records: longest distance in one go (518km) and longest distance within 24 hours (475km)
– light didn’t work at the start, so I had to fix it right when the control car released us; just outside of Bilbao stopped at a gas station to find the issue; turned out an extension cable I had soldered was shoring the circuit (of course I had tested the light before. It had worked). I was behind the field from that moment an. Also: picked an “exotic” route that left me way behind, so I was last. But during the day I slowly caught up (caught the first midfield riders around noon of the first day); the next morning I was already in the middle of the field at CP1.
Strava caption:
Phew… what a ride.
I fell back behind the main field early because of a less efficient routing choice (see screenshot among pics. Nr 33). But looking at my stats (not current placement) I’m incredibly satisfied. I think it will be a matter of days to have caught up more, hopefully this was not a 1-day performance.
Was tough though, obviously. Especially the desert parts at 42 degrees or so.
Also have a new Personal 24h-record: 475km
Now gonna sleep properly and climb CP 1 in the early morning.
Found a water fountain, have some cookies… so nothing can go wrong ; )

day2 – getting my bones used to it


(Strava) 16.8.21 Xerta to Barbastro
Total distance: 227km
Total elevation: 2898m
Elapsed time: 15:31h
Moving time: 11:43h
Stop time: 24%
Sleep afterwards: Hotel in Barbastro
Further remarks:
– Checkpoint (CP) 1 climed in the morning: 1400m up, with a view on the Mediterranean Sea
Strava caption:
Obviously shorter than yesterday. Was of course still exhausted from the long one, and had a cold few hours of sleep in the wind (was too lazy to get the bivy out), and also: this ride was opposite to the previous one:
– begann with a crazy long and quite steep climb in the morning (1400m), continued with several tedious climbs in the heat of noon
– route had a continuous incline
– headwind
only the torturous heat in the afternoon was equal.
Also, I feel my Achilles and knees (no problem, will go away. Always happens after the first big climb), so better not overdo it.
Wanted to have a shower and bed after 2 nights on the road, and charge my power bank, so got a cheap hotel room kind of on the route. Will get up early to do the last bit to CP2 and the respective Parcours, so I‘ll climb before the sun hits.
Greetings from Barbastro, Good night!

day3 – feeling well. climbing/descending took a lot of time. And: classic Nachtattacke : )


(Strava) 17.8.21 Barbastro to Cáseda
Total distance: 255km
Total elevation: 3800m
Elapsed time: 17:55h
Moving time: 12:58h
Stop time: 28%
Sleep afterwards: bivy behind some parked cars in a village shortly before the Bardenas desert
Further remarks:
– climbed CP2, descended westward on a gravel route. Rode until late into the night
Strava caption:
Overslept in the morning (original plan: 5am), but also needed it. My legs felt fine: as predicted: Achilles issues gone, knee issues almost.
The route towards the beginning of the Parcours was stunning! In and along a canyon. The Parcours climb to CP2 was doable: long, but reliably between 7-10%, however with my road tires had to sit all the way (otherwise no traction). The descent was hell. I opted to continue the path down to Torla; instead of backtracking. Heavy gravel, so: 1,5 hours of full tension, keeping the brakes tight, full focus to not hit the rocks wrong, at ca 10-15 kph.
From there on quite straight forward. One climb, then long countryroads, slightly descending but also headwind. Felt very fresh until late at night. My playlist (made by my friends) helped a lot! 💪
Now in my bivy in Cáseda. Until the end I was still in shape to move on
Good night!

