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Transcontinental Race: Finishing in a heatwave called Lucifer

Words by Simone Giuliani | Photography by Lian van Leeuwen and James Robertson

  • Marc

    Sad to see how much attention Cycling Tips keeps giving to selfish idiots.

    • Marcus

      Sad to see you’re still here whinging

    • Wily_Quixote

      By allowing comments….

    • velocite

      Well, a point of view, but one I just don’t get. I’ll never do it myself, but I’m in awe a little of those who do.

    • Michele
      • Marc

        Can you please explain? I still don’t care who wins events like this, and I’m still not following those events. At the same time I still disagree with giving such events a platform. People who suffer from fading vision, hallucinations and/or severe impaired decision making capabilities shouldn’t be on the road. They’re a danger to themselves and others.I won’t go and have that discussion again, I just think it is wrong to promote events like this.

        • zosim

          who, other than themselves, are they a danger to?

          • Marc

            Other road users as these events are held on public roads. If for example you fall asleep while riding, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be affecting other road users.

            • Sean

              Thats a good point. Falling asleep and veering into traffic is going to affect the driver quite seriously. I would hate to kill someone while driving, regardless of who is a fault.

            • zosim

              Could you perhaps tell us an incident in an ultra-endurance event where it’s known someone fell asleep and was killed as a consequence? As far as I know of the three deaths this year one is a clear case of a hit and run (Frank Simons at the start of TCR) and the other two are as yet unknown but it seems not incredibly likely that either rider fell asleep. Thus far your point remains at best unproven or at worst completely wrong. The vast majority of injuries and deaths on this sort of event on the road appear to be because of drivers. Actually, the vast majority of injuries and deaths to cyclists on the road, full stop, are because of drivers.

            • zosim

              Anyway, you’re entitled to your opinion no matter how much I disagree with it. I don’t think you need to tell us on every article though. On the subject of safety I do think the riders choosing their own routes between checkpoints (with some roads banned) in the manner of the TCR is better than a proscribed route. It helps the social media, video, rescue etc but I can’t help but feel (having seen the difference in routes in TCR) that it removes the ability of riders to choose THEIR best route and the one they want to ride on. Even coming through Luxembourg some riders chose cycle paths, others stuck to main roads, others entered the city, others missed it out. Time-wise I’d bet it was much of a muchness but it meant people could choose whether they wanted to deal with traffic to a lesser or greater extent.

            • Wily_Quixote

              How often has fatigue caused accidents in these races that have gone on to cause an adverse effect on another road user?

              My point being, where is your evidence?

              Most cyclist deaths are (statistically) the fault of drivers, not cyclists, so it is curious that you would blame the victim in this circumstance but not others.

              Moreover, how often are training cyclists affected by fatigue, how often are learner cyclists guilty of errors in cycling that could forseeably lead to adverse effects on drivers, should these cyclists fall under someones wheels? Are they ‘idiotic and selfish’ too?

              Should we all stop cycling in case we make an error that could lead to a driver’s broken feelings?

              It’s great that you have an opinion that cyclists are selfish because their behaviour affects other road users but unless you can demonstrate that deaths in these events are a result of cyclist error, and that this error is caused by fatigue, (and that these deaths are greater than the statistics of other sports cyclists on public roads) I have to come to the conclusion that (with all due respect) you are talking out your ass.

              • Marc

                That are a lot of straw man’s you and zosim have put in your posts. I’m not gonna address all of them. But I can tell you that I am an avid cyclist myself, I don’t think all cyclists are selfish, I’ve never said that the three recent endurance event deaths were due to rider fatigue (though they might), there’s a huge difference between fatigue on your daily ride and the complete exhaustion a lot of the participants in these events ride themselves into, behaving irresponsible is never acceptable and we shouldn’t wait for accidents to happen before naming irresponsible behavior for what it is, and finally, when we share public roads we all should behave responsibly, drivers AND cyclists. Riding with fading vision, hallucinations, severe impaired decision making (sleep deprivation is worse than being intoxicated), and falling asleep while riding is very irresponsible behavior.

                • Wily_Quixote

                  you have provided no evidence to for your assertions.

                  If endurance cyclists are ‘selfish and idiotic’ where is your evidence?

                  There is no evidence that endurance races are any more dangerous than any other form of cycling. If the riders are fatigued in they way that you describe it doesn’t seem to result in more accidents than non fatigued riders, or, if it does, you haven’t established it.

