Since 1998 the BIKE Transalp Challenge has been the hardest, best known and most impressive long distance mountain bike race in the world. Starting in Fussen, Bavaria at the foot of the famous kings castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, the race crosses the Alps in 8 days through Austria, Switzerland and Italy to eventually come to a spectacular finish directly in Limone on the shores of scenic Lake Garda.A total of 660km and 73,342ft of climbs. 571 teams of 2 athletes from all over the world faced that huge challenge. To challenge the Alps and to reach the status of a finisher is a dream many mountain-bikers around the world want to make at least once in a lifetime. In 2006 we -Team Salty Balls- successfully completed the race in a time of 71hrs. Overall we finished 489th out og 571 teams. In the masters class we finished 142nd out of 163 teams. The main aim of most teams was to finish. Many did not due to injury, mechanical breakdown or exhaustion/dehydration as temperatures soared to over 40 C.
Cycling through snow on day 3
finishing day 4 after a tyre blow out 4km from the finish (which allowed those Germans to overtake!)
finishing day 5 after an 11hr, 118km, 9,500ft epic
Germany's struggling to pronounce "Team Salty Balls"
Finishing day 6 after another 11hr, 11,300ft epic. This was definitely the toughest day-we used 6,100cals and 16 litres of fluid. After reaching checkpoint 2 in 7.5hrs and with 3,500ft, 40km remaining we were told that we (and the teams behind us) would not be allowed to continue due to limited remaining daylight. Re-enacting the scene from the 'Great Escape' and before any suspicions were aroused had sneaked passed our guards. The 2 balding Brits were free again to roam the mountains! Start of day 8 and the1.5hrs of non-stop downhill at speeds of upto 45mph. Inevitablt there were some crashes. One lad we knew in the Irish team had his bike wrecked after someone ran into him. The other chap came off worst and could not continue. Not only did the Irish lad continue using the injured man's bike but was seen removing his shoes as he was carried into the ambulance. Finishing day 8 on the beach in Limone after the final descent of 4,500ft in 5km. Some people with v-brakes had inner tubes blow after their rims overheated. Party on the beach until the early hours.
Lowlights Cold showers, queing, sleeping on hard floors, pasta, more pasta, another mountain to climb, Steve asking yet again "how many tablets should I take", swollen legs and fingers, energy bars, witnessing 3 people being airlifted on day 4 following accidents..................etc
For anyone considering this challenge be afaid, be very afraid......IT'S BRUTAL.
STAGE 1 -Saturday 15th July 2006
STAGE 2 -Sunday 16th July 2006
IMST TO ISCHGL
STAGE 3 -Monday 17th July 2006
ISCHGL TO SCUOL
STAGE 4 -Tuesday 18th July 2006
SCUOL TO LIVIGNO
STAGE 5 -Wednesday 18th July 2006
LIVIGNO TO NATURNS
STAGE 6 -Thursday 19th July 2006
NATURNS TO MALE
STAGE 7 -Friday 20th July 2006
MALE TO MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO
STAGE 8 -Saturday 21st July 2006
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO TO LIMONE SUL GARDA