Transiberica day4 – productive day 💪


(Strava) 18.8.21 Cáseda to Albarracin
Total distance: 319km
Total elevation: 2055m
Elapsed time: 15:36h
Moving time: 13:16h
Stop time: 15%
Sleep afterwards: hostel in Albarracin
Strava caption:
Slept 3 hours in my bivy. Then moved on; at first super tired and feared falling asleep on the 40k way to CP3 parcours … during the Parcours slowly woke up. After the Parcours the north wind picked up to help me push south. Had a very strong, continuous ride with not much stopping. Later the wind turned around so I really had to fight. Found a room in Albarracib by phone and then started a race against the thunderstorm. I womit by 10 minutes. 💪
My Achilles pain is gone. My knees hurt, but will probably be better tomorrow. Worried ore about my feet… they hurt a Lot towards the last 3rd of the ride.
Greetings from Albarracin!!

day5 – headwind and literal ups and downs


(Strava) 19.8.21 Albarracin to Riaza
Total distance: 288km
Total elevation: 3430m
Elapsed time: 16:21h
Moving time: 13:27h
Stop time: 17%
Sleep afterwards: bivy on lawn next to gas station on CP5 parcours
Strava caption:
By the way: I post frequent updates on Instagram as Malte Cyclingtourist.
Started at CP4 (Albarracín). At 22h arrived at the start of the CP5-Parcours and decided to still do the first climb of it.
First two thirds of the whole ride had headwind. And the elevation meters came through a constant up and down. Pretty tedious over all.
First third I was quite slow and had too many stops. Then changed my attitude and riding a bit, which worked.
Damn.. so tired, I’m falling asleep while typing this. Good night.

day6 – no flow


(Strava) 20.8.21 Riaza to Zapardiel de la Canada
Total distance: 280km
Total elevation: 3138m
Elapsed time: 18:46h
Moving time: 13:26h
Stop time: 28%
Sleep afterwards: bivy in rural bus stop
Strava caption:
Original idea was to get up and really push through to a 300+ ride. But was exhausted, stopped a lot, rode slowly. Hot, boring landscape (except Parcours), constant up and down… not motivating. Pushed on until late at night when I noticed I‘d fall asleep soon. Stopped in a village, slept in a bus shelter. Tmrw will be better.

day7 – Slow day, a lot of climbing. but then racing to the hotel


(Strava) 21.8.21 Zapardiel de la Canada to Fermoselle
Total distance: 248km
Total elevation: 3306m
Elapsed time: 16:16h
Moving time: 11:34h
Stop time: 29%
Sleep afterwards: hotel in Fermoselle
Strava caption:
The numbers don’t look impressive compared to other days, but: I’m super glad it turned out that way. At my arrival at CP6, 18:30h I had only 135k on the clock and was a bit frustrated about it. Since I wanted a hotel for the night I was so restricted in choices that it might have been a 170k-day. I found one last room at a distance I originally thought was too far. I raced there with (by my standards) super high pace (35kph most of the 75k Ride to the hotel) to be in time to get the keys. Made it 23:55 – 5min before homelessness.
So: yay, a hotel, and a day distance + elevation that’s really ok.
Even ended up having 3 Colas on a street festival that was going on when I arrived..
Good night!!

day8 – incl. CP7 & CP8 – up up up


(Strava) 22.8.21 Fermoselle to Lagunas de Somoza
Total distance: 261km
Total elevation: 4707m
Elapsed time: 18:38h
Moving time: 14:12h
Stop time: 24%
Sleep afterwards: bivy on side wall of little square
Further remarks:
– on that day I cycled into Portugal to CP7. The terrain was tough; hopping from from one river valley to the next. Portugal was like the “Hungary of Western Europe”
– moved on and did two more huge climbs, incl. CP8 where I ended on top exactly at midnight with Moon and Venus high in the sky. What a view.
– Then moved on and took a little gravel/rumble path off the road to skip over into the last end of a tiny valley. This move was risky as I had no idea if I’d successfully pass that wild stretch; but it ultimately saved me ca. 2000m of climbing, and the the next day I would mostly ride smoothly downhill or flat towards CP9
Strava caption:
Probably the most I ever climbed in one stint.
More text will follow later.

