trans alba race
Tom van Leeuwen
04D || 22H || 16M
05D || 07H || 33M
05D || 08H || 09M
05D || 12H || 36M
05D || 19H || 57M
05D || 19H || 57M
06D || 02H || 18M
06D || 06H || 41M
06D || 07H || 59M
06D || 08H || 27M
06D || 12H || 58M
06D || 13H || 16M
06D || 13H || 59M
06D || 13H || 59M
06D || 20H || 00M
06D || 20H || 00M
07D || 09H || 44M
07D || 19H || 45M
08D || 22H || 55M
09D || 07H || 23M
13D || 09H || 15M
13D || 18H || 15M
Mo' ferries, mo' problems!
The ferries played a massive part in the success of three riders and hindered another five.
First of the success stories, we were on the edge of our seats watching Nicky Shaw make all three ferries in one day. Incredible effort from our second place rider with the ferry putting the gangway back out for her last minute. She left it all out on the road!
Five minutes before Tim Needham and Andy Keene were racing full gas to make the first of the three ferries. This was extremely important. Not only does it not waste an evening ride for them but it’s propelled them in the hunt for third. Add Tom V to the mix this could get interesting. All three riders will be scheming for todays ride!
Now to the hindered, simply a cancelled ferry! These things will happen in Scotland. Whilst frustrating to the riders it has made a hugely enticing race for dot watchers. With first and second really in the hands of Steve Abraham and Nicky Shaw. Third has become the focal point for these guys. Riders held up include… The pair of Colin and David, Donald Munro, Dario Demarco and Tom Duncan (who looked to ride conservatively for the first time in the race).
Towards the rear of the pack we spoke to Cary who was hunkered down to avoid the worst of the weather. And a few hours before we dropped in to see James McDougall who was rocking a rather fetching deer stalker after misplacing his waterproof! He then went on a mission to hit the most northernly point.
Our Americans celebrated Independence Day by plugging away in to a nasty headwind, swimming in rain! Happy 4th of July Ben, Graham and Glenn!
Cap 06 Claire Davis - Scratch
Cap 41 Yancy Jensen - Scratch
Cap 39 Morton Schroder - Scratch
Cap 40 Ania Przygoda - Scratch
Cap 18 David Lawson - Scratch
So, on day one I was really finding my feet. I tend to overthink things and I was really nervous about how I’d cope throughout the duration of the race as I had barely any experience in long distance riding with the Trans Alba being my first full blown ultra distance race (technically, it was my first actual bike race.) All day, I’d been in my head full of self doubt and whether I’d make it around the whole route and back to Edinburgh.
As the day went on and the field stretched out I saw less and less people on the road especially as we got out into the Cairngorms. The scenery was increasingly dramatic which only added to my anxiety as to whether I’d bitten off more than I could chew.
Then I came around a corner to see a guy dancing in the middle of the road! Chris was, in his words, giving me his best moves and belting out Africa by Toto. I couldn’t help but laugh and that broke the tension for me and really helped me get settled and remember, it’s only a bike race and I was meant to be out there having fun.
The route is where you go but the people make the race.
Whether it was Chris dancing on the road, Colin saving me with a spare tyre when mine came apart in the middle of nowhere, the ferry captain who text the cafe owner in Kilchoan where I was eating to pass on to me they needed to leave early and to head to the harbour or the supportive messages from ultra racing friends, it was the people that made the race for me. You might not see anyone for hours or a maybe even a day, but those interactions have stayed with me perhaps more so than the route itself.
And of course, the pineapple. We had such a short time together, but I’ll cherish every moment.
CAP 17 - TIM NEEDHAM
Click on Tim's pineapple to read his blog...
"A comedy moment came between Cawdor and Culloden, when a badger jumped out of the verge and decided to run alongside me, after shouting 'argghhhhhhh' then telling it what to do, we got on fine for the remaining 100 metres or so it chose to run beside me!"
CAP 02 - DONALD MUNROE
Read more about Donald's adventures here -
"I rolled out along with the rest of the riders - all of whom seemed equally quiet and thoughtful to be honest. the reality of what we’d let ourselves in for was obviously beginning to dawn…"
CAP 57 - AL LANGLANDS
Read more about Al's experience here -
"My holistic race plan was to go into the race well prepared physically, mentally and practically. If I’ve learnt anything in the past few years it’s that these factors are the trinity of ultra racing success; like spinning plates, you have to give them equal attention."
