For an introduction to what the Transcontinental Race (TCR) is and the principles that it was founded on, see the Overview page.
The map at the bottom of this page shows the simplified route. As in the previous two years, the race starts in Geraardsbergen, Belgium with an ascent of the cobbled climb, the Muur van Geraardsbergen, but that is the only location to be used in 2017 that has been used previously. The start time will again be at 10pm, on 28th July, 2017.
The first checkpoint is in southern Germany, at the Schloss Lichtenstein castle. For the first time in the TCR, it will be possible to cross the Alps without going above 2000 meters elevation, with the only Alpine checkpoint being Monte Grappa in Italy, not far from Venice. It is a historic mountain that was a major battlefield in both World Wars I and II.
Checkpoints 3 and 4 take the race to central and eastern Europe for the first time, first to the Tatra Mountains between Slovakia and Poland and then onto the revered Transfagarasan Pass in Romania, passing through the mythical region of Transylvania.
Whereas the first four editions of the race finished in Turkey (in either Istanbul or Çanakkale), this edition finishes in Greece. Many people assumed that this was due to political unrest in Turkey, but Mike Hall said that he just wanted to keep things fresh and interesting – both the UK and Belgium have hosted the start and many different countries have hosted checkpoints, so why should the finish not also vary? The finish location is near Meteora, Greece, where monasteries stand on pinnacles of rock.
The distance is expected to be slightly more than in 2016, at 3800-4000 km.
The application process took place in November, 2016, and was similar to that used for the 2016 Race with the main difference being that due to the number of race veterans continually increasing, veterans were no longer given automatic entry. Like the previous year, 300 starting places were available, with successful applicants being informed by the end of December, 2016.
Mike Hall, who founded the race in 2013 and was the principle organizer of every edition, unfortunately died in a collision with a car in late March 2017 while taking part in the inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race. Planning for the 2017 edition of the TCR was postponed while everyone mourned the immense loss and there were fears that the race would not happen.
Fortunately, a team of volunteers were able to put things in place to enable the 2017 edition of the race to go ahead. Many memorial rides were organized all over the world shortly after Mike’s death, but there cannot be any bigger memorial ride than the race that he founded, so many of the participants will be riding with him in their thoughts.
I have to warn you that following the riders’ dots moving across the map of Europe during the race can become very addictive, may take up a lot of your time, and may end up in you applying to take part in a future edition of this or a similar race. If you are ready for these possible consequences then Trackleaders and Free Route will show where everyone’s dots are, although those pages are not yet active.
The official TCR Facebook page probably won’t be updated too frequently, but most of the action happens on the English-language TCR Facebook discussion group (other pages exist for other languages). Some racers post regular updates to their own social media pages during the race on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, often using the hashtag #tcrno5.
Here is the simplified route map:
The next page looks at the Overall Results of the first 4 editions of the race.