DAY9 long, hot & flat, then torturous CP9 climb in icy fog


(Strava 9a & Strava 9b) 23.8.21 Lagunas de Somoza to Siejo
Total distance: 321km
Total elevation: 2490m
Elapsed time: 18:28h
Moving time: 13:41h
Stop time: 26%
Sleep afterwards: bivy on a parking lot next to a river; cold valley
Further remarks:
– rode down the looong valley, country roads past León, ultimately to the edge of Picos de Europa
– downhill, and then up the challenging climb of CP9 where it was incredibly cold, rainy and foggy
– back down, and then as long as I could along the valleys eastward. at some points couldn’t keep myslef from sleeping but had a hard time finding a suitable sleeping spot because the river valley was so cold. ultimately found a parking lot and took shelter behind some container
Strava caption:

day10 to the finish line. Arrival: 14:54h


(Strava) 24.8.21 Siejo to Bilbao (Finish)
Total distance: 180km
Total elevation: 2123m
Elapsed time: 9:33h
Moving time: 7:46h
Stop time: 18%
Sleep afterwards: bivy on a parking lot next to a river; cold valley
Further remarks:
– after a few hours of sleep in that cold valley moved on. Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, finding some café
– overall took it rather easy and still had an efficient ride that day
– at some point by checking the live-GPS-tracks it dawned on: Richard & Sam Gate (father & son riding as a pair) who I had bumped into on the CP9 climb, were chasing me relentlessly. So for the last 70km over the hilly coastal roads with many tiring ascends, I really pushed it. After getting lost a bit in Bilbao I still arrived 8min before them! 8min! in relation to a 10-day ride. That was a close one.
Strava caption:
Yaay, finished! 🎉
For now:
– finished in 9d17h54m (=9,75d)
– as the 18th (of 59) rider
– total: 2897km and 30980m
(that‘s on average 297km/3177m per day)
I‘m incredibly happy with the result… not just because of the stats. But also because my riding style matured a lot, I managed to do it with more joy/less suffering and managed to also enjoy little things in between and: be connected with many of you! THANK YOU SO MUCH. Really, this kind of interaction matters a LOT in these otherwise lonely and very challenging days. Every support-emoji and comment counted and put a smile on my face.

To anyone who got this far..: Thank you! You’re a real ultra-cycling fancier. I appreciate your attention. And here’s a little heads up to you exclusive bunch: My next big thing will be the Transcontinental Race No. 8 in 2022. Start is on 24th of July in 2022, if you like, follow me on Instagram for regular (also smaller) updates. If you have any comments or questions, use the comment function here, or contact me via the contact form or via Instagram. Byeee!

02 Transiberica – Equipment & Packing List

You are at post 02 about my Transiberica Race in 2021. If you first want to know what it is all about, check my post 01, and if you want to know how it all turned out, you can check post 03:
01 Transiberica Bike Race 2021 – Live Tracking (Cap33) & About the Race
02 Transiberica – Equipment & Packing List
03 Transiberica – The very late post-race post

Yeeees, I know, kiddies… you want to know all about the gear and what kind of things I’ll bring on the Transiberica Bike Race. So here we go… First I’ll give you a quick text summary. Then point out a few items that I (ex)changed or added to my setup; further down you find a complete packing list. Plus some pics on the way…

This Year’s Bike and Setup

Of course: My Rose Pro DX Cross from 2015, but I just call her lovingly „Rose“ <3. Rose runs on Sram Force22 (disc) and has an alloy frame and carbon fork. Her custom compiled gearing of 46/33 (front) and 12-36 (rear) will hopefully get me up allll the climbs while still allowing me to pick just the right cadence/force at any point (no large gear jumps). For comfort, Rose is equipped with Continental GP5000 tubeless tires in 32mm, a Redshift ShockStop suspension stemProfile Design T4 aero bars, a Specialized Power saddle and gel pads under the bar tape. I decorated Rose with tons of reflective tape, but my favourite accessories are still: a little rear mirror and my beloved bell that is modestly hidden under Rose’s elbow pads. Sometimes it goes off accidentally and then it’s as if Rose and I were having a vivid conversation; yes, that’s how lonely it can get on the road sometimes.