"I rolled into Inverness at 2.30am, 16 hours 30 mins after crossing the Forth Bridge. Wet and cold I took refuge in the 24 hour Tesco superstore for a while, enjoying having the shop to myself while I wandered the isles, refuelling, and looking for a warm and dry pair of gloves. No such luck. How an item of clothing could be seasonal in Scotland was beyond me. I made do with a pair of gardening gloves and delightful pink marigolds, a duo which I wore for most of the rest of the journey."
CAP 04 - NICKY SHAW
Check out Nicky’s experience on the Trans Alba -
MEDIA - JACK DRIVER
Click on the unicorn to see more from Jack -
So with the first 24 hours having come and gone in the Trans Alba Race, many have woken up with the realisation that they have got to do it all again today! For some however, the first day hasn't quite finished yet!
So where do we our find our selves. Well the media car has based itself in Inverness for the next 48 hours to see all riders through. We've already seen Steve Abraham, Nicky Shaw, Andrew Hutcheson do some ninja miles and sneak past us in stealth mode!
A few riders have stopped in to see us today already including Colin Hill, David Nicol, Michiel Verhaeghe and Morten Schroder - all looking very strong!
Monday 1st July
We followed the trio of 46 Tom Leeuween, 7 Tom Duncan and 16 Michiel Veraeghe, chase and pass each other most of the day at the front with 4 Nicky Shaw monitoring them closely. She has now made the move overnight with 31 Andrew Hutcheson but no prizes for guessing who's made the most time up and jumped in to the lead... Yes, cap number 1, Steve Abraham.
We've had some great fun with the guys in the middle pack on the climb to Glenshshee. They had just taken in some serious head winds when we saw them but all were in great spirits! 17 Tim Needham was especially receptive to Africa by Toto being blasted at him!
At the back end of the ride, the boys from sportive.com spent most of their day getting Strava KOMs in Cowdenbeath. Caps 9 + 10, Oisin and Eoghan spent many hours sourcing a new hanger and a cobbler to remove the damaged one! Yes, a cobbler.
Our father/son duo the Goffs (24 + 25) look to be entering the Cairngorms today with our mother/son combo of Cary and Charlie (42 +43) just a little further back.
Movers making serious moves!
When we left day one with the young team on the front. Tom (07), Tom (46) and Michiel (16) were racing each other into the evening, stretching the riders out over the Cairngorms. Tom Duncan seems to be the sole survivor of the three, still towards the spiky end and riding aggressively into the head winds.
A really tough night was had by all. Everything but snow was thrown at the competitors on the first night in the Cairngorms and to thank them for their effort they all received a headwind in the morning and well into the afternoon.
Steve (01) and Nicky (04) thrived overnight going on a night mission to take the lead. Add Andrew Hutcheson (31) and Donald Munro (28) in to the mix and we had an interchangeable front three all day.
Tom Duncan seems to have got the bit between his teeth again and is pushing hard to chase them down with Dario Demarco, doing some serious stalking of the Rapha clad rider. Maybe kit envy?! He is making this look good...
In the pairs we have the steady and every green David Hill and Colin Nicol looking strong and focussed. David Lawson and Asbjorn Klomp are next up, again another pair that were in fine fettle yes
Jane Dennyson and Magnus Mill looked in good form yesterday hitting their target comfortably and sitting a little further back from them we find Rupert (12) and Cav (11) who did mention a potential night ride at some point!
Sixteen riders are through the northern check point and we are expecting another load as the groups are stretching out. It’s becoming a real mental challenge now. A lot of time spent in their own heads. Time to find out what’s in that pain cave…
For the record, never have I found a fluffy spirit animal to guide me its usually just more pain and suffering.
Cap. 15 Adrian Haldane - Scratch
Cap. 50 Ross McBrearty - Scratch
Cap. 43 Charlie MacMahon - Scratch
All scratches safe and sound.
Steve Abraham continued his relentless pace though Scotland to tick over the half way mark and make the last ferry of the evening on day 3. He’s looking to clear the remaining ferries today and get himself back on the mainland.
