The TransAtlanticWay is an ultra-endurance cycling event. Cyclists start in Dublin and head to the first checkpoint located in Derry by a route of their own choosing, avoiding fast roads. After the first checkpoint the route is pre-defined and largely follows the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route all the way around the west coast of Ireland, finishing in Kinsale, East of Cork. The route is over 2,300 km (1,400 miles), with lots of hills and the changeable Irish coastal weather to contend with. The ride is unsupported, so it is up to the individual riders to be self-sufficient in terms of arranging their own food and accomodation during the race.
In 2018, 145 riders started the race. Of these, over 30 riders scratched / did not finish, for example due to mechanical issues, tough conditions, injury or not allowing enough themselves enough time to complete the race.
2018’s winner was Bjorn Lenhard who completed the event in 5 days 3 hours and 51 minutes, and the lanterne rouge (last competitor in the race) was Patrick Marren who sailed across the line in 13 days 6 hours and 56 minutes.
The race is particularly challenging, not so much for the distance, but for the hills and weather conditions. The riders also have to pace themselves and get enough sleep throughout the event. Obviously any time not spent riding is detracting from your finish time, but the rules include a mandatory sleep guidance of over 3 hours in every 24 hour period to help prevent anyone putting themselves in unnecessary danger due to tiredness for the sake of the race.
Read more about the TransAtlanticWay Race (now Ride) on the official TransAtlanticWay website.
Why did I enter the race?
I had been looking for something interesting to do and a new challenge to aim for. I had considered the TransContinental Race but favoured the TAW as this would be the first time I would be taking part in this type of event and wanted a decent 'taster'... The TAW is shorter and the route mostly pre-defined (turns out it is arguably just as tough). My aim was to finish the race within two weeks. I put my money down at the start of October 2017 and my name appeared on the racers list on the website. There was no turning back now!
Why do it on a Brompton?
It’s my favourite bike to ride; always an enjoyable experience. I own a light touring bike I could have ridden and ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack, but I wouldn’t have had as much fun. Instead I rode the Brompton and won the race (well the Brompton category). The first person to have completed one of these trans- ultra endurance race thingies on a Brompton. Whoop!
Why do it wearing sandals?
I used to ride clipless, but I like the convenience of being able to jump on and off the bike, and not having to wear a special pair of shoes for cycling. I usually wear Converse trainers for cycling but when they get wet they take a couple of days to dry out, so instead I wore the same type of sandals that I used on my European tour. They're perfect for sunny days and warm rainy days too. For those short on hair, having the wind in your toes is the next best thing :)