                  All we have are your claims of irresponsibility. How can you be sure that endurance riding is anymore dangerous than other forms of riding. And, if other forms of riding also can result in rider error that can harm others, so why don’t you object to all riding?

                  It is pure conjecture and using unfounded assertions to label cyclists as irresponsible and idiotic is, well, irresponsible and idiotic.

                  • Marc

                    I think it’s irresponsible to be riding on public roads with fading or blurring vision, hallucinations, severe impaired decision making due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion, or when falling asleep while riding. To me this is irresponsible and dangerous behavior, way more dangerous than a daily commute or just a training ride.

                    Btw all the symptoms I’ve mentioned are based on statements from participants in ultra endurance cycling events. You can find them in articles here on Cycling Tips and in the comment sections underneath them. There are a few comment sections in which participants share their experiences in those events.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      So, thats a no then. No evidence at all that endurance cyclists put others in danger.

                    • Matt

                      Sorry, ‘Wily_Quixote’, but your comment above cannot be the conclusion of this conversation.

                      Would you challenge this statement: It’s irresponsible to be driving a car on public roads with fading or blurring vision, hallucinations, severe impaired decision making due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion, or when falling asleep while driving a car.

                      True, a car weighing a tonne is likely to do more damage than a bicycle. But if a cyclist suffering from any of the above symptoms were to lose control of their bicycle, they could, potentially, swerve into the path of traffic and, potentially, cause an accident. They’re mainly putting themselves at risk, sure, but you cannot deny there is a risk posed to other road users.

                      Fact (not requiring evidence – just ask the Police): Any road user suffering from fading or blurring vision, hallucinations, severe impaired decision making due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion is putting themselves and, potentially, other road users at risk.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      Its not what cyclists could do, its what they do.

                      Endurance riders, despite your conjecture, arent proven to be causing acvidents at a rate any greater than non endurance cyclists.

                      So this ‘potential’ isnt being realised.
                      Get it?

                    • Matt

                      Conjecture? Not a drop in my comment, and I was extremely careful to avoid it. I also don’t remember mentioning endurance cyclists.

                    • Wily_Quixote

                      Oh, a troll then. That makes sense.
                      Squat in your own mire, festering.

                    • Matt

                      I was simply making a point – a valid point, in my opinion – then defending my point. And I did so calmly, on both occasions.

                      Please don’t speak to people on forums the way you’ve just spoken to me. It’s totally uncalled for.

                      It’s also offensive and mildly aggressive.

                      We may be sat behind computer devices a hundred/thousand miles away from each other, but that doesn’t give you the right to speak to me, or anyone else, like that.

              • Marc

                One other thing, I applaud Cycling Tips for allowing comments that express opposing views. Without discussion and hearing different sides of an argument, progress is next to impossible.

                • Greg Moore

                  TCRNo5 rider 139 here. Marc has little concept of the race so please feel free not to feed the trolls.

                  • Yetiman

                    Massive Kudos for you Greg, would you do it again?

                  • Steve S

                    Respect mate, looks amazing.

              • campirecord

                I get your point but fatigue is a culprit of accident, flying planes, driving, cars, being an air controller, administrating drugs as a nurse, managing a crane, bombing ISIS from planes. I don’t care what point you are trying to make here but .I will make a basic one. When you are fatigued, dare I say extremely fatigued, you do not control everything. This has nothing to do with cycling at all. Its called common sense. I am not against this race but please make sense. Simone Johnson and Dominic Irvine talk about sleep deprivation incident at a certain extend in their book. Its really for you to prove that sleep deprivation would not cause any issue. That is what is called common sense. Your argumentative is purely by design.

                • Wily_Quixote

                  Not at all. I never made the claim that fatigue when cycling is either ‘irresponsible’ nor ‘idiotic’. So what do I have to prove, if I have made no claims?
                  The claim that must be proven is how can it be that fatigued cyclists are ‘irresponsible and idiotic’ when it hasn’t been shown to result in accidents that affect other road users?
                  Your hyperbolic reference to a ISIS is just hysterical. Moreover, there is no such thing as ‘common sense’ – it doesn’t exist.

                  It’s common sense to many that the last death in endurance cycling was the fault of endurance cycling. But the statistics are that if you have a few hundred riders doing 4000 kms, every few years someone will be struck and killed by a car – we know this because of the background risk of cycling in Belgium. Cycling on public roads always entails risk and the risk of endurance racing, or cycling whilst fatigued, has to be greater than the background risk of cycling for your assertions of ‘common sense’ risk to be correct.

