Are you looking for one of the ultimate cycling and life challenges - whether you are a cyclist or not?
The RACE (Race across Europe) is a once-in-a-lifetime cycling event featuring the very best of riding in Europe for supported and semi-supported teams and unsupported solos and pairs. This event requires exceptional teamwork, stamina, energy, strategy and humour to succeed. Don’t let ‘race’ put you off though. If you cycle in a supported team this challenge is achievable by most people. Those who finish can proudly say that they competed in, and completed, what we think is one of the hardest cycling events on earth. It is not just about the cyclists either, this event allows even those with no interest in cycling to take part through acting as support crew to the cyclists, driving vehicles, navigating, cooking and boosting morale etc. The support crew are critical to the success of the cyclists and in many ways have the harder challenge and gain just as much by way of a major life achievement as anyone on a bike. It is truly a team event for everyone!
Riders enter solo or in teams of 2, 4, 6 or 8 with a full support crew in follow vehicles and camper vans. You can either organise your own support crew or delegate this to Greenrock. Cyclists and their crews set off from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Gibraltar along the route set by Greenrock, carrying a satellite tracking device which transmits the rider’s position every 5 minutes. Cyclists will need to ride day and night to reach Tarifa within the time limit.
This category is for those who don’t have the time to find big support crews and who plan to cycle solo or in a pair. This new category allows cyclists to enter with 1 vehicle as support and as few as 1 support crew member. The vehicle and the support crew member’s job is to scout ahead arranging rest and feed stops and generally keeping an eye on the cyclist, ensuring they are safe, heading the right way, well fed and watered and rested.
Solo & pairs unsupported cyclists will have to follow the established route and a specific set of rules has been designed for their challenge.
It all started when...
It dawned on Joe and Laura (two of the directors from Greenrock and husband and wife team) while they were designing another ride in France in 2010 that there wasn't a trans-European ultra ride which picks up on Europe's amazing scenery and diversity at that time. Having designed, managed and led long distance international bike rides for over 25 years it was to good a challenge to miss and after some initial research they set off to look at the route from London to Istanbul later that year. The recce turned out to be an eventful affair, in part because it was the winter!
During the 6,800 miles they drove to establish a route that satisfied their high standards for the cyclists and follow vehicles on this type of event, they realised after crossing into Bosnia that the route they had planned was not suitable in their eyes for this type of challenge. Road conditions became worse, the chances of being 'asked' for extra payments by the police etc with highly branded vehicles became more likely, visa requirements and border crossings became more complicated and in short these different elements made the chances of sleep deprived cyclists and crew finishing the event less safe and less likely. Having picked themselves up from the initial disappointment they took a fresh look at the maps and thought - well if you can't cycle across Europe to Asia, how about Africa?
The maps confirmed that it looked doable and they decided to keep the Slovenian kink in the route as it traveled along the same roads that the very successful Slovenian ultra cyclist the late Jure Robic used to train on.
Apart from forcing their way across various snowed up cols with some fresh winter tyres, the rest of the route fell into place with plenty more back tracking, detailed work and mapping, before ending up at mainland Spain's most southerly point, the kite surfing capital of Europe - Tarifa, with its extraordinary views (and short fast ferry crossing) across the sea to North Africa and Morocco.
And The Race across Europe was born with the first event being held in 2013.