Nicky Shaw and Tom Duncan spent most of the day rounding out the top three. The top 5 saw it’s first major casualty and Andrew Hutcheson was a forced scratch with an injury in Ullapool. He was in really good spirits but struggling to lift his neck when in the aero bars and on the side of caution decided it was time to stop.
Tom Duncan probably revives the prize for the most aggressive rider again yesterday but has definitely paid for it overnight having four riders pull a stealth mission to catch and pass him. Dario Demarco lead the charge followed by Donald Munro then the pair of Colin Nicol and David Hill who will most likely be Tom’s first victims if he can deliver his usual pace.
Today is all about that ferry service. The clock is counting down all the time for the last ferry but we would imagine all of these riders getting a ferry to the next stage today. Pressure is on for the mid pack.
Baring down on Mallaig we have have the usual suspects from Nicky Shaw back and a bunch of six riders including Tim Needham who has to get a new tyre after a massive blowout yesterday. We caught Al, Morton, Andy, Tom L, and David F all near Ullapool with everyone wanting to achieve the benchmark of the first ferry by the close of play today.
But the day belongs to the ladies of TALBAR! All of which were doing thier best impressions of night owls! We have some serious racing going on between Ania, Yancy and Claire, all of which have put massive turns in on the bike in the wee hours. All three seem to have found their rhythm, are within about 10 miles of each other and are looking to get Ullapool by midday. Cary who was hamstrung with the injury of her pair is now on the move and eating up them miles heading north.
Cap 31 Andrew Hutcheson - Scratch
Cap 16 Michiel Verhaeghe - Scratch
Cap 27 Alexander Junkov - Scratch
Steve Abraham - 4 Days, 22 Hours, 16 Minutes.
Well done sir. The first finisher of the first Trans Alba Race, take a bow. Outstanding focus and drive. Made us wait overnight, we were at the tracker until 3am, then we realised he’d pulled in for a rest! Doh! Ultimately well worth the wait. He took the lead overnight on the first evening from Tom D, Tom L and Michiel. With Nicky Shaw applying pressure throughout he jumped and made a very ambitious ferry schedule. From there it looks on paper, or the tracker, plain sailing but we all know that’s never the case. Chapeaux Steve!
Further back in 2nd Nicky Shaw is progressing well, but Tom Duncan is looking to make it interesting closing the gap throughout the night! He’s dropped the group of Donald, Colin, David and Dario. But how many matches has he burnt through in doing so? Nicky has been sticking to her plan throughout the race will she put her foot on the gas? What we do know is that we should see her today at some point!
Riders are passing through the ferries on the regular now. Hoping Dan Pearce, our Devon Cycle Boy, will make the remaining two ferries today. It’ll probably be a sprint, but we know he has it in him. Al Langlangs and Andy Keene have made it to the mainland and will look top press on in the better weather.
One major milestone was our Lanterne Rouge, Cary, hitting and tipping over the most northernly point of the route. Cary’s ride has been hampered by an injury to her pair and the weather, but is extremely committed to finishing. After speaking to her a couple of days ago it’s clear she is determined to get this done.
Cap 34 Sterling Dresman - Scratch
Cap 49 Simon Heyward - Scratch
Day six and we had ourselves a pretty intense finish with Nicky Shaw battling to stave off an attack from Tom Duncan who chased her from Oban to Edinburgh. In the end Nicky proved too strong and held off for a well deserved 2nd place and Tom’s valiant effort gave him 3rd.
Later in the evening we have a small entourage gather themselves around the parliament with Italian flags and a medium sized fluffy mascot dog - Kiera. It could only be for one man, Dario Demarco who flew in collecting an amazing 4th spot with a smile on his face and some gaffer tape on a saddle sore!
Cap 06 Nicky Shaw - 5 Days 7 Hours and 33 Minutes
Cap 07 Tom Duncan - 5D 8H 9M
Cap 55 Dario Demarco - 5D 12H 36M
Returning in the early hours of the morning we saw the first of our pairs teams come over the line. David Hill and Colin Nicol produced an incredibly consistent effort throughout and finished not only first in the pairs, but completed the top five!