                  But, even if the risk of death in endurance racing was higher than normal, because of any factor, how is it irresponsible or idiotic? People are at liberty to take risks. I take a known risk whenever I cycle, as do you. If the risk of endurance cycling may be higher than normal, so what? Are you complaining on mountaineering forums about irresponsible and idiotic mountaineers, or on military forums about irresponsible and idiotic soldiers? Both consensual activities involving high risk.

                  If your beef is that others may be distressed about running over tired cyclists. Well, for a start has this ever happened in an endurance race where the fault has been the cyclist’s and the cause attributed to fatigue?

                  No?

                  Well, even if you are correct, potential distress of others is not a reason to object to a risky activity balanced against the principle of liberty of people to perform activities of risk. And, at the end of the day, endurance riding is still very low risk.

                  This very same argument is used against traing and commuter cycling – that cyclists are taking ‘unacceptable risks’ and harm is done to ‘innocent drivers’ by viewing the mangled corpses of cyclists.

                  Never thought I’d see this argument used by cyclists against each other.

    • Tommy Vercetti

      Completely agree. These folks are pathetic wannabe macho men in their 40ies who are still singles,with a bad marriage back home or guys that have never been drunk and partied in their 20ies and now they need to catch up on things by proving their manhood in this way.

      • Steve S

        Lol, right back at ya

      • philipmcvey

        Yes, even the women who race events like these are ‘wannabe macho men’. Lazy generalisations? We got ’em.

      • Will A

        And the women?!

        • Sean

          They’re obviously pathetic wannabe macho men also.

      • Yetiman

        If whining is an endurance sports, you and Marc are a Gold medallist!

    • John Hawkins

      Opinions are like arseholes. Everybody has one.

      Marc, your (ahem) “evidence” consists of telling us what you think, stringing together a whole lot of conjecture. Despite multiple opportunities to show some facts all you do is come up with yet more opinion.

      Sad to see you don’t know the difference.

      Your view they are a danger to other road users and their feelings is as motor centric as it gets. Typical tabloid letters column rubbish from those with no idea.

      When was the last time a cyclist killed a motorist in a collision?

      What was that…. never?

  • Cruz er

    What stunning photos! Absolutely amazing and really appreciate the article and giving a peek into the event.
    I love that people are still out there willing to test themselves and take on challenges, not for money or glory but for the adventure.

    There’s no cynicism in it at all. It’s so unlike professional sports, and I really appreciate that.

    It’s a great reminder that one can carry in all walks of life, and how the bicycle can open so much of the world.
    Thanks CT!

  • Alex Simmons

    Very cool. My coaching business partner at RST Sport, Ric Stern, is James Hayden’s coach. Coach was very proud of James and naturally excited with his progress as the event progressed. Cool to see someone knock off an audacious cycling goal, no matter at what level you ride at.

  • Human Cyclist

    Great pics. The story of the race is not about who wins but who takes part, loved following it. I documented the highlights from riders, read this to find if you could ride TCR! https://humancyclist.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/transcontinental-race-dotwatching/

  • Mike Brewer

    I was reminded at the weekend that Rory also did this – https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2016/September-2016/Unique-300-mile-cycle-art-in-support-of-London-Air – a true gent and an awesomely strong cyclist.

  • Durian Rider

    Sweet photos. Reminds me when I finished PBP back in 2003. 51:30 mins unsupported.

    Looking forward for #IPWR2018!

  • Stuart Michael Grieve

    I think these athletes deserve huge respect. I wonder though if mandating a maximum moving time of 16 hours would diminish the challenge in any way? It would be moderately easy to police this with GPS files / Strava and would take sleep deprevation out of the equation

  • Mark Blackwell

    I’m a bit late to this party (catching up on my CT reading)… would love to hear more of the individual stories from this race, weird and wonderful tales from the road. If the stories are half as good as the photos they will be fantastic.

    Appreciate the philosophical debate above, but I’m selfishly (and almost unapologetically) fascinated by these races.

  • Allez Rouleur

    Now that I have a wife and a one-year old son, I’m certainly more aware of the decisions and risks I’m taking. It really isn’t about me, my limits, or my thrills any longer, as it was when I was single and young.

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