Great Britain will next year get its own ultracycling race for unsupported riders – and clocking in at more than 5,000 kilometres and with more than 60 kilometres of climbing the unsupported event, called the Baa Baa Bikepack race, could be a cracker.
It begins in Chester on 29 June 2018 and follows a clockwise route up to the north of Scotland, back down through the east of England and along the south coast into Devon and Cornwall, then into Wales and, via the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, back to the start.
Along the way it will visit three capital cities – Edinburgh, London and Cardiff – and riders will also have to tackle 70 of Great Britain’s 200 toughest climbs, listed here together with more details of the route.
Ascents tackled include the Hardknott Pass, Honister Pass, Glen Coe, Bealach Na Ba, the Buttertubs Pass, Ditchling Beacon, Zig Zag Hill, Gold Hill, Haytor Vale, Cheddar Gorge, Caerphilly Mountain, The Tumble, Gospel Pass and The Devil's Staircase.
According to organisers, “We expect the winner to finish the course in about 12-13 days, sleeping wherever and whenever they can.”
There’s a bit of a twist when it comes to the route, however, which takes in 12 National Parks.
“The course also has 100 miles off road across the South Downs Trail which adds an extra element to the ride as bike selection will not favour a TT or fast road setup,” they say.
Already, 30 riders have signed up since the event was announced last week, including entrants from the United States, South Africa and Turkey, and organisers say that “a lot of the initial interest [is] coming from Transcontinental Race and Trans America Race competitors.”
There is also a shorter event, named The Shandy Drinkers, on a 3,200 kilometre course that misses out Scotland for those who may be pushed for time.
As well as individuals, both events are also open to people riding as a pair, who will be allowed to draft one another.
Find out more here: www.bikepack.cc.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.