Cap 52 David Hill - 5D 19H 57M
Cap 53 Colin Nicol - 5D 19H 57M
Through the remainder of the pack we’re set to see rider rolling in throughout today and this evening. Tom L will be next on the list riding steadily in to Edinburgh followed by the trio of Tim, Donald and Asbjørn in that order. We may even have a little race on the cards home!
Whist the riders above have their minds fully focused getting into the capital. Some are still going day to day. Ben and Graham Goff have taken the first ferry. Their fellow American Glenn Eck has ticked over the half way mark with Cary again making good progress.
Cap 10 Eoghan McHugh - Scratch
Cap 32 Andy Keene - Scratch
Cap 56 James McDougall - Scratch
Day 7 and we’ve seen most of the remaining field through the finish line. Yesterday was our busiest day yet seeing riders complete the course.
6th placed Tom van Leeuwen got the ball rolling. Like many he had underestimated the difficulty and conditions had worked against him. He spent much of the first day leading the line with Michiel and Tom Duncan but was reeled back when he eased off the pace. Tom was to start with his pair Tyas, but unfortunately injury prevented him starting. So a massive congratulations to Tom who adapted last minute and have a great go at the course.
Cap 46 Tom van Leeuwen - 6 Days 2 Hours and 18 Minutes
Next a trio of riders roll in led by Tim Needham came over the line in 7th place. He has no expectations coming in to the race but a solid top ten is a great effort. A few set backs with a blow out of his tyre near Ullapool slowed him down. But a consistent performer throughout the course! Think how much faster he would have been if he didn’t carry a full pineapple over the whole course. Guess if your theme is tropical you really need to lean in to it!
Joining the gang at the finish line we had support from scratched riders Adrian, Claire, James and David Lawson. The latter saw his pair Asbjørn come over the line after they had to split ways when David picked up an injury preventing any further progress. As a pair they always looked strong, focussed and determined to finish. Asbjørn used all of these qualities to move off solo and compete the journey.
Donald Munro was the third of this micro group to come in. Hampered by a 40 mile detour after navigation failure it was his ability to regroup and go again that saw him get to the end. Met by his family at the line he had an entourage to challenge Dario’s - less flags but some solid arts and crafts! We’ll call it a tie.
Cap 17 Tim Needham - 6D 6H 41M Cap 19
Asbjørn Klomp - 6D 7H 59M Cap 28
Donald Munro - 6D, 8H 27M
Meanwhile somewhere on a ferry Captain Daniel Pearce was making his way on to mainland. We’re not too sure how he managed to make it to the cockpit or how good he is at handling a ferry…
To be continued…
Cap 21 Glenn Eck - Scratch
Finishers day continued with Al Langlands coming through in the early evening. With a massive pull from west cost to east coast totalling 303km he managed to place himself in the top 10 within the last 30km. I’d like to say that we caught Al eating fish suppers and pies all the way around the course, but we didn’t manage to catch him once! Absolutely professional performance especially as he came on board pretty last minute to do this ride.
David Fortis the rolling banter wagon completed the Trans Alba Race last night! Met by friends at the finish line there was some gentle ribbing for being late followed by a carrier bag full of Guinness! David had us in fits of laughter throughout the race and it would have genuinely been a different experience without him on the course. Pretty sure his fellow riders will back us up in that.
Jane and Magnus rode into Edinburgh next to be our second pair to complete the course! Their efficient and determined approach saw them finish the Trans Alba Race as the second pair. Jane’s focus kept Magnus’s faffing and time wasting in check to produce a solid ride day in day out. Theres plenty riders out there that could inject a little Jane in their rides to achieve better results!
Cap 57 Al Langlands - 6 days, 12 hours and 58 minutes.
Cap 35 David Fortis - 6D 13H 16M
Cap 23 Jane Dennyson - 6D 13H 59M
Cap 22 Magnus Mill - 6D 13H 59M
We have officially ticked over the one week mark with many riders arriving up to two days over their estimated times.
The pair of Cav and Rupert were very much in this bracket with a clear plan for the first three days. However, a contingency had to be put in place early due to the wild weather conditions and some serious bad luck with seven punctures over three days slowing the pair. Watching them on the course it was obvious that they were prepared for all conditions and operated very well as a pair. Similar to the pairs before them (David/Colin + Jane/Magnus) communication was very strong and they arrived at the finish with their friendship not only intact, but stronger.