Rose Pro DX Cross

– bike only: 10,8kg (without bags and rack, but including all adjustments like aero bars, dynamo, light/electronics, pedals etc…)
– bike with empty bags: 12,4kg (incl. Tailfin rack)
bike with luggage: 16,5kg (excl. food & water)

And some more kit…

This season’s kit colours are turquoise/orange for the summery Miamy look that I think will fit the Spanish heat. Additionally, I’ll bring a light pink merino Buff for that extra bit of quirky but homey living room flair and for its versatility (remove sweat from my eyes & warm my ears at night).

Morvelo summer jersey, LaPassione Duo Gloves Orange, Suomy Gun Wind helmet

My bedroom consists of a bivy, light mat & silk liner + boxers & shirt dedicated to clean sleeping. My Wahoo Elemnt (+ phone backup) in combination with a SON dynamo hub and Edelux II light will show me the way while an Igaro D2 USB-charger and a 13000mAh powerbank will make sure I never run out of juice. A carefully curated bike-mech/spare-parts compartment (incl. rear derailleur hanger & spokes) and babywipes/chamois cream/ointment will rule out most show-stopping technological or biological malfunctions.

The bags are arranged to reduce the frontal area (aero) and optimize accessibility: 2 food pouches in-line between the aerobars, a fuel tank and phone sleeve behind them, small frame triangle to still make 2x 1L bottles fit, and my newest acquisition: a Tailfin rack & trunkbag.

very small frontal area

What’s new? (gear-wise)

If you’re interested in my gear (well… you’re here), you can also check my post on my Transcontinental Race preparation in 2018 where I go through the reasoning regarding many of my gear choices. Here’s some more…

Tailfin luggage system

Like so many riders recently, I exchanged my standard-style seatpack (great working Specialized Burra, 10L) for a Tailfin setup (alloy, quick release trunk bag).

The advantages:
a) even more rigid construction than the Specialized Burra
b) much easier access (namely from top) and handling (quick release)
c) larger volume
d) slightly lower center of mass

This allows me to store all luggage incl. sleeping gear in the back and therefore do without a drybag strapped under my aero-bars = less weight on the handle bars.

Tailfin Alloy trunkbag & rack http://www.tailfin.cc

Position of food pouches

Now with the aerobars free, I moved my 2 food-pouches (Revelate Designs) in-line between the aerobars. Previously they were mounted left and right behind the handle bar under the elbow pads.

The advantages now:
a) easier access
b) a smaller frontal area (more aerodynamic; yes, it does matter)
c) simply a much tidier cockpit (matter of aesthetics)

Cockpit with two Revelate Designs Feed Bags between the aero bars

SPD shoes/pedals:

I switched from SPD-sl (road system) to SPD (MTB system). This was because I needed new shoes anyway (got numb toes in my otherwise excellent Shimano S-Phyre) and to be more flexible and worry less about my shoes in case I have to walk small gravel/rubble sections. At the same time it also makes the shoes more practical in any situation off the bike.

Even though they are the most expensive option, I opted for Shimano XTR pedals because the have the lowest stack height and I hope it will get closest to the feel of a road-system. Even if the effect is rather psychological than mechanical: I wouldn’t want to put pressure on the pedal and have the feeling my foot wants to rotate around the pedal axis because it is (or feels) too high above it.

For shoes I got the Shimano XC7 as I really liked my previous Shimano shoes (S-Phyre), and they have a “wide” (larger volume) version. They are very stiff (didn’t want to risk feeling the smaller contact surface of SPD) and have a moderate bottom profile and are overall rather clean looking and “racey”. To allow for better air ventilation in the hot Spanish summer, I added some larger holes with a pair of hole punch pliers (Danke, Rainer Zeller für Idee und Zange!); the result looks good, but I didn’t test it; fingers crossed.

Shimano XC7 shoes

USB dynamo charger igaro d2

After a lot of disappointment with the Plug5 Plus by Cinq (very cumbersome installation and failed immediately in the rain) I needed a new device. After consultation of other riders in the scene, I opted for the UK-made Igaro D2. Admittedly there were some issues with the batch of units at first; but Igaro customer support is phenomenal, and ultimately they managed to sort everything out and now I have a well working device.

I mounted it on top of my Redshift Rockstop stem. I made sure to let the cables enter/exit without making the sockets vulnerable to the elements and fixed everything with cable ties. Now I have a USB outlet going straight into my fuel tank bag; perfect.

Igaro D2 USB charger for charging devices from the dynamo.

Lighting: son edelux ii

I had made this adjustment already 1,5 years back, right after my Busch&Müller IQ-X lamp failed again in the rain on my Three Peaks Bike Race 2019. The IQ-X’s beam is absolutely perfect and incredibly powerful. But its housing and general build is disappointingly flimsy. So instead I went for the crème de la crème: SON Edelux II (and rear-light), i.e. the same manufacturer as my high-end SON dynamo hub. The beam is fantastic (just not as great as IQ-X), but especially: it’s super robust and water tight. Additionally I installed everything with sturdy SON coax cables and properly soldered in some plugs. To allow myself to fix the rearlight to the Tailfin rack, I added an extension cable at the back and also built simple fixtures to attach the rearlight to either the tailfin or the frame directly. In the whole coax cable routing I also included a little split-box to neatly plug in the power-chord for the Igaro D2 USB charger. I’m incredibly satisfied with this lighting setup.

SON Edelux II connected to SON dynamo hub

Cockpit bags: Fuel Tank & phone sleeve

I really liked my Blackburn Fueltank bag; but after so many years and heavy use, the zipper failed. Decided to go for something slightly more compact, and with the zipper positioned in a way that I guess makes it less prone to failure: The Revelate Designs ‘Gas Tank’. Really like it; it’s very stable on the top tube, and access is perfect.

Additionally I got a separate Tatonka phone pouch that I velcro-tied to the side of the stem. Admittedly it doesn’t look great, but it’s super functional, aero, and good use of that space in the cockpit. Now I can more easily access the phone for quick photos etc.

Revelate Designs Gas Tank & Tatonka phone sleeve

smaller chainring: 33T

Changed the smaller chainring from 34 to 33 teeth (by TA Specialties), i.e. even slightly lighter gearing than I had already. So my geating is: 46/33 in the front and 12-36 in the back (custom cassette). Probably that 3% difference will not be so significant. But it’s the smallest I can go on my crank, and the surprising side effect: shifting is much smoother now. My 46T chainring (Sram) is designed to work best together with 36. My former 34 chainring consequently didn’t shift so smoothly. But the combination with that 33 ring does a perfect job for some reason.

Redshift suspension Stem

I now ride a Redshift suspension stem: it’s essentially a stem that has some rubber inserts that allow for a slight suspension. It is hardly noticeable, which is great because: originally I feared it might feel too soft/uncontrolled, but that’s not an issue at all. Essentially I simply notice that I’m willing to stay in the aero bars on even slightly bumpy road surfaces. So: overall it’s less tiring on hands and arms, without any compromises on a solid steering feel.

Wheels: DTSwiss custom build

Nothing fancy, but works very well: I got these wheels built already 1 year ago. Simply because the rims of my old set were done. They were built by Reinald of Komponentix in Berlin; had to be custom built because I wanted my SON dynamo in stable rims. Overall really sturdy wheels and very affordable (620€ excl. SON hub). Removed all labels, and they look fantastic.

The components are:
– rims: DT Swiss RR521 db. Aluminium, deeper section, affordable
– front hub: SON dynamo (had this one already)
– rear hub: DT Swiss 350 Road db CL. It’s heavenly quiet ❤

Hiplok Security Tie (“lock”)

Previously I used an Otto Lock.Now I felt it is too bulky in comparison with how much it protects the bike (namely: hardly). Instead I got a Hiplok Z Lok Combo, as it gives equally little protection, but packs smaller.