Cap 11 Rupert Robinson - 6 Days 20 Hours 0 Minutes
Cap 12 Caven O’hara - 6D 20H 0M
The Media car has been pretty static over the last few days to see riders in to the finish line but we managed to jump over to see our Devon Cycle Boy fly through the course. Dan destroyed a the can of coke and an energy bar we had for him before heading off looking to complete the course early the next morning.
We returned to Edinburgh to welcome home 68 year old Steve Scott, our oldest competitor in the race. We thought his age was closer to his cap number (51), but he proudly announced we were quite a way off at the end of the ride! Steve proceeded to tell us how well he ate throughout the course stumbling across some absolute gems. Any riders thinking of next year this might be the man to collect some tips from! Arriving in the afternoon with a smile on his face, his legs were on form and he looked like he could have gone another 100miles! Congratulations Steve!
Cap 51 Steve Scott - 7D 9H 44M
Oisin Sands, Graham and Ben Goff all made good progress through the day yesterday and look to be setting themselves up for the finish. Whether it’s completed in two more stints or just one, only 200 miles stand in their way with a few nasty climbs.
Cary is bringing the lanterne rouge home in style by piecing together some strong rides over the last couple days. Getting into her groove, it looks like the ferries could be in play shortly!
Another day of Trans Alba and another two Talbarians over the line!
The early hours of Tuesday morning brought Dan Pearce who rode 22 hours with limited stops to complete the course. We met him the day before and it was clear he was riding the last leg straight through the night to finish. Weather conditions were slightly improved in terms of the wind but very wet again! Dan had some real highs and lows over the 1065+ miles but came in full of life despite the sleep deprivation. He had eaten his way through his emergency food stash and it was time for Dan to make his way to a 24 hour fast food outlet for a super dirty breakfast.
Further north Cary continued her progress as our Lanterne Rouge, well that was until Glenn got back in the game! Glenn had actually decided to scratch however upon his return to Edinburgh managed to regroup and plan his reunion with the part of the course he originally scratched. Glenn will proceed to Applecross, tackle the pass in the morning and make his way to the first of three ferries. I wonder if we’ll see some underhand tactics to bring home the Lanterne Rouge…
Returning to the finish line, an overnight ride for 20 year old Ben Goff got him round the course to finish in the early this morning.
The 2018 Trans America Bike Race finisher kept on the move for 38 hours to slay the remainder of the route. A couple of cat naps in bus shelters and a diet of coffee, Haribo and more coffee got him through!
Ben originally started in a pair with his father Graham (cap 24) but had to proceed alone after he had scratched on mile 830. Safe to say he was an extremely proud father at the finish line.
At 20 he was our youngest competitor and a 48 years younger that our eldest. Chapeau Ben!
Cap 54 Daniel Pearce - 7 Days 19 Hours and 45 Minutes
Cap 25 Ben Goff 8D 22H 55M
Cap 24 Graham Goff - Scratch
Oisin originally started the race with his pair Eoghan who broke the hanger on his rear mech within the fist 10 miles. This saw Oisin sprinting 30 miles to visit bike shops to source the part before asking a cobbler to remove the rear mech off the bike so they could do the repair. Despite the set back the pair progressed forward before another broken hanger saw Eoghan ride a fixed gear over Bealach na Bà and finish his ride shortly after. Oisin however continued at a steady rate to complete the remaining miles solo, spending brief moments with Ben Goff over the last couple of days.
Whilst an experienced rider, this was the sportive.com editor’s first attempt at a self-supported race. He’s spent the last few years dot watching and we’re glad he took the plunge on the very first Trans Alba Race. Hoping to see his dot moving on other races in the near future.
Cap 9 Oisin Sands - 9 Days 7 Hours 23 Minutes
Lanterne Rouge Report
Both Cary and Glenn have made it over the first ferry! Looks like Glenn could make Tobermory this afternoon and Cary will certainly achieve this providing all ferries are on time.
No sneaky tactics yet, it’s like no one wants the lanterne rouge… We will keep a close watch!