Packing List


  • ID card
  • hardcopies of documents (incl. Corona stuff)
  • health insurance card
  • contact details
  • pay cards
  • some cash


  • iPhone SE
  • Wahoo Elemnt (updated & with routes)
  • headphones Sennheiser bluetooth
  • USB charging cables: 2 micro, 1 C
  • Anker USB charger (4 ports)
  • Anker power bank 1300mAh
  • iPhone cables, 1 short & 1 long

Bike maintenance

  • mini leatherman (no name)
  • multi tool (Lezyne)
  • air pump (Lezyne, with digital pressure gauge)
  • extensive puncture set (incl. tubeless plugs etc.)
  • 2 tire levers
  • piece of old tire
  • cable ties (many!!)
  • shoe lave & thin thread
  • Sram chain link
  • rear derailleur hanger
  • gear inner cable
  • chain lube (Squirt dry lube)
  • replacement spokes & nipples
  • 2 pairs of brake pads
  • schrader valve adapter (to use gas station pumps)

(Spare) clothes

  • Buff merino multipurpose head scarf
  • spare socks (Assos summer socks)
  • spare bib-short (Rapha basic)
  • spare base layer (LaPassione summer)
  • merino arm warmers (Mavic)
  • white UV protection arm sleeves 50+ (Castelli)
  • down vest (Endura)
  • rain jacket (Endura)
  • high visibility vest
  • boxershorts (for sleeping)
  • T-shirt (for sleeping)


  • toothbrush (cut off, obviously ; ) ), toothpaste, shampoo
  • Ibuprofen
  • wound healing cream (Bepanthene)
  • baby wipes
  • tissues
  • chewing gums
  • chamois cream
  • sunscreen 50+ (for babies, like me)
  • micro fibre cloth (for glasses)

Sleeping gear

  • silk liner
  • sleeping mat (Thermarest ultralight)
  • bivy bag (MSR AC bivy)


  • 2x 1L-bottles
  • Hiplok (small cable tie lock, number lock)
  • spork
  • mini backpack (Decathlon)
  • light plastic bag (to separate clothes, sleeping gear etc.)


  • helmet (Suomy Gun Wind)
  • Glasses: Adidas Proshift with photochromic prescription lenses
  • short gloves (LaPassione Duo Gloves; light padding)
  • bib-short (Rapha basic)
  • short jersey (Morvelo summer)
  • base layer (LaPassione summer)

01 Transiberica Bike Race 2021 – Live Tracking (Cap33) & About the Race

You are at post 01 introducing you to my Transiberica Race in 2021. There are two more posts about the preparation and gear (02), and about how it all turned out (03):
01 Transiberica Bike Race 2021 – Live Tracking (Cap33) & About the Race
02 Transiberica – Equipment & Packing List
03 Transiberica – The very late post-race post

Yaaay, something new is coming up! After The Transcontinental Race got postponed one more time to 2022, I managed to get a late placement in the Transiberica Bike Race. Start is on Sat. 14th of August 21.:00h in Bilbao, Spain, and of course it’s with live tracking and followed on social media.

Transiberica facts & figures:

Transiberica is a (attention please…) self-supported free-route roundtrip ‘ultra’-endurance single-stage bike-packing time-trial in the spirit of Mike Hall†. That means…

  • Start & Finish: Bilbao, Spain
  • Start time: Saturday, 14th of August 2021, 21:00h
  • 9 Checkpoints (CPs) all over northern Spain to be approached in ascending order. Starting in Bilbao the course goes clock-wise.
  • free route choice, except for compulsory parcours at 5 of the CPs
  • ca. 2.900km and 38.000m cumulative climbing
  • self-supported, i.e. carry your own luggage, no outside assistance, no supply pre-arranged
  • single-stage, i.e. the clock never stops; there are no fixed stages or stops, neither for sleeping
  • 65 participants (6 riding as pairs), all genders competing in the same category
  • more detailed rules: see here

>>Here’s a link to a map to check the CPs in detail.<<

How to follow the event and me (realtime)…

Despite the geographical spread of events, endurance bicycle racing is a spectator sport. Each rider has their own GPS-tracker:

Additionally it is vividly accompanied on social-media

I’m always happy to hear from you. Encouraging messages, cheering, etc. are highly motivating (also to the other riders!). I may not always be able to reply immediately, but be sure I read messages and mentions with great pleasure!